Tuesday, June 7, 2011
WM Centre Library Review – Third Term
When one of the Library team members said that we should prepare a write-up on WM Centre Library Review for the Third Term (05 Jan -16 Apr 2011), as we had done for the previous two terms, my first thought was that the Third Term was no different from the other two. This thought was immediately followed by another, “Or was it?”
If we are to write about books distribution in the Third Term, it would be mere statistics. Children’s thirst for books remained unabated and we had to release about 25 more books for distribution to III, IV and V standard students, numbering 54, for taking home to read. Reading of books in the class on Saturdays, assisted by volunteers, continued, where children of II standard and VI standard also
participated with great interest. Out of some 220 books we had, as many as 180 books were in regular use, either in circulation or in class-reading sessions.
During the term, intent on trimming the Library stocks, 26 books were identified to be of much higher standard for WM children and these were handed over to Centre Co-ordinator for exploring possibilities of using them at other Centres.
To cater to the varied interests exhibited by the children, old and new issues of Magic Pot, a fortnightly English magazine (now weekly) specially designed for children – comprising comics to colouring, stories,problem solving tests, quiz, etc. --were bought and donated by two of the team members. Needless to say, these became hot favourites among the children.
Mid-week visits to the school by two of the Library Team members continued throughout the Third Term and as many as 14 such visits were made. These visits helped volunteers to interact with the children more intimately and on one-to-one basis to gauge their interests and overall improvement in language.
There were 4 occasions when a child read out for the other children a story from a book. This exercise boosted children’s self-esteem and motivated other children to emulate them.
Silent reading by some children on their own was tried during this term. However, as monitoring this activity proved to be difficult, this was abandoned after few attempts. With a better volunteer strength, probably, we could have gone on with this experiment and emerged successful, instead of losing out not just in efforts, but also in keeping track of books in the overall extra excitement this trial created. In
the third term, sadly, as many as 22 books have been lost or have gone missing.
All the targets set at the beginning of the academic year – number of books every kid reads in a year, recalling stories read, overcoming hesitation to speak in English, reading to an audience --were surpassed with ease and children’s interest in seeing, reading, drawing and learning from the lot of books we placed at their disposal kept increasing and we went on creating new benchmarks. However, the number of kids showing considerable improvement in the language front was not up to expectations
and this has to go up to make the library project a total success. This is the goal set for the coming year, and towards this end, the team has already started devising plans and processes, including investing in and inducting as many as 50 new books.
Seeing that the children have started to eagerly look forward to taking home a book on Wednesdays, the teachers decided to make use of this interest more effectively. As a means of punishment, unruly children were forbidden from taking home any book for a week or two. Though this gave way to long faces, the apprehension of another week without book made the children correct their behaviour.
Books and benchmarks are part of any Library effort, but alwyas there was something beyond these that was taking place in Deepam WM.
At the beginning of the third term, on January 7, a group of 18 children were taken on a guided tour to Anna Centenary Library, Kotturpuram, to make them understand the concept of a Library and give them a feel of the Library atmosphere and culture. The sense of awe the kids had on seeing the huge building with rooms and rooms of books (not just rows and rows), including some in Braille and digital Braille made us feel: One Library visit = All Deepam sessions of the year.
When announcement about Deepam’s Third Anniversary function was made and the Centre coordinators decided that each Centre would give a brief account of its activities at the function, the Library Team decided to make this intro speech a lively show. An idea as to how to present it was conceived, contents were developed and transferred to paper, resources (8 children) for the part handpicked, rehearsals and practice done, the children made to understand what they were to speak - and they did! Many unscheduled visits to the school were made by the team members, with one goal
in mind and when the speech was delivered at the Anniversary Function held on 19 March, the children outperformed everyone’s expectation. The remarkable capability shown by the children in reading, understanding, committing to memory and reproducing to an audience of 500 plus with hardly a tremor showcased the fruits of our efforts.
When the twice-weekly interactions with the children revealed that some of the IV standard children were dismally poor in basic English and found it difficult even to understand simple words, we identified 10 kids who needed help the most. A book specially designed for such children (simple words in bilingual form) was purchased and given to each of them, along with a notebook. Exercises to learn the language
in a fun way were devised and the children were told to do them during vacation as a pastime.
Ten children who exhibited excellent learning skills, eagerness to learn, improvement in attitude, exemplary behaviour and an enthusiasm to participate in Deepam classes regularly, were chosen to be rewarded. It was unanimously agreed that nothing other than a Book would be a fitting gift to them. Therefore, we bought 10 sticker books that were learning-oriented but with entertainment value and these books were presented to them during Deepam’s Anniversary function. Later, the children could
be seen going through these books with eyes wide with pride.
On the last day of the school, the Library Team members visited the school to give away free Tamil and English books to children for reading during vacation. These came out of the books received by the Centre as donation. The Magic Pot collection was also cleared and the magazines found their right places in the kids’ bags ‘to keep in touch with English’ during vacation.
Few books were collected from members’ own personal stock of books and reached to one of the IV standard boys who was staying home nursing a fractured leg and has been advised a month’s rest by the doctor.
What started as an effort to introduce the children to simple story books in English and to ensure that every child had read at least 10 books at the end of the year, has now become synonymous with a ‘way of Deepam English sessions’ at WM Centre. Nearly eight to ten kids have been able to understand the concept of library record too and had an index of a list of books they had read, which, to them, is a matter of great pride.
Wrapping up last year with a good sense of fulfilment, we hope to strengthen the efforts in the forthcoming year in the Library front to increase its effectiveness and consequently the satisfaction of having a fantastic outcome. With volunteers keenly supporting library team’s efforts through the year, such increase in effectiveness and ensuing joy are only to be expected, naturally.
WM LIBRARY TEAM
5 June 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
The laptops are some of the latest ones in the market - has an i7 processor, rotating screen with touch sensor and importantly, will last close to 9 hours on full charge ( HP has given heavy duty batteries too !! )
Monday, March 7, 2011
- Certificates / Medals for children - 15k
- Transportation of children from school to event venue / back - 10k
- Food / Snacks -5k
- Venue cost - 5k
- Misc ( audio / projectors etc ) - 5k
Monday, January 31, 2011
The Digital Literacy curriculum consists of five courses:
- Computer Basics
- The Internet and the World Wide Web
- Productivity Programmes (Word processing, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Databases)
- Computer Security and Privacy
- Digital Lifestyles
Monday, January 10, 2011
Saturday, January 1, 2011
WM CENTER LIBRARY – AN EVOLVING CONCEPT
The Second Term
How long has it been since any of us wrote, mentioned or even heard the words “mental block” or “alien” while talking about WM Center children’s approach to English? Quite a while, isn’t it? It is now there for everyone to see: the children have shed their inhibition in this respect. Being treated with a blank look when volunteers speak to them in English has become a thing of the past. On the other hand, often we observe the children trying to speak or ask questions in English.
A lot has to be said for this impressive progress. While lessons taught in the curriculum front have contributed to this marked improvement, it is the role that the Library team had played in bringing about this much-cherished change that we wish to record in this document.
In the first Term, the Library Team had laid a solid foundation and the joint creative power exhibited by the volunteers and the children alike through the academic year has brought about the transformation that we see today at the end of the Second Term.
One of the developments in the Second Term that the Library Team saw and could be proud of – one that could well be the greatest reward to the Team for its persistent efforts -- is that, inspired by the other children visibly enjoying taking home books to read, six of the III standard kids showed interest and wished to be enrolled as recipients of books every week. The Team was only too happy to oblige them. It was very gratifying when we were later told that these children narrate the books’ contents to the other children under their English teacher’s supervision.
It will not be out of place to mention here that not a single week had passed without two members of the Library Team visiting the school on Wednesdays (or the day preceding or following it in case of a holiday) for distributing books to the children who have come to look forward to Wednesdays eagerly, with a book in hand and a book in mind. Of the 12 weeks in the Second Term, 11 days’ of book distribution took place except one week when it was not done keeping in mind the terminal exams.
In the Second Term, 36 new books were additionally put in circulation, throwing open to the children the option to choose from as many as 103 books. It is a common sight these days to see some kids picking a book, going through its pages and deciding to discard it and go for another book. And there are children who specifically ‘ask for’ books by name and still some who insist on books with more sentences per page.
After keenly observing children’s likings and keeping in mind their progress in becoming more and more interested in books, 24 new books were purchased in the Second term. With regular weekly visits by volunteers on Wednesdays for distributing books among 54 children, the turn-round of books increased drastically. This also resulted in many books becoming oft-read and well-thumbed, necessitating binding of some of the books to make them sturdy and withstand more handling. This exercise was taken up and 40 books identified as most dog-eared were got bound.
At the end of the Second Term, Library Record Notebooks of the children were collected. These notebooks were evaluated by the Library Team off-site and, based on how effectively they have been utilized by the children, stars were awarded to stimulate more interest in keeping record of books read. Sticker stars were stuck in their notebooks. Of the 24 notebooks reviewed, 5 were found worthy of 3 stars (the highest rating).
The Second Term also saw children taking to reading books in groups with the help of a volunteer in a very eager way. We have had seven good class reading sessions in the Second Term. On days when volunteer presence was less, some kids could be seen to take the lead and form their own groups to read more than one book in the half-hour time allotted for the session. Occasionally, a kid taking a book and sitting all by himself or herself to read it has also become a common sight. During these periods, some children who showed interest in knowing the exact meanings of words learnt were suitably guided in making use of the dictionary.
Besides group reading, children identified as good in reading were given the opportunity to read a book aloud to the class on Saturdays. Mohanraj, Sanjay, Saranya & Vaishali were such privileged ones. This has motivated other children to put in more efforts to be thus recognized.
In December, a day of Library session was converted as Educational Games period. Participated enthusiastically by children as well as volunteers, the session brought to light how learning (or teaching) through games could be more fun and more effective, compared to conventional methods. As one of the volunteers later put it, “Games make children focused…….the hands on activity helps.”
Overall, the results we have achieved so far in Library front have been very good and leave us in no doubt that we can do more for the children.
Computers, Notebooks, Netbooks, iPads and Mobile phones have been changing the way we have been reading, writing, listening and viewing, thus introducing digital in every walk of life. The day we could bring in technology to WM Library, such as children reading an e-story by flipping pages on the netbook using the mouse pad, we would have indeed reached a significant milestone.
- A stable team at West Mambalam and VRS centre.
- Quantitative evaluation of our teaching at WM / VRS centres
- A good implementation of Library program at West Mambalam centre
- Internet availability in 5 of our 6 centres
- Deepam Fellows
- Launch of STARS
- Deepam Newsletter - Oli
- The 1st Deepam class picnic at VRS centre
- Availability of computers at all centres
- Structured curriculum at WM / VRS centres
- Painting events in partnership with Logica
- Fun childrens day and annual day event
- Google Doodle submissions by Uroor Kuppam Centre
- The origami sessions at all centres
- SCRATCH implementation in Pudiador Centre
- Ofcourse, the HP EdTech 2010 - Education Innovation Award