19 February 2012

From the Director's Desk

The Pathways Early Years opened with a flourish at Noida. A group of toddlers from one year upward delight everyone’s’ hearts with their curiosity and liveliness. The bright well-equipped rooms, the carefully constructed curriculum all create the special environment required for this age group.
Irish Puppet Performance
The school hosted a delightful puppetry performance in a packed amphitheatre as part of our relationship with the Ishara International puppet festival at the Habitat. A skilled puppeteer from Ireland, Tommy Baker had the audience in splits as he took on various characters and pulled students from the audience onto stage, even  using masks and clever string movement to convert two students into an old couple.
Internet Safety Week
Technology and the internet may be a marvelous resource for learning but it also can be a dangerous space if unwisely used. A vast majority of our students use Facebook or go to Chatrooms, but not everyone understands that their privacy needs to be guarded or that it can be dangerous to give out information about yourself to strangers who you “meet” on the internet. To create an awareness of this, an Internet Safety Week awareness drive was planned by the primary and secondary ICT department and many activities were conducted. I strongly urge parents to reinforce this message and not treat laptops as private spaces especially in primary and middle school. Our intention is not to forbid these spaces because that is no longer an option in the 21st century. Instead it is important to gradually give access, training young people to know how to handle them.
Student News
2 students, Sameera Khurana from Form 9 and Ammarah Khalid from Form 11 represented the school at the inter-school elocution at Pathways Aravali. You can read their account below.
13 US universities visited the school and talked to students as part of our ongoing college counseling programme.
Classes for students of Form 10 & 12 are gearing up in preparation for their Board Mock examinations which begin on March 12th.
Adventure Camps and Summer Trips
Excitement is rising for the Adventure Camps scheduled for the end of the month. In addition to students from Form 4 - 11  going to locations like the Tirthan Valley in Himachal, River Rafting on the Ganga and camping in the Aravali hills, Form 2 & 3 will visit a farm and then spend the night in school.
Meanwhile we have begun introducing our students to the trips which will be available in summer. Since international travel requires advance planning for tickets and visas, we have begun with those.  A trip within India is also planned and information will be sent out later for that. In this year, a number of international trips will be available for students to choose from. Each of them is carefully chosen for their educational value – they are not vacation holidays but will expand our students’ knowledge and understanding. Many of these are in combination with Pathways Aravali and Gurgaon. The following trips will be available:
·         9 days trip to China including Shanghai, Dangfeng and Beijing: open to middle and senior students
·         16 day trip to Verbier near Geneva in Switzerland. Focus on outdoor activity and language classes in Spanish and French. Open to students from Form 4 up
·         11 days trip to Spain – Barcelona, Granada, Seville and Madrid. Focus on understanding Spanish culture, dance, music, architecture and food. Open to students from middle school up.
·         12 day trip to the USA – the NASA centre in Orlando. Focus on knowing about Space travel, interacting with an astronaut, visiting Universal Studio and New York. Open to students from middle school up.
·          10 day Study programme to learn Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) at Anne Arundel College University of Maryland. The programme provides students with an integral solution to develop an understanding of the world through geospatial data analysis. Open to students from Form 10 up.

More details of each programme will be sent to you separately. Obviously a trip will only be scheduled if there are sufficient numbers who go. Each student group is accompanied by a teacher.

Information to Note

Mid semester break is from 4th March – 11th March. School reopens on Monday 12th March
Form 4 & 5 Adventure camp is on 27th February. There will be no school for them on their return on 1st and 2nd March.

School is closed on Tuesday 28th February due to State elections.

Please mark your calendars for  our Art, Science, Maths, IT & DT Fair  on Friday 16th March ( 9.30 am – 1 pm). Come with friends and family to  marvel at the ingenuity, talent and creativity of our primary and secondary school students.

Shalini Advani
School Director

Primary School Principal

Pathways Noida is growing in numbers and through additions. We have added a new Early Years Program for infants (18-23 months) and toddlers (24 to 30 months). This wing was inaugurated on the 15th Feb, without any fun fare as the objective was to ease their settling in period.

Students of Form 3, 4 and 5 visited the Red Fort with the ITIHAAS Group. It was a sure success, judging from the stories students are still relishing and sharing with us. This trip was planned to push awareness of the city they live in. Our students have lived the definition of a true communicator as seen in their oral and written presentations. IBO says,” The IB defines the ‘Communicators’ as those who receive and express ideas and information confidently and is an integral part of the Learner profile that underlies the entire Primary program.
The parental feedback after the Form evening has been very reassuring. On the request of the Pre Nursery and Nursery parents a session on The Jolly Phonic program was organized, soon after the Form evenings.

Special assemblies for the Republic Day, Remembering Gandhi,
Internet Safety has been some of the assemblies that the students participated in.

Students of Pre Nursery, Nursery and KG are getting ready to go on a trip to the zoo on the 22nd of this month.

We have the ‘London Talents’ putting up a show for us on the 24th Feb, 2012 for Students and parents at 10:30 am. This is an interactive experience for all who care for children up to 8 years of age.

Usha Lamba
Primary Principal

Sports Day

Isharah Puppet show

On 14th February a day known to be for lovers, Mr. Baker stole our hearts. He was one of the few people I wished was always there to entertain me. Mr. Baker had organized a puppet show for us, when I heard that there was a “Puppet Show” planned for us I was not very excited. I mean a puppet show for senior and middle school students made no sense to me. I had gone for many puppet shows as a kid and I believed that this was going to be just another puppet show. However, this puppet show changed my whole thinking of what a puppet show really was.  He made everyone laugh and all of us enjoyed it. It was the first puppet show in which I saw the crowd participating as well. I thought that we just had to sit and watch a man play with strings. But Mr. Baker frequently  interacted with the audience. Some of us even participated, luckily I got the opportunity to go as a volunteer and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It took me back to the times when I would request, plead and do almost anything to watch a puppet show. As a kid I always enjoyed puppet shows and I had always wanted to know the tricks people used. Being Mr. Baker’s volunteer I got to know the trick he used to make it look as if the puppet was talking in real. We all take comedy as a fun topic but trust me it’s not very easy. It requires a lot of hard work and determination. And of course we need practice and for a puppet show we need lots and lots of practice.
I believe Mr. Baker has a quality that not many people have. That quality is to make people laugh, there is nothing better one can do to make a person smile. This was the best Puppet show I had ever seen in my life. It was a life time experience for me and I hope to watch more puppet shows like this.
Parth Kapoor
Form 8

The Many Hats of Tommy Baker
We sat on our seats on the first floor, admiring the contrast of the black drapes with red and knew that what would follow would surely be something magical. Due to the excellent view we had, we could effortlessly see a man- Tommy Baker- dressed in black, wearing a fez with a slightly lost and weak air to him. He moved from one child to another, asking whether they had seen his brother. He described him as “handsome, single and looks like me,” and we immediately wondered whether he had a twin.
After a few moments, he deduced his brother had concealed himself behind the box that stood before the drapes. After a bit of urging and prodding the mysterious “brother” decided to reveal himself. Mr. Baker strolled to the box and after a comical melody his relative emerged- sturdy body language, certain and enigmatic. My jaw dropped open- that couldn’t possibly be Mr. Baker- the one we had just seen a few seconds ago. This man’s voice was tinged with a Spanish accent and his gestures strong. But it was Mr. Baker- just under a different hat.
They say that it is your personality, your likes and dislikes, that make you choose your clothing. In Tommy Baker’s case, it was the clothing that chose his personality. His headgear changed an innumerous number of times during his show. The highlight of the day was unquestionably when he donned a blonde wig and imitated an opera singer. And if that wasn’t adequate, he had a way with puppets and magic tricks. I was astounded when he pulled out a red ball and made it float in the air- no strings attached. I repeatedly caught myself smiling widely as he made the animals and little men and women come to life. I watched the little children giggle into their tiny little hands and I felt almost as though I was one of them, watching a puppet show for the first time.
What made him an amazing performer was the different ways in which he involved the audience- from little things like questions to letting them look at pictures of his family to letting them admire his puppets up close. The fact that he took at least five volunteers up on stage was a major highpoint.
To sum it up, I’m delighted that Mr. Baker honored us by holding a show in Pathways World School Noida. His puppet show was definitely one of the best examples of the art I’ve ever seen- and I hope he can return and make us feel like children again- only if for an hour.
Supriya Ganesh
Form 9

Spoken Word

Elocution Competition at Aravali
Our hearts filled with excitement and enthusiasm, on the 13th of February, as me and my friend Sameera, dressed in our formals, with our speeches in our hands, headed out for the Pathways World School Aravali. We were nervous to say the least! Leaving our own school to go for a competition can be both fun but at the same time scary. The privilege of going on a long road trip along the hilly roads while your other friends have to sit in class and study is the part that makes this experience fun, however, being wished good luck by all your teachers is when you feel the pressure. Even though you know they will love you and be proud of you no matter how you perform, it still scares one to think of disappointing them. We reached thankfully just in time. The most memorable moment of the day was when our names were announced and we realized that we were the first participants. My speech was on feminism and equal rights for women. It had been read out at the USA House of Representatives while Sameera’s was a poem
on beauty and the beast. With our amazing content we did manage to grab a little attention from the crowd. However we were both bursting with nervousness inside. Even though we did not win anything, it was a great experience for we got to hear people of different age groups, full of confidence and assertiveness. We got to learn from them as well as us. And like every other trip of ours to Pathways World School Aravali, this one proved to be memorable as well!

Ammarah Khalid
Form 11

Curran Anand-Elocution
‘How could a beauty beast be? Or a beastly beauty together could be?’ – These were the lines that probably startled the entire audience at the Curran Anand elocution competition which is held every year in the memory of an ex-Pathwazian, Curran Anand, to celebrate his love for literature and books. Since we reached Aravali a bit late, we were quite nervous and unsettled at the sudden start of events. I had practiced my poem, called ‘Search’ by Lalitha Iyer, quite a number of times by then, however I lacked that confidence that should’ve overtaken the wave of nervousness. The first poem was recited, and the second, and the third – and how lovely they were! I was impressed by the Aravali students, for they recited the poem with just the perfect enunciation and expressions. Sonnet 25, by William Shakespeare was the highlight of the competition and both the students who recited the sonnet bagged the prizes. For me it was an entirely different and a new experience because I generally am very confident when it comes to public speaking, but reciting a 40-line poem with no beforehand practices gave me a shiver. I was so nervous that I forgot the latter part of my poem and ended up making my own lines which luckily made sense and rhymed as well. However it did not make enough impact and the entire essence of my poem was lost. I did feel a little lost but there is always a learning in everything.

Sameera Khurana
Form 9

3 February 2012

From the Director's Desk

Coming back to school in January can be cruel for school students. It was therefore lovely to see the vibrancy with which Pathways students swing back into a new term. The late start certainly helps but the sheer enjoyment our children demonstrated to be back among friends and teachers warmed the building more than any late start can.

Secondary Student Council
The secondary school has plunged into the excitement of the student council election. Nominations were received and all candidates were interviewed. Campaign posters adorned the walls and everyone appreciated the speeches soliciting votes made by the candidates. The entire election process not only develops leadership skills in the senior school students but makes everyone understand how a democracy works. I congratulate our new Council and we all look forward to the great contribution they will make in taking the school forward. The investiture ceremony is on Monday 6th at 11 am and parents of the elected members will be getting separate invitations to attend. Meanwhile I would like to thank our outgoing council for all their hard work, their positive energy and determination to do what is best for the school. A strong foundation has been laid by them for the character and activity of a Student Council.

Adventure Camps  Green River Valley Camp in Himachal              
 As always, as part of our focus on learning through experience, Adventure Camps for students are scheduled for the end of this month. All students from Form 4 up go out of town. They learn to camp outdoors, interacting with the natural environment and being independent. All our trip organization groups are carefully vetted, providing high standards of safety and hygiene. Each of them has taken out  Pathways groups in the past. Form 4 & 5 will go to Camp Tikkling in the Aravali hills; Form 6 – 8 to the Green River Valley Camp in Himachal Pradesh; and Form 9 & 11 go River Rafting on the Ganga. Each trip is accompanied by our teachers. We will have an open information session conducted by the trip organizers and you are welcome to attend. Principals will send you detailed information on the trip shortly.
                                                                  Camp River Wild on the Ganga above Rishikesh

Experiential Learning
Primary school students visited the Red Fort with Itihaas, a group on educational history.
A group of senior school students participated in the Model United Nations hosted by Pathways Aravali. You can read all about their experiences elsewhere in this newsletter.

Staff Development
Our contemporary understanding of how learning happens teaches us that one of the most powerful strategies is to learn from each other. This is the theme for our staff development as well and Pathways Noida is part of a national network of professional development. This week some teachers from Pathways Aravali and Gurgaon spent a day at Noida sharing strategies and resources. Next week we host the PYP Network for schools in the region. And on 25th February we will once again play host to teachers from across India for the Diploma programme Job Alike – a structured collaborative learning where we will also have representatives from the IBO addressing teachers.
Enabling the professional development of teachers is a crucial element in effective schools and is part of our ongoing programme. This week two teachers from the Primary school attended a Science teaching workshop. We are happy that the number of senior teachers who are now accepted as examiners by the IBO is growing. Four of our teachers have been invited by the IBO.

Upcoming Events & Schedules
We are very happy to be collaborating with the Ishara International Puppet Festival. Our students will watch the Irish Puppetry group Circus Stachamoose and all parents are invited too. As per my previous letter parents please remember to register for this.
On 24th February at 11 am we have a special show for our Early Learners by London Talents a British theatre and education company. Early Years parents are invited – we will be writing to you separately with more details shortly. 
Please mark your calendar for Sports Day on 17th February. This will be held during school hours and I hope you will come to support your children’s athletics programme. Also note that the Art, Science, DT & Maths Fair scheduled for 28th February has now been postponed to Friday 16th March as state elections have been announced for the 28th. School will therefore remain closed on that day.

Shalini Advani
School Director

From the Middle School Principal

Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another's uniqueness.
Ola Joseph
At Pathways Noida, we deliver a curriculum woven around the belief that every child is unique and capable of excellence if provided with an environment that is caring / nurturing, academically stimulating. Our endeavor is to customize plans according to each student’s needs and strengths. 
The Read-a-thon,  conducted in the last semester aimed to develop the reading habit besides promoting social responsibility. This fund raising event promoted reading too since a social cause became the purpose of reading. Students wholeheartedly participated in the event. This is in consonance with our English Reading program where too our emphasis is on encouraging students  to read.
This semester, we used a software called ‘lexile to measure the reading levels. The purpose of this tool is not to assess students but match the right book  to  the reading level of the students. Finding a book which suits your level rather than a recommendation by an adult encourages students to read with enjoyment. This will I turn, help the students to better their reading skills and increase their reading levels.
 Parents can also support and encourage reading at home .You can set aside formal reading time with your child where you either read or encourage quiet reading time and then ask questions on what they have read.
In another important activity, middle school students have participated enthusiastically in the student elections. Election process builds leadership and social skills in students.
 They provide an opportunity to build values of fairness, justice and responsibility, as well as an understanding and experience of a democratic process. Student council elections at Pathways  provided that opportunity to the students as all the students became a part of the electorate and voted for the members of the student council .Next week they will elect two student representatives from each class who will represent middle school in the School Parliament .
We will continue with our endeavor to provide a wide range of learning experiences for our students over the coming months.

Sunanda Sandhir
Middle School Principal

Drama - A Journey Within

The word "Drama" in Greek means "to act" and "to do"It involves a study of acting, directing, writing, music and art. It involves the study of people in society as individuals as well as society on the whole to understand and contextualize situations in a precise manner.
The drama course at Pathways is cleverly designed to facilitate learning while keeping the varying interests of the students in mind. Through skill building, theatre games and presentations which are based on a current analysis of situations the course enables a holistic discovery of the talent a student possesses internally.
The design of the course is such that it is able to educate the entire spectrum of learners from toddlers to  young adults in the fundamental elements of Drama (Character, Ideas, Language, Plot, Music, and Spectacle) as stated by Greek philosopher Artistotle.

The Early Learning Programme and Lower Primary courses focus on building listening, concentration and expression skills. The focus is more on physical theatre that enables them to observe and imitate the world around them, making them more attuned to it. As we move up the age ladder, casting the anchor in grades 5 and 6 the focus shifts towards improvisation and creating theme based presentations. This develops their sense of brotherhood, embedding in them the basic values of team-work, creativity and the willingness to co-operate even under adverse circumstances.

Further down the line in middle school, it re-inforces the creative and presentation skills that the students have developed earlier. The students are also exposed to various genres of theatre and techniques of performance.

As an extra-curricular activity, the drama clubs operating in the middle and senior schools see the students indulge in their passion in a focused yet unpressured manner.

The overall skills of exploration, expression, vocal modulation and enhanced physical presence are life skills that will perhaps stay with the students forever –adding a dimension to their communication and presentation skills as well as their inter personal relationships.

Kriti V.Sharma

2 February 2012

Looking Back: Reflection on Being on the First Student Council

This  year  everything  has  been  special  and is to be cherished through my life.  It’s my last year of school, last year of childhood and of course not to forget, last year of   being part of the student council. Being part of the student council in  Pathways Noida has been a different and a joyful ride.  Being  part of the first student council we had to conceptualise the fundamental annual events to be conducted for the upcoming years too.

 Every step of the council was taken by conducting regular student council meetings along with Mr Tagore, Student Council Head, to discuss the future events and problems and also mainly to bring forth the student body’s opinions. As an IB student we always wonder what the learning outcomes are. If one is to analyse the learning outcomes of being part of the student council, I could say there is definitely a handful of them. Learning to manage the study related stress and also meet the expectations of the council was challenging, and required great time management and that was the main outcome of this year.

With power comes responsibility and that is what the whole student council has achieved through this year. Being part of the student council made me realize that how challenging it is for a leader, representing the whole house and making it through all the triumphs and disasters. As a leader even when house members lost hope  it is the responsibility of the Captain to lead the ship and never let the hopes fade away. As a leader it is important to keep up the spirit of the student high through all times.

 I hope the future student council also enjoys taking this responsibility. With the increasing student numbers I hope that the council will still be able to voice the opinions of the student body. This year was not only the last cherishable moments when looking at it in a personal perspective but also the first in the perspective of the school. It was definitely a pleasure being part of the first batch of the school, first graduating class, and of course first student council of Pathways Noida. 

Ashika Jaffar

Earth House Captain    Grade 12

MUN-ing at Aravali

The first committee session of CCPCJ (Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice) - I was the wide eyed "new girl", breathlessly taking in my surroundings, whispering to myself (don't mess up, don't mess up, don't mess up) and fidgeting through the first hour. I knew what to do, but I was just too nervous to actually try. Even though I did put my name on the general speakers list I felt as though my participation was nil.

Twenty four hours later- I was issuing a statement, finding possible solutions to a problem, taking notes and had stopped reminding myself not to mess up. My confidence had improved  tenfold. I was comfortable and at ease.

PWSMUN was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. You had to be quick on our feet, logical and eloquent, while keeping in mind facts and statistics. Over the three days I spent at Aravali, not only did I have fun, but also grew as a person.

Yes, we did have to work hard. I can remember the late night sessions, cramming facts, bookmarking pages and taking notes that could help me for the next session, and going over them time and time again. The frustration at looking at those one hundred and eighty page long PDF files for a sentence or two of crucial information. Repeatedly practicing my speech in my head and thinking it sounded stupid and that someone would burst out laughing. And finally remembering that this wasn’t just any other debate- that I would have to strictly adhere to certain rules and procedures. And honestly? It was worth it- every bit of it.

And it most definitely wasn’t all work and no play- most of my memories associated with my first MUN is and always shall remain the laughter and the partying. Joining the hullabaloo that followed when the chair cracked a joke, eating the most ridiculous snacks in the oddest sequence at the most atrocious hours (considering the time we had to wake up) and giggling with the two other girls I shared a room with. One of my favorites is definitely laughing over those viral videos and giving a whole new angle to ROFL. Wait- shouldn’t that be changed to KOTFL (Kneeling On the Floor Laughing)? I’m pretty sure a bunch of us here had a hilarious flashback.

And then there was a social. Scrounging whatever makeup we had and applying it in front of the mirror in my room because “it makes us look thin”, and smiling broadly at the result. Gushing over each other’s dresses and shoes, and finally dancing like there was no tomorrow at the party, not caring who saw us or what they thought. Screaming the songs as we danced and booing wherever the music stopped- it truly was one of the best nights of my life.

So when I look back, ten or twenty or thirty or even fifty years from now, I am never going to regret turning in that first essay. Because if I hadn’t I would’ve missed out on a whole lot of experiences and memories that I couldn’t have encountered anywhere else- or with anyone else for that matter. And do I plan to go for more of these MUNs?
Yes. I most definitely do.

Supriya Ganesh
Form 9

Visit to Red Fort

Shahjahan had been very passionate about architecture from a very young age and loved designing buildings. When he got the Mughal throne, he started ruling from Agra. But, the congested lanes of the city didn’t appeal to him. He needed a capital that was better planned and spacious, that could house his dream…    
His quest ended with Shahjahanabad where he shifted the Mughal capital in 1648. He wanted to make his fort twice as big as the one in Agra. He chose red sandstone for the high, strong walls and marble for the buildings inside. He built a moat also around his palace also in which many alligators lived to protect him from enemies.
Here, he had his living quarters, his courtroom, his hamaam, offices for his staff, stable for all his horses and a market only for him and his family. It was a very impressive and well planned work of architecture.
Dev Verma
Form  4

All my childhood, I have been thinking that besides the beauty and the architecture of the Red Fort, what else could be fun to know. My question was answered in a very interesting and exciting way today. We went to the Red Fort with the organization called Itihaas who gave us a long exciting and unique study tour. We went back in history where we could imagine how the Red Fort looked 364 years ago. Actually 364 years ago the Red Fort was called Lucky Fort because Shahjahan thought that it was lucky for him. The Fort was actually white and not red. Shahjahan had a stylish personality, so that’s why he told his people to make the Fort with Red sand stone and put a layer of Limestone on it so that it looks white and shines.

That time Persia (Iran) had a rule that no one could put human and animal figures on the walls of their palaces. So as Shahjahan was a Mughal emperor, he decided that all his masterpieces will have flowers and plants instead of human and animal figures. Every single flower had a gemstone. A great example is the Taj Mahal made by Shahjahan. Inside Taj Mahal, there are only flowers and plants on the walls made out of gemstones like emeralds and rubies. The Red Fort is not only a wall, its Shahjahan’s paradise. Shahjahan used to say that “If there is paradise on Earth, It’s here, it’s here, and it’s here”.

Shahjahan was a very wealthy man and that’s why his palace also had a spa. After Shahjahan got married, he had 14 children. One of Shahjahan’s favorite son was Darashikoh. Shahjahan wanted to give Darashikoh the kingdom. But Aurangzeb who was one of his sons wanted the kingdom too. So Aurangzeb thought that he could kill Darashikoh and send his father (Shahjahan) to jail. Shahjahan was in jail for 9 years and one day when the servants got his lunch, they found him dead. He died because he felt very lonely and sad.

Back to the trip now. We didn’t learn all this in a boring way; we had lots of things to see. Our note pads were all full with information. We also had lots of questions popping in our minds. Shahjahan was a great man. If he had been alive then he could have seen that all his creativity has become a very famous tourist attraction. We will always remember him.

Thanks Itihaas

Neha Gupta
Form 5 

Form - 3 Students’ voice -

How I felt getting back to school after a long winter break?

Priyanshu- I am very unhappy because I could not sleep at 12’o clock.
Aryaman Bhattachharya-I did not want to come to school because I cannot play games for a long time.
Stuti-I was happy to get back to school as i could meet my friends.
Aryamaan Thakore-It felt nice because at home i was bored doing the same things. At school we do different things.
Aditya-It was good as i got rid of my little sister for some time.
Paarth –I was happy to get back to school as the after school activities would begin .

Getting back to the 8’o clock routine-

Priyanshu- I was happy because the activity periods will be 10 minutes longer.
Aryaman-It is really bad as i need to get up early.
Aishani –I felt bad because if we forget to do our home work at night we have no time to complete it in the morning.