4 May 2014

From the Director's Desk

We are coming up to the last few weeks of the school year and as students go into exams and final assessments this will be the last newsletter of this year. As temperatures shoot up I must appreciate the administration department of the school for all their hard work in ensuring that power backups in the school function and that there is sufficient water to keep the campus green and dust-free. Anyone living in India knows that maintaining these areas requires a great deal of planning and hard work. Board exams for the IGCSE have begun and IB exams begin next week. Secondary students go into school exams in the middle of May and Grade 5 students are busy planning for their PYP Exhibition.

Work on preparation for the introduction of the MYP continue at a good pace. Four teachers attended an IB training workshop in Bangalore.
On Saturday and Sunday teachers are in school all day at an MYP training workshop. This is being conducted by the IB workshop leader Natalie Kunst from Discovery College in Hongkong and despite heroically working through the weekend, our teachers are looking forward to the new learning which this enables. It is this passion for development which makes our teachers at Pathways Noida into great educators.

Multiple Learning Opportunities
Last Friday saw an unusual combination of learning events coming together on a single day which unintentionally  captures the multiple learning approaches at the school.

1.            The interact club did a superb exercise coordinated by our CAS coordinator Ms Indira and spearheaded by a Form 11 student
Shreya Gupta  to organize an Eye camp in the neighbouring Sadar Sarai village in Sec 46 Noida with the support of I – Care hospital in Sec 26 Noida. At this camp , free eye check up was offered and also cataract surgeries and spectacles were sponsored to those who needed them for free  from the Interact funds.  What made the exercise even more special was how it involved different communities of our school – some of our own bhaiyas and didis who helped to set it up, maintenance and administrative staff who helped with infrastructure, teachers, students from the Interact club and even some parents who came and generously donated towards the fund.

2.            In middle school we had Personal Project
presentations by Form 8. As usual there were a number of ingenious and creative projects. It’s a reminder of how much hard work and how much talent is possible to showcase when students are inspired to take charge of their own learning.

3.            Primary school students created sculpture out of junk
materials in an inter-house event. The buzz of focused attention, the clever way in which they put their pieces together was a delight to watch. 

On the 6th of June 32 students from middle and senior school leave for an educational trip to the US. They will visit NASA where they will have the opportunity to work under the supervision of eminent scientists and astronauts and  interact through space shuttle mission simulations, tours of NASA’s space centers. They will also visit the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston and Harvard University which will include an orientation lecture at the Admissions Department followed by a student led tour of the campus, giving the children an overview of the life and culture at some of the best universities in the world. Finally they will have a guided tour of the MIT Museum and workshops on Robotics using Lego Mindstorm Kits and DNA Structuring and Harvard Museum of Natural History with workshops  on Climate Change. Their learning from such a trip will be exciting and we are looking forward to hearing all about it when they return.

Music Assembly
Secondary school students put up a superb show of western and Indian music dazzling as always with a variety of talent. In a unique feature, all the announcements and information were sung rather than spoken. Performances of flute, keyboard, table and drums were accompanied by excellent singing.

Summer Programmes
It has been good to see the interest among parents in the proposal for opening our sports facility to families. We will be sending out more information later this month. Meanwhile registrations are coming in for our summer camp Rediscovering Minds open to our students and those from other schools. We will also be running an early morning sports training programme for those interested in different sports.

Dr. Shalini Advani
School Director

From the Middle School Principal, Mrs Sunanda Sandhir

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ~Alvin Toffler

Different opportunities are being provided to the students to develop as lifelong learners through the curriculum.

Personal Project
Personal project is an  activity which is the culminating event of the MYP years. 
At Pathways, students  do this in Grade 8,  before they step into senior  school. This project helps them to develop skills required for extended essay in the diploma program in grade 12. It provides an excellent opportunity for the students to produce a truly personal and creative work. Personal, because the subject is chosen by the student as per their interest and passion. This is important since it brings in creative involvement and inspires the student.  It is  challenging, yet achievable, and involves a lot of research. It is a valuable experience where process is more important than the product. Student reflect on the process of the whole project and this enables a lot of learning.
A final presentation on personal project was done Apr 25, 2014. Grade 8 students displayed their products  and shared the process as well as their learning. The range of topics was very wide. Some students created tutorials on playing basketball, sketching, some wrote books, developed online games and one student also developed an app which has links to moodle, google calendar and class wiki’s. The list is huge and reflects creative ability.

Tree Plantation at Sanjay van
Sensitivity towards the environment is one of the many aims of the MYP.
With this in mind and as the action component of the unit under study, the students of grade 6 and the pre-termers were encouraged to think about their responsibility towards nature on a field trip to Sanjay Van, a part of the forest on the Southern Ridge in Delhi, on 2nd May 2014.
The children interacted with AVM Vinod Rawat, who spearheaded this project of restoring the indigenous forest on the ridge and creating water bodies where the ‘Vilaiti Keekar, had all but drained the water table completely. Children also planted some local varieties of trees on the banks of one of the little lakes as their contribution towards working with nature.

Teachers are learners too!
We will begin implementing  MYP curriculum from  new session in August 2014 for Grade 6 and Grade 7. Learning is not limited to the students alone and is extended to teachers as well. Four teachers went to Bangalore to attend to attend their subject workshops as part of  orientation training. These were conducted by IB trainers. Another workshop with the same aim was conducted in the school premises by Natalie Kunst  ( an IB trainer from Hong Kong) on May 03, 2014 and May 04, 2014.

Sunanda Sandhir
Middle School Principal

Graduation Day 2014 by Deblina Chakraborty, College Advisor

Pathways School Noida proudly celebrates another new beginning - the High School Graduation Ceremony of the Class of 2014!

There is no greater recognition of a student’s achievements than the
High School Graduation Ceremony which was held in our school on April 11, 2014. The Chief Guest, Reverend Dr. Walson Thampu, Directors of the Pathways Schools, the Senior School Faculty, Family and Friends of the graduating class congregated to witness the commencement. The students, led by the Faculty of the IB Dipoma Program walked up the aisle in stately procession and took their positions among the dignitaries. As the graduates shone in formal attire complete with graduation gowns and caps, the Pathways family reveled in this moment of joy and pride that marks the transition from one stage in a student’s life to another.

The lighting of the ceremonial lamp was followed by Dr. Advani’s message to the students. Her extraordinary ability to celebrate the uniqueness in each individual coupled with a plethora of knowledge  has made her the guiding light to each student who stands tall at the end of this journey. The Computer Studies Department screened a short film dedicated to the Class of 2014. The movie captured some moments of hard work, stress, performance and relaxation during the DP. The Class was seen on screen living lighter moments and enjoying the warmth and camaraderie of friends on campus.
The Chief Guest for the occasion, Rev. Walson Thampu addressed the Class of 2014 with his words of wisdom which the students will surely recall as they step out into the world. The DP Coordinator Ms. Geeta Verma and the Senior School Principal Mr. Alexander Abraham, who have shepherded the students throughout the journey addressed the Class amidst high emotion and joy of leading the students to a new threshold.  The student speakers selected for this ceremony were the outgoing Student Council President, Sonal Chawla and the Valedictorian of 2014, Sagnik Aich.

After the heartfelt messages to the graduates, the Award Ceremony began. The students were invited on stage to receive their diplomas and special awards. They walked up amidst loud cheers from the audience as their university placements for undergraduate study was announced by the Guidance Counselor Ms. Deblina Chakraborty.
The Diploma was conferred on each student and the sequence of acceptance, handshakes and a ceremonial picture with the dignitaries on stage followed. The students then flipped their tassels and Mr. Abraham formally presented the Graduates of 2014!

Personal Project Presentation, An Experience !

Personal project is where you discover what you might be capable of.
We chose a topic which we worked with for 8 months and also got the choice to decide what we want to work on. We discovered the importance of AOI (Area of Interaction), deadlines and most of all - how work could be so much fun. It felt like we were professionals
working towards this aim and deciding all that has to go in. We maintained Process Journals which we used to put our ideas in so we can refer to them. For 8 months, after working so hard, we started with the finalizing stage where we had to write our Written Report. It had everything in it, all the goals and what all we did to
achieve them. It also contained our reflections, our learning and skills developed through the process. Other than this, we also had to finish our product after which came the “judgment day”. 

Everyone was tense, but with this fear there was also a sense of achievement and pride and just as the parents started to come in, all of us greeted them, explained to them about our project, our goals, aims and many other things. Just as soon as it ended, though we were happy that all the hard work had really been fruitful, but on the other hand, we were already missing this amazing experience we had. I had chosen to work on the topic of lesser known animals and had a conversation with a few zoologists, which for me was a wonderful experience. This makes me wonder what all my friends did for their personal projects. It is now indeed an unforgettable memory.

-Shubhi Raghav
Form 8
It all started back in September and for the next eight months each day was spent with a splash of creativity and innovation. In the beginning, the personal project felt like an extended activity as though the work load wasn’t enough already but now when I look back I realize it was anything but that. Apart from the skills I gained during these eight months such as time management and problem solving, I learnt to give time to things I love.  Along with this entire process we were to fill a process journal everyday, noting down every obstacle we faced, every epiphany that hit us during the project and record our path.  The one thing that did strike me was that since it was our project, there wasn’t any right or wrong and we could end up with something completely different than what we pictured and still be proud of it. Another thing I loved most about the idea of a personal project is that it allows one to choose anything out of everything that the world offers which offered every one of us, the power of creativity.

- Mehak Diwan
Form 8

Trip to study River Tons at Guchupani, Dehradun by Shreya Gupta 11A

From the 3rd to 5th of April, 14 geography students from grade 9 and 11 visited  Guchupani,a place near Dehradun to conduct a river study on the river Tons which is a tributary of the river Ganga. The aim of the trip was to collect readings from various parts of the river- upstream and downstream and compare them to the Bradshaw model of how a river changes with regard to
distance downstream. The students worked together at 6 different sites, wading in to the water, taking measurements of various parameters such as depth, wetted perimeter, velocity, pebble size and roundness etc. The students showed a lot of initiative and worked collaboratively in the process of data collection and collation. But it wasn’t all work and no play. On the last day, the students visited famous sweet shops and bakeries in Dehradun, helping themselves to golgappas, rusks and parval ki mithai.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip, that gave the students a very hands on experience of the concepts that they learn in the classroom and also gave them an opportunity to work together and collaborate with one another in a fun yet educational manner.

Visit to Humayun's Tomb by Sameera Khurana Grade 11

One would think that we were unwise enough to visit Humayun’s
Tomb in the scorching Delhi heat, but our short trip to this five hundred years old monument was worth every second! The most perfectly proportioned and captivating of Delhi's mausoleums, Humayun’s Tomb seems to float above the gardens that surround it. Our travel guide Ms. Nupur Khanna, a conservation architect, gave us a deep insight into this monument and its significance.

 This trip wasn’t to educate us about when the monument was built or how long it took to get built. Instead, we discussed the nitty-gritties such as why is the monument on a raised platform, or how does the dome become circular when the floor is octagonal. We discussed in great depth the conservation project taken by the ASI and the Aga Khan Foundation, and why monuments need to be preserved and conserved.

 Only a few years ago, its gardens were worn; it’s masonry cracked,
and the stonework broken or incomplete. The ruinous appearance was resulting in fewer visitors to the site. And hence, the monument underwent years of conservation as it is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal.

Overall, this trip made me marvel at the architectural elements of the monument and also made me question a lot of things about how we interact with the monuments around us and how we can learn so much from them as they’re ‘living history’. It made me question, how we as people in this time are supposed to engage with these monuments and focus on certain aspects. It made me appreciate the importance of historic conservation but also how complex and tedious the whole process can be: the question of what to leave as it is and what to conserve.

Epiphanies, Teaching at Sai Bal Sanskar School by Sameera Khurana, Gr 11

Mahatma Gandhi famously said: The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. I truly understood the meaning of these words when I got the opportunity to teach students at Sai Bal Sansar, a school in the Agahpur District of Noida.
Who would have ever thought that just five kilometers away from our school, was a completely different model of learning. As we made our way through the not-so developed rural setting, we started counting our blessings and privileges. The school building wasn’t very spacious or developed either – but we all realized the constraints we were working with. But then again, you don’t need huge technology-equipped classrooms to educate or to be educated. All you need is a thirst for knowledge, which our students possessed immensely.
We were divided into four different groups, who worked with students of different age groups. Our main goal was to give them a break from their monotonous school routine and have an interactive and educative session, and making learning fun! Each of us chose different grammar topics such as verbs, prepositions, and adjectives etc. We meticulously prepared lesson plans with icebreakers, worksheets, games and videos. To our surprise, the students were way beyond the intellectual level we had predicted and our lesson plans required a little bit of tweaking on the final day.
I think it was a transformative experience for the students as well as for us, for we saw what lies beyond our sphere of learning and were able to impart knowledge to children who truly appreciated the value of it. It was a heart-warming experience to watch the students sing along with our videos, respond to our activities and timidly try out the things we had planned for them. Towards the end, there was a glitter in their eyes when one of our classmates brought a box full of chocolates and sweets for them!
Teaching in a rural setting was way different from teaching students in our own school. I felt that the students were more comfortable in their environment, as opposed to in our school, where we are the ones inside our comfort zones. These two hours at Sai Bal Sansar has opened our eyes for so many future prospects for these students: be it workshops or more educative sessions like these.

Experience of the International Youth Conference By Khanak Mehta, Gr 11

On the 21st and 22nd of April, 2014, me and my partner Shreya, along with Miss Mala Singh Ma’am attended the International Youth Conference on “Changing Weather Patterns” at Doon School, Dehradun. After a 7-hour train ride, we arrived at Dehradun, where we were immediately greeted by its small-town charm. We spent a few hours just exploring around the market place and buying some souvenirs We were both excited and nervous in anticipation of the conference. The next day, we arrived at Doon School, anticipating presentations after presentations, all talking about the same old, boring things. To our surprise, we had the privilege of watching some interesting presentations by the others schools, some of which even changed our stance towards the topic.
The main idea of our presentation was questioning whether climate patterns were changing NOW, or was it a natural process that the Earth went through routinely? Whether there really was a correlation between human activities and these changes or was it part of natural ongoing processes? And what part of it were human activities responsible for? We also showcased the initiatives we have taken in our school to spread awareness about the need to make environmentally friendly choices. There were three distinguished guest speakers, who them enlightened us about this issue and presented some interesting facts and perspectives to enrich our experience of learning.
We also interacted with the students of various other schools. There were students from all over the world, including South Africa! We talked with them not just about the conference, but about their life, their culture, and we found that they are not all that different from us. Not to forget, the gala dinner and the following jam session was an absolute blast.
We definitely took away a lot from this trip-we gained various perspectives on the growing issue, we got to know so much more about the way people are making a difference, at the school level, up to a global level, and we definitely made lots of new friends.

Early Years Rhyme Time Day Vandana Majumdar Form Tutor – KG B

What do you need to make a show a stupendous success? 

An enthralling script, a star ensemble or a dedicated team? We had it all for our ‘Early Learners Rhyme Time Day’ on the 9th of April.

It began with an idea to give our audience an experience, “Under the Sea”. A script based on the story of ‘The Rainbow Fish’ by Leo Lionni was decided upon
and Grade I cast for the play. Our Kindergarteners interspersed the play with their vibrant song and dance routines. The little ones in Nursery tweeted out melodies to match the theme. Finally our toddlers from Early years and Pre-Nursery sprinkled their charm with a beach wear ramp walk.
While the show was shaping up beautifully with invigorated practice schedules, the Art Department worked fervently to create an ambience to match the magic of the show.  Colourful and prismatic costumes transformed our little ones into the beauties of the sea.
The detailed planning, hours of practices and fore-runs, the sweat and grime all came together on the day of the show. The cheers, hoots, applaud and appreciation from our audience made it all worthwhile. The praises haven’t stopped coming in, but the Early Learners are already looking at another year…..another show.

Eye Camp at Sadar Sarai Village, Shreya Gupta Form 11

On the 25th of April, the Interact Club organized a free eye check up camp in Sadar Sarai Village, close to our school.
We collaborated with I-Care Hospital in Sec 26 Noida, an organization that runs a charitable wing and frequently holds such camps for the needy. Once everything was finalized; we contacted Meena Didi who is from the village mentioned above, who is also a part of the support staff in our school. We
shared the details with her and requested her to help us in our endeavour. Right from helping us set up the venue, to spreading the word in the village, to other help needed during the eye camp, she helped us through the entire process. Without her, the camp would not have been possible. The Interact Club had set aside a fund of Rs. 25000, in order to sponsor 15 cataract surgeries and other additional cost of visual aid and medication and also drinks and snacks for all the patients.

The camp was a raging success. In the very first hour, we got over 80 registrations. There was a total of 121 registrations by the end of the camp. There have already been 4 patients who have been admitted in the hospital for surgery, from a total of 10-12 patients registered for the surgery. The entire team worked extremely hard for those 4 hours, in the blistering heat, no even resting for a single minute. It was commendable to see the efforts put in by the students. But it wasn’t just the students who worked hard, the doctors who worked tirelessly, not taking a break for even 5 minutes, to the teachers who helped us get everything in order and ensured the smooth functioning of the camp, to the admin staff who readily helped us in an unexpected situation of a power cut, to the parents who came to support our endeavour and contributed a sum Rs. 46000 for surgeries and medical and visual aid, to Indira ma’am and all her tireless efforts and enthusiasm and encouragement,  to Mr. Jain and Dr. Advani, who came to encourage and support us at the camp. We are extremely thankful to each and every one of these people, who helped us make this camp a success.

Best out of waste by Sana Noor Primary ICT Teacher

Right after the spring break came a very important day which is celebrated worldwide every year on 22nd April – International Earth Day. To mark this day, we at primary school thought of a creative inter-house activity – “Best out of Waste”.
The biggest challenge was the collection of waste, which was to be used as raw material for the competition. But, all thanks to the whole school community, we managed to collect a huge amount of waste in all possible materials.

All students across Grades 2-5 were divided into teams of four or five members, each headed by a Form Five student. They were given a span of about an hour to use a variety of waste materials to create something new and useful. It was noteworthy to see how students of different age groups interacted with each other and worked as a team. Everyone came up with extremely innovative products ranging from musical robots to wind chimes.
The whole event centred around sensitizing the students towards the fact that we generate and dispose off huge amounts of waste every single day, little realizing that it can be put to some good use.
It was very satisfying to see so many students talking about how they helped their parents at home in segregating and collecting the waste for this competition.
Eventually, it turned out to be a successful and wholesome event, with collective effort from our students, teachers and parents.

A CAS initiative – Cash gift handed over to Sai Kripa Orphanage in mate on occasion of her marriage, Shreya Gupta Gr 11

We students at Pathways school Noida, have been associated with Sai Bal Sansar school,
a school for underprivileged students as a part of the CAS programme. It was a very happy moment when the wedding of one of the inmates of the parent organization, Sai Kripa Orphanage, was solemnized on the 13th of April’ 2014.
To congratulate and convey good wishes from the Pathways family to Ms. Kavita, the bride to be, one of the resident girls who has lived, grown up and and has been nurtured at the orphanage, two students Shreya Gupta and Bhavna Gupta of form 11, along with Ms. Indira went to Sai Kripa, on the 11th of April. It was heart warming to be a part of this occasion.  On behalf of Pathways family , we handed over a cash gift and a box of chocolates to her and conveyed our good wishes for a happy wedded life.