14 September 2015

From the Director’s Desk

I would like to begin this newsletter by promoting some thinking about the fundamentally important  area of Mental Health and Wellbeing. As always at the end of a year, we spend some time looking at what should be focus areas, what more we need to do to help our children become well adjusted and empowered people.
Of course mental health is a huge basket of different things and at different times the focus shifts from one area to another.  Most broadly we look at how to create successful and happy human beings. In doing so, we promote thoughtful kindness, mutual respect, accountability and responsibility. 
This is a complicated list of words so let me share some initiatives undertaken so far. I am not here, including the major focus on Mindfulness as this has already been shared.

Anti bullying week
In a primary school assembly we had an interesting discussion on whether in future we should give it a different name – Kindness week for example.
However in this year we deliberately chose to highlight the specific area of bullying prevention, because the creation of general awareness is in itself a deterrent. Students themselves planned and contributed to activities. You can read more specific details elsewhere in this newsletter. 
The school rules were highlighted at an assembly – that bullying can be verbal and psychological as much as physical, that bullying leads to strict disciplinary action such as suspension and parent interviews. Through workshops and discussions an understanding was created on what to do, the feelings of the victim and how to develop assertiveness, the role of the bystander and how they too have a responsibility. 

Valuing Teachers
Teachers Day is always a time to promote positive energy, express gratitude. The warmth and affection which students expressed, their creative energy in putting together a performance with no adult help – were all an indicator of a special bond between students and teachers. This was perfectly captured in the painting done by IB students and presented. Taking a tongue in cheek line from Harry Potter’s school Hogwarts it declared Help is always given at Pathways to those who seek it.

Well adjusted happy human beings are those who can distinguish right from wrong, who know that wrong actions have consequences. This basic understanding is true at every level and in this year we are strengthening this message to all students. A Nursery or KG child who bites or hits another one knows it is wrong and is often trying it, to test boundaries.  It is very very important for us to send the message that this is not alright –through a time-out on a special chair and by the teacher saying so. Similarly, in secondary school students are held accountable – with a focus on changing behaviour through consequences.  This could be for inappropriate behavour or for self management areas such as punctuality or assignment .
 Alongside this there have been self-development trainings for children in areas such as leadership, assertiveness, healthy understanding of sexuality. A career day planned later in the year will get senior students to look at where they want to go in life, the options available and what they need to be like to get there.

Founders Day Planning
As you know this year the celebrations of Founders Day have moved to November. This has enabled a stronger establishment of academic areas at the beginning of the year. For the first time we will have two separate productions – one for Primary and the other for Secondary. Also for the first time, the Primary production will be for students from Grade 2 up only. Students from Grade 1 down will do their production on Rhyme Time day, during child-friendly daylight hours.

In October students will begin preparing with some slight adjustment to the schedule to enable this. Beginning with the first Thursday after the semester break, school timings on Thursdays will not be shorter but will move to regular hours i.e 8 – 3.40. We will be updating you with more details of planning in a separate communication later. 

Dr Shalini Advani
School Director

From the Middle School Principal Mrs Sunanda Sandhir

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” — Anonymous

This the philosophy at Pathways where we believe each child is unique and has strengths which need to be developed. Middle Schooling happens at an age when students need to discover their own passions and strengths. They are therefore exposed to multiple subjects and thereby different experiences.
Parent and School partnerships are also essential at this age as adolescents want both independence as well as reassurance that what they are doing is right. Both approvals as well as guidance is needed all the time.
Keeping this philosophy as a background, I am sharing some of the Middle School happenings during the past seven weeks.

Coffee morning with the parents

All parents were invited to be a part of the two hour form morning where tutors shared a brief on how the MYP curriculum is delivered. Parents were also apprised of the rules and policies in Middle School. This forum also provided  an opportunity for the parents to interact with the tutors of their child and build new partnerships.

Workshops and Resource People

Poetry Workshop:
Form 6 students attended a Poetry workshop which was conducted
by Ms. Sanjula Sharma, a journalist, noted poet and a short story writer. The students from Salaam Balak Trust, a NGO providing education to homeless children, were also a part of this workshop .As the students learnt together they got some insight into how environments play an important role in the way they think and feel. 

Reading WorkshopForm 7 attended a reading workshop by Rubina Majid – an education consultant with Scholastic publishers.

Anti-Bullying workshop  : As a part of anti-bullying awareness program, form 7 students attended an ‘anti-bullying workshop’ by the School of Life.  The students discussed different issues through various role plays

‘Assessment in MYP’workshop: was held for Grade 6 and new
student’s parents . Ms Anshu MYP coordinator and some students of Form 7 & 8 sharedwith the parents assessment criteria in MYP. It is essential to understand that in MYP it is not only content but skills like investigation, communication, reflection etc  which are also  assessed .The process and pace of development of skills in each child can be different .

Workshop on Health and Sexuality :  The School counselor held the first  workshop on Health and sexuality education for form 7 students .The workshop for boys and girls was held separately .The sessions focused on anatomical and physiological facts followed by identifying many different types of relationships ,child sexual abuse, self image ,personal spaces and boundaries. These workshop aims to  help students to develop a greater awareness of their changing bodies and also help them to understand and respect the opposite gender.

Communication is an essential 21st century skills.
Different opportunities are provided in Middle school to enable its development. In many subject areas, the students are required to make presentations in the classes as a part of their summative assessment. Last Monday, on 31st, August, 2015, Middle School witnessed the clash of four houses on the occasion of the revival of an old debate on Capital Punishment. The students were divided ‘for ‘and ‘against’ the motion and each side produced powerful arguments with great confidence. This was an Inter-house debate.

Leadership in Middle School

Students need to develop the skills of leadership and therefor multiple opportunities are provided to develop the skills. As Class Representatives, the Blog and Newsletter teams, being Teen ambassadors and technology leaders, students learn the ways to take responsibility and also lead. We also have an organization Eureka conducting Leadership workshops for all classes. This will help students to grow as individual, appreciate and accept  differences and thereby become more independent and responsible. It is a process.
 Our efforts for the all-round development of our students are continuing and will continue. The strong base, thus built, will enable them take on the challenges they will face as they move up the ladder.

Sunanda Sandhir
Middle School

Anti Bullying Week - Primary & Secondary School, by Akanksha Singh, Anupriya Kapoor & Dr, Arti Bakshi, School Counsellors

Bullying is so common in our lives that we don’t even realize that it’s happening when it does. We believe it to be something normal, everyday thing, when it’s not. Not even close. Every time it happens, it breaks us and rips us apart bit by bit.

At Pathways, the idea to mark an anti-bullying week was to empower children and young students to make a noise about bullying – whether it is happening to them or to someone else, face to face or online. The event highlighted the school’s policy and rules on Bullying, followed by a radio show launching the bullying week and setting the rhythm for the week with a flash mob performance.
Primary school students got involved with various activities like -
assemblies, poster displays, activities and brainstorming on ‘what a bully looks like?’, ‘where and when bullying happens’. Short skits were performed by grade 5 students in upper primary classes. They performed a flash mob and left classrooms with a pondering question for the class students. They had to visualize themselves in the victim’s shoes and try finding solutions to the underlying issues. An inter-house slogan competition was also organized to repeat the anti-bullying message again and again.
In primary school emotions associated with a victim, a by-stander and a bully were debated on.”
What to do when someone is bugging you” were worked in groups, how to fill yours and others ‘emotional buckets’ with compliments were thought of. Students wrote compliments for their peer and shared their belief in their talents and virtues.  A bucket full of compliments happened. These positive messages along with a kind act towards their peer, formed the ‘random act of kindness’ board.

All levels of students actively participated in various activities like
a whole school assembly, various competitions viz poster making, poetry writing, moving making, slogan writing, anti-bullying photo commercials and anti bullying workshops. Last but not the least secondary school students celebrated pink shirt day, symbolizing their stand against bullying, wearing pink shirts, marching and shouting out slogans to communicate that the school is a bully free zone and in no forms is bullying to be accepted.

MYP Assessment Workshop by Vanshika Goel Gr 8B

MYP assessments are inquiry based criterion related assessments.
On the 3rd of September, the parents of grade 6 and those of the new students were invited to school to learn about how assessments are an integral part of a student’s learning in the MYP. The session started with an introduction of the MYP by Mrs. Sandhir followed up by detail presentation of MYP curriculum overview by Ms. Anshu Sharma. Later, Dr. Advani explained the importance of sharing the rubrics before attempting an assessment through a very interesting “clap activity”.
In another interesting activity, parents were given pictures of three different “Sand Castles”. They were asked to assess given pictures according to the MYP criterion sheet. Once that was over, the parents and Ms. Anshu discussed the grading process in more detail.

Parents were also given an opportunity to transfer their learning of rubric based assessment to assess two actual student samples of grade 6 science. Task sheet and rubric was shared with parents. Each parent group was assigned two students to help them with task and criterion. This was very useful activity for parents. I was also given an opportunity to talk about my understanding of assessment process in the MYP. I spoke about how Students are made aware of the expectation before assessment takes place. I also talked about how Rubrics are shared and simplified for students to understand what is expected of them.

The workshop ended with a closing note my Ms. Anshu and Mrs. Sandhir. The feedback given by the parents was amazing, and I am sure everyone will have a better understanding of the MYP assessment procedure after the session.  

Teachers Day, Deblina Chakraborty, College Advisor

It is a day that we all look forward to  ! A day when students are at their best to show their love for teachers and teachers are overwhelmed by the buzz and excitement at school. It is our day and we revel in it.
The day was special from the start.
Charming children presenting roses and wishing us at the gate set the tone of the day. We were invited for a cultural program that the children had prepared for us. The Student Council drew a cool comparison of Pathways and Hogwarts and presented a handmade painting to the teachers which read, ‘Help is always
given at Pathways to those who ask for it.’ Filling us with pride and awe, the cultural extravaganza continued. We almost had Led Zeppelin on stage, enthralling the audience and culminating in the soft a cappella line ‘And she’s buying a Stairway to Heaven’
If the beginning was enthralling, the rest of the program was mesmerizing. While the children of Grade 5 swayed their hips to the Latin rhythm of ‘macarena’, the Class of 2016 presented a medley of three retro numbers culminating in Lean On in Bhangra style, inviting their teachers to join them on stage in youthful camaraderie. So there was music, which was the food of their love and dance which was the rhythm of their life. One of our students presented a self-composed poem titled ’School Life’, describing the days at school and how quickly they seem to pass and how much they will be treasured forever.
Of course, Teachers’ Day can never be complete without a reversal of roles. There was good-humored mimicry as children brought scenes from the classroom to the stage. The audience was in splits of laughter as wild guesses flung around, about the characters they were playing.
And then, there was Orkojeet Banerjee, our star Quiz master, who conducts a spine-chilling quiz as he calls his teachers on stage to answer his questions. And if he doesn’t get the right answer, he gives them what he calls ‘sudden death’. He calls the shots on this day and we heave a sigh of relief when he steps down!
We were deeply touched by the heartfelt expressions at the Cake Cutting Ceremony, the flawless coordination of events by the entire school, the maturity with which our children dealt with humour and the way they held fort on Teachers’ Day. They did us proud.
While all students expressed their gratitude and love for their teachers, we as teachers were really touched by the sheer effort that went into making this day so special for us. All of us agree that these are the children who keep us going, who give us direction and whom we love unconditionally.

Poetry Session in class, Arushi Lakhanpal – 6

On Monday, 24th August, Ms Sanjula Sharma of ‘Happy Minds’ came to teach us more about poetry.

Along with us, there were a few students from Salaam Baalak Trust, and Ms. Pooja was accompanying them. We first started with an introduction, where we were told what the company is for, and a little bit about Ms Sharma. She revealed that she was actually a poet, and she wrote a book full of poems called ‘For Rhyme or Reason’ which comes from the phrase ‘for no rhyme or reason’.
After that, we started with an activity, in which everybody was shown a card with ‘Constantinople’ (a city in Turkey) written on it. We had to make as many words we could using only those letters. Most people didn’t get more than 30 and at the most, 40, but it was a fun activity to show how many words can be made from only one word.

Next, we tried to read a poem and feel it. We held our palm out in front of us while Miss read out a poem. We had to imagine the picture in our minds and feel as if we were there. It takes practice though, we have to read many poems until we can actually feel it.
Another topic we discussed were the different forms and poetic devices such as couplets, alliteration etc. We all passed the microphone to each other and told everyone what our favourite poem was and why we liked it. After that, we worked in our groups and made some sentences using only the words written on the card we were given. The group leader read out the sentences and we demonstrated how many different sentences can be made from the same words.
The last and most exciting activity was writing a poem on our own. We were shown 4 pictures labelled a, b, c and d.
The first one was a scenery of a mountain and a few houses,
The next was a picture of a beach
After that, came a picture of a girl sitting on a hill
Lastly, was a picture of an old man sitting on a bench holding flowers.
We could write a poem about any one of the pictures and describe what we were feeling, what the picture was about and anything we could think of when we looked at the picture. We could use any of the devices and methods that we wanted, and many variations of the same picture came up.
Before, nobody read many poems, but now, we will because we received a reading list of many poems we might enjoy, and I’m sure we will try to read them all.
I really loved everything and there wasn’t a thing I didn’t enjoy! I didn’t expect it to be this good! “A happy mind leads to a happy life”(Happy Minds’ slogan)

How a scientist works .. Sanketh Hotchandani, Saanvi Singh Gr 6

“The process of scientific discovery, is in effect, a continual flight from wonder.”-Albert Einstein

Curiosity and observation ,leads to discoveries of phenomenon around us and how these discoveries are expressed is what we are learning in our current science unit in MYP called the –SCIENTIFIC METHOD.
To take us through this wonderful journey of how scientists express themselves, we MYP Year 1 students had the privilege to interact with a parent-scientist Ms. Ganga Amritesh, who worked on discovering molecular drugs against protozoan parasites, a project named- drugs for bugs, she has published research papers in international journals and whose work was recognized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations
She started off with the basics, we understood that we cannot progress without knowing the main body. We were also asked what science is. So that led to knowing the difference between meaning and definition. She led us to a discussion on the simple question with a tricky answer ‘what is force? types of force and variables. She kept us on the edge of our seats with an experiment on the speed of oscillations of a pendulum. In this experiment, a pendulum was used to see whether the speed of oscillation changed when we change the release angle of the bob. She explained to us how the graph is our data for interpretation and we must look for correlations or trends in the graph.
In the end we learnt to design an experiment by asking the right research question, creating a hypothesis, decide the experimental parameters, detailing a protocol for the experiment, how to conduct the experiment, record observation, plot data, interpret data and draw conclusions.
Even though we missed a quarter of our lunch, we are really thankfully for this opportunity to get to know more about the workings of the scientist from this amazing scientist who took time out of her busy schedule, to help us enhance our learnings.

Creative Writing by Avyakt Jaiswal Gr 5B

On the 7th of September 2015, Grade 5 had a special session on `creative writing conducted by a guest teacher Ms. Rubina Majid. This event was organized by the Scholastic. We were almost 50 students sitting in the MPH, eagerly awaiting for an exciting class to unfold. We did some very interesting writing activities to bring out our creative side. First, Ms. Rubina asked us to think about the `hare and tortoise story. She asked us to imagine if instead of a running race, the two animals had a competition of swimming, how would the story turn out to be. We all came up with various versions of that! We were told the importance of stages in writing i.e. plan, draft, edit, revise and publish.

We also did a writing piece on `rules for Goldilocks on behalf of
her parents so that she doesnt wander around on her own as she does in the story `Goldielocks and the three bears. We also wrote down as a task - five qualities of a leader. Towards the end, as we approached lunch time, we were asked to write five adjectives for our `expected lunch; and this made my mouth water and stomach growl with hunger! Ms. Rubina was very interestingly re-telling the stories related to the tasks to some of us who did not know about it. I feel this workshop gave us a good guidance on creative writing.

CAS trip to Auroville - August 24th to 28th’ 2015 by Majda Jabeen Fatima, Gr 12

I have very fond memories of my amazing trip to Auroville. It was indeed a lifetime experience with great learnings. The most interesting aspect of the trip was the excellent cross-cultural interaction with the local rural peers as well as with the Turkish co-participants. Both the cultures were equally new to me.

It has always been my passion to teach young school kids and the 12-hours
of teaching at the school in the village Edayanchavdhi, in Auroville, was very interesting. The lamguage barrier never bothered me. I was surprised to see the discipline, enthusiasm to learn and some great talents in these young children. I found the aspirations of these children no different from the children of Sai Bal Sansar School in Noida, whom I teach during my CAS service lessons.

Some of the other highlights of the trip were the full moon walk in the forest. It was a very different experience with a mix of fear and quest for exploring something new. The forest was exceptionally quite, which according to our guide was not normal.
The musical therapy was again a first time experience and was very relaxing and refreshing. It was also good to learn about the cross-cultural experiments that are being conducted in Auroville. Lastly, I managed to make some very good cross-border friends from Turkey with lot of exchanges about the Turkish culture.

The arrangements of logistics by MindVisa was very good. There was never any lack of coordination and the hotel and food arrangements were great. The variation in the cuisines was also in line with the overall cross-cultural experiences during the trip.

Overall, I would rate my trip experience as an outstanding one with great cross-cultural learning and renewed feeling of responsibility towards the underprivileged and the community as a whole.

Form 4 & 5 Field Trip to the Art Gallery

Learning happens in real life situations. To strengthen our this belief the students of Form 4 took a trip to the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi on the 9th Sept 2015.

The students are inquiring into the theme ‘How We Express Ourselves’ to explore how messages are created or manipulated to target specific audience. To take their learning further they made connections between art form used as a form of their expression. In the visual art lessons students had done an artist study on Subodh Gupta and they identified the installations done by him in the museum. First one was a beautiful installation created with stainless steel utensils and the other one was a tree of steel with steel utensils as the leaves. The students perception was that the artist was giving the message to save trees and not get influenced by the shiny materials around or else we will have a world of steel.

Inside the museum they appreciated the art work of various artists belonging to different era. They loved the way the artists had acquired their own unique style of expressing using different elements of art. Some of the students were excited and tried replicating their favourite artists work.This was a trip extremely enjoyed by the students and it brought out amazing relevant connections between the theme and the real world. 
Ms. Sonia Singh, Form Tutor Gr 4

On 9th September 2015, grades 4 and 5 went for a trip to the

"National Gallery of Modern Arts." This was a trip filled with learning and enjoyment. Art is the medium to express our perspective, thinking, emotions, and feelings. All the pieces depict the interest, culture and tradition. These artworks were allotted into different sections. The purpose of going there was to inquire into our theme for the PYP exhibition “How We Express Ourselves”. We were introduced to a new artist Amrita Sher-Gill (1913 to 1941) there were a lot of beautiful paintings in which she mostly used oil paints over canvas. We also learned a lot of new forms and media of art like paper pulp and water colors over silk and many more. It was even more fun as the art teachers guided us through most of the paintings displayed around the art gallery painted by different artists. We were at first guided by Mr. Ganguly from the art gallery. 

All of us were noting the names of the artists and the forms of art they painted to express themselves. We all could relate to the theme and many of the key concepts in the class as we reflected on our trip.

This lead to our learning for our PYP (primary year program) exhibition. By looking at each unique piece, we could somewhat understand and appreciate the painting. The different artists used different like tempera, tempera wash, silk, water colors, oil paint, ink, and many others. We also explored the work of artists like Amrita Sher-Gill, Nandlal Bose, Frank Brooks, Upendra Marathi, Raja Ravi Verma etc. We also had a look at 3 installations, one was named Dada by Subhodh Gupta and other the Triumph of Labour by Devi Prasad Roy Chawdhury, with it was a followup task on Triumph of Labour. 

Then we all were back to school. There like every field trip we wrote our reflections but this time in our exhibition journal.

Vidit Goel and Dhriti Bhattacharya, Gr 5 

The Trip to Alliance Française by Manasvini Nayar ,Grade 12A

Inspired by the recent “Resonance” festival held at school, which focused on masculinity, Grade 11 and 12 French students visited an art exhibition on Gender at Alliance Française.  The exhibition titled “Women in Time, Space and Material” housed the works of various artists such as Moumita Ghosh, Shrimati Saha, Krishna Mourari and several others. The

exhibition questioned whether the choice of material used to express in a certain visual manner carried any indicator of any gender attributes. Do different genders choose to express themselves through different materials, and are there any define boundaries in the choice of material that is restricting or liberating in expression for the artist and the viewer?

The exhibition was fascinating and hosted the famous installation piece “Her Story” by the artist Krishna Mourari. The installation comprised of a pregnant woman dressed in animal skin with a house over her head, which narrates her experience as a woman.

The many art pieces encourage us to think deeper of what gender means to us. After visiting the exhibition, we also had a chance to go through the French library; the opportunity to experience French books was presented here. We also had an opportunity to interact with the director of the institution, Ms. Vasanthi Gupta. 

Grade 5 trip to Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi by Ms. Kriti Nigam Form Tutor, Form 5

On 2nd September 2015 children of Grade 5 children got to experience the warm hospitality and see the entire setup of providing goods and services offered   firsthand by Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi. It was a great learning experience for the children to see in practice the impact of the Trans disciplinary theme “How we organize ourselves” implemented in every area of the hotel. As soon as they arrived they were greeted with a warm smile they immediately observed that hotels people are really hospitable.

They had a walk-through the different stores and kitchens. The
children were really interested in the way supplies were ordered, received and stored. They also visited the stores where dry ration was kept. Children asked about the system of keeping the items in the storage facility and had an “Aha moment” after seeing the labeling and segregation of products. Chef Rohit patiently
answered the questions and talked about the system of supply, how goods were distributed to the different kitchens and how different services were provided at the hotel catering to guests’ every need. While talking to the team children correlated the law of supply, to the various offers in the festive seasons. They also observes that the demand to stay in hotels  goes up during the holidays.

  There were many interesting activities organized for the children. “Setting up the Service Trolley” turned out to be a fun way of learning. Children observed “ I never knew that so much effort went into preparing the room and the staff caters to every need. The demonstration of making attractive animal displays using towels captured each child’s imagination. They all assured the staff that they would be trying the same at home. The whole process of cookie cutting turned out to be an organized assembly line and an alive system similar to the “setting up the chambermaid trolley” activity. It was indeed heartening to see children organizing themselves to achieve maximum efficiency.

Towards the end of the trip children were surprised to receive the cookies they had cut under Chef Amit’s supervision. The whole class was abuzz with the observations and connections they had made and how are they going to provide goods and services in the future.