29 January 2018

From the School Director's Desk

A very happy new year and a particularly warm welcome to the families who have just joined the school.

Award for Early Years Programme
To begin with, a celebration.  I am delighted to share that the Pathways Noida Early Years programme received the Education World  award as the top school in Noida in a number of categories. For Early Years (upto Nursery) we were awarded first position for Competence of Teachers, Infrastructure Provision, Innovative Teaching and Teacher Welfare and Development.

Building changes and developments

As characterises our ongoing programme, a number of additions are under way in the school buildings. Work on the elevator in the primary block Cassia is almost completed and the lift will be operational in the next few days. A new gate has been created to enable easier access to Cassia.

 This will also ease the congestion at Gate 2. The new entry will be operational shortly. Also being developed on the walkway is an outdoor play area for Early Learner students. A new badminton court is being laid out in the Rosewood atrium to support after-school badminton.

   An interesting development to the primary library took place as a result of my interaction with Grade 4 students. I was asking them about improvements they would like to see in school and they brought up the difficulty they have in accessing the primary library during lunch break since they are not allowed into the building at lunch time. They suggested an external access from the corridor.This suggestion has been implemented allowing both students and parents easy access. As we know it is most important to encourage their interest in reading.

NEASC Accreditation

This approach to learning will also support a new international accreditation which the school is preparing  for. In addition to the CIS membership we have just received, we have enrolled for accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The accreditation will help us look more closely at our classroom practice and will also strengthen university applications of graduating students if they come from a NEASC accredited school.

Student Voice and Professional Development

A major shift in education is the emphasis on student voice and choice in learning. This does not mean letting student do what they like. It means giving them a wider range of choices in how they learn and how they are assessed. We have moved away from the model of education where children quietly followed instructions given out by teachers to one where they feel empowered, that their thoughts matter. This agency gives confidence and deeper learning, preparing them better for a world where creativity, entrepreneurship and confidence are vital skills. In order to support this approach we had a special workshop for teachers conducted by an Australian trainer, Darlene Fisher. 

New Head of Music

We are delighted to welcome our new Head of Music Mr Otieno to the school. He comes from Kenya and is a specialist in woodwind: saxophone, flute, clarinet and recorder. These are instruments which will strengthen our music programme. 

Pathways Student Published by Pearson

I am very proud to share that Aanya Sharma a student of Grade 7 was a winner in the Pearson Mypedia Reader creative writing contest. Of the 1500 stories received, only 42 were selected and have been published in a three volume set. Pearsons wrote to say “We want to congratulate your school for this achievement. Moreover we want to congratulate you for shaping and nurturing such talent in your school” You can read more elsewhere in this newsletter. 

Student selected for Baseball Nationals

It's my pleasure to inform you that our Baseball Academy Grand Slam Baseball’s highest achieving athlete, Paarth Kohli participated in the UP State Level tournament
Paarth has been selected for the Senior Nationals, bringing him one step closer to represent India. It is especially creditable that Paarth is only 15 years old and should have played in the junior or sub-junior category. Playing in Senior Nationals means that he is competing against athletes who are 5-10 years older than him. Paarth was also given an offer to attend MLBs development centre in Germany during the All India Talent Hunt held in Delhi a month ago.

As his coaches say, Virat might not be the only Kohli shining in Indian sports. Paarth’s consistently improving performance might make him the face Indian Baseball has been looking for.

Morning Drop Off Traffic

As many of you whose children come in private cars are aware, it is becoming an increasing challenge to drive along the road to the drop off point. This is because a number of cars do not follow the directions of our security staff. Some cars stop in the middle of the road causing jams for others, or even park their cars along the central divider. Others drive very fast even though it is clear that children are crossing the road. When we do this, we teach children that other people do not matter, or that rules do not matter. Getting late for school is not a reason. I would like to ask parents to cooperate and to ask your drivers to follow directions of the security staff. The solution to this problem of traffic jams lies in our own hands and collaboratively we can solve this. We will also be talking to the children about this.

Preparing for Milan

A reminder to those parents who are interested in taking part in the special programme for Milan to get in touch with Mr Manish Gupta as soon as possible. Details have already been shared in a mail.

We are looking forward to a productive and vibrant semester ahead.

Dr Shalini Advani
School Director

28 January 2018

Skype interaction with Walid Yaasin - a Neuropsychiatrist who studies at The University of Tokyo by Dalya Verma Grade 8A

On Wednesday, 24th Jan our class (8A) had a Skype interaction with Walid Yaasin- a neuropsychiatrist who studies at The University of Tokyo. He is a research assistant as well. He had a lot of information to enlighten us with. He first talked about the nervous system telling us how the nervous system manifests into behavior and how we can actually control our behavior. He showed us videos how a head injury can manifest into larger traumatic diseases.

 He explained to us the two types of head injury:-
1. When blood starts coming out of your brain which is called Focal Head injury.
2. When you hit your head on a cabinet but there was no bleeding that injury is called Diffuse Axonal injury. 

He explained that there is a liquid inside the brain. When you hit your head, your brain goes forward and backward with the liquid. After which, the grey and white matter start to slide against each other and as a result break. The cell body dies soon after. The neurotransmitters are released when the cell body dies.

He soon drifted into the topic of how diffuse axonal head injury leads to narcolepsy with cataplexy. Narcolepsy is when you suddenly fall asleep. Cataplexy is when you're paralyzed. He shared a video with us where a man is diagnosed with the disease- narcolepsy with cataplexy. He shared that the man diagnosed with that disease would go to sleep and paralyze when positive emotions flowed through his body.  He showed us an MRI scan of the human brain and showed the area where positive emotions and released. When positive emotions are released the hypothalamus activates the brain stem which results in a negative reaction by the brain stem causing paralysis. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain right below thalamus. The hypothalamus regulates sleep,  hunger, thirst and mood swings in the body.
He talked to us telling us about spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord has vertebrates that connect and form the spinal cord. Getting hurt in a vertebrate means that the area where the vertebrate is attached will also suffer from the injury.

In the end, he did an activity with us where we kept our hand vertically upright pointing a finger. We then closed our eyes and attempted to get our finger to the tip of our nose. If we were able to do it that means that our brain is in good shape. These activities were done with adolescents to check their cerebrum. The activities are called Neuro-development tools.

He answered the class's questions and helped us understand our brain and the nervous system much better. After the conference its evident that we gained knowledge beyond classroom learning .It also gave us a whole other insight into the brain and the nervous system. It made us understand the importance of the brain and how traumatic a small injury can be. I acquired so much knowledge in just an hour of a skype conversation. This definitely made me realize how beautiful and yet complicated the mind is. I am grateful that this in a way made me feel how fortunate I am to have all my body organs in good health and shape. We enjoyed our time learning with Mr. Walid and hope to learn more!

On being published by Pearson by Aanya Sharma 7A

At the beginning of March this year, when we were still in sixth grade, my teacher sent us an email. I didn’t think much of it at the time. It was a link to Pearson’s (the publishing company) website, informing us about and advertising one of their competitions. Pearson wanted us to submit a short story, and if selected, it would be published in a new book: MyPedia Reader. It was to be written “For children, by children.”

A day or two after Miss sent us the email, she asked me, personally, to enter a story. I seriously doubted that anything I submitted would even be acknowledged, so just re-edited and submitted a story I had written in fifth grade. It was about an African-American girl who made candy and earned billions of dollars at the age of nine. The main intention of the story was to show people that no one but themselves can set their own limits.

So, I submitted the story and, naturally, forgot about the competition. One day, in the middle of summer break, I received an email saying the results for the competition were out. I clicked the link, poorly masking my hope with boredom. I scrolled through the webpage and read my name. I still didn’t believe my story was getting published, not until I got a congratulations mail from Pearson.

After that, there was a lot of waiting. For legal work to be completed, for event venues to be finalized, there seemed to be an endless list. Finally, the event organization group informed us that there would be a Storytelling workshop on the 27 of November 2017, and a book launch the next day.

At the workshop, we learnt how to tell a story not only through words, but through pictures and paintings. We learnt some of an ancient Indian art forms, then applied our knowledge to illustrate (as an activity) our stories with that particular art form. The book launch was hours on end of talking, answering audience questions, answering media questions during a panel discussion, and so much more. We each (the other winners present, too) received a certificate, a check (money ), and a free copy of the book.

To reflect, I am grateful beyond words for this experience, and thank everyone who made it possible.

4 September 2017

From the School Director's Desk

One month into school and it already seems that there is enough to write about to fill a volume! To begin with a specially warm welcome to this first blog of Pathways Noida to all new families. I look forward to getting to know you better.  The multiple Form mornings for different grades and the workshops on the PYP, MYP and the DP orientation will I hope have given you an initial insight into the school We have started the year on a good note – a beautiful new Primary block and a new Primary school Principal are a good way to start.

The Blue Whale Menace
I am beginning on a sober note, especially but not exclusively for secondary school parents. You will be aware of the high degree of publicity around the bizarre and destructive Blue Whale game. It is most of all, a symbol of our times. As adults we are uncertain about what is happening in the minds of young teenagers, especially because of the private world which technology promotes. We are also aware that anxiety, depression and peer pressure are higher in this generation of teenagers than ever before in human history. Elsewhere in this blog you can read about the indicators to watch out for.
However the way forward is what it has always been – ensuring a close personal connect with a child, discussing with them what is happening in their lives, being aware if they are struggling emotionally or if there is a change in their behaviour. There is no substitute for these. As parents I would urge a non-judgmental attitude, one which is founded in an appreciation of what they are. Showing your child how to improve or urging them to change is a tricky business when you are dealing with a teenager. It is necessary to do, but only in a way where they do not feel worthless. At this age although on the outside, they may seem confident and dismissive of your opinion, children are extraordinarily vulnerable to your opinion. Building up self-worth is probably the most valuable gift you can give your child, one which will take them further in life than winning medals or getting the highest grades.
In school we are in the process of discussing this nasty phenomenon with children.

Wellness Week
Long before the Blue Whale phenomenon hit the headlines, we had planned a focus on what we call Wellness – a large term which covers mental health, social & community health and physical health. In this year we are focussing on mental health, most of all on the development of resilience. While loss, failure, anxiety are a normal part of the human condition, we need to teach people today how to deal with these. Learning from failure is one example. Knowing how to calm and focus your mind at times of high emotion is another. Managing stress and high expectations is a third. These are lifelong lessons which we all need to learn – and we are making a start with launching focussed attention on this. Meanwhile for parents I can suggest two resources easily available on Youtube. I had shared with Primary parents a TED talk on Grit by Angela Lee Duckworth. Some of you will know of it already. Also have a look at a TED talk by Guy Finch which we will be sharing with secondary school students.

Council of International Schools Accreditation
As I have shared earlier, the school is seeking accreditation from the Council of International Schools (CIS). This is a rigorous process which looks at all aspects of the school, going beyond the academic. In the upcoming week we will have an initial review visit by a representative from CIS. The Visitor is Jenni Thompson who has had wide experience with international schools around the world. She will be reviewing administration, finance, academic processes and meeting different members of the school community. This is part of our ongoing process of seeking school improvement.

Safety Lockdown drill
 The secondary school had a very succesful safety drill on the procedures for Lockdowns. We have regular drills for evacuation in case of fire or internal threat. However there are possibly times of social disturbance or an armed intruder when we need to huddle inside. Staff have had a series of trainings on this and last week students went through a Lockdown drill after being taken through the process. We plan to do a similar but more lowkey version for Primary school as we do not want to raise anxiety in our littlest children.

IC3 Fair and Conference
We were happy to host a huge univerisities fair in conjunction with an international careers organisation called IC3. Over 60 universities from around the world were in school to meet students and parents and to run workshops on general areas like Careers without Maths, or careers in Aviation. Following
this, the school participated in a huge international conference with representatives from schools around the country and 160 universities from around India and the world. We were proud that our students opened the conference with a music performance from secondary school and a yoga performance by Grade 4. It was a nice way of highlighting our children’s varied talents.

I am delighted to share that our university counselor Deblina Chakravorty won the Counselor of the Year Award at the IC3 conference. This was at the end of a detailed process where schools nominated with evidence. A short list was created by a jury and the final decision was made by them. The jury consisted of Principals from different schools around India. We are all very proud of the work done by her.

Dr Shalini Advani
School Director

From the Primary School Principal, Mrs. Meenakshi Singal

The new academic year got off to a wonderful start with the inauguration of the new Primary School building Cassia and we became the proud occupants of a spanking new, state of the
art, four story building with spacious learning spaces. The staff worked hard to make it warm and welcoming for our students when we opened the doors to them on the 9th of August. The various teams involved in making this possible have been stellar, the Projects Team for handing over the building to us in record time, the Admin Team for listening to our ceaseless demands and helping us to meet deadlines and the entire staff of Primary School for their cheerfulness and positivity as they worked to provide a stimulating learning environment to the students. A special assembly to mark the inauguration of Cassia during the first week and graced by the members of the Management spread cheer and joy through the Primary School community.

The week after saw fervent action and excitement as the upper primary classes prepared to elect their new Student Council. There were nervous candidates waiting anxiously outside the School Director’s office for an interview with the School Director, the Primary School Principal and the Deputy Principal of Primary School.  This was followed with interesting speeches, rigorous campaigning and finally the elections! On the 25th of August, the new Primary School Student Council took the oath of office in a solemn Investiture Ceremony.
On the same day, students of Grades 2 to 5 were acknowledged for their efforts, for the previous year, and received their Awards. The venue was packed to capacity with delighted parents who had come to witness these ceremonies. Ms Anita Anand, a renowned author, was the Chief Guest for the occasion.

Through all the excitement, the focus on academics did not waver as on the 25th, students of KG went on a field trip to the supermarket to understand the implications of their first Line of Inquiry – Different systems around us, At the supermarket they observed that every item was kept in a clearly demarcated space. The students talked about how mixing chips and pens together would be a bad idea or mixing oil and shampoo would be disastrous. They joked about what would happen if someone who is in a hurry drank shampoo instead of oil! The idea of having things “Organized” was clearly understood by them. This was followed by discussions about the ‘need' to organize things.
On the 24th, students of Grade 5 had an engaging skype session
with an archaeologist, Danika Parikh, who is based in Cambridge and is working on a project connected with the Indus Valley civilisation. This skype session was arranged to help the students enrich their understanding about their ongoing inquiry on ancient civilizations and their connection to the modern day society. The students were completely engrossed in the conversation with Ms. Danika as she
gave them an insight about an archaeologist's life, the tools they use, her rarest find (a 6000 year old piece of pottery), as well as a search which went on for days and then turned out to be a mistake! She also showed artefacts and shared information about them. It was interesting for the students to learn how archaeologists study the various objects they find - their age, their importance, where they belong, and what they tell us about the civilization. The students loved to learn about things so old that had a connection with modern day society. Towards the end of the session, many of the students felt inspired to become archaeologists!

The Grade 5 students reinforced their learning with a visit to the
National Museum on Tuesday the 29th  . The visit helped them appreciate the role of evidence in learning about the past. They viewed artefacts from the Harappan period and moved through the arms and ammunition hall, numismatic hall, textile, sculptures and painting sections to name a few. The objects on display were of utilitarian, ritualistic, secular and decorative significance. The learners observed the artefacts and made connections to the modern times. The entire visit was led by the Yuva Saathi volunteers to engage the students’ young minds in a dialogue with the objects of National Museum.

We started with a series of Form Mornings for different classes through the week of 28th August - 4th of September. It was a great opportunity for parents to connect with the Form Tutors of their children and understand systems, more importantly learn about and get an overview of the curriculum for the year.  The Early Learners were thrilled to receive their Awards during their Form Mornings. The parents of Pre-Nursery and Nursery attended the Parent and Me sessions that gave them an understanding of the specialist areas of Music, Dance, ICT, Art and Drama.

Our Primary Years Program Coordinator Ms Vandana Sharma conducted Orientation sessions about the PYP program for parents new to the School. As partners in their child’s learning journey, the parents displayed a keen interest to understand the nuances of the program.

On the 30th and 31st of August we had our Grade 4 students visit the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art.
They were very happy to identify the Installation “Bomb blast” by Subodh Gupta. The purpose of the visit was to identify the ways artists use different mediums to convey a message. They studied Ms. Pushpalata N’s work and were deeply intrigued by it. After careful observation, they identified that the subject of all the photos was the artist herself.
They also identified that the background was based on famous paintings. Ms. Rajshree, their guide, discussed the work at length and it was wonderful to see students identify the symbolism in the art work. Ms. Rajshree informed the children about the real life situations that had inspired the artist.  The trip to Kiran Nadar museum reinforced the importance of colors and symbols in interpreting the message the artist was trying to convey. Drawing inspiration from the observations, the students created their own art work.
We have just about started the academic year and seem to have set ourselves on a roller coaster journey of discovering new vistas of learning. Here’s to a joyful ride together!

The Blue Whale Challenge – Some Information

Blue Whale is not a downloadable game, application or software. It's a social media phenomenon which enters social media networks from secretive groups. You can only be part of the game if an administrator contacts you and enlists you as a potential whale, or candidate. It may also be available under different names such as A Silent House, A Sea of Whales and Wake Me Up at 4:20 AM. As has been widely reported it challenges young people to self harm and finally commit suicide as part of a dare.

Some indicators -  participants to start distancing themselves from the family or friends and stay alone. Their sleep pattern changes as the challenge requires them to wake up at 4.20 am. They become fascinated with horror movies as this is another challenge they must meet. Since one of the rules of Blue Whale game is to cut yourself every day, identifying such small cuts on the person’s body can also help to identify if they are playing the blue whale game.

As we always advise, parents should monitor the internet access of children, and keep an eye on their online activities. Our advice at school is always that children should not keep their devices with them at night – neither phones nor laptops. Whether Blue Whale or for some other reason such as surfing and chatting through the night, there must be a time in young people’s lives when they do not access social media.

Given the media exposure it is most likely that your child already knows about the Blue Whale challenge. A good way to begin a discussion is to ask your child if they know about the challenge. Then ask them to clue you in. Having them educate you is often the best way to start a true conversation and get their perspective. They’re far more receptive to that approach than they are to parent lectures.

 If you find that your child is already playing the Blue Whale challenge, then the first step is to completely stop the internet access of the child and contact the police about the issue and seek further guidance. Approaching a certified psychologist will also be helpful. Please do share with the school. We will not be more judgmental than you are and we emphasise the need of working together with understanding for the welfare of your child.

Even while it is essential to be careful, we must note that several fact-checking websites and media watchdogs have dismissed data on deaths due to lack of evidence

Primary School Academic Awards Ceremony, Dr. Arti Bakshi

“Every child is a winner”
On Friday, 25th August, 2017 we were delighted to hold our 7th Annual Awards and Investiture ceremony in our school cafeteria. Over six hundred invitees attended this prestigious event.
The parents were accorded a warm welcome followed by the traditional lamp lighting ceremony.

The event featured two Primary school choir songs, melodious and delightful performance from the student groups, inspirational words of wisdom from our chief guest, Ms. Anita Anand who is an author of repute, our School Director, Dr. Shalini Advani and our Primary School Principal, Mrs. Meenakshi Singhal. The awards ceremony highlighted the many successes of the past academic year. Prizes were given for excellence, endeavour and progress as well as for noteworthy performances in specific subjects. Awards were also given for demonstrating the IB learner’s profile, for exceptional peer mentoring and for technological success. Our awards ceremony morning enabled us to formally reward and recognize success.

One of the most important gifts we offer young children is a positive view of themselves.

The Upper Primary awards ceremony and the student council investiture ceremony was the celebration of every child.

Using individualized learning across the school has ensured that all our children expect to succeed. Rewards abound for every child who finds success. We do not expect failure but acknowledge challenges. Nurturing every child to exceed their potential, is a motto, we showcase in every awards ceremony, for we value ‘progress’ in every field, at the child’s pace.
The role of the children is just to be children. During the awards ceremony, it was ensured that all our children held a positive view of themselves and were ready to approach the new academic year with self-confidence.

‘’If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. If you can boost the self-esteem of your team and make them believe in themselves, you are a leader. If you can lead by example and not by mere words you are truly a leader. ‘’- John Quincy Adams

At Pathways school, we believe that being a member of the coveted Student Council teaches our children to work in tandem as a team, to be accountable for their actions and be worthy of the trust reposed in them.

The Student Council formally took the oath of office at the solemn Investiture Ceremony, where they promised to uphold the values and traditions. It was indeed a milestone in their lives! When the students took their oath, they vowed to always keep the faith, to stand for what is just and right, to be upright and honest in all their actions.

As Gandhiji said, ‘a small body of determined spirits fired with an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.’

The program concluded with the National Anthem.

Secondary School Academic Awards Ceremony by Anoushka Nalwa- Grade 12

One event that every student looks forward to is the annual awards ceremony that takes place in August, just after school reopens from the summer break. A tradition at our school, the ceremony is held to award all those students who have performed exceedingly well in the previous academic year.  

Students from grades 9 and above, who had topped their grades, were given scholarships from school.  Apart from this, the two awards that were presented, were the proficiency and the merit
awards, which are also awarded for academic excellence. A more holistic "effort" award is given to the students who have shown a tremendous change in their attitude towards learning and have improved. While academic performance is awarded, our school also recognizes the fact that there may be other things that students excel at, ranging from creativity to leadership. This set of awards is called the 'Special Awards' and there are various titles awarded such as the Lifelong Learner award or the Ideal Pathwaysian. There was a lot of buzz and excitement all around, as students went up to receive their awards.

This year, the chief guest was Professor R.L. Seth, who at the beginning of the ceremony had the audience transfixed, while talking about sustainability and how there was an urgent need for change. There was also a music ensemble performed by students from grades 8-11 where they performed the Game of Throne's theme song, a complete crowd winner.

Exploring the right way to business: The sustainable way- Greenbiz at PSN,by Gariyasi Garg Gr 10

Sustainability is the most pressing need of the hour. It is essential for all educational institutions to instill a feeling of responsibility towards the planet in young students and convey to them that one doesn’t have to be an environmentalist to contribute to sustainable development. You can be whatever you want and still play your part in protecting the world from complete mobilization of resources.

Pathways School Noida found an effective and far-reaching way of doing so.

They held Greenbiz, on 22nd August 2017 – a one-day event for aspiring economists, entrepreneurs and creative thinkers. There were five exciting and well-planned events: starting with a ‘Panel Discussion’ about water as an economic commodity; ‘Creators and Promoters’, an event for ingenious minds to create sustainability out of the discarded; ‘Shark

Tank’, an impeccable simulation of an actual franchise; ‘Graffiti’ – a platform for artistic souls to spark a thought amongst the viewers through their design; and lastly, Adonomics - for young marketing experts to delve into the objectives and impact of video advertisements.

13 leading schools of NCR participated enthusiastically in the various events. The events were judged by accomplished in-school faculty members and eminent guest judges. I was a participant in Adonomics, and it was an enthralling experience for me. From the research and preparation with my team members to the opportunity to listen to the views of students from other schools, everything was so amazing. All contestants had conducted extensive research and gave their best shot in all areas. The presentation of most  schools was appreciated as very innovative and productive.

While Pathways School Aravalli won the Overall Achievement School trophy, Pathways School Noida bagged the first position in three of the four competitive events. It was a prodigious moment of pride for all the students of the host school.  However, we were more delighted for having successfully organized an enjoyable and very enlightening experience for so many!

Slam Poetry Workshop with Ms. Shibani Das and Ms. Aastha Singh

On the 22nd of August we had an amazing workshop with two of the leading slam poets of Delhi, Ms. Shibani Das and Ms. Aastha Singh. Both Ms. Shibani and Ms. Aastha are young women who have fallen in love with words and the art of poetry and had come to show us how beautiful this art is. These artists are amazing writers and even better speakers. However, I noticed that both of them have very different styles. Ms. Shibani portrays her poems in a strong and quick manner, more like a rap, whereas Ms. Aastha likes to go through her poems slowly and sweetly more like a slow, soothing song.

The workshop started in the morning. When we entered the room all of us sat together and Ms. Mayura introduced us to the two beautiful writers and after that they took over. They did an ice-breaking activity with us and then we had a small activity followed by an introduction to few do’s and don’ts of presenting slam poetry. After which we had a small break. When we got back, we listened to what would probably be a teen poet's dream come true moment, “Cinderella Syndrome” by Ms. Shibani Das. The poem was about the expectations we have from young love and the reality that follows, the poem was stunning as it took us back in time to an insight into Ms. Shibani’s life.

Afterwards, we had a discussion on how not to let your nervousness be revealed to the audience when presenting your slam poem. We also looked at a  poem by Ms. Aastha which was actually written by her in the morning as a response to a call-out by her favorite writer. The poem was very relatable and even after all the denying by Ms. Aastha the poem did seem to be written in the morning! To top the day, we were put in groups and were told to write our singular poems and collate them to present to the class with all our group members. The topic was “A letter to your younger self”.

Overall, I can very confidently say that this was the best workshop and an unforgettable day of my middle school life as I was one of those few people who is a die-hard fan of slam poetry. I would like to thank both Ms. Shibani and Ms. Aastha along with all of our wonderful English teachers for giving us an opportunity to learn so much. Thank you so much and on behalf of all of us in Pathways I’d like to say that we truly admire both of you.

Aarushi Pandey

At the start of the lesson, Slam poetry was no different for me from any other form of poetry. I thought that poetry consisted of only one type which is filled with poetic devices and hidden meanings. This belief stayed with me until we started the unit on slam poetry. Later, I found out that Slam poetry is not only hidden meanings and complex terms but feelings and emotions that are expressed in so many ways. Spoken words are so expressive and can help connect many different people from around the world. One emotion that we strive to Interpret from written word can be expressed simply with spoken word.
This was easy enough to understand. However, how to use drama to entertain through means of poetry is something else. Aastha and Shibani’s workshop and their personal performed poetry gave us
real life examples on how to create slam poetry, how to exude confidence and how poetry can be used to express range of emotions using drama. I found the “writing poetry together” exercise in the workshop most helpful. This helped me understand how different perspectives can be elicited from one topic and none of them are neither wrong nor in tandem with the theme. The art though is mixing all those ideas into one single poetry.
Putting traditional poetry aside and gather confidence to not recite but perform the poem is an extremely important aspect of the whole ordeal. As much as you try to make them go away, butterflies still flutter in your stomach every time you perform. The workshop’s tips and tricks to survive this, will prove fruitful in future during any audience performance. The best part is if you fake confidence, it naturally comes to you.   

By Tarsha Swami - 8A