Tag Archives: Magic

Roald Dahl 100th Birthday Bash

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 I have been so caught up with l things at the library past 2 months that I could not write a post. A lot has happened since and the hard work paid off when I saw the students visit the Library more frequently. They are in anticipation for what next.  In the month of September the biggest event ever was organised: ROALD DAHL 100th BIRTHDAY BASH.

Roald Dahl (13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990)

There isn’t a child or adult who has not read at least one book by the famous storyteller. His stories touch everyone across ages, be it “Matilda”, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, The Twits”, the list can go on. And when it’s time to celebrate his birthday and that too his centenary what better than to have a birthday bash in the LRC.

Thus, we at LRC decided to have a week long celebration so that children and staff alike can get some time and spent a few moments to remember the fabulous storyteller. Golden ticket invites were mailed to everyone inviting them to the LRC and participate in some fun activities. The anticipation was set in few days before the event. Students were filled with eagerness to do the fun activities.

As part of fun celebrations, we had set up worksheets ranging from word search to poster making, designing chocolate wrapper, and more. But the most loved was the BFG ears.

We also had our first ever collaborative lesson in the LRC, thanks to Natasha Ma’am and Tanvi Ma’am. They had a lesson about ‘Autobiography and Biography’ in their respective English classes. Using the celebration as the backdrop, each had the class in the Library. There was a reading session by the teacher which was thoroughly enjoyed by the students. And we were met with requests from students to have more such classes in the LRC. As the LRC gave them the ambience, learning seemed more fun. There was also an impromptu skit performed by the students. Many students attempted the fun worksheets and also took some home J.

Many teachers also expressed interest in conducting such collaborative lesson in the future. In all this was a rewarding experience for all of us, as we got the chance to celebrate the birthday of this magnificent author and also have fun collaborating for the same.

Do visit the link and checkout the awesome book reading by Natasha Ma’am, and a funny impromptu skit by the students. Watch and enjoy.

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Beyond the Obvious: 6th August

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Slight breeze welcomed me as I stepped outside to board an auto towards the Metro Station. Grey clouds started appeared veiling the sun that tried to outshine itself. But no such luck. Wet breeze kissed my cheeks as I got down at the Metro Station. I got worried seeing the clouds pursuing me, but I was determined not to let my spirits dampen. After all,  I was going to a storytelling workshop which could not only raise my spirits higher but could give wings to my imagination.

I got down at the venue and registered myself. And within seconds there was a drop on my cheek and then the slow trickle gave way to a downpour. We were all seated in the comfortable auditorium waiting for the magic to happen. And boy was  I in for a ride. Since the moment Simi Ma’am came on stage we were all spellbound and held captive by her words and actions. I for one could not take my eyes off her. She seemed to transform into this mystical fairy who sprinkled fairy dust upon us. And we were all transported to a faraway land.

She had us all in raptures. She began the session with a riddle that caught everyone’s attention. It was meant to illustrate the working of the human mind, how it is conditioned in a particular manner based on physical appearances. She very cleverly expressed how the human mind perceives things visually. The answer to the riddle brought forth several versions, which rightfully demonstrated to each his/her perception. Thus, we should delve deeper when we perceive a child and not judge or dismiss them based on their appearances or even the first encounter. Each child is like a flower that opens petal by petal to reveal his/her beauty.

 To further expand on that thought she narrated an incident which a few years back had surfaced in FB. It was about a boy who expresses his gratitude towards his teacher by asking her to fill her the place of his mother at his wedding since his mother was long dead. Had it not been for the efforts from the teacher, the boy would never have made a niche for himself in society. She as a teacher made that extra effort to know the child when he started to drop in his performance. She tracked his earlier form profiles and saw that since his mother’s death , the boy had performed bad. She had a change of perception for the boy who till now was judged as difficult and devil’s own. It was that EXTRA effort on the teacher’s part that changed the child’s life, or else he would gone through schooling unnoticed.

Simi Ma’am progressed on to explaining the fine lines of storytelling. She elucidated upon the concept of “Mini Theatre”  and how stories could be used in daily classes and daily life to teach concepts to children. She tell went on to tell another story which taught factorisation concept in easy steps. I was astonished and speechless that a daily routine in the kitchen could have saved me from the agony of my Maths teacher. But alas! I was not lucky enough to have Simi Ma’am unravel the secrets of learning in stories back then.

We were all students in her magical class, and she was slowly producing one gem after another. To my utter surprise she narrated a fascinating story, but she stopped midway, at the climax. And we were all waiting i anticipation for her to go on and end it. But that is when she dropped her genius art: an open ended story allows growth of personality and lets the imagination run riot. the ending of a story is a reflection of the author: his/her observations/discernment.

In the span of just 2 hours she taught me a lot about the art of storytelling and having incorporated them in my daily life with my daughter, I find her to be too eager for story time. The art of story telling is so ancient that one cannot lay a finger to its origin. But yes, its a universal fact that every culture has stories and that is what makes them rich. India is a diverse land that has so many stories to offer that one cannot consume in a lifetime.

My takeaway: Magic of the story is that it enhances productivity skills of speaking and writing and augments the receptive skills of reading and listening.

I am definitely looking forward to another enthralling session with her and become a child one again.

The Chronicles of Narnia: I am Lucy

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I have both read the book and watched the movie “Chronicles of Narnia”, and it has set me thinking. This classic by C.S.Lewis has much more to it than just fantasy and magic. Anyone watching the movie would just take it as a part of the genre of children’s fiction or fantasy like the “Harry Potter series”. It has made me think that why is it that today there are few takers of fantasy and fairy tales. People find it rather silly and immature to see a grownup read or watch a fairy tale with child like delight. As an adult we are supposed to appreciate the work for its creativity,visualization and graphics,its storyline and well developed characters. Why is it that we fail to enjoy the work for what is really is-a fantasy? Why is it that we critically analyse the work rather than being excited or cheerful? How many of us have watched “Jungle Book” and then discussed its minute details, and not discuss the parts that excited or gave you the chills? When we grow up we forget what it meant to be captivated by the world of fantasy or to be in raptures. Adults discard fantasies as a thing of past time;to be seen, enjoyed and forgotten. We do not give a second thought to ponder over the story. We do not care to delve beneath the layers of fantasy to see if there is a more profound meaning hidden beneath the world of illusions. There is no time to indulge in reveries or day dreams and neither is there time to assess the work.

Hence the first time I saw the movie, I too was thinking its a children’s film with some striking graphics and technical work. Just like others, I too dismissed the movie as a one time watch, fit for children and fun for adults to pass time.

But when I happened to watch the movie second time, I found a new revelation. There were things which I had missed the first time. It proved right preconceptions and prejudgment are barriers to thinking and development of ideas. While watching the movie I was just flicking through it because I had already decided that it was meant for kids. Wrong, there are several thoughts which are presented in the movie. Those with keen eyes and an observant mind are sure to capture these flying pictures. And these pictures have really beautiful colours. The palette is full of vibrant colours that sparkle both the eyes and the mind. these pictures will actually force you to think further and open forth possibilities which would never have entered your mind, let alone even visited your mind. At first they seemed like they were knocking my brains out. Like how can a simple movie have so many underlying features or layers of thoughts? Did C.S. Lewis write the book with these thoughts in mind?

The movie is simple but when you give it a thought is does compel you to think over what you saw.

The youngest of the lot,Lucy,is the most adorable, friendly,warm and innocent child in the film and the book. She has a heart warming smile that makes you want o hug her and hold her close to yourself. She seems to have a magic in her which spills over the people she meets. She is brave though many would not admit that. She has the courage to speak what is in her heart and mind. She speaks directly from the heart and it makes her unique and quite unlike the other kids. Being grown up they have become what we say civilised and forgotten the value of innocence and its purity.

Lucy Pevensie has an ocean of love within her. Even when she is snubbed by her older siblings, she continues to be her sweet self. Like they say,‘ Write the hurts on sands and all grateful acts and joy on rock.’ She is the same, she forgets it all and loves them no matter what. Why is it that we adults carve every hurt and every wrong with permanent ink and just don’t know how to let it go? Why can’t we remember our childhood days when we forgot all pains soon and were smiling again?Lucy is the true epitome of innocence and childhood. She brings forth all the qualities that childhood contains-a loving heart, easy acceptance,vivid imagination,trust and the ability to laugh and not just laugh but to laugh whole heartedly.

As grown ups we feel we have all the intelligence and knowledge to understand life. We shrug or dismiss off the words of a child as silly or foolish. But sometimes it holds the profound truth of life which we miss to acknowledge in the humdrum of daily life.

The same is shown in the movie. When Lucy tells her older siblings that she visited a land inside a wardrobe, they scold her and mock her. They dismiss it a child’s foolish rantings, a day dream. Peter harshly remarks to stop playing games. They don’t trust her words just because it lacks logic and as grownups they find themselves to be knowledgeable and smart. They forget to trust their blood. And that is why they were ashamed when she brings them to the Land of the White Queen.

Lucy has fascinated my  mind, and made me introspect to see if I too have lost my innocence in the race to be mature and to fit in with others. Some find me odd and eccentric, while some comment that I have an innate charm. If this is so, then its because I try and see everything from two perspectives. One as a child and the other as an adult. As an adult I found that imagination was losing ground and creativity too was losing to logic, practicality and rational thinking. Since then when I don my thinking cap I don’t let logic overrule and kill the child inside me. What about you?

The Land Of Stories

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A regular day at the school library sees me starting the day with a prayer. And then begins the influx of students from grades III to XII. The senior classes are a little thorny bunch. For them to be engaged in reading is hard. Some students do find reading enjoyable and are quiet the moment library is in sight.

 

But the best time is with the primary section. For them library, reading and the whole process is absolutely new. Their excitement to come to the library is simply so high that they need a lot of time to settle.

As a librarian in the present school, I am facing problems with primary section because their level of reading and comprehending the meaning is rather weak. I have a tough time getting them to sit and read, simply because they are unable to read a sentence without asking word meaning. And by then, they have lost interest in the book.

At such times what comes to my rescue is the story telling session. And to my surprise I found the kids eagerly waiting for more. They are transported to the land of kings, queens, lions, and such. Their eyes sparkle with glee and amusement when the characters are upto their antics.

The most fun class was with grade IV when I narrated a Karadi Tale about the “BLUE JACKAL”. I had the kids make sounds of animals found in the forest. At the end of the story they all howled together to mark the end. It was not only fun but also endearing to see that the magic that stories weave is not dead. We all grew up listening to stories from our mothers and grandmothers. And we all dreamt of being the princess or the fairy.

Yes stories capture the child within us and helps us live the life of the character.  I narrated a few more stories to the kids. In the next class they came up with stories they had heard. They also told me that they had shared the stories I narrated with their parents at home. That’s where I feel I have succeeded. If the story touches their hearts and minds, and makes them retell the story, then I have achieved my purpose as the story reaches more audience.

It is taxing and exhausting, but when I see the smiles and enthusiasm for a new story I find myself gearing up for a new session of story time.

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