Tuesday, 28 April 2015

From The Edge of Grey

From the edge of grey does a beautiful
Thought come winging by, a seed of love,
With thought so pure, and intent so sweet,
Were it possible that out of the grey mess
Of malevolence and dark intent might
Spring a sprite so sweet
With gossamer
Wings that
Might be
Seen in the
Evening light?

Adriana, her would I call;
A gentle sprite that does waft over the Earth come from the edge of grey!
'Adriana, Adriana, my love and my heart, wherefore dost thou
Torture me with your sweet smiles and sweet songs
That strum the strings of my heart till I 
Vibrate with a frenzy that makes me sick?'
Sure will we surf the winds
Of change you and me,
And fly above the
Clouds of indifference
And venom of jealousy
And the desire to harm others.
Thus over the kingdoms that fight one another,
Over petty matters, like he proposed to her,
Or that she preferred to marry the one,
Or even that he and she belonged to different religions
Or that he was a gravitation while they were vegetarian!

Wherefore would that matter when I have you
And you have me?
Surely, we won't bother about what the world says,
Just let's make our own world
And let others wrangle about petty differences!
Thus over the kingdoms of night and day will we fly
Over temples and schools with clanging bells
While the thief flees the pursuing whistles,
A doctor to deliver a loud infant seeks
Amidst the cacophony of screaming hawkers
And angry cars, sure will we create a separate
World jealous though we may seem,
To lie in nature's lap and sip of the
Nectar till into deep sleep we fall in each other's arms!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Using symbols in annotations for meaningful reading of Comprehension Passages

It makes good sense to encourage students to read for comprehension rather than just read for facts. A large number of students across various grades and different schools will read the questions in a comprehension exercise before attempting to read the passage itself. What they are doing is to read only to answer the questions given in the exercise. This may work when all the questions are based on identifying facts or data, but then when the questions are based on inference or identifying the main idea and the supporting ideas, then these very students are left scratching their heads. One of the best ways to make students better readers therefore is to train them to read for ideas and not read for facts.

Students can also develop the ‘Talking to the text’ approach which essentially means making annotations in the text itself. One way of guiding students through this process is to use specific symbols or signs for different learning outcomes. A few of the symbols and the aspects they might represent are given as under:

1. image  The five pointed star is placed against the main idea in the paragraph.
2.image The Asterix is placed against each supporting idea in the paragraph.
3.image  The lightning strike or the exclamation mark is placed against an
                   interesting idea.
4.image The spiral can be placed against a sentence, the idea of which you don’t
                   agree with.
5.image You encircle a word or a phrase or a sentence whose meaning is not clear.
6.image  Underline a word or a sentence that you think is important. This is
                 apart from identifying the main idea
7.image A zigzag line under a confusing word or phrase or even a sentence
              means that you need help. The idea is that you first discuss it with the group or crew and
              then it is escalated to the teacher for help. Also, the zigzag line can              be used to identify ideas, sentences, words for further research.

Note: Although this blog post is focused on creating an awareness about the use of symbols, it is also important to mention that active annotation requires the annotator to write active notes in the margins of the text to complement the symbols.

The purpose of using the symbols and what they stand for needs to be explained to the students. The ‘talk to the text’ approach caters to learning in crews, so it is important that the facilitator explains to each group what is to be done while reading the passage. I would like to suggest that the students should not be given the questions along with the text! It is only after they have read the text that the questions should be given. Also, during the course of reading the text, students should be told that it is only after they have discussed the meanings of difficult words, phrases or sentences within the group and have not been able to resolve them that they escalate the same to the teacher. Sometimes there are students who bring a dictionary with them. It is for the teacher or facilitator to first ask students with dictionaries to look out for the meaning of the word. This will help further collaborative learning and the sharing of resources.  In some cases, also the knowledge of others can be brought into play, the teacher can do a cold call and ask from amongst the students if someone knows the meaning of the word or phrase in question. It is also important to ensure that any discussion of difficult words and phrases takes place only after the students are done with their reading and they have spent at least five to ten minutes discussing and exchanging notes within the group.

Also check out the following link: http://rodrickwrites.blogspot.in/2015/02/building-teaching-strategies-for.html

Saturday, 4 April 2015

A Book Release of ‘When The Earth Shall Melt’ – at The YMCA, Greater Noida

Today on the fourth of April, 2015, Mr. Inderjit Lal, Board Member, New Delhi YMCA and Chairman, GNPC released the book, ‘When The Shall Melt’ written by Revd. Sunil Solomon Ghazan at the Greater Noida Programme Centre. Mr. Inderjeet Lal talked about the importance of caring for the environment and the need for giving due respect to each other as human beings. When I was asked to say a few words on the book, I spoke about how the book is a faithful recording of the visions seen by the writer and how it describes the impact of global warming and insensitivity to the environment aggravated by the drifting away of Mankind from the teachings of the scriptures. I also spoke about how the book never got published and that it took its due time to get through the whole process. Also covered in my talk was a description of the important role of self-publishing in today’s times. It being passion week we really couldn’t have too much of fanfare and celebration and I spoke as much as to suggest the same.


Mrs. Maya Lal in the top photograph and I in the lower photograph accompanied the author, Revd. Sunil Ghazan for the release. We had started at about seven in the morning in heavy rain and managed to reach Greater Noida well after a half past eight because of the water logging on the roads. However in spite of the inclement weather, it had become quite pleasant by the time we reached our destination. We were invited to partake of the Breakfast Fellowship after the book release.  Revd. Sunil Solomon Ghazan had also, incidentally been invited by the Greater Noida YMCA to deliver the message for the occasion, it being Easter Saturday. Also present was the new Secretary of the Noida Chapter, Mr. Rajive, Pastor Wilson Joseph and Pastor Sam Baby.