Monday, February 23, 2015

Mobile Science Lab - A step towards quality science education

Schools are the learning temples. Pupils learn everything from their mini society, school. Science is an important subject for every grade. The subject science is meant for practicality, hands on experience. Teachers can give good explanation of the science experiment, but it is not 100% instruction until the child is taken to the laboratory to perform a live experiment. Do our schools (government) have science labs?
 To my surprise I had seen a team of youngsters wearing aprons performing live experiments in 9th classroom at Govt. Girls High School Red Cross. The team is from Mobile Science Lab. They were carrying experiment kits related to chemistry, biology and physics. Pupils were excited to participate in executing the experiments, holding the glass jars with chemicals, watching the reactions live was much fun for them.
Mobile Science Lab (MSL) is an initiative of Sahayata Trust, supported by Tech Mahindra Foundation. MSL started in the year 2011, works for the quality science education in India. "Schools in Hyderabad, regardless private or government are running without science laboratories. Schools are busy inducing the syllabus to the little brains, how can they spare time for science experiments", says the founder of Mobile Science Lab, Mr. Lateef Atear. According to NKC (National Knowledge commission) majority of the employees prefer to work in multinational companies relating to IT industry, finance etc., People in India are hardly taking up research as their career. The problem starts at schools, as chalk & talk method do not create interest in the subjects like science. Science is a lively subject, experiments and field trips are the ways we can acquire the subject through. Unfortunately, our education system is concerned with cognitive skills with little or no importance given to the application.

Affording a science laboratory and maintaining it is not an easy task for every school. The solution is Mobile Science lab! The lab moves from school to school; educates the pupils in practicality of the subject.
MSL focuses on gaining knowledge through research. Scientific learning is tied directly to state learning standards (essential knowledge and skills) and is scheduled so that teachers have time to take up new concepts and design ways to transfer the essential concepts to their students on a regular basis.
MSL tied up with 18 government schools in Hyderabad. They make nine visits to each school in a particular academic year.  They shows live experiments in physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy etc. Startups like these nurture the little scientist in every student. Govt. should take up this initiative in a big scale, and ensure the service for more schools.

For more information about MSL visit:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

‘Straight’ expressions

The word ‘straight’ is associated with an important metaphor, and as a result gives us a number of useful expressions by Nilesh Jahagirdar
Straight dope
This is a slang, informal expression that refers to ‘unadulterated, complete truth or information.’ For example, you might say: ‘‘While most news channels cover entertainment more than actual news, i like this new channel because it gives me the straight dope.’ In usage, the expression is always preceded by the article ‘the.’ When you ask someone for ‘the straight dope,’ you are asking them to tell you the truth, complete and without any coverup.
Here is another example: ‘My father never tried to hide the harsh realities of the world from me. Whenever I asked him a question, he always gave me the straight dope.’
A straight arrow
Mostly used in American English, ‘straight arrow’ describes someone who is honest and straightforward. For example, you might say: ‘I hope my friends all describe me as a straight arrow, because I try to be honest and direct in all my interactions with them.’ Beyond honest and straightforward, ‘straight arrow’ also implies that someone is well-behaved, or careful about their behavior in social situations.
The role of the metaphor ‘straight’ should be clear in this context. Someone who is a straight arrow is predictable and reliable, and certainly the opposite of ‘devious’ or ‘crooked.’
Get something straight
In conversational English, this expression is particularly useful in a specific context. If a friend tells you something, and you want to confirm that you have understood her correctly, you can start your sentence with this expression.
Here is an example: ‘OK,so let me get this straight. You want me to go there in the morning to pick up your book?’ In terms of meaning, the expression essentially says ,‘please confirm this for me.’
However, the expression is particularly useful in situations where you paraphrase something someone has said, in such a way that you make it sound wrong, and thereby express your disagreement. Here is an example: ‘OK, so let me get this straight. You don’t want to use your credit card online because of security fears, but you are asking ME to use my credit card for you?’

This article was originally posted in The Hindu 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Republic Day Celebrations at Majeedia School

India is celebrating 66th Republic Day. Development in the country is still stagnant. For example in our city Hyderabad there are so many government schools with insufficient classrooms. These schools run on shift bases. High schools works in the morning hours, 8am to 12.30pm and primary in the postnoon, 1pm to 5pm. One such school is Government Girls High School (GGHS) Majeedia, located at Masab Tank. Majeedia school is a co-education school with three medium of instruction - English, Telugu and Urdu.
Observing 26th January, we tried to connect this school through some competitions. As we don't know the capability levels of the school students, we proposed two simple activities to be conducted. They were -
  • Creative letter writing
  • GK quiz competition

We were surprised to see good number of pupils turned up for letter writing activity. Creative writing enables the pupils to improve their writing skills. Some scanned copies for your read -

GK quiz is all about recalling the facts. Quiz enables the pupils to improve their thinking and decision making skills.
Quiz competition between the classes 6th and 7th of three medium (English, Telugu and Urdu)

There were three levels in the quiz competition. All the questions are based on their syllabus. Pupils find it little anxiety as it was first time they were playing a quiz. Everyone enjoyed and gained knowledge.

Quiz competition for high school students from 8th to 10th classes.

The teams have bifurcated based on their medium. English, Telugu and Urdu. Guess who won the quiz. Yeah! Its Telugu medium team bagged the prize.

Republic Day celebrations and prize distribution for the winners.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Most unusual expressions

Some interesting words that describe people engaging in fraud or cheating in someway by Nilesh Jahagirdar.

Shill: One time I was at a train station, where I was approached by someone who was offering to sell branded, expensive sunglasses for next to nothing. I’m sure we have encountered such fraudulent offers. As it happens, even as I refused, this seller was approached by a ‘customer’ who was interested in buying, and was praising the quality of the sunglasses loudly enough for me to hear. We know the routine with these things. The ‘customer’ who showed interest was a ‘shill’--a person who was in league with the seller, and was trying to get him business by tricking other people.
The job of a shill is to pretend to be a customer, lend legitimacy to the business or the seller by pretending to like and buy the product, and thus trick other people around into buying the product too.
As you can tell, this is an unflattering way to describe someone who is putting on an act, being dishonest, and essentially trying to defraud others. The meaning of the word is often extended to describe people who are known apologists or unreasonably strong supporters of political parties, politicians, etc.
For example, you might say: ‘Although the government has failed to implement any welfare policies, this prominent journalist--who is perhaps a government shill--continues to praise it.’ Here is another example: ‘The mining activities have damaged our forests and hurt the local people, but the media, which is basically a shill for large corporations, has failed to take the issue seriously.’

Charlatan: Let’s deal with the pronunciation first. ‘Charlatan’ is pronounced--to indicate very roughly-- as ‘shaar-la-tan’. This is a word of French origin, that again means ‘a fraud’ or ‘a trickster.’ The precise usage is important though. A charlatan is someone who fakes a specific skill, or knowledge of a particular profession in order to cheat people and make some quick money. For example, you would frequently come across news items about charlatans who go from town to town pretending to be spiritual guides, and in the process steal money from people.
The word is perhaps most commonly used to describe people who pretend to have professional medical expertise, but are actually not qualified doctors at all. If you are angry at a doctor and believe him to be extremely incompetent, you might call him a ‘charlatan’--which would definitely be an insult--even though you are aware that he has a medical degree.

This article was originally posted in The Hindu 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

EFF is back again with assorted team: motivating the students

Finally yes!we are here this year to discuss with you about the EFF trip to country side, Gandweed ZPH School. Once in every three months we visit the school to check the over all development and progress among the students, but this time we were late by one month because of the formation of Telangana and Andhra states and hours of power cuts especially in villages. Due to which we could not take the virtual classes regularly.
Every visit of ours, we introduce new set of volunteers from various professions, by doing so, students, get excited to see new faces who could express their intentions, motivating and encouraging the pupils by inserting corporate play schools methods of teaching, rather than the routine presentation teaching.

Volunteers from different backgrounds implant their teaching skills and involve the students in activities such as classroom games, speaking activities, quiz competition, reading, social issues etc... This time we have concentrated only the speaking skills of the students because we wanted to evaluate how well they are able to cope up with English and in their communication skills. The topics that we have emphasized this time were; Role of News paper in our life, what is your aim in life, Story telling and above all last not the least, Eradication of child marriage etc....


At the end of the day, when we took the summary class wise, it was impressive! The virtual classroom teaching helped most of the students to perform well in all categories of subjects, social issues, general knowledge, speaking activities, current affairs, and English grammar and so on. Over all it was amazing to learn that students have put in lot of interest in learning to speak in English. The different methods of teaching especially, to those vernacular medium students of classes VI and a very small number of students from other classes needs an extra concentration individually, to help them shine like other students. Who are already in that stream, in a nut shell, lots of efforts to be put in with students to overcome the fear of stage and speech. Perhaps help them to take daring steps to disclose their talents standing in front of the class and audience.
Vehemently speaking, while the presentation of Hockey Sticks along with items relating to them and some Educational Literature books were awarded for the students for the excellent performance in the activities that were conducted by the EFF.We noticed that there were lot of people standing  at the school main gate and some of them sitting on the walls while others standing witnessing the proceedings taking place in the school premises. Out of their anxiety and excitement, we could hear  them clapping in joy along with the students cheering the students who are presented with gifts. We the EFF are happy to bring this awareness among the residents of Gandweed Village and are very pleased with the encouragement they offered to the students.

This school visit has created awareness: In student's performances, and how we need to work with them in the areas they need to be polished to make an improvement in their progress.

On behalf of EFF, we sincerely thank all the Purpletalk employees and others who supported the achievers and made the children happy at the end of the day. We hope to get the same support and encouragement from all of you, in the future too. We thank the school management for cooperating with us in all errands.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sun raha hai na tum...(Are you listening!)

There are so many things we need to check in classroom instruction. For example, listening. Every teacher expects 100% attention from every student in his/her class. All the students in the class hear to the teacher, but only few pupils listen. There is a huge difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is a physical activity while listening is a skill. Someone who is physical impaired can be a great listener if he or she pays attention to the information someone conveys to them regardless of how it is conveyed to them. Likewise someone with very sharp hearing may be a poor listener.
Pupils these days are unable to focus in the class. My niece, studying in eighth standard, very smart and active in studies but zero in Mathematics. She said, "I pretend to listen to the teacher, it's really tough to focus and follow his instruction". Reason - friends disturb her, or she will be in her replay of daily soaps. Pupils of all ages are backward in listening to the teacher's instruction. Need of the hour is to help the pupils to improve their listening skills by any means.

Few activities to improve listening skills in pupils - 
  • Play games like 'Simon-says'
  • Play listening games to identify animal and environmental sounds
  • Play news and other programmes in radio 
  • Engage your child in conversation
  • Narrate stories (instead of playing CD or YouTube videos). 

Happy listening!


Related links:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sneak peak of a primary school

I went on a holiday to my husband’s home town. It’s a remote village at Komorole Mandal, Prakasham District, in A.P. There are around 70 to 80 houses in that village. The unique thing in this hamlet is, all are Muslim families. You can't see any other religion except Islam in this village.

Daily I used to see some guys hanging out at a place. It was govt. Primary School. The guys sit on the compound wall of the school to chit-chat, it's like a time pass center for them.

I peeped into the school on a fine day. The total strength of the school was 10 pupils; they included 1st to 4th standard students. It was Saturday, and the strength on that day was just seven (out of ten). All the four classes have to sit together in a single room. And its a single teacher school.  

I got to spend some time with the pupils in the class. I interacted with the kids through some games and activities.
First I conducted a vocabulary game in their native language. It was not going good with their vocabulary knowledge. 
Then I tried a simple game, recognizing colors. Hardly, one or two pupils named the colors I displayed. But when asked for examples for the color I displayed, they gave plenty of examples. 
I started rewarding the pupils with chocolates for correct answers to boost their enthusiasm.

Basically, the students in the school are Muslims, they speak a kind of Urdu in their homes. But at school, they were taught in Telugu medium. For an average student it takes one year to learn the alphabets of the target language. The school teacher is concentrating only on alphabets the whole year for all the four standards.

Asad Wali, Std I, drawing model of bangle, an example of circle shape.

Kausar, Std III, drawing model of face, an example of circle shape.

From left, Jilani, Std III. He is good and active in studies. But lack of cleanliness, he takes bath or changes his dress once in two weeks.From right, Rasool Std III, he can't speak properly, tongue twisting issue.  
"I never beat my students, if I do so pupils will drop out. Earlier the strength in the school was 18 to 20 pupils. But now, it got reduced to 10 pupils. Teachers won't get interest to teach less strength. Even though I am trying my best to teach them"
"Parents in the village are not willing to send their kids to government schools. As a result, private schools are popping up in every village.Now a days, parents are leaned to English medium schools than native language schools. Hence government schools are becoming empty." explained the school teacher, Mr.Satyanarayana, when asked the reason for depleting strength.

There are so many government schools in the states of Telangana and A.P. running with less than 10 pupils in a school. The new government has decided to shut down the schools with less than 20 pupils and merge these school to near by schools. According to the the present records there are around 2000 schools in the state of Telangana come under this category which are going to shut down in this academic year.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A teacher tap the fertile mind of young children

Teacher's day is celebrated on 5th September every year throughout the country. On this day we gratefully remember Dr.Sarvapalli Radhakrishna, who believed that "Teachers should be the best minds in the country". Along with  being a great teacher, he was also the president of India, a stanch believer of education and was the well known diplomat and a scholar.
The word teacher in Sanskrit is "GURU". "GU" means the darkness and "RU" the remover of darkness. Hence, a teacher is called a torchbearer. Teaching is not a job, but a noble calling. A teacher is a source of information a guide, a mentor,  motivator and above all they are the back bone for our country.
Teacher is the essence of education and it is only through their guidance we are accomplished in our field today. The first teachers are our parents: they teach us, care for us and nurture us to be capable people. Our parents meet all our physical needs but teachers motivate us with the  light of knowledge and remove the ignorance. Above all life is the biggest teacher.
Teachers are the pillars of our success: therefore let us salute all our teachers who have become beacon of light, guiding us throughout the journey of life.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

School timings

In our neighborhood we hardly see any school going kids in the evening. "Our children go to school early in the morning at 7 am and return to home after 6 pm", said their parents. 11 hours schedule includes - travelling, special coaching for IIT, remedial teaching, preparation for exams, tuitions, extra curricular activities etc decks up the whole day. Private schools in the state are working hard to get good ranks.. These schools are working more than ten hours to withstand in the market of education business. On the other side, we see the govt school kids running on the streets early by 2.30 in the post noon. Schools run by Govt. run till 3 pm. In the state every school follow their own timings.
The new T-government have come up with a new timing for all the schools. From now on  all the schools in the state should run from 9am to 4.30pm. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Learn, grow and have fun in a safe environment

As the old saying, “All the work and no play make a dull boy” is very apt in present generation. 
With the rise of the corporate schools and colleges, all that kids are allowed to do is study. 
They hear a “No” to everything they want to do other than study.  With this in mind, it’s no wonder that children so eagerly anticipate  summer camps as this is the only “Yes” they hear from elders. Summer Camps also give children the freedom to do what they desire.
Children learn many positive skills from summer camps. Along with that, they also spend their day being physically active, experience success and become more confident, develop decision making abilities, make new friends, develop leadership qualities and much more. Above all, summer camps are a great way for children to learn and how to be independent.
There are a lot of places in Hyderabad that have initiated summer camps for kids. Below are the list of camps in Hyderabad, where your kids can have a fun summer!
Age Group: 4 to 15yrs
Activities :Activity Centres, Musical Instruments, Personality Development, Western Dance
Timings: 09:30 AM - 01:00 PM
Contact: Mr. Bikash, 07569719128
Email ID: 
Web site: www.soundkraft.inAddress: Plot no - 108, 3rd Floor, SSRGI Arcade, Opp. Al Saba Restaurant Telecom Nagar, Gachibowli, Hyderabad


Age Group: 2 to 7yrs
Activities : Art & Craft, Communication Skills, Personality Development, Plays, Storytelling
Timings: 09:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Contact: Ms. Rosy, 8099717283
Address: Plot No.35, Dollars Hill Colony, Pragathi Nagar, Kukatpally, Hyderabad


Age Group: 4 to 7yrs
Activities : Academic Enrichment, Art & Craft, Music Session, Personality Development, Singing, Storytelling
Timings: 09:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Contact: Team Beyond Books, 9703579000 / 9885906353/ 9966012928
Email ID:
Address: 13/2 HUDA Techno Enclave, Sector One, Madhapur, Hyderabad 500081


  Age Group: 2 to 14yrs
 Activities : Art & Craft, Cooking & Baking,  Western Dance
 Timings: 10:30 AM - 01:00 PM
Contact Person: Team PamperedKidz, 7731040404
Email ID: 
Address: Plot No C22 , Road No 1 , Beside FilmNagar, Hyderabad


Age Group: 1.50 to 5yrs
Activities : Academic Enrichment, Art & Craft, Clay Modelling, Communication Skills , Musical Instruments, Physical Fitness, Storytelling,  Tennis
Timings: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Contact: Team Gymboree07306168219
Email ID: 
Address: 1057 PBN Center, 2nd floor Road no. 45 Above Coffee Day, Hyderabad - 500003


Age Group: 6 to 15yrs
Activities : Abacus, Mental Maths
Timings: 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM
Contact: Ms. S. Srikala, 9959910111
Email ID:
Website: www.geniusvedicmaths.comAddress: Plot No.18, Lepakshi Colony, Hyderabad


Age group:  6-16yrs
Activities: Swimming, Tennis, Foot ball, Basket ball, Skating, Athletics, Cricket, Music, Table Tennis, Chess, Dance, Art, yoga.
Timings: 8.00 am to 11.00 am
Contact No: 64611938, 9849444128,
Email ID:
Address: Near Artillery Centre Gate, Golconda, Hyderabad,


Age Group: 3 to 12yrs
Activities : Academic Enrichment, Art & Craft, Clay Modelling, Gym, Martial Arts, Mental Maths, Music Session, SkatingWestern Dance, Yoga
Timings: 08:00 am - 11:30 am
Contact: Team Bachpan PlayschoolNo: 9912349908
Email ID: 
Address: H.No:24-36/1/5, Shivpuri Colony, Lane Opp. Bank of Maharashtra, Nr.
Anandbhag X Road, Malkajgiri, Secunderabad


Age Group: 6 to 20yrs
Activities : Chess
Timings: 09:00 am - 01:00 pm
Batch Size - 15
Contact: Mr Anvesh, 9951946791
Email ID: 
Address: Plot No-60 , Loyola College Road , Trimulgherry,Secundarabad


Age Group: 7yrs and above
Activities : Calligraphy
Timings: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Contact: Mrs. Maya Ravinder, 9908125126
Email ID: 
Address: 15 , Little millenium preschool, 16 Bapu Bagh, Near Foodworld, P J Road Begumpet, Hyderabad