Friday, 28 December 2012

Tips to study Chemistry - Lawrence High School

Chemistry is a very interesting subject, but often kids find the study of compounds, formulae and organic chemistry daunting. However there is no magic formula to master chemistry, but by not getting behind, doing your own work, and not stressing out it can become quite easy to understand concepts and remember concepts. Here are some practices that kids should incorporate to make the study of chemistry less taxing.

Don’t procrastinate

This suggestion applies to any subject for that matter. The more studying kids leave for the last minute the more difficult it will be understand and cover portions.  The practice of putting-ff-until tomorrow become a habit since as kids progress to higher classes there will be more to study. When studying Chemistry kids need ample to time to understand and practice concepts like Balancing equations, topics in Organic Chemistry and so on, and this is not possible if they decide to open their book the night before an exam.

Try flashcards

When it comes to learning formulae and such things it would be a good idea to use flashcards. Even if kids cannot buy flashcards they can make their own.  Some of the information gets learned while making the cards themselves and the rest while actually studying with the cards. The advantage of using flash cards is that kids can switch the order and study, something that text books don’t allow.

Highlight while studying

Another good habit is to highlight important points. But when using a highlighter kids must learn to use it judiciously. Most of the important concepts are already in bold. Most teachers also mention key topics to focus on tell students about questions that are likely to be asked, kids should learn to highlight these kinds of things.

Make mnemonic devices

At some point in school kids will be asked to memorize a portion of the periodic table. This can be quite difficult if the student is blindly trying to remember the names of elements. The best way to make this easier is to take the first letters of words in sequence and make a phrase out of it and this will make it easier to remember. These phrases don’t necessarily have to make sense, as long as they are easy to remember and recall.

By following these tips studying chemistry will become a whole lot easier. Lawrence school ensures that teachers spend sufficient time explaining concepts to students and also teachers try to make the subject as engaging and interesting as possible so that student most of the learning is done in class and students only have to revise after that.

Friday, 21 December 2012

A step towards improving our teaching methods and guiding our senior students towards the right career path - Lawrence School

An educational workshop
We, at Lawrence, believe in upgrading our teaching methodologies with the changing times and helping our teachers equip themselves with the most effective ways of teaching. In this regard, there was a workshop for the teachers on “Assessments” conducted by the Azim Premji Education Foundation on 17th November 2012.

Bloom’s Taxonomy formed the basis for the workshop. It refers to the classification of learning objectives under the main heads of Cognitive, Affective and Psychomotor, loosely explained as knowing/head, feeling/heart and doing/hands respectively.

The idea is provide a holistic approach to education since each child understands a concept in a unique way, something that can also be broadly classified under the above mentioned domains. The assessment strategies vary for all the three domains and each was discussed.
Teachers at the workshop
Children learn and grow with the help of questions. The workshop dealt with the issues of who asks the questions and how a student responds to a particular question. The idea of posing a question by a teacher at the end of a lesson is to gauge the students’ understanding of the concept. So, the crux of the situation lies in how effectively the teachers frame the question. The questions need to be more open ended and they should facilitate more creativity rather than merely recalling the concepts taught.

The workshop had a lot of practical exercise thrown in which made the session extremely engaging and fun-filled.

Career guidance for 9th and 10th graders

In other news, we had ‘Edugroomers’ (Mumbai) conduct a career guidance workshop for our 9th and 10th graders to help them understand themselves better to chart out their future career goals. This workshop was held on the 24th and 25th November, 2012.

The workshop comprised of a personality test, an aptitude test and an interest test, at the end of which the test results were summarized to prepare an individual report for each participant. Parents accompanied the students on the second day of the workshop, when around 350 different career and further studies options were discussed briefly, culminating with an animated discussion on the varied career choices.

A sample report was discussed enabling the parents and students to have a better understanding of the report.  The parents found the report quite accurate vis-à-vis their own observation of their children.

The wealth of information provided has given these students a great platform to build their careers.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

An educational visit to Mysore - Lawrence School

Educational visits are an important part of the school curriculum since the children get to learn a lot from the field trips that may be missed in a classroom environment.  History becomes more interesting when we actually visit the places of importance and experience the beauty of the historical monuments.

Two busloads of happy teachers and students of classes of 5th, 6th and 7th left for Mysore on the morning of 8th November 2012 for an educational tour of the Mysore palace and Brindavan Gardens, stopping en route for piping hot breakfast. Bus journeys on such field trips are always memorable as they are spiced with fun, laughter, merry-making with the students dropping their guard around the teachers and the teachers too joining in the fun with equal fervor.

Our first stop was at Tipu’s Gumbaz where the guide explained to us the significance of the structure. The fine architecture was proof of how skilled the builders were.

Refreshed with the tour of the Gumbaz, we proceeded towards the Mysore Palace, art gallery and then the famous Mysore Zoo. The Zoo was quite an amazing experience for all of us since it is not every day that we get to see such varied, colourful birds and magnificent animals at such close quarters.

Brindavan Gardens was our last stop late in the evening. The whole place was lit up so well that it was literally a festival of lights!

We returned to school almost at midnight, tired and aching, yet our spirits were soaring and our hearts filled with energy. We had such a wonderful time that we wished the day didn’t end so soon.

Some pictures from the trip: 

At Lawrence we believe in holistic learning and lay emphasis on extra-curricular activities that enhances student learning. Check out our website for further details about our institution

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Developing fine motor skills in toddlers - Lawrence High School

Recently, I met a mother of a three year old toddler and she narrated to me about how the school her son goes to stresses a lot on writing work, giving pages of written assignments as home work. It set me thinking as to what kind of skewed thinking can lead to forcing 3-4 year old kids to hold a pencil and write legibly?

Fine motor skills- the skills that aid a child to pick smaller objects, turn a knob, or use a scissor; basically the use of the finger, hand and wrist for finer movements along with eye coordination- are grossly neglected in the mad rush to churn out students that excel in academics. Fine motor skills need to be well-developed in a child as they are an important milestone and precursor to writing.

Instead of jumping head on into the bandwagon of writing, educational institutions must first focus on developing these skills. They can be developed by engaging toddlers (in the age group of 3-4) in activities that are fun and simple to carry out. One can even carry out these at home to strengthen the toddler’s hand and wrist muscles:

Play dough: Play dough is an interesting activity where the child carves out various shapes using child-friendly dough. You can even let your child help in kneading the dough at home to make rotis, rolling it out and making different shapes with the dough.
Cutting and sticking paper: invest in a pair of kid-friendly scissors and encourage the child to cut out different coloured paper in different shapes and sizes. The child can then stick these pieces of paper on a card paper to make an interesting collage.

Drawing rangoli: The act of using the fingers to draw using rice flour helps to fine tune the coordination between the fingers and hand.

Craft work: any craft work that uses a lot of painting, colouring, cutting and pasting.
Fold paper or clothes: Small cloths like a handkerchief or towel or socks can be given to the child to be folded.

Self-help activities: encourage the child to do by self the act of buttoning or unbuttoning clothes, pulling up or down the zipper, eating with hands and spoon, wearing shoes, etc.

While, each child develops these skills at his/her pace, it is imperative to concentrate first on developing these skills and then proceed to teach them write on paper.