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The monthly newsletter from EI

Issue 63 | June 2010 |

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This Month’s Issue Back to School ................. 01 ASSET WEEK..................... 02 ASSET Ambassador .......... 02 ASSET Photography Con... 03 Motivating Students ........ 04 Mindspark ........................ 05 Mathematics .................... 06 Contribute Article ............ 06 Teacher’s Bite .................. 07 Activity with Newspaper .. 07 Student Learning Study ... 08 Sishya School Fanfare .... 08

* illustration by Naomi Rohilla, class 8, DPS, Bopal

Back to School The first day of the class sets the tone for the rest of the term. It is natural for both students and teachers to feel anticipation, excitement, anxiety, and uncertainty. To reduce students' anxiety and uncertainty, try to create a relaxed, open classroom environment conducive to inquiry and participation, and let students know what you expect from them and what they can expect from you and the course. Students do better in class both academically and socially when they are comfortable, relaxed, and "at home". For the first day, plan an activity that provides opportunities for students to speak to one another or solve problems. Students also tend to work harder and respond more positively if they believe the teacher views them as individuals rather than as anonymous faces in the crowd. Here are some great ideas and exciting activities which you might like to try with your class, it will give you an opportunity to introduce yourself to students and students to their classmates. Group Sharing Have each student share with the group the best

thing he or she did during the summer, his or her biggest fear or biggest hope for the new school year, and so on. You can supply the list of topics. Design a T-shirt Have each student design a Tshirt press-on that talks about himself or herself. Invite each student to display and explain the design to rest of the class. Wall of Fame Make a bulletin board where the students can display their things they want to share with others The students can maintain this bulletin board throughout the year. “Ours is a long vacation of 50 days. A time to refresh, enjoy and study as well. After we all come back to school afresh with shining faces, we participate in a debate 'Summer Vacations are Useless'. It is unbelievable, how many novel points the students usually come up with. Points to be paid heed of - both in support and against the motion are usually noted. Summer camp in the school itself is a demand from both the sides.” -Arundhoti Roy Choudhury, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Ballygunge, Kolkata

2010 We believe that being part of the ASSET community is not just about taking the test, but about celebrating learning and nurturing talent. Based on the success of last year’s ASSET WEEK in which more than 300 schools participated, we again present you – an entire week jam-packed with activities, contests and prizes leading up to the ASSET test. The purpose of the ASSET WEEK celebrations is to highlight the role of ASSET in improving learning at the individual student’s level as well as at the school level amongst students, parents and teachers. The week-long celebrations also aim to help students build interest in the test and understand its value.

ASSET WEEK activities, win contests and sweep away a number of prizes! We will be sending an invitation kit to schools in the month of July along with a list of activities and details about the contest. Schools would need to follow the instructions given in the kit, perform the activities and update their report on The winners will be awarded with prizes and recognized. All the participating schools will get a certification of appreciation from us. Moreover, based on the report of activities, winners will be selected and awards given.

We hope that schools will enthusiastically participate in the

The prizes for the winners are: Category

Prize for School

Prize for ASSET Coordinator

National Winner


Netbook (mini laptop)

1st Runner Up


Mobile Phone

2nd Runner Up



Here is an opportunity for students to become a part of an online community of more than 1000 students across the country by becoming an ‘ASSET Ambassador’. The ASSET Ambassador can in turn invite students across ASSET schools of 2010 to be a part of this Endeavour. This new initiative will help students to build a community for students to share their experiences. The ‘ASSET Ambassador initiative’ aims to spread our vision of ‘learning with understanding’ amongst students and at the same time provides a platform for students to showcase their talent, share innovative ideas and network with peers across the country. How Schools can participate? Schools have to select two students from classes 5 to 9. These selected students have to then upload a two minute video on The video should have students speaking about what Learning with Understanding, what ASSET is and how ASSET helps students in learning with understanding These ambassadors from every school will get a chance to

For any query, do write to Come, join and be a part of a fun-filled week!

interact with ambassadors of other schools on an ongoing basis throughout the academic year and thereby build an active community of students sharing ideas, activities and best practices, through posts on the ASSET Ambassador website, meets and other communication methods ASSET Ambassadors will get a chance to be innovative and develop their leadership skills by learning from activities and practices shared by other students and by getting them implemented in their own school. Thus, the ambassadors will not just be a role model for the students of their school, but will also act as a bridge between students and teachers across schools. The ASSET Ambassador along with ASSET Week is coming to your school for an innovative and fun-filled week!

Be a part of this enriching week!!!

ASSET Photo Contest Winners We got an over whelming response for the ’ASSET Photography Contest’ with more than 160 entries from schools across the country. The contest was announced in the month of March and the contestants who were students had to send their entries within one month’s time. The theme of the contest was ‘The beauty that surrounds us’ and ‘Kids in action’. Schools had to send the three entries per school. The main objective of this contest was to cultivate students’ interest in photography and provide them a chance to discover and appreciate the beauty of nature and the activities surrounding them through lens. Winning photos and winner’s details The kids have put their heart and soul in capturing the images and becoming the part of this contest. All of them seem to be amateur photographers and will surely go on to become top photographers of our country.

Congratulations to all those who participated and to the winners.

“You have come up with a great idea of the photo competition for boosting the confidence of the budding photographers. Our school was very happy to receive an invite and have decided to take part in it.” – TGES Riverside, Rajkot

1st prize

2nd prize 1st prize: Rachit Hitesh Popat, The Galaxy School, Rajkot

3rd prize

2nd prize: Nikhil Gangwani, Bal Bharati Public School, Pitampura, Delhi 3rd prize: Ishan Bhatt, The Riverside School, Ahmedabad

Check this Link to view the entries

Photography is a great medium to explore things around you. I think with digital cameras available students should experiment much more to understand colour, light composition and how events can be captured in a single shot. I was particularly impressed how students were able to narrate stories in a picture. – Anar Shukla Marketing Manager - Mindspark

Going through photographs, particularly photographs clicked by students - was a new experience :) It was difficult at times to believe that the photographs were taken by students who were less than 15 years of age! I think schools should consider photography as an optional subject like drawing and craft – Nishchal Shukla Educational Fellow, EI










Motivating Students





JUNE 2010



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The process of motivation stems from stimulation, which in turn is followed by an emotional reaction that leads to a specific behavioural response. In the classroom, if a student's behaviour is regarded as desirable and is rewarded, the positive reinforcement stimulates the student to repeat the desirable behaviour. Conversely, if a student's behaviour is regarded as undesirable and the individual receives a response with a negative undertone, de-motivation results. Furthermore, anxiety and frustration often result if behaviour thought to be positive does not lead to proper recognition, reinforcement and rewards. While educators can't make or teach students to be self-motivated, they can encourage and promote this highly desirable personal trait. Generally, students will show some selfmotivation if they: (a) know what is expected of them, (b) think the effort is worthwhile, and (c) feel they will benefit through effective performance. Teachers should take care of points mentioned below Explain

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Recent research shows that many students do poorly on assignments or in participation because they do not understand what to do or why they should do it. Teachers should spend more time explaining why we teach what we do, and why the topic or approach or activity is important and interesting and worthwhile. In the process, some of the teacher's enthusiasm will be transmitted to the students, who will be more likely to become interested. Similarly, teachers should spend more time explaining exactly what is expected on assignments or activities. Students who are uncertain about what to do will seldom perform well. Reward Students who haven’t yet got a powerful intrinsic motivation to learn can be helped by extrinsic motivators in the form of rewards. Rather than criticizing unwanted behaviour or answers,

reward correct behaviour and answers. Remember that adults and children alike continue or repeat behaviour that is rewarded. The rewards can (and should) be small and configured to the level of the students. Small children can be given a balloon, a piece of gum, or a set of crayons. Even at the college level, many professors at various colleges have given books, lunches, certificates, exemptions from final exams, verbal praise, and so on for good performance. Even something as apparently "childish" as a "Good Job!" stamp or sticker can encourage students to perform at higher levels. And the important point is that extrinsic motivators can, over a brief period of time, produce intrinsic motivation. Everyone likes the feeling of accomplishment and recognition; rewards for good work produce those good feelings. Care Students respond with interest and motivation to teachers who appear to be human and caring. Teachers can help produce these feelings by sharing parts of themselves with students, especially little stories of problems and mistakes they made, either as children or even recently. Such personalizing of the student/teacher relationship helps students see teachers as approachable human beings and not as aloof authority figures. Young people are also quite insecure, and they secretly welcome the admission by adults that insecurity and error are common to everyone. Students will attend to an adult who appears to be a "real person," who had problems as a youth (or more recently) and survived them. It is also a good idea to be approachable personally. Show that you care about your students by asking about their concerns and goals. What do they plan to do in the future? What things do they like? Such a teacher will be trusted and respected more than one who is all business.

Mindspark Mindspark Principal Seminar - Indore There have been lot of talks about how the future of education would be. Well education has to be personalized. A team of experts from Educational Initiatives recently did a seminar in Indore on ‘Adaptive Learning’. The seminar was aimed at spreading awareness on the changing scenario in education and how adaptive learning can help bridge the gaps in the current learning system. A total of 33 Schools participated in the seminar. “A good try to the next generation as perfectionist.” - Mr. Shantanu, Correspondent, Raghuwansh Public School, Sendhwa “It would help students in concept clearing.” -Mrs. Sangita Sood, Principal, Delhi International School, Indore

Mindspark Summer Program - Preventing Summer Loss A research synthesis conducted by Cooper et al. (1996) integrated 39 studies examining the effects of the summer vacation on standardized achievement test scores. The metaanalysis indicated that children's tests scores when they returned to school in June-July, were lower than the scores they achieved when they left school in April-May. Summer School is an alternative, but children would like to enjoy their summer and not worry about the pressures of school and subjects they might have had trouble with. They don't want a Summer School, but they want a Summer Break. So, inorder to give an opportunity to students to enjoy their summer break with learning Mindspark’s Personalised Learning Program for a duration of two months was organised in Ahmedabad. More than 25 students participated in this programme

Mindspark Team invited for conference at California A Maths research group has invited Mr. Sridhar, the MD of Educational Initiatives to a conference in San Francisco. They wrote to us:

The conference is to bring together mathematicians and educators to talk about how to promote sense-making in mathematics at the school level. In the US, there is a lot of concern that the testing that has been instituted over the last five to ten years has resulted in "teaching to the test". Part of President Obama's stimulus plan is to design new academic standards (the "Core Standards"); these emphasize conceptual understanding. The challenge now is to think about how to teach and test for real learning, not just memorization, in Mathematics. The conference, while not restricted to the new standards, focuses on this issue. My understanding is that your organization is a leader in India in the area of testing for understanding. We would be honoured to have your participation in the conference, as I believe that the US has a lot to learn from you.

Sridhar along with Suchismita Srinivas (VP – Mindspark) and Anupriya Gupta (Educational Specialist) from EI will be attending the conference in June, 2010.


MindS ark

An Internet-based Computer-Adaptive Learning Program “Mindspark is helping me a lot and is teaching me new methods that I now know. I learn more things about everything I was struggling with before.” -Savitha Rajendran, Class 6 “Mindspark is a great initiative which helps maintain rigour in any time period of the year. It not only helps our Maths but also our problem solving and data interpreting skills”. -Deeksha Lalchandani, Class 5 “I love Mindspark. getting Sparkies encourages me to do better and better. I was really weak in Maths but now I can do it as good as the others.” -Manya Shah, Class 6 “Mindspark has helped me in my sums (geometry, angles, points lines and planes, rational numbers, parallel lines). I enjoy doing Mindspark and get lot of reward point.” -Nathan Baretto, Class 8


School Corner

Mathematics... – A Part of Life Mathematics is essentially like a language and in some respects more then a language. Usually a language is a means of expression and communication using written or spoken symbols, and by this criterion Mathematics is a language, in fact a” language of complete abstraction”. But unlike ordinary language, Mathematics comprises “chains of logical reasoning”. A study of Math helps in developing the skill of quantification of experiences on real life. It promotes reasoning, abstract thinking and problem solving. There is hardly any school subject that does not have some relationship with Mathematics. Every person irrespective of his/her status and vocation utilizes the knowledge of Mathematics in one way or the other. A housewife managing the family budget, the milkman who delivers milk and collects his dues after a month, the newspaperman who supplies the newspaper from door to door, the shopkeeper, the banker, the engineer, the farmer even the labourer use some knowledge of Mathematics in their professional and personal lives. The health of national economy touches every citizen’s life directly or indirectly. Illiteracy in Mathematics can be a tremendous handicap in the effective management of money, as well as the property. The shape and structures of various objects, natural or manmade, adheres to and illustrates the principles of geometry. Patterns of change in natural phenomena e.g. seasons, rotation and revolution of planets etc. also illustrates mathematical principles. Human culture and civilization at any time reflect the use of Mathematics. The entire design of the great pyramids rests on

Mathematics. The concept of zero was formulated by ancient Indian Mathematicians and it led to placevalue based number system. The famous Brihadeshwara temple of Tanjore and the placement of its “kalash” would not have been possible without the knowledge of Mathematics. The leaning tower of Pisa in Italy stands even today because of its mathematical design. Art, music, games and sports, poetry, painting, architecture, town planning etc. are Mathematics in different cultural settings and enhance its quality. There is hardly any school subject that does not have some relationship with Mathematics. Physics comes closest to Math and a good knowledge of Maths is a real asset in learning physics. All chemical reactions and combinations involve the use of Mathematics. Map-making; preparing population charts, studies of density of population in geography and study of Astronomy involve the use of Mathematics. At first sight Biology may not appear to be related to Math, but it in fact involves a fascinating use of Math – The volume of the human body and of the blood in it, the weight, size amount of oxygen we breathe in and the carbon dioxide we breathe out-all these involve the use of our knowledge of Maths. Mathematics can help us in understanding why there are no small animals in the arctic regions - even the size of a penguin increases as one reaches the pole. Thus knowledge of Mathematics improves one’s capacity to think and reason. The teaching and learning of Mathematics disciplines the mind. Thus as far as possible, the learning of Mathematics should be made a joyful activity for all the learners. Contributed By – Shivani Kotwal PGT (Mathematics), Gyan Vihar School, Jaipur

Contribute Educational Articles and Best Practices We invite readers to be a part our newsletter by contributing educational articles and Best practices followed in their school. Here is a perfect opportunity for you to showcase your writing skills, your expertise and share your knowledge and get exposed to 7000 schools. This is a platform for you to share the interesting educational articles you have written or you have read and have found useful; how you taught a particular topic in class and made it interesting for students, innovative methods used for teaching, best practices followed in your school, about educational trips etc. Send us the write-up in not more than 500 words along with your School Name, City and with one or two photos. We would be glad to publish it. You can mail the contents to

What I will be missing

Teacher’s Bite

Importance of Teacher Training and Development in educating students The one thing that is constant in this world today is CHANGE. Education and teaching cannot remain static and has to move ahead with the changing times. Gone are the days, when one could speak about the good old times especially regarding teaching. We have to accept the fact that there is a generation gap. Teachers, now-a-days need to change their thought process when dealing with the present day students. The basic methodology of teaching is taught at the university level, but for one to be an effective teacher, one needs to constantly upgrade his/her teaching skills by undergoing teacher development programmes. This calls for a very positive frame of mind, wherein the challenge is to first unlearn and then relearn newer methods of teaching. To be an educator is a vocation and not just a profession. A true educator must have a broad vision of his/her profession and its end result i.e. he/she should want the students to really learn and understand and not merely acquire bookish knowledge. There needs to be a significant paradigm shift in the education system, although that is currently being addressed by the Govt. of India. The present day teacher needs to be

Mr. Roshan Menezes Administrator, Carmel Institutions, Bangalore technology enabled with an all inclusive approach. For this, the powers-to-be need to have a broad outlook and work towards empowering teachers. Herein lies the importance of teacher development programmes. Preparing students for success in life is the fundamental goal of any progressive school. The teacher community is the most important factor in achieving learning outcomes and teacher quality is central to the improvement of the education system. Lots of advancements are occurring in the field of education. Focusing only on the classroom will not expose teachers to innovations in the education field. Regular teacher development programmes would help to bridge this gap and equip the teacher with the current teaching methodology, use of resource materials and teaching aids which are more apt for modern day learning. Teacher development programmes will thereby help to integrate what is happening around them and also adds value to their skills.

Activity with the Newspaper The newspaper has always been, and remains, an important resource in our lives. Introducing newspapers in the classroom can help students strengthen their comprehension and research skills. Community news keeps it relevant to the kids, enhancing motivation to discuss and learn more about what they are reading. Newspapers are extremely flexible and adaptable to all curriculum areas and grade levels. They bridge the gap between the classroom and the "real" world. They contain practical vocabulary and the best models of clear, concise writing. While the delivery format has changed and now includes electronic editions and websites, newspaper content reflects people's needs and interests. The newspaper can be a very useful resource to help students develop and apply reading skills because: • The reader is already familiar with the content as it refers to local people, places and events. • The newspaper contains linguistic and non-linguistic texts to inform the reader. • The newspaper includes a variety of genres, discourse structures and visual elements. • Newspaper activities encourage thinking at many different cognitive levels. • The socio-cultural context is familiar because it reflects the reader's daily life and experiences and serves the reader's needs, making the newspaper a highly motivational text. At least once every week, take a few minutes to tell students about something you enjoyed reading in the newspaper, such as: • a comic strip that made you laugh • a movie review that has convinced you to see a particular film • a television review that makes you think differently about a

particular program • a sports story that revisits a game you saw on television or tells you about a game you missed • weather information that caught your attention • a letter to the editor that made you smile or think differently about the topic • a map that helped you understand more clearly where a story took place Expand your vocabulary with this activity Assign each student a letter of the alphabet. Ask students to browse through the newspaper, find five unfamiliar words beginning with the assigned letter, and look up the definition of each. Then have each student create and illustrate a dictionary page containing the five words and their meanings. Combine the pages into a classroom dictionary. In a variation of this activity, you might ask students to look in the newspaper for any of the following: • words with a particular suffix or prefix • words containing a particular vowel sound or consonant blend • compound words • words in the past, present, and future tenses • possessives • plurals

Launch of ‘Student Learning Study’

Fanfare 2009-10 at Sishya School, Hosur ‘Fanfare 2009-10‘was an alluring experience of fun and excitement that Sishya witnessed during the course of the second week of April.

Educational Initiatives (EI), has released the India report of ‘Student Learning Study’ carried out in 18 states and 1 Union Territory on 24th May, 2010. The study was conducted for classes 4, 6 and 8 in 2,399 government schools in rural and urban areas and is the first study of its kind at this scale. Overall, 1.6 lakh students were tested in Mathematics and language (medium of instruction) in the study. The study was supported by and was conducted with permission from participating states. The assessment was carried out in 13 languages based on the medium of instruction of each state. Coinciding with the release of the report, EI conducted a 2-day national workshop on 24th & 25th of May, 2010 in Delhi to explain and deliberate on the findings from the study and provide recommendations to improve learning. State and central government officials from education departments, academicians, international development agencies, NGO’s, corporate foundations and EI members are participating in the conference. Individual state-specific findings were handed out to be debated upon during the meet.

A series of events and competitions like Frozen Tableau, Treasure Hunt, Poster Making, drawing, Mime, Music, Dance and Fashion show were organized. The school management provided another platform for the students to exhibit their talents. The students were motivated and supported by their persistent teachers, eminent house advisors encouraging parents. The Sishyan flamboyance was indeed a treat to eyes, ears & mind. Students participated in the events with flaming enthusiasm. Children showcased variety of talents in the various competitions that were held. They accepted the challenges and rendered tireless efforts to achieve success. On the whole, ‘Fanfare’ was a fulfilling, enriching and enjoyable experience for the Sishya family. Ms. Deepali Sinha, Educational Advisor with EI, was invited as Chief Guest for the Annual Day program and was also the chief judge for the dance competition.

For more details visit

Humorous Bite Teacher: If you had one rupee and you asked your father for another, how many rupees would you have? Mannan: One rupee. Teacher: You don't know your arithmetic. Mannan: You don't know my father

Educational Initiatives Pvt. Ltd. 613-615, J. B. Towers, Opp. Doordarshan Tower, Drive-In Road, Ahmedabad - 380054 Phone : 91-079- 40269696 Fax : 91-079-26841400 Email : Website :

We would like to receive your feedback on the contents of ASSETScope and the activities of EI. Please send your comments / opinions / suggestions to, or to the postal address mentioned on the left. This is a platform meant for you and it would be great to exchange ideas with you.

ASSETScope June 2010