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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Training session with child psychologist

In a general classroom, diversity among students, their learning styles and behavior is a common practice. Students with behavior problems or learning disabilities are often overlooked or misunderstood, and thus identification of these problems and then consult child psychologist or school counselor is important. As child psychology helps us learn about the social and mental development of children, so the role of school counselor or educational psychologist is very important in this context.

Why we should worry about behavior problems?

In addition to the physical needs such as food, clothing, and shelter, kids need fun, freedom, power, and a sense of belonging. If these needs aren't met in positive ways, problems develop. For some children, serious behavior problems/difficulties become a pattern that can include acting impulsively, reacting with aggression, refusing to follow reasonable directions, and defying adult authority. Sometimes you'll find your child just hasn't learned age-appropriate social skills. Kids with learning disabilities (LD) and/or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) also may develop behavior problems.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Award Leader Training of 'The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award'

Learning can be fun when it is integrated with play or leisure activities and creating links with real life situations. 'Earth House Alternative School' believes that leisure or extra curricular activities play a very important role in the development of life skills such as negotiation, communication, problem solving, presentation etc.As 'Earth House' aims to help children reclaim learning through investigation and play, it matches with the ideology of 'The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award'.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DEA) Foundation Bangladesh arranged a day Long Award Leader Training on Friday, 12 December 2014 held at 'Earth House Alternative School'. Purpose of this 'Award Leader Training was to explain award leader responsibilities practically, so that the participants could supervise the program smoothly and lead the Award participants efficiently in future.

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Foundation, Bangladesh offers the world's most prestigious award for young people "The Duke of Edinburgh's Award" to Bangladesh. It is a compact self development program which facilitates young people (aged 14 – 25) to be more worthy of making and leading a better world. It also makes them be enough versatile to experience different tastes of various phases of life.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Importance of a field trip to museum

Visiting museums is a an easy way to understand and get better knowledge about the past history or culture of that specific area. Museums are the places where we can observe centuries of history by looking at handicrafts and archaeological artifacts.

A primary role of museums is to engage and educate the community. Geography, culture and history can be linked and made interactive by visiting a museum.

One of the most crucial and difficult tasks of the museum today is to communicate a country's natural and cultural heritage in a way that illuminates the contemporary situation. Museums are examples of informal learning environments, which means they are devoted primarily to informal education — a lifelong process whereby individuals acquire attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from daily experience and the educative influences and resources in his or her environment.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Benefits of mixed age classroom

Many parents are not aware of term 'mix age classroom' or 'composite class' and they are curious to know it. But this concept is not new, as this method is being applied and adopted in many schools around the world, successfully.
'Earth House Alternative School' adopted this method as being a small school. Whenever teachers arranged a learning session or group work in multi age classroom, it was observed that there was a very friendly and warm learning atmosphere among children. Older children in particularly become "experts" and explaining things to the younger ones. So this kind of social interaction helps all students learn many more things as compared to a regular classroom. In mixed-age classes, older children have opportunities to practice leadership skills and pro-social behaviors, like helping and sharing. Development of social or emotional skills is possible at ease, in a mixed age classroom.

Multi-age classrooms or composite classes are classrooms with students from more than one grade level.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Story telling and cross curriculum links for enhanced learning

New research shows that 70% of what we learn is consumed through storytelling. For centuries, people have used stories to pass on knowledge. When information is embedded in the context of a story, it is transferred to a listener or reader in a unique way.

Students who learn through telling and reflectively processing their stories develop skills that enable them to link subjective and objective perspectives, capture the complexity of experience and bring about thoughtful change to self and practice.
When storytelling is used as a robust mode of inquiry, student learning is enhanced in multiple ways.

Stories bring learning to life in early years. A head teacher said: “I realized that this is truly inclusive learning – the impact is as significant on the gifted and talented as it is on reluctant and disengaged children – they all achieved together.”

Meaningful storytelling processes and activities incorporate opportunities for reflective dialogue, foster collaborative endeavor, nurture the spirit of inquiry and contribute to the construction of new knowledge. In addition, cultural, contextual and emotional realities can be acknowledged, valued and integrated into storytelling processes.

Last two weeks early year classes of 'Earth House Alternative School' were learning in an interactive way using the theme from famous story 'The Tiger Who Came To Tea'

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Importance of an educational psychologist in a school

According to a report from NCLD (National Center for Learning Disabilities) 'Today 57% of students with disabilities spend more than 80% of their day in general education classrooms, yet general education teachers consistently report that they do not have the skills they need to effectively instruct diverse learners, including students with disabilities.
So general education teachers must understand how to work with a growing population of diverse students. As students with learning disabilities are often overlooked or misunderstood. Understanding the implications of learning disabilities, preparing to teach students with diverse characteristics, and learning to accommodate students with learning disabilities are essential for general teachers.

Field trip to a bakery shop

For generations, in Bangladesh people knew that bakery means baked bakarkhani, pithas etc used as snacks. But now a days cakes, pastry and other food items that are sold commercially are replacing traditional homemade pithas, especially in urban areas.
Our children are in love for breads, cakes, tarts, pastries etc, but our traditional snacks still have value in our society.

More about our traditional snacks:

Bakarkhani(also called Bakorkhani, Bakharkhoni) breads are legendary and have been in existence in Dhaka from around the middle of eighteenth century. Bakarkhani or Pithas are often eaten at small meals, such as breakfast or as a snack with tea.

Pitha refers to a indigenous food and food tradition of Bangladesh. For pitha/peetha there is no similar word in English. To explain others in English we interpret pitha/peetha as a rice cake or pie. Pitha/peetha is a part of life and culture of the Banglis, but it is not part of our daily menu.
Most pithas/peethas are seasonal, specially prepared in the winter season because of some ingredients which are available only in winter season.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Field trip to Bangladesh National Museum

November 15, 2014 was the day to go for a field trip to 'Bangladesh National Museum'. We all were very excited to visit our national museum.  Our goal or purpose of this field trip was pr-planned and before leaving our school we reviewed it again. A '1st floor gallery index' of the museum was handed over to teachers.

What is a museum and why we need to visit it?

A museum conserves and exhibit the tradition, customs and heritage of a country. From a field trip to a museum, we can learn important concepts that derived from history, tradition, customs, persons, art and cultures.
Few facts about Bangladesh National Museum:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A field trip to dentist

Monday, 10th of November, our field trip to dentist started at around 9.30 am in the morning showing a Sesame Street video to children about oral/ dental health at school. They also watched the rhyme 'Every day I brush my teeth'.

Before starting our field trip to dentist, we learned about oral health or role of a dentist.

We knew what 'dentist' do. "Dentists are doctors who specialize in oral health/hygiene."
Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth and teeth clean to prevent dental problems, most commonly, dental cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath.
The responsibilities of a dentist include:
  • Diagnosing oral diseases. 
  • Promoting oral health and disease prevention. 
  • Creating treatment plans to maintain or restore the oral health of their patients. 
  • Monitoring growth and development of the teeth and jaws. 
  • Performing surgical procedures on the teeth, bone and soft tissues of the oral cavity.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Teaching methods and tips in islam

Having a few years of experience in the teaching field I feel that 'learning and refreshing our knowledge' while teaching is very important. It is the gift of our tech age, providing us opportunity to learn a lot from online resources available at the web. We have access to loads of information by attending seminars, workshops and training programs. We learn from research, experience of other teachers and use those methods in our classrooms for teaching BUT---------- as a muslim,
We should not forget that our Prophet Hazrat Mohammad (PBUH) was the best teacher, and we can learn the techniques or tips from the methods he adopted to teach mankind. Islam itself is a school and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the best teacher and tutor whose teachings and sayings still guide, inspire and instruct the whole humanity. Prophet (PBUH) explains the nature of his duty as follows in a hadith: "Allah sent me as a teacher."
We can see the education principles and methods put forward by modern education scholars in the practices of the Prophet.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A field trip to Dhanmondi Lake

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” — Albert Einstein

Every walk is an opportunity for children to learn about the natural world. Our field trip to (adjacent to back side of 'Earch House Alternative School') was held on 25th September, Thursday. As it was the second day of my school, I was excited to have all school staff and children with us. Before going to details about our field trip, I would like to share some information about the area we visited.

Few words about Dhanmondi Lake:

Dhanmondi Lake is a lake located in the Dhanmondi residential area in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The lake was originally a dead channel of the Karwan Bazar River, and was connected to the Turag River.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ramadan and iftaar menu in Bangladesh

My friend from Pakistan asked about Bangladeshi iftaar menu. I took some pictures of iftaar dishes to post at 'FaceBook' and at the same time I thought of posting something about our cultural or traditional iftaar food at my blog. Iftaar food varies in different countries around the world. There is a cultural or traditional iftaar menu at each region and so does the Bangladesh has.

Bangladeshi towns and villages come alive with lights and decorations on the street, in shops and in the market places as Ramadan is the one of the most celebrated Bangladesh festival of the year which masses of people participate.
Islam is the largest religion of Bangladesh, the Muslim population is approximately 148.6 million, which is the fourth largest Muslim population in the world (after Indonesia, Pakistan and India), constituting 90.4% of the total population as of 2010.
In Bangladesh, a wide variety of foods is prepared to break the fast at Maghrib time. Special dishes are prepared during the Fasting of Ramadan.

Some of the common iftar items from Bangladeshi iftaar menu include Piyaju (made of lentils paste, chopped onions, green chilies, like falafel), Beguni (made of thin slices of eggplant dipped in a thin batter of gram flour), Jilapi, Muri ( puffed rice similar to Rice krispies ), yellow lentil grains, usually soaked in water and spiced with onion, garlic, chilli and other iftar items), Halim, dates, samosas, Dal Puri (a type of lentil based savoury pastry), Chola (cooked chickpeas), fish kabab, mughlai paratha (stuffed porota with minced meat and spices), pitha, traditional Bengali sweets and different types of fruits such as watermelon.

 Drinks such as Rooh Afza and lemon shorbot are common on iftar tables across the country. People like to have iftar at home with all family members and iftar parties are arranged by mosques sometimes. People also arrange iftaar parties at conventions centers, restaurants or hotels.

Muri Bharta

Summer fruits festival and early years

The summer (May, June and July) is specially treated as fruit festival season in Bangladesh when almost all the major and minor fruits are matured and available. Mangoes,Jackfruit, pineapple, guavas, lichi, berries, palms are the main fruits of summer. Of them the mango is the most popular.
9th June, 2014 Monday 'Summer Fruit Festival' was organized in our school. It was a usual hot day but early year children were excited to see and recognize a wide variety of summer fruits at 'Summer Festival 2014'.

There was arrangement of fruits display along with posters and pictures of these fruits. There was an easel board to practice 'fruit printing' for students. Another place was used to show the drawings of students relating to summer fruits.

Fruits display at a corner

Children were enthusiastic to learn about summer fruits. They also recited rhymes relating to fruits.

Fruit printing with poster colors

Summer fruit pictures drawn by students of KG
Nursery class children saying rhymes

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Green deen our earth and islam

Our School is ahead in the whole region by raising awareness and celebrating the events related to environment.

2014: March 1st and 3rd 'Green Deen' events were organised related to 'Earth' topic. There is a strong relation of being muslim and Earth.  Deen in Arabic means religion but can also be translated to path or way. So a green deen is literally an environmentally friendly religion.

Islam is based on the understanding that Allah is One, andeverything comes from Allah – He is the Creator and Sustainer. Everything in the natural world is a sign of Allah’s creation.
Islam seeks for us to establish justice and to maintain the Ea rth’s delicate balance (Mizan)

We are required to honor the trust we have with Allah (amana) and bestewards of the Earth (Khalifah)
Living a Green Deen means knowing that we have undertaken a trust ( Amana ) with our Creator to protect the planet.

Earth Day was established in 1970 to raise awareness about the environment.
In the book, "Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet," Ibrahim Abdul-Matin outlines Islam's teachings about the environment, and encourages American Muslims to become more conscious of what they can do to protect the planet. Author Ibrahim Abdul-Matin says: "Green has become the catch-all word for being environmentally friendly.

Related posts:

** What Islam teaches Muslims about protecting the planet and environment?

** In Islam, every day is Earth Day

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A learning and fun nature walk

Today 2nd part of our learning and fun outdoor activity (nature walk) happened. All boys of all play group and nursery students participated in 'nature walk'. It was a very organized walk as young kids enjoyed walking and learning along with their teachers and class mates.

Some parents residing nearby areas were also there to see our 'nature walk' and even the passing elder citizens appreciated the discipline of students.
The people around that lake were excited to see long ques of children with happy faces. Many of them stopped and asked the name of the school and questioned about the purpose of this visit.
Getting ready in the classroom for exciting nature walk

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Early years nature walk

Our School is situated at the end of "Dhanmondi Lake" branch. It takes few minutes to reach at the side ways of the lake, though you need to turn towards the back of the school building.

Getting ready at school ground for a nature walk outside the school
Every year, early year class teachers take their students for a walk to that area. Many parents reside around the Dhanmondi area and may be those children also visit nearby places but it is a special occasion for them to visit these same places with their class mates and teachers.

Peeling peanut shells and sharing
Doing some activities such as counting the peanuts etc
Teachers busy with students in groups
Exploring and enjoying nature watch with teachers
Now it's time to go back to school
Students still exploring on sideways whilst going back to school 
Today only girls of Play Group and Nursery all sections went for nature walk and tomorrow all boys will be taking part in this fun and learning outdoor activity.

Why nature walk?
To fulfill the objectives of:------
Exploring the nature that surrounds us in our day to day life.
 • Exploring the nature like flora and fauna and the sunshine and clouds.
 • To find flowers of all colours, shapes and sizes, as well as leaves of different shapes, colours and sizes.
 • To feel the different textures of all the things we found including the bark on the trees.
Listening skills: As we walk we can listen out for different sounds. The most common sounds we hear are birds, cars and buses, dogs barking, people talking, the wind.
 • Weather: Season late winter, dry leaves, winter
 • Safety rules: Follow and listen to the elders. Walk in a line and side of the road.

Main activities:
 • Sitting at ground or sideways to watch the nature. Peel the peanuts (badaam and count how many nuts they find inside it. Two friends will count together (addition) in trays.
• Collecting leaves and discover the shapes, size and texture of these leaves. Strips of papers (wrist band) and sticking leaves on these strips. We will name those strips ‘nature bands’
 • Discuss opposites ie clean/dirty, light/deep green, shadow/light, long/short.
• Relation to Green Deen (Earth): We keep our road, city clean. Dirty water, clean water.
• Flowers (Bangla related) Gaada, Daalia, Gulaab, Chandro Molika. Colours and sizes of the flowers
• Phonics sound: B-Bridge

Art and crafts Planning:
 • Students sat down in class with paper and pencils and  teacher asked them about the things they had seen, heard, touched or smelled whilst on their walk, then they drew them. They had drawings of birds, flowers, trees, clouds, the sun, and the bridge or buildings around the lake. Tomorrow insha Allah I will include those nature pictures in my post.

 Learning outcomes for nature walk:
 • Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment.
• Children develop positive dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, enthusiasm and imagination.
 • Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies and natural processed materials.
• Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media (conversation, drawing)
• Learn to develop communication skills and vocabulary relating to their subjects such as English and Bangla.

• Learn number relationships (as they count and do the addition while peeling peanuts)
• Learn to develop imaginary skills as they draw coming back to classroom, what they explored their nature walk.

Alhamdu Lilla we could successfully meet our objectives today and tomorrow our journey is continued with boys group-----------!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Early years Winter stage show

Now it is the late winter season in Bangladesh. Today it was foggy in the morning when 'winter stage show' was started but early year children and teachers enjoyed the whole function. It was a really warming and colorful occasion.
On the rooftop of the school it looked really bright and colorful although the stage was built very simple and on the floor level.

The main attraction of the program was 'Tuna Tuni' props prepared by KG.
Every class or section prepared English or Bangla rhymes related to winter. As Nursery class sung the vegetable song holding big vegetable format placards.
January month was a busy time for teachers as they have to work hard to make the winter Pitha or stage show programs successful.

More pictures of the winter show:

Friday, January 31, 2014

Winter season celebrations and Pitha festival

Winter season comes in Bangladesh region for a very short time. It stays in this region, more or less 2 months. Few weeks earlier we celebrated 'Winter festival' and I am sharing few of the pictures of this festival.

On 30th January, 2014 we arranged 'Pitha festival' at our school.

Few words about Pithas:
Pithas are are a part of food tradition and food culture of Bangladeshi cuisine. For pitha/peetha there is no similar word in English. It is an interesting thing that there is word in English we can translate or refer to this traditional food. We interpret pitha/peetha as a rice cake or pie. But it’s not like the traditional cake or pie what is common in the western world and in their food culture.

Pitha is not part of Bengali's daily menu. Most pithas/peethas are seasonal, specially prepeared in the winter season because of some ingredients which are available only in winter season. And pithas/peethas of the winter season are the most delicious – a special combination with the climate of winter cold.
It was really hard work to search online for pitha pictures or description and at last I stopped at the blog 'We love our Bangladesh' with a nice description and lot of pictures about pithas.
Reference: 'We love our Bangladesh' blog

I am now sharing the pictures of the festival:

Winter foods including traditional Bangla cuisine 'Pithas'

Pitha festival held on January 30th, 2014:

Enthusiast Nursery class watching 'Bhapa pitha making process'

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