Keeping things real

Sonika Lakhera

As individuals working with children, one of the things that we are constantly doing is to look out for interesting things to share in class.

So while one day, it could be different kinds of pine cones, on another, it could be coins and currencies from across the world. A child might bring in different kinds of bird feathers or seashells or flowers, and even fish or snails or snake skins!

curriculum-come-alive Sometimes, these experiences help us strengthen our understanding of a particular curricular concept, and at other times, they enable us to extend our learning beyond the stated curriculum. Most importantly, they are just a lot of fun, and a constant reminder of the fact that there are many, many wonderfully interesting things scattered all around us!

Sometime ago, I happened to read about how the daily newspaper could be turned into a very effective learning tool. Till that moment, we (the children and I) had used the newspaper mostly as a means of keeping ourselves abreast of the recent happenings around the world and sharing interesting news articles on different topics. I had never really thought deeply about how else the newspaper could be used.

So earlier this year, I decided to devote some of my summer vacation to the ‘study of newspapers’! While I did not have any fixed agenda in mind, I was interested in exploring how the news reports could be linked to various curricular topics included in the upper primary curriculum (Std. V – VII) of the Maharashtra State Board.

Here’s what I found…

Newspaper reports can make the curriculum come alive
Environmental pollution as a topic of study, often finds place in science and geography textbooks. A newspaper report on land and air pollution caused by the improper handling and storage of coal by the Mumbai Port Trust and the resulting health issues faced by the residents of the area, brings many of the curricular topics under the umbrella of ‘Environmental Pollution’, to the forefront.

The author is based in Mumbai and works with children in the primary grades. She can be reached at

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