C Rama Devi
In our school, one day in a month is dedicated to fun learning. The last Friday of every month is observed as NO SCHOOLBAG DAY in the primary section of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Public School (Vidyashram), Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. Students wait eagerly for this day; they do not bring their schoolbag stuffed with books. It’s a day filled with activities planned in advance by the teachers. It’s a break for the students from the monotony of reading and writing. The activities are planned to arouse their curiosity and inquisitive nature. The aim of the day is to focus on personality development and life skills. The school has set up many innovative corners for the students to explore on days like No Schoolbag Day. I present a glimpse of some of the activities we do.
• Students create models of the solar system, organs in the body, etc., using clay, recycled paper, and such other materials. They observe the flora and fauna on the school campus and collect leaves, seeds, feathers, etc., and make a scrapbook.
• Group presentations on relevant concepts – assigned well in advance – are carried out.
• Visits to the Science Park, where they explore working models and experience laboratories firsthand.
• Origami to learn geometry in an interesting way.
• Games such as hopscotch are tailored to have math answers, so that students develop their mental arithmetic skills while playing.
Social studies activities
• Map pointing activities to learn directions.
• Students visit the neighbourhood and explore the local bank, post office, hospital, police station and places of worship to understand more about their surroundings.
Students are engaged in a wide variety of fun activities which are planned in English and other regional languages to enhance their communicative, interactive, grammatical and spelling skills. These activities include news reading, skit presentation, recitation, debate, essay writing, storytelling, bookmark making, scrabble, treasure hunt, grammar games and so on. Students are encouraged to follow DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) and are given story books to read in a quiet corner of their choice.
Adventure games like Burma bridge, net climbing and treehouse climbing are played by the students, who also take part in sports competitions to showcase their team work, competitiveness and sportsmanship spirit.
• Students display their creativity through various arts and craft sessions, where they make paintings, drawings, decorative items for special days, such as rakhee, annual day, etc.
• Mehendi sessions, hand painting, designing the wall magazine/display board and face painting are also planned for this day.
• A visit to the “Pancha Tatva”, a theme park within the school premises to experience the five elements of nature.
• Kids learn gardening, right from watering plants to weeding, as well as feeding farm animals.
• Stories are told in the Gazebo by the teachers, where students listen with rapt attention. Crossword puzzles, hidden pictures, spotting the difference in identical pictures are also provided.
• Outings such as field trips to the planetarium, movies, picnics, etc., are also enjoyed by the students.
These activities help students become self-reliant and confident. No Schoolbag Day is a day that both students and parents enjoy alike. They look forward to these days with eager anticipation.
The author is former Sr Principal of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Public School, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. Currently, she is the Director (Academics) Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Hyderabad Kendra. She can be reached at email@example.com.