Tuesday, February 13, 2018

WOLPE (Women - Our Little Play, Episodes)

At the beginning of the academic year, a group of the older children were  introduced to Little Women, a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott published in 1880. The novel follows the lives of four sisters and is loosely based on the author’s childhood experiences with her three sisters. This exposure began a discussion of different narrative arcs that the story could have taken and from there emerged the idea of a modern interpretation. The children decided to adapt the interpretation as a play. Over the next six months, this creative writing project went through cycles of drafting, revising and editing. During this process, the question of how to present it emerged and the children settled on filming the play. The script went through editing again to allow for it filming as episodes. The first episode is now ready for viewing. 

From learning about the historical context of the novel setting through the study of the Civil War, to converting the book into a play with modern echos and engaging the entire school to shoot a serialised film this project has taken off in many unexpected directions. 

On the 5th of Feb, students, teachers and parents of Shibumi queued up outside the library for the much awaited premiere of the prelude. 



Queueing up
 The prelude was a revelation of sorts, showcasing the children's work in the areas of script writing, costumes, location, acting and film making. In case you missed it, worry not! (or if you wish to watch it again). There is a separate channel on Youtube, WOLPE Youtube Channel, where one can view all the videos related to WOLPE. If you would like to receive an update when a new episode is released then please click the red SUBSCRIBE button on the top right corner of the page. Alternately, you can just visit the page and look for new episodes and view them. Enjoy 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Angadibail Adventures

We were away in the forest of Angadibail for ten days with our youngest group of children. Fourteen young minds between the ages of 5 and 9 were off on this little adventure together.

We reached Angadibail. It was a forest. There were farms surrounding this area. There was a stream nearby. It was soooooooooo amazing. In the forest we saw Malabar giant squirrel, Panther poo, languor and many birds.

Do you know that langoors kill the Malabar giant squirrel and just leave them there? 

At  night it was dark, little fire flys would come out and there would be a little sparkling glow in the trees. We could see many stars at night without the city  light and noise. In the morning the forest was full of chirping sounds. It was beautiful to live there.

- Vibha (9)

We were greeted in the forest by Savita's amazing team. Ishwar Anna, who is full of the most amazing forest stories. Kafeel , who was our guardian angel. Baby akka, who always managed to cook some delicious food for us. Beera, the dog who had once met a leopard ! The cows, the hens and the cutest kittens!

Bella and Thuppa are two really small kikkens. They both have the same pattern on their heads. When i see the kittens I really feel like touching them but instead I sit next to them. They automatically come and sit in my lap and I can feel them purr.
On our last night at Angadibail we couldn’t see the kittens anywhere. I thought they might be playing somewhere so i wasn’t worried. We all went to sleep. In the morning I went to the kittens basket, when I looked inside, the basket was empty! Now I was starting to get a bit worried. I kept wondering: If I was a kitten, where would I go if I go? I kept repeating this and finally decided to go look for them. I went to the chicken area, but they were not there. I looked for them near the cow shed, but no luck! I looked for them in the warmth of the kitchen, but they were nowhere to be seen.
I told Ganga Aunty about the missing kittens and she assured me that they will be around somewhere. My search for them ended with the breakfast gong. In my thoughts I was still looking for them. We didn’t see them all day. When I was in the boat to the beach I was thinking about them. I figured they were lost and hoped they were safe. While we were at the beach, I sat next to Tanu di. Mahiti and Bhavya were already cuddling there. Tanu di told us a silly story about how the little kittens had become big fire balls and that they would never come back. After that Bear (Kafeel) told us a sweet story of how the kittens got lost, but he said nothing about them returning.
                In the morning while we bounced in the waves I had forgotten about the kittens. We were soon chugging along in a train back to Bangalore and at night Savita Aunty called to tell us that the kittens were back! I was delighted!
(I teased Tanu di about the super silly story that she had cooked up!)
Zain (9)

Our ten days were full of leisure, star gazing , story telling, forest walks, boat ride on the river and one night at the beach!

We had almost reached Yaaana when we spotted two different paths. We didn’t know which one of the two to take! It was only Mauliki, Mahiti, Vibha, Bhavya and me!!
We took the risk of going straight and entering Yaana while Vibha kept telling that “We were going to be lost  forever!!!”

 "Oh God!"

There were so many people there but there was so one we knew.  We came back and started calling for help. After some time of calling we heard another call. It was Kafeel anna. 

"Wow! What luck!"

After sometime we saw Tanu didi, Kafeel Anna, Aman, Zaid and Dinesh anna. We went with them and to our surprise we ended up on the same path. We saw Nachiket , Zain and Sharad Bhaiya waiting for us. 

"What!?? We didn’t even notice them there!"

- Advaith (9)

When we went to the beach we went to the restaurant area to get firewood for the barbeque. There was a man. When he saw my hair he said “ Oh Wig! Wig! You wear a wig!” He then tried to pull my hair off!My hair didn’t come off. Nachi and I laughed so much! 

Another man gave us firewood.


Vessels, ladies, bottles, jars,
Squirrels, Giant Malabars!
Aracanut, coconut, cashewnut trees,
Sunbirds, hornbills, butterflies and bees!
Sugarcane, machaan, fields and stream,
Savita, Ishwar, Kafeel’s team,
Pebbles, pods and fish of the stream!
The day’s over and now is night,
Next to the fire,under the stars bright.
-         - Sharad


      Nugli akka with her tribal stories and Capt. Preetam with the stories about the stars were some of our forest treats! We also did leaf art, brick making, basket weaving and so much more!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Giving Week Round up - Skills sharing

Each day of the giving week was filled with sharing of skills, planned and executed by the children. In the morning, there was football, folk dance and running on offer. The afternoon had activities like making ninja blades and nature art. On Friday, there was a treasure hunt activity that combined the game of treasure hunt with the skill of tree climbing. The clues were placed on nine different across the Shibumi campus. There were five teams and in each team every person had to take turns climbing a tree to fetch the clues. The whole experience was exhilarating.  The week was brought to a close with a music performance on the keyboard and violin by the children.

Watch some of the moves in the folk dance.

There was time for some cool moves as well :)

And this is how it is done...

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Giving Week Round up - Find Out

The first task for the 'Find Out' group was to get out and find out ways in which we could give.  We got on to our faithful minivan and went looking for people, spaces, and animals around Somanahalli that needed help. Finally, we decided that we would clean up Thottikallu (TK) Falls and help out in a local farm.

For the first four days, armed with gloves and garbage bags we set about cleaning TK Falls. The task, as we discovered, was not easy. The plastics had to be separated from the paper and the glass, visitors coming in had to be educated about littering, and discussions were needed with the lady assigned to pick up the garbage. This was clearly just the beginning!

On the last day of giving week we visited a local farm and helped in plucking out weeds from the bean patches. As we were at it, there were many interesting questions coming up from the children - 'Why are we doing this?', 'How do the weeds harm the crops?' ' How long have these beans been growing?' ' I wonder what it would be like if I had to do this work everyday?', 'Is this how much work that goes into growing all vegetables?', 'Can we throw this mud at each other for a while, please?'. And so on it went. 

Giving Week Round up - Anganwadi

Engaging with the tiny tots at the Anganwadi centre opposite Shibumi during the week through some interactive activities was a delightful experience for everyone involved. Monday was spent on warming up to each other. Playing with clay in the Anganwadi centre was the activity. Tuesday saw them take baby steps into Shibumi. The sand pit was invaded and soon mountains, balls, and towers were springing up.

Playing in the swing and running up and down the back verandah, touching the drawings on
the wall and shrieking with joy formed the rest of the day. Wednesday brought on more playing in the sandpit and more smiles all around. On Thursday, the tiny ones moved on to playing with the wooden blocks and making structures twice as tall as themselves.  

After a monochromatic, predominantly brown, four days, it was time for an explosion of colours on Friday. Large sheets of paper were laid out in Bijitsu. Tentative brush strokes were soon replaced with bold moves on hands and legs. The children were drenched in paints. The adults were not too far behind.  The giving week ended on a colourful high.

Monday, December 18, 2017

A week of Giving

Today is the first day of Giving Week. This is also the last week of school.
I think we are having Giving Week because we only care for Shibumi and we thought we could care
for the space around Shibumi.
Some of the things we are doing in Giving Week are:

Santhe : The Santhe group have been asking people for things that are in good condition that they don't want. With these things they will set up a market in the village where anyone can come and take anything they want without having to pay for it. The last few weeks Shibumi was getting flooded by generous and interesting things.We didn't have enough space to store it at Shibumi.

Anganwadi : The Anganwadi is a small school for really small children opposite Shibumi. Some of us will spend some time with the children and do some activities with them . We will bring the children to Shibumi to play in the sandpit.

 Find out : The Find Out group didn't know what to do so they thought they would explore the area and if there was anything to do they would do it!

 Skills : Some of us decided to offer a skill that we know to the others.

It has been a lovely day! I learnt how to dance and make Ninja blades.

Zain (9 years)


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Dance with Joy

The four of us, (Asba, Srishti, Suhaan and Usha) accompanied by Roohi aunty went to Auroville, Pondicherry for a dance/circus workshop. The workshop was held in our teacher, Calou’s circus dome. The dome was white and made of metal, with a blue and green fibreglass circle on the very top, to let the light in.
The circular floor was red-oxide on the outside, cement inside, with tiles decoratively placed everywhere. There was a wooden seating along the edge of the floor. Around the fibreglass, there were metal rods, from which there hung pink and green aerial silks, and trapezes.

At one end of the dome, there were two sliding doors with mirrors, that out to a small storage room. It had a spongy mattress, yoga mats, magic chairs, juggling balls, hula hoops and unicycles.
We started off with simple yoga stretches. This was followed by Calou demonstrating simple moves on the looped aerial silk. She also showed us some acro yoga. We then moved onto the aerial silks, where we learned to climb up in two different ways and come down gracefully. She taught us to do splits, flips and how to hold ourselves up without our hands.                                                                                        

By the second day, our arms were sore, and we couldn’t lift our own bodies. We could barely climb up 10 ft and wrap our feet around the silks; Calou had to help us with that. We also spent a lot of time on the trapeze, which was seven feet off the floor.
We stood on it, hung from it, and wrapped ourselves around it and let go of our hands! We used ‘magic’ chairs to do shoulder stands and flips. We also juggled. It required a lot of concentration and was quite difficult. Finally, Calou showed us a few tricks with hula-hoop and we were done. Calou was friendly, and a very good teacher. She spoke with a thick French accent.