Saturday, 23 March was a busy day at DI. Children could be seen playing at Uncle Alan's park. Basketball lovers practised in the multi-sports arena. Colourful buntings, flower decorations and thandai stalls added to the Holi festive spirit. The bar was being prepared for the Saturday night musical performance. The DI courtyard was being set up for the very first IPL match screening of the season.
Indoors@DI was being set up for the Word Wizards Workshop being conducted in collaboration between the British Council and Books@DI. British Council methodology aims at teaching language through communication and fun and that is exactly what happened in the next one-and-a-half hours.
Over forty children aged between 5 to 13 years came in, armed with writing boards and pens. British Council trainers, Munira Hussain and Shreya Basu divided the children into two groups, younger and older, and then the magic of words began.
Vocabulary building with a story
The younger children started off with a wordsearch game aimed at building vocabulary. It was based on the story Esio Trot by Roald Dahl. Soon after, the children started predicting the story using the words in the word search. This was followed by the story. The children were very interested in the magic words that Mr.Hoppy had used to make Alfie grow. So they chanted the magic words out together with action. They were really curious to know how the magic words had worked and so the story continued. After the story the children used the 13 new words that they had learnt and did a word - meaning matching card game which was a team competition.
The children enjoyed working together. Next the teacher, Shreya, acted out the words and the students had to guess the words, inspiring many excited shouts and much laughter. This was followed by a word grab race in which one representative from each team came ahead and had to grab the word that was being described. Each child had the opportunity to earn points for their teams. Finally, the children were given a vocabulary graphic organizer which they used to note , write meaning of, draw a picture of and write sentences using the words they had learnt and used during the workshop. The children enjoyed acting out the words along with the teacher.
Learning the use of extreme adjectives
The older children started by introducing themselves with an adjective to describe them. They played a sorting game to learn and understand better adjectives for common ones like 'good', 'bad' 'big' and 'small' and learnt the use of words like miniscule for small and ginormous for big.
Children tend to overuse 'very'. This was targeted in the next activity where extreme adjectives were introduced through a memory game and they learnt that words like 'scorching' could be used instead of 'very hot'. Next the children engaged in finding synonyms and extreme adjectives from newspaper papers aimed at inculcating real life skills. Finally students made a written record of their learning using a 'graphic organiser'.
Children expressed that they had never learned vocabulary in this manner and felt the one and a half hours and just flown.
The teachers encouraged the children to use their new found vocabulary and build on it.
At the end of the workshops group photos were taken and the children were asked to use a word they had learnt to describe how they were feeling. 'Jubilant' was the unanimous declaration.
Children left with a ginormous smile as they headed out to the hot snacks and cool juice that awaited the now very hungry (sorry, famished) children. I built on my vocabulary too.
[Pics by Roshan Choudhury]