I hope all of you are safe and doing well in your homes, cities, and countries. We are in touch with the communities we serve over phone. All of them are safe, and our kids are reasonable and responsible. We also found out that all the parents or the guardians have a basic smart phone which allows the option of conducting classes via phone apps. This helped us design our plans for the next six months.
Arunachalam Jesudasan Trust, Madurai is happy to share this report with you. The board and the staff had quite a few meetings about the plans and strategies for the next six months. Here are the updates: The micor project is called digitizing communication for transformative art. Please check our link.
Link: https://www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/transformative-art-education-in-madurai-schools/ Short link: http://goto.gg/47789
We are trying our best to record with the artists, and send the audio visual learning materials to the community children. For the visual arts classes we will send the visual via mobile App and then send the art supplies via India Post. We are planning to work with a small group of 25 students and then share the learning materials with the other NGOs serving children and youth. Please go to the link and read about our plans.
Thank you all and stay safe.
Transformative Art Education in Madurai schools (36461):
14.12.2019 and 17.12.2019 Language for communication- Writing workshop for the University and College Students No. of participants : 50 students “Writing goals? – discover the pleasure of writing freely… Say that “I am a writer” and write freely!
“I felt free…. The atmosphere made me relax and write without inhibition” said a M Phil student from The American College
The Goal of the workshop was to discover the writer in oneself and liberate them.. The daylong workshop started at 10:00 AM and ended at 4:30 The students loved to work with Terry Nichols the resource person for the workshop
24.12.2019 Transformative Arts - Learning about modern dance with Randee Paufve and Bharathanatyam with Ms.Nivetha Mohan - 11 students Goals of the workshop – Explore physical theatre, modern dance techniques and Bharathanatyam structure
The students from various colleges had a daylong workout with Ms.Randee Paufve, Ms.Nivetha Mohan and Ms.Rohini. I never knew that I had these muscles, and they could be fluidly and gracefully moved. My body felt different– one of the participants said. Some of the student participants are physical theatre artists and a few others are part of Shakespeare club. At the end of the day they broke into groups and produced short skits.
Winter camp : 26.12.2019 to 31.12.2019 Theme on Fire and properties of fire – 9 participants
Goals of the workshop: Understand science through art – perform history of anything through art
The curriculum was very effective, consisting of painting, learning the scientific facts about fire, performing a skit they came up with. The skit traced the “history of fire” its discovery, modern fire gadgets, and responsible ways of handling fire etc.
Prof.Krishnakumar gave a great presentation to the children about the chemical and physical properties of fire. On the final day they all performed the skit they wrote. It was choreographed by Ms.Rohini and Nivetha Mohan.
10.01.2020 - Transformative and creative use of language – Tamil language instruction – symposium for University and College professors 12 professors and language teachers
This was a very unique day of bringing all the Tamil scholars, teachers and study abroad instructors together, to discuss about Tamil teaching and learning. It was a well rounded discussion on teaching an inclusive language that is inclusive to encourage freedom of expression, sensitivity and build relationship.
11.01.2020 leather Puppetry and story telling - Learning to create puppetry with Muthu Lakshma Rao – replacing paper with goat leather 15 students
Meet Lakshmana Rao – The tholpavai koothu kalaignar. Tholpavai is shadow- leather puppetry, in which the artist performs with the leather puppets and narrates a story.The tholpavai, or the leather puppets are made of goat skin. To the children he taught with thick chart paper and bamboo sticks. These worked fine The children learnt the stories of deforestation and advocacy for tree planting, and water conservation.
12.01.2020 : Communication workshop for NGO professionals – Creative methods to work with the community - Finished with a performance of Muthulakshmana Rao – Themes on Water conservation, forest preservation 12 participants
NGOs language and Communicating needs: The daylong workshop had very unique participants who work to transform the society. We covered a range of topics from identity, being a unique community, building knowledge economy, running awareness programs, exploring partnerships etc. The participants were from NGOs working with distressed women, underprivileged children, transgender community, and street children.
25.01.2020 Dance workshop for SSSV College students – Learning communicative dance movements – Transforming performance. Learning with Randee Paufe (23 students)
The acronym SSSV stands for Sri Satguru Sangeetha Vidyalayam. This is a college that imparts performing arts education, mainly south Indian classical art forms. The daylong workshop taught the students newer realms of physical movements, expressions and performing technique. They explored the possibilities of using the classical art form to communicate social themes.
2.02.2020 Working with CEWAS Children – 22 children
CEWAS is an organization located in Kadavur, working with rural women and children. AJ Trust went there with the student volunteers to teach dance, theatre and basic material of STEM. We were there over three weekends.
The first STEM and Arts program at CEWAS, Kadavur
Children from Vemparali, Parali Pudur and Velichacha Natham attended the workshop.
This is the curriculum we had already tested and succeeded in semi-urban Madurai.
The theme was "Kaadu" (forest). The children explored all elements that make up a thriving forest.
Our dance instructor and Honorary Associate Director(performing arts) Ms.Nivetha Mohan led a team of three teachers: Ms.Sorna Lakshmi, Ms.Alagu Deepa and Ms.Gayathri.
The daylong program is available as a video here's the link:
09.02.2020 working with CEWAS Children 30 children
What is my language? Dr.Vidya and Shabnam working with children studying up to fourth grade.
They were around 7-10 years.-- confident, quick, witty and keen in listening. This group had some sweet confusions about language—especially in terms of knowing what words are Tamil and what words have been borrowed from other languages.
When Dr.Vidya asked them to tell her the Tamil word for "Dance" they unanimously said dance and dancer were Tamil words!
They were convinced that "foot" and "food" are the same and you eat these--it is all "Saappadu". This stems from the fact that Tamil does not have a distinct ‘t’ and ‘d’.
Everything from hip to toe is "kaal" in Tamil -"lek" in English.
On the other hand, these children could sing the latest and upbeat film song without missing a word! One little guy came up to Dr. Vidya in the end and said "Nandri" (thank you) for teaching him the English word for his kannukkutti (calf).
Being bilingual at school level has its merits!
16.02.2020 working with CEWAS Children 36 children
Emperor's New Clothes.
The children loved the story. Everyone in the group was engaged. They felt compelled to come up with the moral of the story.
One kid said, “Kings should not be so foolish"
Another said "one should not waste time in making clothes."
The girl who volunteered to be Little Red Riding Hood in the previous week, refused to play the King's role, saying “it is a foolish character. I don't want to be that"
Ms.Nivetha demonstrated the scope and range that the ‘foolish’ character threw open.
Dear Friends of AJ Trust!
Apologies for the delay in sending this project report. AJ Trust is doing very well in the areas of curriculum development, curriculum instruction and conducting model classes for the Transformative Art Education project as well as the STEM for homeless children in Madurai.
Festival Camp : 27.09.2019 to 02.10.2019
AJ Trust has been focusing on themes and curriculum related to environment. This involves teaching the children about creative, inclusive and sensitive approaches to handle the environmental challenges. We have worked on the concepts of Rain, Water, and Forest. This time around, it was the wind. “Kaatru”
During this festival camp our dancers experimented and produced two theatrical dance pieces set to Waltz No.2, Shostakovich by Hauser and Vivaldi-Gloria:1
They enjoyed interpreting the western classical pieces, and adapting it to an Indian theater and dance art form.
Their theme was 'wind'. The campers learned a poem by the Indian poet, Subrahmania Bharatiyar.
Sit back and watch the performance.
This was a special camp. We celebrated the power of wind. The children learnt a verse from the national poet, Bharathiyar:
The poem translates as:
'All that are alive are the children of the
Wind,' says the Veda.
Life is Wind.
The live matter is the Wind's doing;
Mother Earth thrives.
Her breath is the Wind. On Earth, Wind is life.
Wind makes stirs and tempest over water;
Electrifies the sky;
The Wind turns water into fire and fire into water;
He, turns water into particles and particles into water;
The Wind shall decide the end of the Universe.
Let him protect us.
The children set their production to two western classical pieces; Waltz No.2, Shostakovich by Hauser and Vivaldi-
The children created the story/script for the mime, and their teachers choreographed the moves.
8.10.2019 Commenced the new sessions of advanced classes from Vijayadasami day:
Vijayadasami is a very special holiday, celebrated at end of the nine days celebration for the goddesses of power and quality. The name means “tenth day of victory” It is considered auspicious to begin all new learning programs, particularly arts and science. We started the advanced classes for the students who have completed and graduated the four year DDM Course. New students also enrolled.
Wednesday classes : Stem and Choreography :
Recently, we have included intensive practice session for dance, and a session for STEM.
In the dance session, the children take a poem or a song and try abinaya – meaningful mime, to narrate a story, message or a concept. The music and percussion pieces are chosen by Dr.Vidya and the teachers from SSSV and these are sung live or specially recorded for the children’s performance.
In the STEM session the children write a quiz about the everyday science, technology, math, and history and discuss the answers. We cover some basic language and grammar class as well.
Designing a 30 hour comprehensive performing arts program for children and youth:
Ms.Nivetha Mohan, in conjunction with Dr.Vidya, has designed a 30 hour comprehensive Bharathanatyam introductory course. This has all the essential components of the dance form – Abhinaya – mime and gestures for narration; Nritha- simple to complex rhythm structure; Bhava- expressions, sensitive portrayal of the story or concepts, and body language and postures; The songs selected are classical, secular pieces, besides the traditional invocation songs for Ganesha, Saraswati and Nataraja.
DDM course progress :
The dance, drawing and multimedia course will commence once we improve our finances. It is likely to commence from January 15, 2020. In the meantime, new students have been enrolled into the course and they are taking the dance and STEM classes. We have utilized this time to review the curriculum, teacher/participant performance, and resource management. We have also trained the peer educators, approached retired and emeritus professors to help with the curriculum review.
Given the delays fund disbursements, payment towards the students’ stipend and travel stipend are pending. We are working closely with GlobalGiving, to implement an effective alternative disbursement method and very soon it will be resolved. Thanks for the cooperation and patience.
A warm greetings from AJTCMC staff and community!
The months of June and July are usually hectic for the schools and colleges. Therefore, we had to plan our after school and week end classes, as per the availability of the students.
Graduation Day on 1 June 2019 for the DDM Course that commenced in 2014
This was the day, the I batch DDM course students completed their projects and they were awarded certificates. We also had a display of their paintings, interacted with the parents and gave an orientation about the 2019-2023 classes. There were 55 students and the attendance during the four years was on and off. Since these children were dependent on their parents to come to the centre, there was an irregularity. However all the children who graduated, completed 120 hours of painting and drawing, 90 hours of multimedia applications on the computer and 140 hours of dance over the four years.
June 2019 : 18 to 20 June 2019Working with Artist Babu: STEM for middle school – An art oriented workshop and training session for the peer educators
STEM - The second session for the potential college students who would later become trainers. We had 9 sessions of quizzing each for ten minutes and 6 hours of lecture and discussions. These have been highly promising sessions. It was "all women" sessions though we didn't plan that way. For the next sessions we will improve the gender balance! We had thirteen participants on three days. Allwin was the main science lecturer and Dr.Vidya handled preparing a challenging assessment.
6th July 2019 A history class with paint brush....
On Saturday the 6th July 2019 we had a great history class with the trainers and peer educators. For the discussion session, we watched sections of the movies Troy, Rudrama Devi, Bahubali, Jodha Akbar and Gandhi. The conversations were around understanding the historical trajectories of science, technology, war and peace, and the development.
The missing data is about the "civilians" ordinary men, women and children. We analysed the five landscapes in the Tamil Country, with a few murals and contemporary paintings.
13 July 2019
Clearing Math Myths...
The math class yesterday had great responses. It took a while for the students to warm up. The teachers had to try hard to make the learners understand that learning math is not a stiff, competitive text book activity. The math problems don't exist in the text books and the text answers don't match the real life solutions...
It was money management, profit, loss and decision making for the juniors.
Pythagoras theorem and its applications for the senior learners. We fitted in two fun activities to understand angles, objects, and perspectives in visuals. The two tallest kids were seated on two high ladders, and the others were asked to sit in various corners of the hall at different heights...
In another activity the created various angles and right angled triangles using wooden scales. The four hours of class went very fast.
Impact: During these months we have networked with the next batch of peer teachers and learners. Since we usually train the undergraduate students in the II and III years of the course, the configuration of the teachers keep changing every year. Now AJTCMC training system is adept to handle this training, and ensure that there is continuity in the teaching style and modules.
Programs : From the 24th February through the 24th April 2019
Curriculum development creating modular units and instruction methods :
Dr.V.A.Vidya, and Prof.Krishnakumar, Artist Babu and Ms.Nivetha Mohan
No.of School children from the rural area: 84
No. of college students from the urban arts colleges: 17
No.of volunteers : 18
24.02.2019 - Parali
The class on 24.02.2019 was a follow up of the previous classes on the 16th,17th , and the 23rd February 2019. The class schedules and training modules were as follows:
10:00 AM to 10 45 AM : Basics about writing, English spelling, pronunciation and preposition. We worked with 0 level vocabulary of 500 three lettered English words.
11:00-12:00: Basic computer and excel program
12:00 – 1:15 – Bharathanatyam – the classical dance
2:15-3:45 - Painting and multimedia – They tried computer drawing and basic animation.
Teaching Staff: English was handled by Dr.V.A.Vidya, and assisted by Shabnam Banu and Sulthan Ammal
Basic computer and excel program was taught by Sultan Ammal assisted by Shabnam Banu
Bharathanatyam session was handled by the Sri Sathguru Sangeetha Vidyalayam students, led by Ms.Nivetha Mohan, the main teacher
Painting and Multimedia was taught by Artist Babu Kothandam, assisted by the peer educators and other volunteers
Transportation: AJ Trust arranged for a mini bus for the roundtrip.
Lunch and refreshments: Prepared by The Amudhu Staff welfare canteen and was served by the volunteers, trainers and peers
02.03.2019 Thiagrarajar Arts College Science students’ STEM Training
This was an intensive workshop for the Thiagarajar Arts and science College students pursuing undergraduate degree in physics with mathematics as ancillary. The class had many self guided learning activities that constituted 50%of the program. The students were given tasks related to explaining science, taking scientific information to people or thinking logically about a problem, by applying the concepts of science. The group worked very well and produced a power point presentation for use in a middle school class room. The motifs and objects the selected to explain Einstein’s relativity fitted the cultural context of a Tamil speaker, and class room in a middle school.
10:00 – 11:15: Language exercises related to use of appropriate prepositions for scientific language. The differences in Tamil and English text books, and how to resolve the issues arising out of Tamil translations
11:30 – 1:00 the students prepared a lesson plan and taught one concept by using the black board, and teaching a scientific concept in Tamil. They had to come up with appropriate examples.
2:00- 4:00 – Art for scientists – drawing and designing and using the drawings and animation techniques to create simple learning materials
10:00-11:00 - Grammar and vocabulary for mathematics
11:00-11:30 : English reading - vocabulary
11:30-1:00 : Dance - A lot of practice and 2 singing sessions
2:00 – 4:00 : Multimedia with Artist Babu
03.03.2019 Grammar, computer and multimedia, drawing and dance classes for Parali children Day long workshop. This as well, was a follow up class of the previous ones and ve continued with the same concepts and skills
09.03.2019 STEM Orientation program for SSSV Music College students who would be trainers for the summer camp
10:00-11:15 – Orientation about language
11:30-12:15 – Mathematics and basic concepts
12:15 – 1:00 – review and recall of elementary to middle school science
2:00 – 4:00 – Art class with Babu Kothandam, learning to understand perspectives in drawing and its importance in science and scientific designing – The students also contextualized the perspectives in their own subjects – performing Bharatha natyam
10.03.2019 Dance session for the children from Parali
As per the request from the children the final day of the 4 days learning session ended up having performing arts learning sessions throughout the day.
10:00-11:15 – Singing practice
11:30-12:15 – Learnt the dance move
12:15 – 1:00 – Dance with the teachers and peers
2:00 – 4:00 – Art with Artist Babu and more dance with the peer teachers
20.4.2019 STEM Summer Camp Training for SSSV students : II Session
STEM Orientation program for SSSV Music College students who would be trainers for the summer camp
10:00-11:15 – Language and grammar – use of effective language in a class room
11:30-12:15 – Mathematics and elementary level arithmetic problems
12:15 – 1:00 – review and recall of elementary to middle school science - Part II
2:00 – 4:00 – Art class with Babu Kothandam, learning to understand perspectives in drawing and its importance in science and scientific designing – They also learnt basic computer graphics The students also contextualized the perspectives in their own subjects – performing Bharatha natyam
22.04.2019 STEM - Training for the performing Arts College Students from Satguru Sangeetha Vidyalayam and discussion for creating materials for class instruction STEM Orientation program for SSSV Music College students who would be trainers for the summer camp
10:00-11:15 – Orientation about the goals of the summer camp and preferred raga for songs – composed music
11:30-12:15 – Practiced the songs for recording
12:15 – 1:00 – review and recall of elementary to middle school science – in the context of trash, biodegradable trash etc
2:00 – 4:00 –Rehearsed and record music
The songs were about trees and animal life, and the translation of Bob Dylan’s Blowing in the wind.
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