pratham books champion : poornima sardana

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    Storytelling Session by Poornima Sardana on World Read Aloud Day, 2012Text : Poornima Sardana, Photographs : Sudeep Shyamal

    I have always been intrigued by narratives and for quite some time I had been contemplating on

    having a storytelling session with children, for there is always so much to learn from them.

    Thanks to Pratham Books and Lit World (http://blog.prathambooks.org/2012/03/tribe-of-pratham-books-champions.html), I volunteered to read out a story called Paper Play (Written by Mala

    Kumar, Illustrated by Ruchi Shah, Pratham Publication) to children in Ahmedabad.

    7th March is World Read Aloud Day and though I wanted to conduct multiple sessions and reach

    out as many children as I could, considering the festival Holi, I conducted todays session with asmall yet exceptionally vibrant and enthusiastic group of children. The next session shall be held at

    a school along with Paper Craft Workshop. Following are notes and pictures from todays

    experience.

    Todays session would have been impossible without our jovial and loving Prakash Bhai, whoworks at the National Institute of Design (NID), Gandhinagar. Prakash Bhai and his wife were

    extremely supportive and helpful in conducting this session at their special terrace.

    The playful terrace

    Artwork on the terrace has been done by students of Toy and Game Design at NID. This lively

    environment was indeed a great boon.

    http://blog.prathambooks.org/2012/03/tribe-of-pratham-books-champions.htmlhttp://blog.prathambooks.org/2012/03/tribe-of-pratham-books-champions.htmlhttp://blog.prathambooks.org/2012/03/tribe-of-pratham-books-champions.htmlhttp://blog.prathambooks.org/2012/03/tribe-of-pratham-books-champions.html
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    Colours of Joy!

    All Set!

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    And the story begins with the window!

    We started with four, in due course via interest and word of mouth we were seven children and threeadults. In the beginning, I also gave sheets (we reused sheets which went waste in an earlier

    purpose) and pencils, so that they could write down about things we discuss throughout the story. I

    did not want it to be a one way process, and intended to make it as participatory as I could.

    This is where we discussed

    our favourite foods

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    Discussing Bittoo who sings popular movie songs

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    Keen interest?

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    Children singing their favorite songs. Top left : Here Jinal is singing a recent Bollywood number.

    Bottom right : Singing Gujarati version of Kolaveri Di

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    Top : Everyone's enjoying and engaged

    Bottom : Now original Kolaveri being sung by Arth, upcoming Rockstar

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    The illustration style in the book was quite liked by children as they repeatedly asked to go throughthe pictures themselves.

    We also spoke about paper boats, our favorite movies, actors, whom we idolize as heroes and whereall would we like to travel, just as Bittoo in the story wished to sail all around the world in his paper

    boat.

    Since Bittoo seemed to be liking fame, all of them wrote their answers on what they wanted to be

    when they grew up and what were their dreams. From driving an auto rickshaw to wearing high

    heels, we sure had fun discussing our dreams.The children also shared their favorite destinations

    and where all they would like to travel, Kankaria Lake (Ahmedabad) and Canada seemed to be

    much preferred locations.

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    Children kept cracking jokes in between and shared incidents from school

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    All ears!

    Now, we reached an interesting stage when Jinal promptly volunteered to cut a hole in the paper just

    like children in the story did. Arth drew the circle, Jinal cut it with scissors (she seemed to be really

    enjoying craft) and everyone got their picture clicked from behind the hole, just like in the book!

    And of course, each time Smile Please!

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    Top : Dhruv and Aryan

    Middle : Hetu and Arth

    Bottom : Jinal

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    Top: A look at the illustrations

    Bottom : Children telling names of their best friends. Dhruv's best friend is Salman Khan.

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    This input from Dhruv came in when we were talking about names of our friends as compared to

    names of children in the book. Since he mentioned Salman Khan as his best friend everyone cameup with their favorite characters on Television. And voila! they even enacted their roles :

    Arth enacting a character from "Chidia Ghar"

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    Top left : Spontaneous Garba by Aryan

    Bottom right : Spider Man!!

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    Happy Hetu thinking of her favorite character on T.V.

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    According to story, Anil redrew the SunSo why should we be left behind?

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    Top : Shaping the Sun

    Bottom : Different representations

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    Once the story came to an end, all of them narrated a story/joke each. Here Hetal is telling a joke on

    how a Lady applied lipstick all over her face during electricity cut and ended up looking like a Post

    Office.

    Jinal narrated a story on Ghosts later. This led us to talk about villians. According to Hetal, Aryanwas one for he would tease her.

    Children giving feedback. "Very Good Story"- Aryan

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    And now our terrace version of Art Attack :

    Since the story began with a window, I asked them to list down what they possibly see from their

    window (including ghosts) and we could make our own window and gift it to Prakash Bhai for

    being so generous and supportive.

    The Window

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    Top : Group at work

    Bottom : Shreyas

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    Everyone must participate

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    Top : Quick recap

    Bottom : Discussing placement

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    Intense discussions

    One side almost done. Unanimous decision to keep the Ghost hidden until one opens window. Wehad two National Flags visible from our Magic Window. They also came up with a brilliant

    suggestion to put the ghost on a spring so that it would pop out and be scarier (by the way, noticedthe red teeth?) Alas! we had no spring.

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    We had enough illustrations, so we decided to put them at the back side. After all, its a magic

    window, anything can happen!

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    And we are done. The Window is gifted to Prakash Bhai by the youngest one, Dhruv.

    Since these children stay in Prakash Bhais neighbourhood, his house allows fair access (toWindow) to all of them and they can come and use/play with it any time.

    A look at our Window urf Mini Kaavad

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    Top :Window closed

    Bottom : Windows open... and Magic!

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    Backside: Notice the thoughtful alignment of the pond

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    Thank you Prakash Bhai and Sudeep Shyamal

    A very special thanks to Shruthi Raj Gangadhar and Suneeta Karri (Toy and Game Design, NID) for

    their help and support. We definitely owe a thanks to Pratham Books for giving us the opportunityto enjoy this Story.

    Today was the first time I had met these children and we ended up having great fun. Not only was it

    constructive but also a good learning experience. The children enjoyed themselves and had to be

    called back to their homes after two hours. They all liked the story but we felt it could perhaps have

    been even longer. :) A day truly spent well.

    - Poornima Sardana

    http://poornimasardana.wordpress.com

    http://poornimasardana.wordpress.com/http://poornimasardana.wordpress.com/