India 2011

India_Flag_Wave Miss Harper is going to visit one of our link schools, Bawa Lalvani, in India on Friday 11th November 2011. Whenever she gets a chance, she will post some updates direct to this blog so we can see what she has been up to!

Please feel free to leave a comment on any of her posts!

India - The long journey home and a heart full of memories

Well, I am writing this as I sit in Dubai airport waiting for the last leg of my journey home. Dubai time it is 2.10am and I have been travelling for the longest time!

I spent most of the day in school again and it was lovely but emotional.

I saw a Grade 4 assembly to start the day and the theme was the environment and caring for our world which is our link project for this year so it was great and I have lots of video to share in an assembly when I get back.

Afer this I sat in on a Maths lesson in the Tech lab and I also visited a Science lesson and talked to the teachers about how the lessons might have been delivered in England and the similarities and differences that I noticed. It is difficult to compare them in many ways because the lessons in India are only half an hour long so there is a lot less time to develop and extend ideas and for the children to explain their ideas and reflect on their learning.

To end my visit, I asked to visit every class so that I could make sure I thanked all of the children and staff for their wonderful hospitality, kindness and for making my trip so special. I really wanted to say goodbye to everyone and had pictures taken with the classes.

When I left, it was very hard and I shared with Ms.Jaspal Gill (the principal) how honoured I felt to have been part of their school for the week and that the trip had taught me a lot, both professionally and personally.

The impact this trip has had on me is astonishing and much of my plane journey has been spent plugged into my ipod, gazing out of the window and thinking back over all I have done and learnt. I am thrilled to be coming back to WHCPS and really cannot wait to share all my experiences with everyone but I feel a strong bond with Bawa Lalvani school and I will never forget this adventure or the special people I met along the way.

See you all soon.

Miss Harper Smile

Day Five photos

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India - Day Five : My last full day at school

So, today was my last full day at school and what afabulous day it was!

I was once again welcomed to the school with a great dance (this time a modern street dance which was excellently choreographed!) and a song by the school choir. I feel such a part of Bawa Lalvani school already and it is really heart warming that the staff and children want to share their talents with me each day. I really enjoy watching them perform.

After this I visited some classes to observe lessons and talk to the children. I saw an art lesson and a maths lesson and it was interesting to watch the teachers and children at work.

I spoke to different children to answre their questions about England and our school and was even asked to sing the national anthem as the children were interested in the words and tune. I hope I did it justice!!!

Later in the morning I was invited, by special invitation, to an assembly by the infant children. This was superb and I watched every infant class perform, sharing songs, dances and poems with me. All the children from age 3 to 6 took part and each one performed their act beautifully.

I followed the assembly by spending time with each year group in the infants to share stories and songs and we had lots of fun together. I also introduced them to Shay (4JH's class mascot) and they were excited to meet him and shake his hand.

I went to observe another lesson in a junior class, this time it was grammar and again it was interesting to watch how the teaching and learning takes place in the school.

Finally, to round off the school day we used SKYPE to allow some Year 4 children to talk to some Grade 4 children and this was very exciting. The children from BLPS were thrilled to get the chance to see and speak directly with children from WHCPS and, as soon as the SKYPE was over they were asking when we would be able to do this again. It was fun to share questions and answers and to talk to each other from such a distance apart.

After school, I went for a quick power nap before heading out to do just a little more shopping. I am a bit worried that my case will be far too heavy to carry tomorrow! Still, my evening was great fun and I had wonderful conversations and a lot of laughs with the two teachers who accompanied me.

I still have some more time in school tomorrow before I have to head to Amritsar for the start of my long journey back home but I think the visit tomorrow will be tough. I have loved every second of my visit and built strong bonds with the staff and children here who are all wonderful.

I will be sorry to say goodbye to them and I suspect it will be quite emotional but I also look forward to sharing all my experiences with the children and staff at WHCPS when I return and am excited to see you all again, especially my class who I have missed lots while I have been away.

I will try to blog tomorrow when I am en route home but I look forward to seeing you soon...

Miss Harper Smile

More photos - Day 4 in India

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India Visit Day Four - A whole day at school

Hello again!

Today has been a busy one but I have enjoyed it thoroughly because I spent the whole day at Bawa Lalvani.

When I arrived, the children had once again organised a welcome for me. Some children performed a dance and then the school choir sang a song about their school. It was really good and I enjoyed it very much.

To start my day I met with a group of parents to talk about their part in school life and to answer questions about education in England. It was really exciting to be able to meet people who are linked to the school but are from the wider community and I learnt a great deal from it. The parents were all very friendly and showed a lot of interest in teaching and learning in our country.

After this I visited the infant block of the school and some of the Kindergarten, Grade One and Grade Two classes sang me the greeting songs which they learn. I also saw some Grade 3 children doing an art activity and talked to them about their work.

Some Grade 3 children had made salads for an activity they were doing and they asked me to visit them to look at (and taste!) their work. It was very creative and quite tasty too.

Later on I led a story activity with some children in which I read them a story (Giraffes Can't Dance) and talked about the events and character's feelings. The children asked me lots of questions and then they taught me some of a penguin dance that they had recently learnt and i loved joining in with them!

During the day I also met with some Grade 4 children to share our school website and to answer questions they ahd for me. They enjoyed looking at all the different information that we have on our website and asked a lot of questions about life in England, our school and what i thought about India.

After the children had gone home, I met with many of the teachers and talked to them about our teaching at WHCPS. They were very interested to find out about assessment and teaching methods and I will be sharing more with them tomorrow.

Finally, before heading back to my hotel I briefly visited Model town in Jalandhar for a bit more shopping! It was great to have some staff with me who could help me to haggle and get good prices on the things I bought.

Tomorrow will be another full day in school and I am really looking forward to it. It is the part of the visit that is the most rewarding and it is really making me think about and reflect on approaches to teaching and learning.

Right....time for bed but I will put some photos on here for you all to look at and will check in again tomorrow to update a bit more.

Miss Harper Smile


Photos - Day 3

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Day Three - Bawa Lalvani and out and about

Well, the plans changed slightly for today so I hope to be doing my story telling with the infants tomorrow now! Still, I have done lots again today and have been kept very busy dividing the day between school and some local visits.

When I arrived today, some children had arranged another special welcome. They performed two dances outside on the grass. One was a traditional dance performed by a group of girls in beautiful costumes and the second was a bhangra dance (accompanied by a student on the dohl drum which was fabulous!) which was great. I desperately wanted to get up and join in but I had to be satisfied with jigging around excitedly in my seat to the drum beat.

When they had finished performing, I had the chance to go and try a couple of moves with them while the drum was played. I absolutely LOVE bhangra music and the dance gthat the children had learnt was incredible and very cleverly choreographed.

Next, I spent some time with the Eco Champs, student council and some other school representatives and talked about their roles in school, about how our eco-team and pupil council contribute to life at Whitehouse Common, I shared the work that you had created about our eco gteam and then spent a lot of time answering questions about school life in England. The children were great to talk to. They were polite and very keen to find out a lot of information.

After this I visited some sights in the local area, accompanied by the head boy and girl of BLPS. We went to the local military school which used to be the palace of the Maharaja of Kaputhala and then visited three different places of worship.

In the afternoon, I went to a grade 10 lesson and helped to lead the lesson quizzing the children on their general knowledge! I also visited some grade 3 students who had dressed up as ;part of their work on Indian Heritage and I talked to them about their costumes and the different aspects of Indian life which they represented. The children answered my questions well and shared all about their learning.

This evening I went shopping (always a good activity to enjoy!) and found the experience of shopping for clothes absolutely mind blowing. We spent atleast two hours in some authentic clothes shops, sitting on the floor whilst the staff laid different suits, saris and dresses out in front of us. I enjoyed it so much, I hope to go back again before I come home!

Tomorrow I will be in school all day and I am looking forward to spending much more time with all the children.

Until my next blog..... best wishes to all and take a look at the new snaps I have added! Smile

Day Two photos...





Day Two - Bawa Lalvani

Today I visited Bawa Lalvani Public School for the first time.

When I arrived I was greeted by some children who presented me with a garland and flowers in the colours of the Indian flag.

The day began with a special assembly which included singing, dances and prayers. This was followed by a welcoem performance by the school band who were spectacular!

As the school was celebrating Children's Day, there was a staff vs. students cricket match in the morning. This was greeat fun and I was even talked into taking part in some of it! The students won in the end (but not by much!).

After this, I had a tour of the school and met lots of the children in their classrooms. It was lovely to talk to them and many of them asked me questions and told me about their lessons. I was lucky enough to join in with some dancing in a dance lesson and also asked some children to show me how to use some of their special ICT equipment which helps them to learn their spellings and work on their phonics.

In the afternoon, when the childrne had gone home, the staff came together to have their own small celebration for children's day and we sang songs and played games together which was fun and a nice opportunity to talk to more of the teachers from the school.

This afternoon we went to visit Science City which is a local, hands-on, science museum which the children sometimes visit on school trips. We had a good look around and tried out some of the activities too!

This evening we went to Haveli for dinner. There they serve traditional Punjabi food in an authentic setting and it was fantastic! I had Thali for as second time which was delicious and I also drank sweet lassi which is a sugary, milky drink.

I am off to bed now as I have an early start again i the morning. I will be at bawa Lalvani again but this time I will be meeting the Eco Champs for the school, sharing your work with children, talking about our school and leading some story and drama activities with the infants! I can't wait!

Picture time!

Yay! It is time to share some photos with you of my first day sightseeing in the Punjab; The Golden Temple at Amritsar, The retreat Ceremony at the border, crazy Indian traffic and some delicious and authentic Indian food!...







India visit - Arrival and Day One!

Greeting as from India!

This is so exciting, being able to keep you posted on here about my trip.

Well, I have arrived safely. It was a very long journey and very tiring but well worth it.

I arrived in Amritsar a little later than scheduled and then it was a two hour car ride to Jalandhar. The moment I set foot in India, there was so much to take in. I have already taken many, many photographs and am overwhelmed by all the different sights, sounds, smells and tastes that I am experiencing!

The traffic and the roads here are crazy! On main roads there are so many different types of vehicles and there are many people who travel on the backs or roofs of lorries and trucks and I have seen families of four sharing a bike! The drivers also don't seem to use indicators or mirrors but they are very fond of their horns!

Today we have been very busy and, as it is my only day without a visit to Bawa Lalvani, there was so much in the area to make the most of. We were accompanied today by two children from Bawa Lalvani school who acted as our guides and they were wonderful and told me a lot about their school and their way of life.

I visited The Golden Temple at Amritsar which was beautiful, peaceful and thought provoking. We then went on to Jallianwala Bagh which is the site of a masacre by the British which took place in Amritsar. When I read about it and walked around I was stunned into silence. It was very moving and emotional.

Finally we went to the Vagha Border where India borders Pakistan to watch the retreat ceremony. This was incredible. There were about 2000 people there and we were treated like VIPs and given front row seats (they are very keen to look after us well here). There was a great atmosphere at this event and lots more interesting sights to see!

We finished the day with dinner where I enjoyed a Thali (traditional Indian dish) and it was delicious.

I hope to put some pictures on here tomorrow but for now I need to get to bed (it is half past midnight here and I am being collected for school at 7.30am!).

I am really looking forward to visiting Bawa Lalvani tomorrow and meeting more of the staff and children and I will be sure to tell you all about it!

Bye for now!


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