A day long Prarthana Teacher’s Shibir was held at Karla during Chaturmasa 2017.
Photo credits- Smita Baljekar, Sandhya Nayel, Vaishali Heblekar, Preeti Bhat
Phala Samarpan near the photo of Pujya Parijnanashram III Swamiji
All reciting Parijnanashram Trayodashi and Sabha Prarambha Prarthana
Samskrit Parichay- session by Shilpa Mudur
Report by Deepa Bankeshwar Sirur (Pune Prarthana Teacher)
An interesting and enjoyable session titled ' Samskrit Parichay' was the first of the three sessions held at the day long Prarthana Teachers' Shibirheld at Karla Math during Chaturmas 2017. The session was conducted by Shilpa Mudur pachi to help Prarthana teachers to introduce children to 'Samskrit' in a fun way. Shilpa pachi shared several ideas for activities that teachers could do together with children for effortlessly learning basic vocabulary and simple sentences that can be used in day-to-day life.
Just to mention a few of the activities, - making a cute mini Samskrit picture book library from scratch using pre designed templates. This activity stole the limelight. Free hand illustrations for this activity have been made by Anjali Dhareshwar pachi.
Mini pocket Sanskrit Dictionaries made by teachers
Then there was an activity which involved making a finger puppet and holding simple conversation with the children. The teacher talks on behalf of the puppet. She also taught us a samskrit song.
Finger puppet activity
These and many more ideas that she shared with us will surely prove helpful to us teachers to enjoy teaching samskrit and bring about love for the language in our children, as Shilpa pachi rightly emphasises.
Some of these activities are excellent to reinforce good values and are also good craft activities.
Innovative ways of Story Telling -session by Sadhana Kaikini
Report by Archana Hattangadi (Mumbai Prarthana Teacher)
Story telling is an art. It has numerous advantages. This art has been passed down through generations in the form of myths, fables, and legends. Story telling forms an integral part of a Prarthana varga. And especially, when the listeners are children, it takes an even more interesting form. At the beginning of the session, the following advantages of story-telling were discussed -
It enables the expansion of imagination of the listener.
It develops communication skills.
Improves the vocabulary of the listeners.
Improves reading comprehension and writing capacity.
Enhances the imagination and personal motivation to read more.
It evokes the emotion of all human beings through tales of wonder, mystery and adventure.
It develops higher level thinking skills and establishes social skills.
Stories can also help develop the listeners to think ‘out of the box’.
Sadhanapachi Kaikini very beautifully taught us various elements which can enhance story telling. Some covered were –
Imagination building - An interesting demonstration with the use of props was done. A simple ‘dupatta’ was kept and we teachers were asked to create a short scene using this dupatta as a prop. The various ideas that emerged and which were used in dialogue form to create a story were-
Using it like a rope to pull water from the well.
Tying it like a cradle in a train to help a crying baby sleep
Tying it round the waist to become a hulligan
Tie it round the head to be like a village head
Use it to play tug-of-war between the Pandavas with Bheem only on one side and the others on the other.
Use it like a shawl in the cold winters
It takes the form of a snake in the jungle
In this way, we learnt that the usage of props makes the narration of a story extremely interesting. We also can ask children to narrate stories by using different props. This will enhance the imagination of the children.
We teachers were then divided into groups. These groups had beautiful names based on our rivers namely Ganga, Yamuna, Narmada, Kaveri and Saraswati. A story was narrated by Sadhapachi. This story had to be retold by each group using special effects told to us by her.
Use of sound effects - While story narration, making relevant sound effects makes the story even more interesting resulting in deeper involvement of the listener. Eg. make the sounds of different animals, sound of thunder, opening of a door etc. as the case may be in a story.
Voice modulation – Modulation of voice depending on the situation in the story can build the rapport of the listener thus enhancing the effect of the story on the listener.
Adjectives, adverbs and rich vocabulary - The use of decorative words can make even a simple story into an extremely interesting one. This also enriches the vocabulary of the children, which in turn they will further use.
Facial expressions - Relevant usage of facial expressions can interest the listener especially if the listeners are children.
Visual skills - Narrating a story pictographically can help in creating vivid characters in the minds of the listeners, especially children. It helps them to build their imagination, thus improving their comprehension abilities. Asking them to draw a story, can help them build their drawing skills and have fun with colours.
Thus Sadhanapachi, with her innovative play – way method, taught us how to effectively teach values and morals to the children via story- telling. We teachers enjoyed this session thoroughly. We definitely will make use of these various expressions while conducting our subsequent Prarthana varga.
Dramatics -Session by Preeti Bhat
Report by Beena Savkur & Bhavani Nayel (Bengaluru Prarthana Teachers)
After a scrumptious lunch we all gathered again for the next session. It was on Dramatics by Preeti Bhat pachi of Ahmedabad.
The first activity emphasised the importance of clear and loud speech onstage. We stood in a circle and each one of us had to call out a number loudly starting 1, 2, 3.... in serial order while the others listened with their eyes closed. After the last teacher had called out her number Preeti pachi asked us if all the numbers were heard by everyone of us. Each one of us had to tell if any of the numbers called out were inaudible. Turned out that 2-3 of the same numbers were not heard by most participants. So then we were explained that in Dramatics it is very important to be loud and clear on stage to keep the audience attentive. It's the same when we are working with the children in our Prarthana Varga. We once again did the same exercise and this time all were heard.
The bonding had already begun in the group but we were still a little lost with each other's names. The next activity was just perfect for us to learn the names of our wonderful Prarthana Varga team. The first pachi told her name. The second person had to say the first person's name and add on her/his name to it. Similarly the third person had to say the first and second persons' names and then add their name and so it went on. The name chain got longer and challenging but very interesting too as we became very attentive and all ears to remember each one's name. As the names were repeated, the names that were read and heard got a face to it to remember. It was indeed a wonderful exercise!
We were then asked to laugh out loud. Just laugh however we wanted to. It started with giggles and within minutes we found ourselves roaring in rapturous laughter short of rolling on the floor. This charged up our senses and refreshed us to be ready for the fulfilling learning ahead.
We then formed two groups on the basis of the numbering we had done earlier. The odd and even numbers lined up, partnering each other with their backs towards each other initially..The row of Prarthana teachers having odd numbers were told to portray "ANGER" with the help of their facial expressions and the ones having even numbers had to portray "FEAR". With these facial expressions we had to then face our respective partner. Initially we found it hilarious and we all burst out laughing. But after a few moments we all began to focus and concentrate on our expressions and to present it to the best of our ability. We realised how important it is to focus on our acting and not get distracted.
Next we formed a circle. Preeti pachi told us to express "helplessness"', to act like a "king", like a "dominating person" and also like a "lazy king" with the help of actions and expressions but without dialogues. Many teachers volunteered and we got to watch some fine acting by them.
This was followed by the creation of a still scene without any movement of a "King's court". Some became courtiers,some ministers, others became dancers, musicians, court jester and so on....This reminded us of the game "STATUE" played by children.
After this one set of teachers having even numbers were told to stand as if they were "on stage", at random but without blocking each other. The other set having odd numbers were told to walk in between the people standing, without any physical contact with them and without showing their backs to the audience. The exercise was repeated with the odd and even numbered people swapping places. This exercise helps to teach the children how to avoid showing their backs when they are on stage.
Preeti pachi very effectively showed us the power of "how to say" rather than " to just say" a sentence by putting emphasis on a particular word in the sentence. When a sentence is uttered with emphasis on a different word each time, the meaning conveyed is different every time.
For the finale we were divided into two groups on the basis of the odd and even numbering.
Preeti pachi narrated the story of a camel who thought that he was the most beautiful creature on this planet. He looked down upon and ridiculed all the other animals in the jungle until one fine day the truth was revealed to him by the lion king who showed the camel his reflection in the water.
Each group had to write the script based on the camel's story, direct the play, use sound effects, props, music, introduce the cast and crew and explain the moral values that the play is based upon.
Both the groups rehearsing their skit to be staged in the stipulated time!
Both groups thoroughly enjoyed going through all the steps that were necessary in staging the magnificent play. We all had an awesome time rehearsing and everyone performed their best by adding their own creative innovations.
We thank Preeti pachi for conducting this wonderful interactive session which has enabled us to learn so many interesting aspects of Drama which will definitely be very useful for our Prarthana Varga .
We look forward to another such session in the Annual Prarthana Teachers' Shivir in 2018!
OM NAMAH PARVATI PATAYE HARA HARA MAHADEV !