Riddhi Dastidar recently joined Pratham Books as Outreach Manager. Here she writes about our recent workshop in Delhi, with Humana India.
On a scorching summer day in June, we found ourselves in the winding bylanes of Kishangarh in Delhi, looking for the Humana India Office. We entered to wooden floors, quiet reading spaces filled with books in multiple nooks and a massive German Shepherd dog draped languorously across the gate to welcome us in.
Humana People to People India is a part of Humana International's network of 31 organisations in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas working across a range of issues from from health to microfinance. Our overlap in interest comes from their work in Education.
HPPI's educational programmes aim to equip people with knowledge and skills to break the cycle of poverty and fulfill their potential. Their five programmes are Necessary Teacher Training Programme (NeTT), Academy for Working Children, Girls Bridge Education, Step up Centers and Prarambh. NeTT and Prarambh focus on incubating quality teachers. Humana had invited their NeTT master trainers from different states to spend the day with us to know about StoryWeaver and how can it be used to bring in a reading culture in the classroom, as well as serve as a resource pool for our teachers. We also had trainers from other organizations like Stir Education and Pratham who added to the diversity of the group.
We started by getting to know the workshop participants a little better by discovering their hidden talents. Someone mentioned they were good at working with special needs children while another teacher found travelling interesting. Stories give way to many emotions and what better way to establish that than to begin the session with a story? The audience giggled and winced and tried to come up with a solution to Bheema’s problem in the process realising with us how important stories are to classrooms!
How stories help kindle curiosity and develop lateral thinking in children.
After we walked through how StoryWeaver works, our philosophy of reaching as many children in need as possible in their native tongue, and hence our embrace of Creative Commons, it was time for the teachers to get their own hands dirty. They practiced curating lists of stories on specific themes (from Math concepts through biryani making to a Level 1 reading on Traffic lights). They got into groups to take a stab at translating stories into Hindi and finally even creating their own story from our set of open illustrations.
To break down the concept of ‘filters’ on StoryWeaver to help select the desired kind of tale we drew a parallel to online shopping - Amazon and Flipkart being commonly recognized.
An interesting story we explored brought out the critical role illustration can play in a book. We read 'दीदी का रंग बिरंगा खज़ाना', and the teachers pointed out that as Didi became happier, the book bloomed from black and white into colour - hence even a child struggling to read the words would be able to grasp what was happening!
By the end of the workshop we had a couple of first-time story-writers in our midst. The teachers were beginning to share the challenges of balancing something as ‘inessential’ and essential as the time to read for joy in class with the demands of administrative work and completing the syllabus. Waseem, one of the trainers from Stir mentioned that the main reason we work is actually the children. Very often lost in the pressures of checking very real demands and tasks off the checklist, we forget the heart of it - which is the relationship being built with the child. He pointed out that stories could be a great option to reverse this disinvestment and foster strong relationships.
We came out of the workshop with many of the teachers coming up to us to ask for follow-up training with their organisations, and excited to see how they would go on to integrate stories into making different kinds of academic learning interesting - be it learning about division through biryani or just taking 20 minutes out of the day to Drop Everything And Read!
To see more images from the workshop, click here.
If you would like us to conduct a workshop with your organisation, drop us an email at email@example.com
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Via Creative Commons
"The Community Activities Fund is a mini-grant program aimed at supporting individuals and communities pursuing activities aligned with the network values and principles stated on the new Creative Commons Global Network Strategy. These grants are meant to provide quick, practical-level support for activities, projects, and events done by supporters and advocates of Creative Commons – from kickstarting projects, facilitating travel and mentorships, to supporting the organization of CC-themed events around the globe."
Read more about the Activities Fund here.
If you're an organisation or educator using StoryWeaver to create openly lincensed, multilingual reading resources for children, and are looking for funding, then do consider applying for the fund!
All the best.
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Children LOVE ‘spotting challenges’. Ask them to spot anything from a busy image and you can be sure they won’t quit. 3 crabs on a beach, 4 tyres in a workshop, 11 spoons in a kitchen... anything! Unfortunately, it’s hard to come by memorable spotting books which are affordable. So...
This Children’s Day (November 14), StoryWeaver is eager to create a fun spotting book for children and make it available for free. We think this will be special if it’s a collection of illustrations from artists around the world. And this, illustrators, is where we need your support. Just 1 illustration from you can make all the difference!
The best entries from Spotathon will become part of a grand spotting book published by StoryWeaver, filled with illustrations from different artists. However, each entry that is submitted as part of Spotathon will be available on StoryWeaver as an individual activity book as well.
Here’s how you can participate in Spotathon!
Draw something which has enough details so that a child can spot up to 15 objects in it. Think of a setting which can accommodate these details. A beach, rainforest, kitchen, classroom, market... the possibilities are endless! The objects to spot are up to you.
Before you start, imagine the child you’re setting the challenge for. Our readers are primarily children who haven’t had much access to books. We have 2 different categories which are linked to age and levels of difficulty. Remember, these are only guidelines.
a. 3-6 years (Level of Difficulty: Easy) – She has only recently started reading books. She’d enjoy spotting up to 8 objects. While she’s open to all kinds of settings, do remember that her vocabulary is limited. But her imagination definitely isn’t! As an example, here is an illustration by Soumya Menon of what would be ideal for her.
b. 7-10 years (Level of Difficulty: Medium) – As she’s expanding her vocabulary, she will be more comfortable with prediction and open to unfamiliar settings. She’d be able to spot up to 15 things. Even the way in which the objects are hidden can be more complex here. As an example, here is an illustration by Bindia Thapar of what would be ideal for her.
As the spotting exercise also requires an answer key for reference, you will need to prepare it using the same drawing. All you have do it number the images accordingly. Here’s an example.
GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION
Spotathon begins on October 25 and ends on November 21.
You will have to submit two illustrations: Main Illustration and Answer Key (examples above).
You can submit your entry in any language that is available on StoryWeaver.
You can submit more than one entry.
Watch a short Video Tutorial on how to submit your entry on StoryWeaver.
Size of illustration (Main illustration & Answer Key): 11.17 inches (width) x 5.35 inches (height). This is the recommended size as it fits neatly into one of the templates on StoryWeaver.
The illustrations should be high-res (150-300 dpi).
File size for each illustration: Between 2 to 4 MB; above 4 MB will slow down the upload process
Copyright and other guidelines:
To participate in Spotathon, you must be over the age of 16.
The illustrations you submit must be your original work.
By submitting your work, you are agreeing to a CC-BY 4.0 license being applied to it. To know more about this license, click here.
You can register for the campaign over here so that we know you're participating and can reach out for any updates. If you have any queries, feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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