The 2011-2012 school year for the Grade 11 and 12 students kicked off today on Thursday, 16th June, 2012. The First Day of School is a crucial moment in the trajectory of a student’s life. Old students come back to familiar sights, new students are welcomed, and learn how at MGIS, we do things differently.
In the first ice-breaking activity, students put together a puzzle of a cut out painting and created a tableau vivant explaining their understanding of the painting once they put it together. This way they came together in groups, collaborated and initiated a reflection on art and current social issues and events. Students and teachers paid homage to the late M.F. Hussain, a leading Indian artist whose bold work gained him international acclaim and a volley of controversies as well. Students tried to understand the iconography and visual language of M.F. Hussain and later discussed larger related issues of freedom of expression and censorship that his work raised. They asked themselves if there were other ways to deal with art works that offended them as an individual or a group of people. They said it was possible to express their discontent legally, voice their opinion and engage in a verbal debate with the artist and experts, try and understand what the artist intended…and other alternatives in lieu of violent expression of discontent that hinged on overwriting the right and freedom of expression of others. Students also raised questions related to art:
Who do you paint for? Yourself or the buyer? Is art supposed to question your beliefs and bring the viewers to think and push their boundaries? If my belief system is strong will I react violently if someone else offends me? How do you negotiate freedom of expression and censorship? After pondering on these issues, students moved on exciting activities.
The students dispersed in their respective groups which had been assigned earlier. A “mela” arrangement had been set up, with students moving every ten minutes to different stalls. There were eight different stalls, housing among others, an epistemological discussion and a creation of an experiment in the physics lab.
First up was setting a table with a theme, a chance for students to express their creativity and to gorge on the chocolates set on the table. Next was the recycling activity in which students were asked to create a colour/symbol code for each of the trash cans in the school. They were also asked to create different strategies for the recycling and re-using the waste produced in the school. These strategies are to be implemented in the coming school year by both the seniors and juniors, who continuously strive to make MGIS a more eco-friendly school.
The third activity was on the sports ground, where the students enjoyed the recently acquired equipment; a basketball net, a table tennis mini-court and a soon to be very popular trampoline! The activities involved a game of basketball, but with the players having to keep their feet planted on the ground and having to rely on their arms and good aim. The next activity also challenged the students’ aim; hitting a single cricket stump with a tennis ball. Though not everyone succeeded, it was fun and challenging to try and certainly helped a few improve their aim.
Up next was a scientific activity. Each group was required to recreate an experiment from the provided books and write up a quick lab report. True to MGIS enterprise and initiative, students were quickly making changes and tweaking the experiments to make them better. Then, students were heading downstairs for a philosophical discussion featuring topics based on current news from local newspapers, as they would do in Theory of Knowledge, alias TOK.
After that, the students headed to the back of the school to play the Jambe and learn the two new schools songs, composed by Bernard Robert Diouf, an exchange teacher from Senegal. The songs, originally composed in French, both describe the qualities of Mahatma Gandhi, on whose principles MGIS is formed.
The Jembe, which is a West African drum, was taught in a mathematical way, with numerical codes used for the different sections of the drums. This method mixed two different disciplines, mathematics and music, which are not ordinarily seen together. But it was soon time for the penultimate activity of the afternoon, an activity using only the voice. Students watched a video and decided which characters they would dub in for. Using only their vocal expressions students attempted to create different scenarios for what was happening on the muted video, an extract from a popular television show. Finally, students headed to the library, where a vast array of books awaited them. Quotes from these books were taken, and students had to match them to the book selection. After reading the back of each book, students matched the books and quotes.
All in all, the half day of activities was successful, with regular classes resuming after lunch. The school year started off on a positive note for both DP1 (grade 11) and DP2 (grade 12) students, and will hopefully be the start of an amazing new school year.
The First Day was put together by the teachers of MGIS, who plan days ahead, in order to make the first day of school every year, a memorable, fun and educational day. MGIS recognizes their efforts:
1. Cafe Activity – Khushali, Sukhmeet
2. Science Lab Activity- Deepa, Gurmeet
3. Segregation of waste- Seema, Queency
4. Theory of Knowledge discussion- Anita, Minhaaz
5A. IT Lab Activity – Roona, Hussanara
5B. Photobooth pictures- Isha, Reema
6. Library Activity- Minal, Monika
7. Music and more- Bernard, Arpan
8. Sports- Altaf, Tapan
9. Photography and Web management: Lissa
10. Coordination and Management: Minoo, Ravinder, Anita
11. Organizing art material for starter: Minal
12. DP Orientation: Ravinder and respective subject teachers
By Rutvi Ajmera
Student of Grade 12, MGIS