Friday, June 25, 2010

INVENTURING- A unique foundation program at Inventure Academy

A new academic session at Inventure Academy does not start with books, uniforms or in classrooms but with Inventuring - a unique foundation program aimed at cementing bonds between teachers and students, making new students comfortable and setting the key note for expectations at Inventure Academy.

Students engage in projects – both single and in groups – and experience first hand, the creative process, thinking-out- of- the- box and being active participants in a team. The hidden agenda is helping students realize their inner potential, making them believe in themselves, understanding ways of true learning and respecting interdependence.

“It is because there is no `One Way’ to get the best out of the children,’’ states Inventure Academy Head of Kindergarten and Primary, Shaheen Shafi, who has been the architect and part of this tradition of Inventuring since inception.

Designed on Howard Gardener’s theory of Multiple Intelligences and Inventure’s core values , the 2010-11 ‘Inventuring’ started with a daily schedule of students participating in four broad categories- Outdoor, Classroom Projects, Choice Time and Golden Time.

During Inventuring, each day started with an outdoor activity, like dance or sports, to kick-start mental and physical agility and facilitating team bonding. This was followed with classroom projects based on exploring Multiple Intelligences (MI) of students.

The classroom projects on multiple intelligences had larger themes like Colors Of Our World, Creative Sparks, Think-a thon under which students were tasks specific to their grades.

In Colors of Our World, students of grade 1 and 2 created pictures using cardboard shapes, grade 3 and 4 created a family using balloons, wool, paint, fabric and cotton. Grades 5 and 6 students created a chandelier using empty bottles, straws and paper cups. Grade 7 and 8 painted their groups to create a “people sculpture” based on a few topics/themes, and grades 9 and 10 had to create an installation based on the topic of the cityscape using the fabrics & card board.

Similarly under creative sparks, each class was divided into groups of five students who made an advertisement either on washing powder, shampoo, dog food, energy drink, tooth-paste and sell it in the most convincing manner to their peers and teachers!

Think-a-thon was equally fun as students in primary section were either asked to make a toy using plastic glasses and straws, make a card game and define its rules and demonstrate how to play, make a 3-D model of a house from a given floor plan.

``The activities of project, were designed to judge their logical thinking, functionality, creativity, variety, co-ordination, rhythm and stage presentation,’’ adds Shaheen.

``It was amazing to see the creative ideas in students and their conviction in presenting it as the best,’’ exclaims Ekta Bhasin a teacher of grade 5B.While students from smaller grades designed telephone, bells, bouncing balls and juice set for Barbie by using only five plastic glasses and straws, the higher grades students designed different phases of a space ship prior to its launch.

Classroom projects were then followed by Choice Time which would give students a choice of activity from options like sketching, climbing wall, mosaic art, gardening or cooking. The aim of having a Choice Time as part of Inventuring is to nurture individuality and give students an opportunity to explore different choices before zeroing in on what they are best at.

The Inventuring day wrapped up with Golden Time- an integral part of learning, where students’ reflected on their day’s learning and sharing related experiences.

`` My project on choosing natural elements to create music during Wild Wide World has changed my view towards my surrounding. I realized that even a few pebbles in a plastic bottle can create a beautiful beat,’’ says new student Aishwarya Hirve, grade 4 summarizing her understanding facilitated by Golden Time.

Curtains came down on Inventuring with a Sleepover for grades 3 and above during which students along with teachers stayed back in school for a night, a once-in-a year event. ``It was sports, bonfire, music, dance and good food on offer. Most of the arrangements were made by our school and it was only fun and activity for us,’’ says Tarang Shah of grade 5 B.

Students and teachers went around the campus, collected wood for the bonfire, and danced around on music, played games. ``While some used mattress provided by school, others got their sleeping bags and chatted till late in the night.

``This is what the aim of Inventuring is, to notice one child amongst many and to look at the world through his eyes,’’ summarizes Shaheen.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Inventuring is a fun part of school and I'll show you what I did and how I felt. One of the activities that I did was Think-a-thon which means to make a ten piece puzzle using only picture of your choice we made a picture of a house. The next day we did colors of the world we had to make a costume out of newspapers and then dress somebody up with it I got dressed up as a cricketer I enjoyed that activity. the next day we did WideWildWorld we had to create a music band using natural material it was a bit difficult but we did pretty well.

The next day I had to do something called Creative Sparks. We had to make a mad ad using product we got. We got Hanuman which is a power drink we did like there's a lady with a purse and a theif steals it so I save the purse by drinking Hanuman. I really liked this because you could be very creative.

Anay Mehta
Grade 3B.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Welcome letter from Head of School 2010-11

Dear Inventurers,
On behalf of the entire team at Inventure Academy, I welcome you all for the start of our sixth academic year! Hope the long summer “break” gave Inventurers an opportunity to take a breather, while building on our learning from the last academic year… as we have yet another very engaging year of fun and learning planned for all of us!
While we, in Bangalore are indeed uniquely poised to take advantage of an increasingly globalized world, given our “demographic dividend” and relatively lower cost base; going forward much depends on whether we can empower our youth / students by providing them with a relevant education.

Education, which is relevant in equipping our students to contribute effectively to socio-economic development, education that helps them innovate, excel in their chosen fields and create much needed jobs and wealth…education which lays as much emphasis on developing life skills for the 21st century, as it does on excellence in academics, and co-curricular activities.

Taking forward from my address on Annual Awards Day, which was on our academic year’s rich “harvest”, I am glad to confirm that continuing Inventure’s trend of excellence, our first batch of students appearing for the ICSE, secured an impressive 100 percent first class results, with some students scoring a centum in subjects like Environmental Science…

We are looking forward to more such rich harvests this year. For the benefit of the newer Inventurers please find attached a list of some of our achievements from last year….which set a benchmark and foundation to build on in the academic year 2010-11, starting on 1 Jun 2010!

Based on a review of our performance against our plan, and an analysis of the student, parent and faculty satisfaction surveys (aided by Mr. Subir Sen, parent of Utsarinee Sen); we are undertaking a number of initiatives to build on and strengthen our delivery on promise. For more on these please read on!

We thank you for your dedication to Inventure, for both your positive feedback and constructive recommendations. We will continue to build on areas you gave us high marks for like safety and care of your children, professionalism and accountability of our management team, the quality of our faculty, infrastructure, the relevance of our progressive education approach and delivery on our core purpose, values and vision.

The commitment of the team was, is and will continue to be nurturing excellence in each Inventurer, so that they may singly and jointly achieve personal and professional success in our dynamic world. And yes, be assets…. We look forward to starting school with our unique Foundation program on 1st June…. Happy Inventuring to one and all!
Thank you & best regards,
Nooraine Fazal

Our New Initiatives are as follows:

Adding 5 new classes:Continuing with our controlled expansion so that more students may benefit from the education that Inventure provides while ensuring that all stakeholders benefit from economies of scale, we have added five new classes this year. They are Pre Kindergarten (for 3 year olds), an additional grade 11 (ISC-CISCE) and for the first time at Inventure a grade 12 (A levels). We have also added a third section for our grades 3 and 4 to ensure that we do not have an average of more than 25 students per section per grade (with a number of other grades close to capacity)

Student Teacher Ratio:
Needless to say, the admissions this year have been fantastic, thanks to the recommendations from our existing students, parents and faculty… and dare I say, our rich “harvest” from the previous academic year! We are very happy to welcome 120 new students, 17 teaching and three non- teaching faculty, and one new member to our management team this year, with another 50 to 70 students and an additional 4 to 7 faculty members to follow through the course of the year.

With grade 12 we complete our offering and with Pre K –KG we are going beyond what we had planned when we first established Inventure as a grade 1 – 12 school, with an average of 30 students per section, and a student teacher ratio of 15:1! The overall student teacher ratio this year at Inventure is an enviable 7:1. ….Well, our core values do indeed include being dynamic and sensitive to the needs of our stakeholdersJ!

We continue to build a team aimed at ensuring we can scale and deliver on the promise of Inventure consistently and long after we are all gone! Please refer to the attached document (Inventure new team members) to learn more about our new team members.

Our Team:
Our Management team largely remains the same with the following changes:
Preet Benjamin Aarons takes overall charge for Beyond Academics in addition to her existing role as Head of Community Relations.

Ms. Mallika Sen joins the team and takes on the role as head of Academic Quality Management System (AQMS) from Ms. Sinduja TS, in addition to being in charge of a new portfolio - School Development Program. She will be assisted by Sinduja who I am sure will benefit tremendously from her expertise (as will the rest of Inventure).

While reporting to the Head of School, Mallika will work in close partnership with the rest of the management team, and in particular, our two section heads Ms. Shaheen Shafi (Head, Pre K – Primary) and Ms. Jagrithi Prabhu Kiran (Head, Middle – Senior).

Now that the AQMS has been refined and adapted to our working culture, it is even more necessary to ensure that processes are implemented uniformly across the school that quality standards are maintained and data generated analyzed carefully before being used to make inform decisions. Policies, processes and systems have to be critically reviewed and revised, keeping in mind the school’s vision and core values.

The school development plan enables us to chalk out a course for growth. It initiates the process by building on the positives of the present by devising a road map to attain the desired targets over a given period of time- on areas such as professional development for faculty and curriculum enrichment. The tools include research, development and implementation of the best practices known in contemporary education, innovation of teaching methods and improvement of learning environments.

Major thrust for the Academic Leadership for this year is to implement a faculty development program focused on imparting relevant life skills training, effective use of technology in education, subject specific training from the relevant boards, and Cambridge International Diploma for Teachers and Trainers (CIDTT)

IT As An Enabler
I think we all agree that learning to learn, learning to think and learning how to use technology and robotics (which is & will become increasingly ubiquitous) are important 21st century skills for our students.

In order to ensure that we have an evolving math, science and technology learning program aimed at providing students and teachers with real world learning opportunities, our investments in this area for this year include:

Robotics Lab :
We are in the process of setting up a Robotics Lab which is being co sponsored by a leading technology company. Dr Kiran Panesar (parent of Koodrut and Sehar Panesar) is working in partnership with Inventure and other leading educationists including Prof N Balakrishnan (Associate Director, IISc and member of our Board of Advisors) to help develop an exciting program.

Grades 6-9 will have one class a week. Students across grades 6-12 (with a preference to students from grades 10-12) will also have the option of signing up for a Robotics POD. We plan to invite students of the local government community schools to participate in this exciting initiative; which we hope will contribute to bridging the socio-economic and digital divide.

Students will work in teams to assemble robots using the Lego Mindstorms NXT kits, and program them to do different tasks like avoiding obstacles, clearing debris, and following lines. Students will assemble different types of robots like basic robot and industrial robot. At the end of the semester, student's robots will participate in an urban challenge, where the robots have to navigate an obstacle course.

We would appreciate help from parents in making a success of this initiative. Some of the areas you could contribute include –
· (if you have a kit at home), your child can bring it to school and use it to assemble robots
· participate in teaching
· training the teachers
· helping us build an innovation / entrepreneurship program based on robotics and beyond. (please refer to the attached link for an article by Bill Gates which appeared in the Scientific American re the Robotics industry)

An Internet based learning program for math – called MindSpark, from Educational Initiatives (the same organization which conducts the ASSET test):
This program uses Adaptive Logic, which will help all students including those who are experiencing difficulty understanding a concept, as well as challenging the accelerated learners. Our students will have the benefit of using the MindSpark Modules at Inventure for two periods in a week as a part of the curriculum, in addition to our regular class room. Homework will be assigned on MindSpark for which you will need a net-enabled computer at home.

Physical Infrastructure:
Well, you may notice that the school has a fresh coat (or several!) of paint! Meanwhile, where are we with the swimming pool?! …The work order and cheques have been issued! Target is for the 25m swimming pool to be operational by November 2010.

Middle & Senior School will have the benefit of using subject rooms this year. Students, rather than faculty will move from one classroom to the other. Aim is to enhance the effectiveness of our teaching-learning by providing a subject specific learning environment and giving the students an opportunity to get a more purposeful break between classes. A number of these rooms have also been equipped with white boards, computers and projectors. The Grade Home room is the subject teacher’s room. For example, 6 A Grade teacher is Ms Geetha K. She teaches English so the English subject room is the Home Room for Grade 6 A. The two minute break between the first and second bell will help refresh students’ minds, stretch their limbs and gives them an opportunity to reflect on what has been taught or just chat with friends en route!

Parent Teacher Meetings
PTMs will be scheduled so that you may have more meaningful interactions at least once a term, in addition to when report cards are distributed. The PTMs will be staggered across days and time for students and parents Gradewise. Parents are of course welcome to continue taking advantage of the policy at Inventure - fix meetings with teachers through our community relations department (Ms. Preet Benjamin Aarons) and our Section Heads, in addition to emailing faculty. We do request you though to please not call members of the team outside of school hours, unless absolutely urgent and important

Wider World Program, including our Community Outreach, Field Trips, Guest Lectures, Internships, (INME) Outbound Trips and College Counseling – we will continue to nurture the seeds we planted to enhance
· Sensitivity to people, particularly students across the socio-economic spectrum (please refer to this article for a description of some of our community outreach initiatives. We aim to have similar community outreach interactions spaced out through the course of the year

· Sensitivity to the environment with initiatives like composting, soil analysis at our campus to figure out what plants will grow well (in partnership with the Rotary and Aparna Mishra, parent of Neha Mishra), commence planting (hopefully during Inventuring), and raising the water table at campus
· Exposure to the opportunities and challenges in the wider world so students may make more meaningful decisions about the path they want to pursue in life and accordingly make their education more relevant to it

Based on the overwhelming success of the “Rainforest Project” in 2008-09 and “India Week” in 2009-10; Primary School will see more project and theme based learning, more emphasis on skill and attitude development while ensuring we cover the concepts highlighted by the ICSE and Cambridge Boards of Education

Again we would appreciate our parents’ contribution in this area. We will send an email on this shortly with a form for you to specify which areas you are comfortable working with the school on and your availability,Co-curricular Activities/Beyond Academics
Happy to confirm that on popular request we will have an Annual Day performance for our grades 6-12 by the end of August 2010. We are in the process of finalizing professionals we can work with in this area. More on this shortly.

Tournaments of Minds (TOM) will be hosted over two days; one in each term, and Sports Day in December, with time for selections and practice being budgeted through the course of the year.

In addition to the inter-school M.I.X that we host, this year will also see us host an internal one across grades 1-12. The aim of our Beyond Academics Program continues to be to give every student an opportunity to identify their individual strengths, development areas and preferences. That said we do need to complement the efforts of the school after school hours…. Recently read a book called the Outliers which quoted research that to achieve “success” in a chosen field, a person had to put in 10,000 hours of practice (that can be accomplished with 20 hours of work a week for 10 years)
After School Sports:

All the above programs will be supervised by Kishen Whabi, Director for Sports & PE, Inventure Academy.

The Saturday Soccer segment will be a charged component as we are hiring the services of Pradhyum Reddy, an NSCAA coach with 10 years experience working with kids in the US. He is also a UEFA (A) coach and a scout for Manchester United.

The Saturday training is for School Teams only and it is compulsory for every School Team player to attend the trainings. Selections for the School Teams (Athletics, Basketball & Soccer) will be completed by the end of June/first week of July 2010. Please note that any student selected for the School Teams and not attending the Saturday trainings will be taken off the teams.

The objective of our discipline policy continues to be aimed at developing self discipline in our students which will hold them in good stead through life beyond the safety of Inventure Academy and their home environment. By the time a student graduates we want them to have the ability to distinguish between “right” and “wrong”, develop the acumen of dealing with different situations and temptations and to take responsibility for their actions.

We believe that every human being has the power of recognizing this, but one also needs guidance as well as the opportunity to take corrective action when one makes “wrong” choices. Schooling should equip a student to look after himself/herself mentally, physically, socially and
emotionally. This discipline will ensure that students will be assets to their communities. Look forward to working with you to achieve this.