Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pratham Books Speaks to 4th Graders at Central Manor, Pennsylvania

We are having more storytelling and Skype sessions with our friends at Central Manor, Pennsylvania. With three Skype sessions lined up this week, you can tell that we absolutely love the sessions with the kids. Yesterday, I got to talk to Ms. Amy Wiggin's fourth graders. It was their first Skype session, but they seemed well prepared and confident. Our earlier Skype sessions have been with a fewer number of children, but this time around there was a class of twenty eager children to talk to.

From their bright and colourful classroom, the Skype session started with kids waving and shouting a loud "hiiiii". We started with five students reading out poems on the festivals and holidays celebrated in America. I learnt about Martin Luther King, Presidents Day, April Fools' Day, Thanksgiving and Valentines Day. Apart from reading the poems, each of the kids patiently answered my questions. Andrea showed me a picture of George Washington and also told me that he appears on their dollar bill while Abraham Lincoln appears on a penny. Hannah gave me an informed insight on how Martin Luther King fought for the rights of African-Americans while Shayanne claimed that she didn't trick anybody on April Fools' Day. Ally gave me tons of information on why Thanskgiving was celebrated and shared what her family ate for Thanksgiving last Novemeber. Shanaya shared what her class did for Valentines Day and made my mouth water with all the talk of candy being given to her classmates and teachers.

After the reading session, it was time for the question and answer session. Hands flew up with all the children eager to ask questions. Many had come prepared with their questions written down on pieces of paper. The first question I received was "What is the 'in' thing for fourth graders in India to wear NOW?". Some of the other things kids wanted to know were...

What is the gas price in India right now?
How do you choose your President?
What festivals do you celebrate? Do you have any festival like Halloween where everybody dresses up in costumes?
Do some people in India travel on elephants?
What car dealerships exist in India?
Do you call soccer football? Or do you call socccer soccer?
What is the significance of the red dot on the forehead?
Who are some of the famous singers and musicians of India?
What animals are popular in India?
What is the religion followed in India?
What activity do Indians enjoy the most? And what sport do people like?

We talked about Holi, Diwali, bindis, India's cheapest car (Nano), A.R. Rahman, cricket, elephants and tigers, the election process and more. They say "time flies" and I couldn't agree more with that statement. The time monsters had eaten.. no, wait.. the time monsters had gobbled an hour away and it was time for the children to go back to class. With a promise to send them pictures and Indian music and meeting online another time for another fun-filled session, we said our goodbyes and logged off with happy smiles.

A huge thank you to Ms. Teresa Reisinger and Ms. Amy Wiggins for arranging the Skype call.

Read about our previous Skype sessions with Central Manor:
Pratham Books and Central Manor : A Multi-cultural Collaboration
World Storytelling Day Celebrations at Pratham Books
The Very Happy Readers

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