HP Day 4 – Self learning on Khan Academy

April 19, 2018 in Headstart Program, Parent, Student, Tutor

Hello again! Its Sreelakshmi reporting day 4 of the Headstart Program!

If you haven’t yet, please read up about the previous days’ here. It will help you understand what we are trying to achieve better.

For the student’s and my benefit, the class has been divided into two batches based on the board they study (CBSE/ICSE). I see that the ICSE students are more acquainted with technology and Khan Academy. They were quite excited to use the tablets to learn.

I decided to help the students learn using Khan Academy. It’s wonderfully organized and has a rich database of videos and text. Khan Academy is even aligned to CBSE and ICSE. I definitely recommend it to all tutors and students.

Rajesh and Prem were enjoying learning through videos- both of them choose a relatively easy topic ‘Data Handling’. Even though there was less co-relation between textual content and videos, Rajesh still enjoyed the new way of learning. Prem had a good grasp on the chapter and, so I observed, could relate much faster to the videos.

Tarun on the other hand had a difficult topic ‘Rational Numbers’. I think he might have felt overwhelmed with the video he watched. It was too fast and complex for an introductory video and missed out on fundamentals.

One problem I noticed is that since the videos, text and questions are on different pages, the students are not able to quickly associate between videos and text content. I wasn’t very impressed with the Khan Academy notes ‘To find mean with a frequent distribution table’. I had to step in and explain better.

Also since all the students were learning different topics, it took me a while to process each of their doubts as I had to jump from chapter to chapter. My mind will take extra time to cope. I’ll go through the chapters again at home.

Through the class Tarun tried to while away his time. I can see that he is struggling with both technology and basics. He is slow to read and understand a question. This is making him lack confidence and he definitely needs more time with fundamentals. Tomorrow, I will definitely do help him with his reading skills.

It was less of an effort to explain technology and the Khan Academy site map to the ICSE students. But they did suffer some internet connectivity issues- this slowed down their learning pace.

Very excited to see and report how self-learning with minimal intervention progresses tomorrow. As their guide, I have a good feeling about this.

Learnings: Promote self-learning: equip students with learning material, sources that are of their standards, make them feel in charge of their knowledge. This will help in deeper more meaningful learning rather than passively receiving information. Always pay attention to any roadblocks the student may be facing and help them deal with it.

HP Day 3 – Relating to a hero & familiarizing themselves with topics

April 18, 2018 in Headstart Program, Parent, Student, Tutor

Hello there, it’s Sreelakshmi reporting Day 3 of the Headstart Program.

You can catch up with the program day wise here.

Yesterday the students had focussed on selecting the difficult chapter they wanted to work on this summer. Also, I gave them homework asking them to write about their favourite public personality. The idea behind it was for them to identify positive characteristics like hard work and perseverance they could imbibe.  


I was happy that, as soon as the session started, the students were prompt to tell me that they had done their homework. All of them apart from Nitin and Tarun were excited to share their work. I mentioned in the last post about Nitin, Tarun & Rajesh having trouble communicating… I wonder if this is a part of the reason they N & T didn’t want to share their work… 

I was a bit disappointed when the students spoke about the facts like when they were born, which teams they played for or where they lived. Little was spoken about their achievements- something I was hoping that if they spoke about, I could leverage to help they aim for the same. 


Moving on to tackling difficult chapters, I asked the students to select one chapter to focus on for the three they had chosen. I told them to glance through the entire chapter and look for new words and topics.  After they did this, I asked them to categorise the different topics in the chapter as easy, hard, interesting and boring. Ashwin and Prem were a little too quick to categorise their topics as easy, difficult, hard etc. I asked all the students to dig deeper and classify each problem from the exercise as easy or hard. Hopefully this task will help them get familiar and understand the various topics and subtopics in the chosen chapters. 

Tomorrow we are going to start learning. I plan on showing them videos related to the topics they have chosen. I wonder how they will respond to this new way of learning. I guess I’ll have to wait and see 🙂 .
Learnings: Ask the student to go through the chapter and familiarise themselves with new words, new topics, and even exercises/questions. They can classify them as easy, hard, difficult or boring. This will help them associate with the chapter and feel in charge of their learning.  

HP Day 2 – Selecting difficult chapters to study

April 17, 2018 in Headstart Program, Parent, Student, Tutor

Hello there, it’s Sreelakshmi again! If you haven’t read about the first day of the Headstart Program, I recommend you do it now. It will help you understand the context of these posts better.

I’d like to tell you about the first session of the Headstart Program. I decided to let the students understand and pick the difficult chapters they would like to learn. I believe when you give people the power to choose what they want, they enjoy their decisions better.

Also, I’m using a wonderful app called ClassDojo to conduct these sessions. ClassDojo is a classroom communication app. It can be used to share reports with parents. The real use I find in it is that I can use it to develop individual student skills. I can even give real-time feedback that makes it almost as if I’m rewarding the player (student) with scores. I definitely recommend you read up about it or even try it!

The students were excited to use the app as well. Most said they were comfortable with technology and have a smartphone or tablet at home.

Anyway, back to goal setting. I could see that the students didn’t have a logical way in which they were choosing their chapters they said they’d like to study. Most of the students picked easy topics to study instead of difficult ones like Symmetry in Math (the goal of the Headstart Program is to work with difficult chapters before the school year began). I think I will need to work with them to reselect chapters – I’m sure they can aim higher.

Today, as usual, I paid attention to class participation and communication. These are my observations

a. Rajesh, Nitin and Tarun might have problems with participation in general. They tend to remain quite/not contribute/speak their mind. We might have to make efforts to improve this. They also struggle with communication.

b. Prem seems to be rather curious and engaged in the learning process. He voluntarily asked to pick difficult topics.

c. Ashwin seems to be a little dominating in conversations. I might have to look at contributions from him vis-à-vis the whole class.

d. Kiran seemed a little disengaged and restless from his body language. We will have to include more activities of kinesthetic in nature.

For Tomorrow’s class I’ve asked the students to talk about their favourite famous personality. I asked them to identify positive characteristics they see- like hard work, embracing failure, being persistent, working with limited resources, etc. and adding these to ClassDojo.

With regard to my goals, I have to work with Rajesh, Nitin and Tarun with language learning. I also have to work with Prem, Ashwin and Kiran to help them design a post test for the chapters they have chosen.

Learnings: Look out for student personality traits in order to help them channel their learning energy better, Pay attention to anything that could hamper learning- it’s better to deal with these first, Explain why we are doing things – Choosing a difficult chapter will only be more beneficial in the long term.