Final Blog Post (Hopefully for a while)

As the last post I want to reflect on my goals and achievements from the DP2 journey. Overall I worked through the three aspects of CAS, being creativity, action and service. As a little throwback my creativity was based on both my involvement of activities in and out of school. In school I was able to develop new skills and overcome challenges such as communication issues and general time management. In action I started off later on in the year with fun badminton that proved to help me develop new skills with working collaboratively with my peers and sometimes learning from them with new techniques. Additionally my favourite aspect; service. I was a leader of the SOS Village Service and I can easily say and proudly say I have been able to achieve my goals of creating bonds and relationships.

Creativity: My creativity involvements were primarily based on an art exhibition (part of my CAS project) that was outside school where the goal I had for this exhibition was to broaden the skills and minds of these young artists through the process and creation of this exhibition. Through the rest of the year I was involved with a dance group consisting of most of the seniors where we worked collaboratively  to create a dance routine mash up of two popular songs where we performed during Gecko Factor. Additionally there were aspects of this used in my service as well where I was able to integrate my skills of art and design to teach and create a bond with the children as well as to help interest me more to have a higher commitment rate during my activities. Overall with creativity I was able to conduct activities that were initiated by me which helped me overcome challenges and develop a new set of skills involving other people to use later on.

Activity: This was a late addition to the family of CAS. I joined Fun Badminton to start committing to an action for the duration of the time in OSC. I was able to work with Ika and Sadira in developing new skills with badminton. I was able to show commitment to  a sport I would normally not be interested in but I was able to gain a new found like to the sport and along the way develop new skills in how to serve properly and work on my back hand shots.

Service: Writing this is pretty sad for me because I will really miss service. As a part of the journey I create long lasting friendships with the children I work with. I incorporated aspects of creativity in order for me to better my communication. Additionally I able to develop a new skill and language from the kids themselves where when I taught them they gave me something back too. I was able to  engage myself and my other peers involved in the service to be communicative and collaborative in order to develop their skills of being able to understand and problem solve in un common situations, or something that is not part of their daily lives. This is a little expert from my final reflection for service: Personally due to my initial experience with the SOS village kids in Jaffna I wasn’t that apprehensive about the situation but more so excited because the Jaffna trip and the orphanage was such a memorable experience. I am glad to say that this service group has been able to make those same memories in their own way through the activities and individual bonds between the kids and our OSC service group members. I feel in a comfortable place with the kids and with Sadura to move forward into next semester with hopes to progress his learning in english and just overall interactions.

 

3 Days in Chennai

SAISA Art; the last one ever! another annoying aspect of being a grade 12 student, everything you like ends but never the studying. Anywayss…

This SAISA we worked on more modern/out of the box visual art work shops. Additionally we worked with local artists that guided us through the specific workshops. The SAISA this year was held in Chennai, in the American School and Chennai (AIC). I chose a workshop using mixed media and a new concept of book making. My workshop leader was Benitha who is a famous artist that works with natural elements in her country. Something I remember from her is what she said about her materials and work; “My art ages and decays with me, it’s a process in life”. Through this workshop I explored new ideas and challenges (overcame them as well, otherwise Ms. Johnson would not be happy). I can happily say that I developed new skills through mixed media techniques and the construction of an artwork.  I developed an idea to start off with on what I thought a book should be and be assessed and then created from there. Although I completed an art work I think that the process was quite long in regards to my final decision of what my art work should be.

I think the overall point of SAISA art is to work collaboratively with other developing artists as well as to branch out the individual knowledge of art making and the processes in art. The advantages of working collaboratively during these 3 days was the fact that we could all bounce ideas off each other in order to come up with solid, interesting and complex pieces. This was all done through interaction and peer feedback. Another point of this trip that I personally enjoyed was making new friends through the common interest of art as different understandings and personalities towards art fascinates me and helps me further extend and develop my skills within art. Lastly my host, Bhavia Joshi was the loveliest girl and the best host ever! Definitely missing her so much.

(left): The cover of the book and the overall structure of the book. (right): Inside the book, consisting of two wooden panels and acrylic details.

This was my description for the art piece, “Chennai Story”: Using my SAISA arts trip in Chennai as inspiration this piece shows what I took in from the little indian alleys and my idea of what a book should be. A book to me is like a window that you open to reveal something more. The first cover of the book shows the buildings that are in front of the alleys. When you open the book you see what is inside and behind the buildings. The two main things that stood out to me were of the speedy rear end of tuktuks and the fruit vendors with the vibrant bananas. 

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A little collage of the 3 days in Chennai. As you can see we utilised the school’s resources really well (the bleachers had good lighting for pictures

 

 

CAS Project Continued and Completed

Following up from the art exhibition post last year (DP1), I have completed and help organise the exhibition for my CAS Project. I learnt different skills such as collaborative skills and overcoming challenges regarding setting up the space as well as art problems with framing and naming. I think the most challenging part was working with the Moms who were very very involved with their daughters work (blessing and a curse?).

I think the best part of the whole experience was exposing these young artists to this very technical and challenging course of having their own exhibition. In my opinion the global issues I have been working with is the awareness of a, in my opinion, a minority community which is the arts in Sri Lanka. I think that the deterioration of the appreciation for art and the actual practicality of it is important to give issue to as well as having the younger generations be involved in it. Which is what I did through the process and end product of the exhibition. Overall I have been able to achieve quite a few learning outcomes through this CAS project. The new collaborative skills I have learnt were through communication with the parents and the framers to get both parties happy on the outcome. As well as overcoming challenges of setting up the exhibition is a proper way to catch the eye of everyone for each individual art work also I think the whole process was a challenge as I have never set up an exhibition before. I think that this can be useful and be seen as good practice for my school life as well because I will be setting up my own art exhibition for IB HL DP visual art.

My goal for this exhibition was to broaden the skills and minds of these young artists through the process and creation of this exhibition. As a Sri Lankan that studied through the Sri Lankan syllabus when I was their age, art was framed and still is framed in the basic ways of painting, drawing and everything has to be about the grass and the beach. I wanted to get them out of that habit and start to show them that their ideas can extend the basic “I want to draw a garden” (for the 20th time). I can say that I was successful as their pieces varied from animal life to abstract emotion paintings.

This is a link to the actual foundation the houses the art class: https://www.yamu.lk/place/sapumal-foundation/review-10708. The Sapumal Foundation was started by and in memory of a Sri Lankan artist who in my opinion payed attention to technique and detail. Which is what we try to teach the children in the class as a whole.

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Exhibition Set Up

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Tehani working on her final piece for the exhibition

 

SOS another reflection – Semester 1

Objective

Through the course of this semester as a service we have achieved a lot of progress with the relationships we have with our kids. I think that now there is more openness between our OSC group and the SOS village group through lines of communication as well as interests. We have been able to have a fun semester with our pool trips and the Christmas Mc Donald’s visit  where we strengthened that bond even more. In regards to my personal experience I think that I was able to create a lasting friendship with my child, Sadura, who never fails to smile when he see’s me and always willing to learn new things within the language classes and activities we do with them all.

Reflective

Personally due to my initial experience with the SOS village kids in Jaffna I wasn’t that apprehensive about the situation but more so excited because the Jaffna trip and the orphanage was such a memorable experience. I am glad to say that this service group has been able to make those same memories in their own way through the activities and individual bonds between the kids and our OSC service group members. I feel in a comfortable place with the kids and with Sadura to move forward into next semester with hopes to progress his learning in english and just overall interactions.

Interpretive

I feel that we were able to get to this area of improvement because of how open I was with my kid and how progressively open every one else has been with their kids. I think that my understanding about the service and what the kids do and what they like has definitely been a benefit because it has helped this progression.

Decisional

I think this will really help me socially and culturally accept more things in life and take time to understand more things in life. Also I think that this experience with the children is most certainly one in a million because it’s a great opportunity where you learn so much yourself along the way as well as helping. Also I think that we can, as a group, take away different ways of learning and interacting through observational skills.

 

Bittersweet Moments of 2016

LAST GALA EVER 😦

Since doing it since it started back in 2014, Gala has become a matter of practice, performance and of course the millions of pictures (selfies). This last Gala was definitely more focused on memories and taking in every performance. I was always either up on the balcony or on the side of the stage supporting my friends in all their amazing acts. I can happily say that this last Gala was a memorable one due to the Voice performances and my final solo.

Overall this experience has helped me develop new skills in collaborative working and overcoming challenges. I overcame the challenge of learning new songs along with balancing out my school work as well as learning and performing a solo. This Gala I sang a song by Tracy Chapman called “Give Me One Reason”, a favorite of a lot of parents I later discovered. Compared to my previous performance I was much more confident and more prepared that helped me come out with a better final product on stage. This success also came alongside the help of Ahnaf and Anjulie who helped me with the accompaniment and overall boost in stage confidence, which was a really nice way to end and spend our last gala.Reflecting on my goals at the start I think I have successfully achieved them.

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The last Original Gala Squad on our final night

Lights, Dance, ACTION

For the action aspect of CAS this year I have joined up with my friends in DP2 to collaborate with on a Bollywood dance activity which we plan on performing during the annual gecko factor this year! Leaded by Ariana and Amit we practice the routine every Wednesday after school. We are doing a mash up of 3 Bollywood songs. Its a fun activity as well as a challenging one due to the fast paced moves and quick transitions we all have trouble getting used to. This is a group effort to working collaboratively is a skill I have picked up on through is as it is a student led activity. The object here is to have fun while moving around and getting some action in within the week which is definitely working with the sweat we break out on even in an AC’d room!

My goals in this activity is to learn the steps as well as to work well with my peers. Additionally because some of the moves are quite hard and fast I will try to practice them to get into the “groove” of things and into shape for it. Also I would like to overcome any challenges I might have with the steps through, of course, more practice (Practice does really make perfect, just ask Mr. Lambert- Knott he lives by that saying in maths).

Wish us Luck for gecko factor!

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Our Dance session group chat, as you can see we like to record each session to see how we can improve further. 

Birthdays!

In my Service activity (SOS) we like the celebrate the children’s birthdays by getting them a present and a birthday cake (preferably chocolate of course). So far we’ve have 6 birthdays, some more organised than others. The challenge we mainly face is through the timing and communicating. Being leader  I have to inform everyone else when their child’s birthday is, the problem with this is that they rely on me to tell them all the time therefore they completely forgot what needs to be done. Regardless of this I have to see, Ahnaf and I as the leaders have really overcome this challenge and problem solved it really effectively. It was a proud moment for us both. I would say through this as a team of leaders we have overcome a challenge as well as shown commitment to the service by picking it up.

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Nethmini cutting her birthday cake after swimming

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Everyone wanted two slices (at least) 

SOS! I Have a New Service

Last school year I was involved with the Hope For Kids service, and my posts showed my overall contribution but also what I felt about being in that service, all positives! The reason for me changing service was due to my exposure during the Week Without Walls trip to Jaffna. During this trip we visited the SOS Village three times and I fell in love with the children and the community SOS offers. Since there was an opportunity to work with the SOS Village based more in Colombo, I took it. Hope For Kids was a commitment that I had for 3 years and I was leader for one of them. This year I am leader again, but no I did not take this service for this leadership position, I was offered it after I signed up.

Our first service day was last Thursday, where there was an introduction to the children and for us. As leaders, Ahnaf and I had to give a brief introduction about welcoming all 16 children and telling them who we are. I had to do a little translating…im not exactly the best Singhalese Speaker but one of the things this service will help me in is my Singhalese because when I teach the children english they teach me the Singhalese equivalent. As it always was, each OSC student picks a pair of SOS children. There was an instant bond even with the language barrier because making new friends is always exciting and brings happiness. The kids I paired up with are Sadun, who’s 8 and Umesha who is also 8, what I learnt from them so far is that they both love playing badminton and holding my hand. We started off with them drawing images of what they like to do and later on they incorporated them playing with their friend’s and little versions of themselves. Dasun and Umesha didn’t get to finish their drawings in time for swimming so we are going to continue is on to today’s service activities. Swimming was a short time but a fun time. They were all excited to swim because they don’t get to do this any other day. Most of them were scared, which is fair enough considering the new environment and placing themselves in the care of teenagers they just met. In all it was a fun introduction and I can say from that one service day everyone was well acquainted and are looking forward to seeing them again. The learning outcomes I achieved through this one service day was a new skill of breaking a language barrier and learning how to teach someone to get rid of a fear.

Leading upto this service day, our service supervisor Mr. Lamberknott wanted me to inform the rest of the service with who they are paired up with as well as when the children’s birthdays are. Another aspect of this service is that we celebrate the children’s birthdays to the date closest to the Thursday we see them. We get them a present and a cake and just make that whole day special, this is something I really admire about this service…each child is taken care of uniquely and this helps the OSC students really bond with the SOS children.

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The email is sent to the service group which also shows what needs to be done during the child’s birthday and this month we’re celebrating Anarsha’s birthday! (Excuse the Buzzfeed quizzes, it’s a time pass thing)

 

CAS Goals Senior Year (2016 – 2017)

This year I will focus on my creativity, action and service activities but also my personal growth from the different skills I gain from them. For my creativity I am still working with the Sapamul Organisation art class and working towards the new deadline for two student’s exhibition. For my action I will be following a fitness routine weekly and updating the progress on my CAS blog. Last but not least, something I am very excited about this year, is my service. This year I have changed services from Hope For Kids to SOS village. As a new CAS leader for this service I hope to add more information on this service as the year goes on.

Breaking down my activities into the three categories of CAS, this is a little brief over view of what I’m doing and plan on achieving this year:

Creativity

Teaching Art: The main goal for this year is to help two of the students, Riya and Tehani to finish their pieces for their exhibition in October. This exhibition was supposed to take place last year but due to other children involved not being as committed we had to change dates. I hope to identify my own strengths and weaknesses within this activity in order to carry it out for university and develop. The environment this takes place in is a very collaborative and helpful in developmental aspects for me. The learning outcomes here that I want to focus on is developing my skills in collaborating as well as in art.

SOS Village: My service this year has a creative aspect to it as it involves artistic topics and activities. As a service we come up with new ways to help the children learn english and be able to express themselves in artistic or language oriented ways. This relates to the learning outcome of bringing awareness and realisation to a social issue (will be touched upon in further blog posts). As well as collaborating with my 3 of my classmates and a majority of middle schoolers in the service. My goal for this year on a creative basis for this service is to have the child I am assigned with or just the children in the group be able to use creative ideas and tools to express themselves. Also being one of the leaders in this group I will be involved in planning the upcoming activities in the service.

Action

Fitness: This is a new concept of action for me. I stopped Badminton due to the teacher slotting out times for other tournament playing students (which is fair enough). This will consist of a weekly (3 times a week) fitness routine to work on cardio and strengthening activities. I made a fitness log to track my progression and times I spent and hope to increase as it goes on. This will hopefully develop my fitness skills and cardio.

Service

SOS Village: This is my service activity for the year. I have changed my service but this will be elaborated on more in a new post and introduction to the service. Overall I want to maintain a level of creativity and development for this service. As a service leader raising awareness and highlighting the importance of a global issue like this one (orphaned children) is a main goal. Also in relation to learning outcomes I want to be able to identify my strengths and weaknesses as a service leader in this particular service, in the first semester in order to make the most out of the second. I also want to engage myself and my other peers involved in the service to be communicative and collaborative in order to develop their skills of being able to understand and problem solve in un common situations, or something that is not part of their daily lives.

Semester CAS Reflection

Academically wise it was a rocky semester, due to my lack of time management and a drop on my organisation skills with my work. Not as an excuse but the fact that the DP course was challenging for me. Other than this, CAS wise I think I was very successful. I think I find a way to excel in CAS because I spread myself across a wide range of activities and events that challenged my skills and made me more aware of my community and sometimes specific individuals. Through the creative aspect of CAS I was involved in 2 activities/ groups. The first was Voice which was only one term this year and the one thing I can take from this experience both challenging and exciting was my first solo in the Gala Concert. As mentioned in my CAS blog post, it was challenging for me because I have the worst stage fright and I was very happy that I overcame that milestone. The second part of my Creative journey this year is my continuation with me teaching art in Barnes place. This is my practice and experience of working with young children who are dealing with family and individual problems. To me it was a challenge as well as a new skill learning approach because I was introduced to a different aspect of Sri Lankan culture and it revealed an aspect of me of how I was able to understand and creatively problem solve. It is something I love doing and I will be continuing on to next year as well. I think through this I am able to contribute an understanding mind set and the enjoyment that I like promoting about teaching creative projects as well as working with others. Moving on, my action was Badminton. I say was because although I enjoyed it and pushed myself to develop skills in Badminton I want to be able to push myself more doing different active workouts. What I accomplished was my backhand shots and putting more power into my shots. It seems like I’m giving up but really I am because It didn’t push me to the point that I wanted so I will be planning out another active log based on pushing my limits in activity and how that can help me with sports in school and maybe another one outside. My service was another continuation of the group Hope For Kids. From the posts of my CAS blog: “This is a horrible and unwanted situation both of them have been put in but the fact that we make their day a lot better is what I think the main goal of this service of any service should be, just to achieve happiness into these people’s lives through ways that unfortunately as ourselves being the privileged, don’t appreciate as much.” My general thoughts on the service. What I brought out of this experience is the ability to work with others even with a language barrier and with someone who looks at you and doesn’t realise what you’re doing but appreciates it all the same.