The Story of JANO HINDI BEE

This is the story of ”Jano Hindi Bee”. We are always trying to find ways to motivate our kids in Hindi class to talk in Hindi. As all kids come from different backgrounds it becomes hard for a teacher to constantly talk in Hindi and make kids talk in Hindi.  We get  motivated by constant parents’ effort of teaching kids our national language here in US and we are always thinking of ways to increase Hindi conversation in kids’ life, that’s how we started JANO INDIA – Summer Camp to fill their summers with Indian Heritage.

Now back to our regular Hindi class. To make kids talk in Hindi the vocabulary (Shabd-kosh) is very important. If we just teach few conversation sentences in class. They would learn them but probably will not be able to pick up each word separately and try and understand similar sentences. It becomes very crucial as kids who have other regional languages of India as their mother toungue, they face difficulty in understanding hindi sentences because it’s a completely new language for them. For example – If they know a sentence – Tumhara naam kya hai? it’s important to understand meaning of each of them and try to put them in similar sentences or try and understand question a little bit if they have similar words. So it is important to know vocabulary words tumhara – yours, naam – name, kya – what. Now the canvas becomes larger and constant repetition of these words helps them understand Hindi faster.

So our director came up with the idea of ”JANO HINDI BEE” – a vocabulary contest. Now you might think if it’s BEE why isn’t a spelling contest. As we are so used to of hearing “Spelling Bee”  Bee has almost become a synonym to Spelling contest. We had the same questions while we were designing the contest. We researched before finalizing the name.  Apart from hairy bodies insects  BEE also means  a social gathering to carry out some communal task or to hold competitions. Hence the name “JANO HINDI BEE” which means KNOW HINDI – Competition.

This vocabulary contest will take place on March 24th at Jain Temple, Milpitas. We couldn’t have asked for more, what can be better than taking our first Hindi vocabulary contest at such a sacred place. Currently we are overwhelmed with parents’ response. Parents, kids all are so motivated and everyday we are getting new entries. The list of Hindi vocabulary words are not taken randomly, If only it was that simple that simple!! We carefully crafted list of words for the contest. We thought it would be an easy thing to do, just 300 words and it will take maximum 2-3 weeks but it took us almost 2 months to complete the final list. We took inputs of every single teacher at US Hindi Association. The word list went through several edits and then we got 300 final words for our list. Words for each Level (Division) is taken from that Level’s text book. All the words are divided into 10 categories. The normal Categories like verbs, adjectives, fruits vegetables, colors, relations etc.

We divides the entire contest in Divisions based on kid’s Level. So they need to prepare
Division 1 – from all current Jano Hindi Classes of Level 1 – Meaning of 100 words
Division 2 – from all current Jano Hindi Classes of Level 1Accel and Level 2 – meaning of 200 words
Division 3 – from all current Jano Hindi Classes of Level 3 – Meaning and sentence of 200 words
Division 4 – from all current Jano Hindi Classes of Level 4 & Level 5 – Meaning and sentence of 300 words

Every Hindi class will have one winner in each Level who will then participate in the Regional Round & Final rounds on March 24th

In my class today I was amazed how Level 1 kids have memorized all 100 words. We practiced and they took me by surprise as all participating kids new every answer. It’s going to be tough for me to select one winner for each level. The kids & Parents’ enthusiasm is keeping our spirits high and we are excited to see how everything falls into place on March 24th. Don’t forget to be there to cheer these Young Hindi Speakers……

Cognitive development via foreign language

Following links talk about the growing importance of foreign language
and its effect on brain development on children:

http://www.edutopia.org/foreign-language

Makar Sankranti: A Solar and Pastoral Festival of India

Sankranti (also called Pongal) is a Hindu festival celebrated in January and although there are twelve days associated with this, usually only three are celebrated. The last day is on January 14th and it is the biggest and most important. This is because the sun passes through the winter solstice, from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn. On this day, Indians worship the cattle (ormattu). The cattle are bathed, painted in bright colors with their horns polished and flower garlands hung around their necks.

The first and second day of Sankranti is celebrated with the exchange of gifts among the family,that remind Indians to be thankful. Prayers are offered to the Sun God for a good harvest. Sweet rice and rangoli are made throughout the festivities. Rangoli are geometric designs filled with rice or sand that is colored. These can be made on the wall or the floor but are usually created outside the houses. It is a very popular art form in India and is also called sand painting. Unmarried women paint these during the month of Maarkazhi when they pray in hopes of good fortune, like the Goddess Andal did, when she prayed to Lord Thirumal to marry her.

The celebration is sometimes called the “festival of flying kites”. During the third day the skies in India are brightly colored with kites. Hindu’s have fun “fighting” or “running” with ones made of special string. It is important for people in India to get out in the sun as the day marks the beginning of the harvest season and of warmer days.