Jano Bee 2013 Press Release

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Jano Hindi Bee 2013

imagesLast Sunday while gazing through the farmers market I stumbled upon a booth with Vivekananda’s picture on it. Moreover the text ‘Bee’ caught my attention. Being an active member of ‘Jano Bee’ I was curious to find out more and to my utter amazement it turned out to be a ‘Vedanta Bee’. While discussing about their concept, I was introduced to one of the organizers and I found out his daughter was studying Hindi in one of our Hindi classes. What a small world!! The father was very excited about this year’s ‘Jano Hindi Bee’ competition and was happy about the changes in the structure of the competition. I always feel motivated whenever i meet enthusiastic parents like this.

On my way back, I was drawn to the memory lane of last year’s Jano Bee Competition and how we have come a long way. The idea of Hindi Bee sprouted form the constant persuasion of parents to involve more conversation in our classes. We knew that understanding the meaning of what we speak is a major part of conversation and kids here are not exposed to Hindi as much as English & Spanish. Finally we zeroed upon the idea of building their vocabulary. In lower levels they would only learn meanings of the Hindi words and moving forward in higher levels they will keep on building vocabulary as well as start using those words in meaningful sentences. Which definitely makes more sense as then the whole platform of making sentences and using those words anywhere is available rather than just learning a bunch of conversation sentences. Hence, Jano Hindi Bee came into existence in 2012.

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Welcome Speech Jano Bee 2012

The best thing about past is, after passing by it gives us a chance to improve. Constant improvement is very important for any kind of growth be it personal, organizational or spiritual. Despite of having a great response during ‘Jano Hindi Bee 2012′ we saw there is a lot of room for improvement.

LOCATION: We decided to change our Bee location to a school so that we have a big area. We couldn’t think of a better place than our summer camp location Scott Lane Elementary School, Santa Clara. Location change will give us the freedom to conduct the competition in separate rooms for each group of 10-12 contestants. It will provide ample seating area for parents watching the competition. Hopefully it will also give more serenity to the judges.

5 WORD ELIMINATION: We were not very excited about the 1 word elimination on the final day. It made us re-think our competition structure. A kid learning 200 vocabulary words is eliminated just because he/she does not know 1 meaning seemed unfair and heartbreaking to us. This ain’t a college entrance exam, our main idea is to help them

build their vocabulary and in the process have a healthy competition where they can rewarded for their endeavors. We decide to have ’5 WORD ELIMINATION’ where kids will get 5 words in 5 turns and then based on the scores lowest scorer will be eliminated which our panel agreed to is fair.

 TIE ROUNDS: Believe it or not last year our final round for Div 1 with only 10 contestants went on for over an   hour. The kids were sooo good!!! Hats DSC_7858off to them, their teachers and their parents. They knew the meanings of entire vocabulary words and all the tie words. At one point we were sure that we might have more than 3 winners. This was a huge learning for us and we removed the concept of giving the tie words to the kids. This year we have include reading and writing rounds respectively for Tie1 and Tie 2. The limitations of these rounds are base upon the level they are in their Hindi class. It fits perfect with our Hindi class curriculum as kids are learning the script in class.

 

Kids are busy preparing for the competition and we are just 7 weeks away from our ‘Jano Hindi Bee’- 2013, which is on Saturday, March 23rd. We await eagerly for the final Bee day, meanwhile we are keeping ourselves busy with finalizing all the minute details of the competition. Don’t forget to be there to cheer these young contestants in their process of mastering Hindi…

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Left: Youngest Bee participant, 4.5 years old

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The Perks

 

Cooking Projects – What are we cooking this time??

I have always been mesmerized by how 5 senses impact our lives. Taste, being one of the important one possess the miraculous ability to transport us to a memory of the past. It could be taste of pipping hot gujia, a savory bite of maa ke hhath ka khana (food cooked by mother), hot cup of tea in a drizzly evening, or even a hint of minty toothpaste, our mind just cheats us and for few moments, we find ourselves wandering in a forgotten memory lane, trying to soak up that experience once again, until we come back, the next time.  What a fantastic way of traveling through the  past. I have always been a complete foodie, spending any chance i could get, thinking about food. The taste of veggies cooked in panch-phoron (Bengali 5-spices)  & mustard oil reminds me of my childhood. The taste of fresh pedas  takes me back to the years spent in Bengal and list just goes on…. I always have my own small cookery show every-time I cook. I can’t help it, the moment i start cooking, i start talking about the recipe……It has always been a subject of mockery whenever our family meets. Still, I refuse to change……………..

I was very excited when we deiced to include cooking projects in our camp. We extensively researched and developed kid-friendly recipes. India being such a diverse nation, is, a gold mine of delicious local delicacies. We wanted recipes which has less ingredients, shorter cooking time and does not require a gas stove or high tech electronic gadgets. Reminds me of an old ‘Maggie’ tagline – “Fast to cook & good to eat”. That’s what we wanted. During our trial periods I thoroughly  trying out recipes and tasting them. All our efforts were paid off when we saw the excitement and enthusiasm of kids, during the first cooking project. They wanted more of that experience. Here i can say, from that day onwards whenever they came in the morning, the first question used to be – “What are we cooking today”? Though they were all following steps told by the teacher, but they had created there own little  ‘Master Chef’ contest. Trying to be the best, following each step perfectly, trying to set up a beautiful plate. It was hands down one of a kind experience for them.

Little Master Chef!!

What's cooking?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This project also showed me another side of a little one, Commitment & Responsibility. We had a 5 year old last year, who was allergic to peanuts, any other nuts, milk, soy and eggs. It breaks my heart to see a kid having so many allergic restrictions. In that camp, we chose to cook the recipes that did not include peanuts, any other nuts, milk or soy.  He told us that he would make the recipes but will not eat any as his dad had asked him not eat any outside food to due to his allergies. We repeatedly told him that he can eat these recipes, but he did not. He did cook all the recipes enthusiastically with everyone and always took his share for his father……. 5 year old and so responsible….. it’s so impressive. The astonishing part was that on the feedback he wrote that his favorite project was ‘cooking’…

Peda was the opening recipe of our cooking project. There is a small story behind this one too…. As it’s a sweet recipe i was being kept on the last day. I got to know, that, there is a fantastic recipe kept for Monday and I will not be able to eat it as it’s my fast. Being a foodie this was not acceptable to me…..Among our all recipes  ‘Peda’ was the only one that I could eat on my fasting day. I requested my director to keep ‘Peda’ for Monday project and remove that recipe for some other day. And Peda-Project became our perfect sweet & rewarding start. As Holi just swung by, I am shairing  Peda recipe taught in our camp……….. Join your little ones in the kitchen it’s cooking time…..

Recipe – Peda       

Ingredients (Samagri)

1 cup khoya (room temperature)
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
Sliced pistachio for decoration
Food color (optional)

Method (Vidhi)

Step 1
Crush the khoya with your hands so that there are no lumps

Step 2
Start pressing it with the back of your palms until it turns into a smooth dough

Step 3
Mix the sugar, food color and cardamom powder into the khoya and knead it for about a minute until everything blends together

Step 4
Divide the mix into about 10 equal parts and roll them into round balls. Lightly press it down so it looks like small patty.

Step 5
Decorate them with any nuts of your choice

 

We have more fabulous recipes to share in our camps this year. Looking forward to having great fun while cooking and tasting these recipes. This year too, taste of few old recipes is going to walk me through the memory lane of last year’s Camp Jano India

Let’s Explore India with Unique Themes

It has been warm for last two days, spring is already here and summer is eagerly waiting for it’s turn. I absolutely enjoy summer, as it’s all about ‘fun’ with so many colorful veggies, fruits, farmers market, summer vacations, beach trips, trips to farms loaded with colorful fruits, swimming & many more things to do. For me everything & every activity just screams …FUN… Kids have another name for fun during summer ‘SUMMER CAMPS‘ !! As summer is approaching parents are busy finding camps for their kids. I see my friends and colleagues looking at different options and try to fit the best ones in their schedules. All this effort in order to plan a summer filled with fun & knowledge for their little ones.

While growing up I was fortunate to live in different states of India like West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, & Uttranchal. One thing that always amazes me about India is, that you travel just 500-1000miles and you can see such a vast change is language, food, spices, culture, art, historical monuments, mythological stories almost everything changes. It’s just amazing how much India has to offer.

Being in marketing, I take part in different community events & camp fairs during this season. I am always amazed to see such brilliant options out there for kids of all ages. Over the years we have always found a need for a camp where kids can reconnect with their Indian roots and have loads of fun while doing that. From there we got the idea idea to bring a unique camp ”JANO INDIA” for kids. We wanted kids living in United States to explore India and find out why India has been such a fascinating land for foreigners.

In order to take the children on a journey of India, our camps have been beautifully crafted into different themes. These themes touch different aspects that make Indian culture so rich & desirable. Each & every theme is creatively woven into a series of projects, art, craft & theatre to make the children truly appreciate India. As a bonus, each camp ends with a play in Hindi which has woven into it the various cultural elements for that week! The themes for this year are – Incredible India, Celebrate India & I love India.

Incredible India – Depicts historical and modern day monuments located in different states of India. We try and cover all parts of India so that children can relate to them. Mohanjodaro, Nalanda University, India Gate, Tajmahal, Meenakshi Temple, Belur Math to name a few. Along with that it covers physical dynamics of India located in that area such as important rivers, desserts and the great plains.

Celebrate India – Covers popular festivals such as Diwali, Holi, Pongal, Onam, Durga Pooja etc. It also showcases how India being a land of such diverse cultures has embraced other cultures of the world. Children will be encouraged to recreate the ambiance of those special occasions and thus learn of their significance.

I Love India – Covers famous Indian people like Gandhiji, Rajendra Prasad, Rani Lakshmibai, Shivaji, Indira Gandhi and other leaders. All coming from diverse yet simple backgrounds and going on to become such great icons. This unique camp has a fantastic way of inspiring children that they will experience once they are here.

Try to find out who is the young boy who grew up to become such an iconic figure??

For any parent who want their kids to appreciate India and want to send them to a journey of India without booking air tickets, “CAMP JANO INDIA” is the way to go….. http://www.camperregsecure.com/eduhindilogin/index.php?cmd=ViewAll

Will write more about my experiences at this amazing Camp. Till then ‘phir milen-gay’……..

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……