Category Archives: updates

End of year acronyms

End of year at school again and it feels like one just went by. There was a time I was impatient for her to complete primary school. It seemed to take for ever to graduate from Grade 5 into middle school, if you include the time they spend at Kindergarten. Some kids also go to a preschool for a whole year before KG! Akank was one of the lucky ones who did 6 months of it.

Now, middle school seems to fly past so quickly! She is already going to be in Grade 8 in August and in final year of middle school. I complain now about how fast time flies!

This year again Akank brought back her year book that had the individual photographs of all the students in different grades and group pictures with the tutors. The year book also had a few pages at the end that was meant for autographs. Typically, the book gets passed around between friends and frenemies across sections and grades.

I flipped through some pages, read a few messages and my vocabulary of acronyms is update with what teens use today!

The messages in Akank’s year book

HAGS is short for Have a great summer!  LYLAS is short for Love you like a sister!  KATS is short for Kick ass this summer (inappropriate according to Akank!) and YOLO is short for You only live once!

I look back at my school days and I recall that we only had autograph books at the end of Grade 12. We were extremely shy to ask people to write in our books, unless they were our ‘besties’ ( yeah, that is what best friends are called today) and the most you would get to read is an innocent rhyme about violets and roses, sugar and you!

Times have changed. What is your experience with the NexGen kids?


Posted by on June 14, 2012 in contemplations, School, updates


Revelations at the dentist

We knew Akank needed braces sometime in her life. Akank has been conscious about how crooked her teeth were and was waiting for the day we could take her to the dentist for braces.  A visit to the dentist about six months back to evaluate if she was ready for braces exposed some hard truths.

A routine scan that was done to assess the status revealed that she had two missing teeth on her lower jaw. Where there had to be six, there were only four. It appeared to be a congenital defect that had not bothered her, nor us, till then. The conclusion that the dentist made was that we had do do away with two excess teeth on the upper jaw to even out the difference before the braces came on. The scan revealed more bad news. One of her teeth on the upper jaw, was lodged in the gum unable to find its way out, owing to a milk tooth that was blocking its way. The doctor predicted that if we let the milk tooth stay, it would fall of its own accord, when Akank was older, by which time it would be too late to intervene. The lodged tooth was growing on top of another healthy permanent tooth instead. Leaving it there would only damage the root of the other tooth, the doctor warned us. The dentist then gave us a few options on how these could be corrected.

We were not totally convinced that she needed the corrective procedures that the dentist recommended. One of the steps the doctor had outlined involved a surgical removal of the embedded tooth for which the dentist predicted that she would need a week to recuperate and heal. The moment we heard about the surgery, we hesitated. Maybe we should ask for a second opinion? Sensing our hesitancy, the doctor gave us time to think about it and get back to her within six months or whenever the school had a longish break. We discussed it at home and concluded that our 12 year old with healthy gums and brushing habits, did have issues that needed correction before it was too late.

When the school closed for the first term break, our one point agenda was to have the corrective surgery done and get the braces on before Akank got any older. We did not make any plans for the break other than the dentist visits. Akank finally had her lodged tooth surgically removed today. Plus, the milk tooth and another premolar were extracted to make space for the teeth to realign themselves when the braces came on.

Akank handled herself really well!

It was her first experience on a surgical table under sedation. She handled herself very well throughout the procedure.She was excited and nervous at the same time since last evening. She talked about it non stop, asked us several questions, planned to resist being knocked off under sedation and plotted strategies of coping post surgical pain. She did well and has made us proud. She is on the road to recovery, albeit with three less teeth to begin a fresh new year next week.

The braces will come on in January.

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Posted by on December 29, 2011 in Health, updates


End of school year…yet again!

This must be the most repeated title in my blog. I am sure there are eight other times that I have talked about it. That is how long I have been blogging about Akank. So much happens during the year at school that I really look forward to blogging about the end of the school year, every year.

This year has been a difficult year for Akank. The challenges have been many.  Beginning with a new school, in a new country with new methods of teaching, new culture, new schedules, new subjects, new accents, new cliques to contend with. The first two terms were pretty traumatic and shook her confidence and self esteem. From a popular, liked, influential individual to almost being a non entity is a big change. She managed alright but only barely. She has learnt that not everybody needs to be friends, has become self reliant with school work and become more assertive with speaking her mind.

We have had our share of mother daughter tiffs, but that has helped us learn about each other better. She is independent, confident, restrained and surefooted. Her sense of humour is sharp and that helps in a big way.

At school, she has had fantastic exposure to the performing arts and global services through out the year. Apart from academics where she learnt to make her own presentations and models, she has been a part of the developmental swimming team, the choir and the junior band. She learnt to Irish dance and unicycle. She went camping, cleared a high ropes course and was part of the dragon boating team. She raised money for charity at bake sales and by playing her piano. She auditioned for roles for drama (Never won the part though), took active parts in the day of sport, the disco, the talent show. She hosted a few play dates with people she wanted to be friends. She continues to acquire skills in piano and classical music.

That in a nut shell tells you what was up the whole year in Akank’s life. Next year, she moves to a sprawling new campus (I will need a GPS to find my way around that campus!) and she is very excited with the prospect of being a buddy to the new kids who will join the school next year. Good luck, Akank!

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Posted by on June 15, 2011 in School, updates


Learning by doing

I love the learning methodologies that Akank is being exposed to in the new school system.  In Humanities, they took the lesson on development a few steps ahead. Akank was asked to read a book by an author who wrote on the subject and she chose Minfong Ho’s “Rice without Rain“. I can tell you with conviction that Akank would never have ventured into reading books like those if it had not been for the school. The best part of the deal was that she loved the book and reviewed it on Shelfari.  At school, Akank is learning to write book reviews in the format followed world wide.  The Grade 6 students were invited by the tutor to open accounts at Shelfari to review books that they have read and share it with the others. The Humanities lesson on development began with the hunger banquet, the role playing of families from different parts of West Africa and it progressed to building shanties with recycled material. Akank took rags, shoe boxes, milk cartons and everything she could find her hands on that qualified as scrap to contribute to building material for the shanty that her group had to build. Last week, they were taught to make envelopes from newspapers using home made glue, that they could trade off to the teachers to break away from the poverty cycle. It is as real as it gets. I think this methodology of learning the concept of what it means to have less makes a huge impact on learning and retaining what is learnt.

I wish more schools in India could teach subjects like Social studies with more creative approaches that will change the way our children comprehend social studies instead of regarding it as just another subject one has to learn till Grade 10.

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Posted by on March 9, 2011 in School, updates


Greener pastures

I can say it with relief that Akank has moved on with her reading. Maybe it is because JK Rowling, Christopher Paolini , Stephenie Meyer and Rick Riordan have not published anything new nor have I figured out who else writes about fantasy characters other than witches, vampires, demigods or dragon riders. Or maybe it was a phase that Akank had to live through before she turned 12. or maybe I am judging all this way too quickly! Anyway, the point of the matter is, Akank has begun reading books on girlie groups and cliques. Lately she has found joy in Rachel Renee Russell’s Dork Diaries, Anna Carey’s Sloan Sisters and Lisa Harrison’s The Clique series. How long this phase lasts will entirely depend on how many books these ladies have written or continue to write.


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Posted by on February 6, 2011 in Reading, updates


Scavengers and Brokers

Last week, Akank began learning a new concept in Math that needed her to keep tabs on the ‘stock market’ at school. The assignment is supposed to run for two weeks at the end of which the kids would be assessed for data management and bar graphs skills. They have been given a set of 12 stocks of various values to track and a sum of 10,000 dollars as portfolio capital.  The teacher posts a daily update of the price list and once in a while , a piece of news about a few companies from the list. The children are expected to understand how the news affects the value of the stocks and accordingly make decisions to buy, sell or hold stock.

This week, she is also going on a Scavenger hunt to China Town. The Chinese New Year celebration is on full swing this time of the year, and that is the theme of the hunt. The kids have been divided into small groups and given tasks to complete. From picking up something from the New year market and explaining its significance, to identifying characters and phrases related to the New year, to creative photographs to writing her observations, she has a packed 4 hour trip tomorrow afternoon!


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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in School, updates


Vacation diary and then some

Akank had a packed term break . She had listed out her choice destinations to visit over the term break and we managed to take her to a few.

Apart from a cruise to Malaysia on the Super Star Libra that lasted for three days and nights, Akank also went to the Flyer, Sentosa, Boat Quay and the botanical garden.We threw in a ride on the Jewel cable car ride to Sentosa as an extra. Her initial list also had Universal Studios at Sentosa, the East coast Park, a ride on the Hop on hop off and visit to the Marina bay sands. Of course we asked to iterate her list to accommodate our time constraints. We have left the list of places that we-did- not- make- it- to, for later.

Akank has begun her Term 2 with a fresh frame of mind. The New year resolve that she has made includes many desirable traits that she wants to inculcate, topping the list are- being organized, honest, humble and friendly to all.

Over the break, Akank revised some concepts in math, re read a few of her favourite books, watched reruns of her favourite movies, spent a lot of bonding time with Maxx and her grand mothers and chilled at home. By the end of the 3 week vacation, she was ready to begin Term 2!

The first day at school seems to have gone off well. Some highlights from her debriefing session after school hours:

A new kid in the class from Beijing. ” A cute chubby girl”

A friend who noticed a few desirable changes in her- ” You seem less vain and quieter”

A classmate who had ignored Akank the whole of the first term, finally noticed Akank and said hello ” Hey.. ssup”

A bunch of paint smudged,work sheets from Art class that she brought back to share. ” I have something exciting to show you!

I love school, ma!

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Posted by on January 11, 2011 in School, updates