Day in the life

18th July 2008 at 01:00
A drive by 4x4 through the jungle, daily yoga and basket making. Trisha Kavanagh on how the school day differs in India
A drive by 4x4 through the jungle, daily yoga and basket making. Trisha Kavanagh on how the school day differs in India

This lesson explores what going to school is like in Chembakolli, India, compared with England. Nine pictures were shown on the interactive whiteboard. Behind each number was a picture of a day in the life of some Indian children. The class discussed each picture, pointing out similarities and differences between these children's lives and their own.

Some of the things about their school day are similiar - familiar lessons such as literacy, numeracy, geography and science. The main differences are that the Indian children travel far to their school. They have a 15-minute walk to the Jeep through the jungle and then a 30km drive over the mountains to the town.

They do yoga daily and play traditional games during playtime. Their afternoons comprise lessons such as weaving, basket making and book binding. They have no computers and re-use books that are shared. They have open-sided classrooms to allow cooling during warm weather and the roofs are steep and have a large overhang so that rain can run off during monsoon season. They also all help to clean their classrooms before they leave.

My pupils' findings were written on a pre-prepared two-column flipchart. Then the class looked at an actual Indian school timetable and drew a cartoon version of an Indian child's school day.

When I did this lesson with my pupils, they were excited by the hidden images and the fast pace of the lesson injected a slightly competitive edge. The lesson was of an inclusive nature, with visual and oral elements, and a fair balance of writing and ICT

Trisha Kavanagh is a geography co-ordinator and Year 4 teacher at St Francis Sales Junior School in Tottenham, north London

You can do it too

Prepare the grid with your own downloaded photos.

- Ensure that each table has their differentiated activity pack with resources, timetable, cartoon template, photographs and instructions.

- Maintain a good pace, especially with the starter activity.

Resources provides downloadable photos (you need to subscribe). provides a downloadable template picture board with instructions on how to load your own pictures.

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