Newsletter - February 2009
Message From The Director
by Visvambhara das
It is hard to believe that we are already well into the second half of the school year. We have just finished up the second quarter and our teachers, administration, and students are diligently focusing on everything that needs to be accomplished by the end of the school year.
Yadu (Anasuya's Mother) was the
winner of a Krishna.com gift certificate.
I also want to thank Krishna.com for contributing a $50 gift certificate that we raffled off at the prasadam sales table.
Presentation of gifts to students in
Audarya Bhavan by Advaita Acarya,
Sarad Bihari, Tamohara, & Mantrini.
Much of what was done over the holiday was preliminary but through this process we will be finalizing a vision and will define specific objectives in four areas: curriculum, operations, facilities, and finances. Our goal is to have an initial draft of the plan complete sometime in March. This plan will then become our roadmap for the future growth and development of Bhaktivedanta Academy. If anyone has any interest and/or expertise, particularly in the areas of operations, facilities, and finance/fundraising, please contact us. We would greatly appreciate your input.
Specifically, we are looking for a highly skilled entertainer/performer to headline the event. We will also need assistance in organizing ticket sales, prasadam sales, sponsorships, and an auction. Please let Jahnava know what you can do to help.
I am grateful that Krishna has blessed us with a wonderful year so far and look forward to everything he has in store for us as we head toward the summer!
Bhakti Bhavan - Pre-K/Kindergarten
by Nataka-candrika dasi
In the months of December/January we introduced our students to the continents of Europe and Asia. (We will continue our study of Asia into the month of February). Along with map making, students have been learning about the animals and cultures of these two continents. They especially enjoy making their own animal books and the Kindergartners had an opportunity to research the animal of their choice. After learning about their chosen animal, each Kindergartner student gave an oral presentation to the rest of the class, much to the delight of their younger classmates. At the end, the Kindergartners even fielded questions from the audience.
Vrindavanesvari gives Shyama a lesson
using sandpaper letters
For Biology, students learned about the parts of a bird and a turtle. They explored the varieties of each and put a lot of energy into making their own booklets to take home.
In practical life, one of the most popular choices was the nut cracking work on the shelf. Little hands and fingers were daily strengthened as many varieties of nuts were cracked (on a manual nut cracker) and served out to friends. Wood polishing continued to be a popular choice as well.
Isha distributes prasadam to his
classmates for his birthday
To help students better understand a time line, we talked about the life of Srila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakura. (They also had a lot of practice with time lines as six of their classmates had birthdays over the last two months!)
Since there were several religious (and non-religious) holidays during December and January, students had an opportunity to try their hand at making such things as colorful paper chains, snowflakes and mandalas. Art projects are definitely something they all enjoy!
Finally, the students of Bhakti Bhavan have had daily practice in chanting the maha mantra, offering obeisances to their Deities and the vaishnavas, taking caranamrta, and hearing about the wonderful pastimes of Krsna. For Lord Nityananda's Appearance Day we have been practicing a song called “Jai Nitai” (written by Mrgaksi dasi) which will be sung for His pleasure at the temple. We will begin hearing soon about Lord Caitanya's pastimes since Gaura Purnima is just around the corner. With all the wonderful spiritual festivals coming up, we have a lot to look forward to!
Audarya Bhavan - Grade 1-3
by Satyaki dasi
In January Audarya Bhavan discussed voting, our nation's capital, our presidents, and national and local governments. On January 20th we watched the inauguration of President Barack Obama. We also took the opportunity to talk about Florida's governor and our local mayor.
Audarya Bhavan students at
Alachua City Hall
Concluding our study, we took a tour of Alachua City Hall and the police station at the Alachua Municipal Complex. The children were able to see the council chamber, where Alachua's City Council makes local ordinances. They also had the special privilege of viewing the secret vault where Alachua's records are stored. At the police station children were shown the evidence room and the jail cells. We concluded our tour with Officer William Baldry showing us his motorcycle and speed gun.
Officer Baldry shows his police motorcycle
to Audarya Bhavan students
Also this month we studied haiku poetry and onomatopoeia. We combined the two elements of literature and created our own haiku with onomatopoetic words. Here is a poem we wrote together:
This next haiku was written by Madhuri, and is entitled "The Wind:"
Whoosh, whoosh, the wind blows.
January was an exciting month and February promises more of the same.
Madhurya Bhavan - Grade 4-6
by Krishna Priya dasi
Krsna Cranium board game
In Bhagavada Gita class we are creating a board game on the three modes of material nature. As we learn and read about each mode, the students create cards that will bring them two steps closer to Krsna, keep them in the material world or even land them in the lower planets for one turn. A sample mode of passion card from Nityananda is "You wanted praise for playing a soccer game. Go back one space." Or a card from Aravind, "You just ate a rasagulla offered to Krsna. Go forward two spaces." Creating the cards helps students apply the modes to the choices they make in life and it drives home the point that the mode of goodness is conducive to Krsna consciosness, the mode of passion binds you in the material world and the mode of ignorance can have extremely negative consequences.
In social studies the students have just started to create an almanac for a state or country of their choice. Each week they research a flower, an animal or even a famous person in their state or country. They write a paragraph or draw a picture for each of these, and at the end of the year they will bind it into a book organized alphabetically. This project brings together skills from across the academic disciplines. Students are focusing on expository writing and reading and simultaneously learning about both science and history in their chosen state or country.
Aravind represented our school
at the Alachua County Spelling Bee
The last week of January was a special week for two students: Aravind and Vishaka. Aravind won first place in the Madhurya Bhavan class Spelling Bee and Vishaka won second place. Aravind went on to compete in the Alachua County Spelling Bee. His first word was "servant" (which every Vaisnava knows how to spell) and his second was "tithe" (which he knew because of the temple tithing campaigns). But alas, he stumbled on the word "etymology." Vrnda was the winner amongst the fourth graders and Vishnu was the winner amongst the fifth graders.
Dedicated to the the service of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada