Chinmaya Mission STARTALK Summer Hindi Camp (CMSSHC) - 2016 

CMSSHC-2016 took place at Yamunotri Campus of Chinmaya Mission (30877, N. Fairfield Road, Grayslake, IL, 60030), July 18th to August 5th, 2016, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. offering 90 instructional hours per student over the 15 day camp (M-F each week for 3 weeks). 

This camp was funded by STARTALK federal grant, which means, NO FEES were charged to participate in this camp.

Indian vegetarian snacks and lunch were served daily during the camp ( NO COST to Participants ). 

There were three classrooms of 12, 13, and 14 students respectively with a total of 39 students. Neena Kathuria, Ashish Kathuria, and Anuja Naik served as main classroom teachers.

Lalitha Gupta, Shreya Kathuria, and Saloni Nahar served as assistant classroom teachers. 

All the teachers were trained by STARTALK and had prior classroom experience of teaching Hindi.

Vasanthi Rangarajan served as the administrative assistant. Sanjay N. served as the technology and logistics director.

With the theme "It is so cool to learn at school", this program introduced thirty nine 8-10 year old students to conversational and written Hindi at novice low (proficiency) / novice mid (performance) and novice high (proficiency) / intermediate low (performance) levels.

The theme was divided in four units - 1) Me, my family and my friends, 2) My school - routine and activities, 3) A school in India, 4) My ideal school.

As the outcome of the program, learners were able to communicate in all three modes of communication.

1) Interpersonal - Learners learnt to exchange information about themselves, their families, friends, likes, dislikes, daily school routine, extra-curricular interests, hobbies, food and celebrations in Hindi. They were able to ask for, give and follow directions, make plans, state preferences and choose an option from given choices after discussing with others.

2) Interpretive - Learners were able to understand information about families, friends, their likes and dislikes, school activities,  and nearby environment through listening, reading, and watching different media.

3) Presentational - Learners were able to give information about their families, friends, daily routine, simple instructions of a game, a dance, write simple information in Hindi - their name, address, family tree, school routine.

They were immersed in cultural practices (such as folk dances, songs, greetings, showing respect to elders) and products (such as food, clothing, books, music, movies) of Hindi speaking natives.

Learners made connections with other disciplines, such as math, science, geography, arts, health, and nutrition .

They compared and contrasted American and Indian cultures (different holidays, sports, customs) and languages (gender differentiation in Hindi, prepositions vs. post-positions, degrees of formality, sentence structure, etc).

They took their learning beyond the classroom by visiting a local senior center, where most seniors spoke Hindi, who were able to share their school experiences with our learners. A sense of a global community was created by learning about schools in India and sponsoring three Ekal schools and one AIM for Seva student for one year through our campers' and teachers' donations. 

Working in teams of four, through discussions, negotiation, and voting, our learners were be able to design their ideal "cool" school and invite others to study at their school. 

CMSSHC 2016's aim was to stimulate and enrich learners' imaginations and make learning a new language fun through various hands on activities and use of web 2.0 technology tools. Students were immersed in three modes of communication, as they learnt to interpret instruction in culturally rich contexts (some familiar, some new), interact with the teachers and other learners while engaging in playful activities, and present their learning in the form of a brochure, documentary, poster, infomercial of their dream town.

Campers learnt to speak, read and write Hindi in playful ways through stories, video clips, books, sports, hands on activities such as preparing meals, participating in different clubs (art club, cooking club, theater club, movie-making club, dance club), and games. They were immersed in the language and culture of Hindi through games like kho-kho, bacaao, sher - bakarii, ruumaal - paanii, cards and movies. 

Hindi was used 90% of the time inside and outside the classroom. 

Camp objective was to facilitate learning of Hindi through 5 C's (world readiness standards of foreign language learning propounded by ACTFL) - communication (interpersonal, interpretive and presentational), culture (perspectives, practices and products), comparison (of cultures and languages), connections (with other disciplines such as science, health, arts, math and distinctive view-points), and communities (taking learning beyond the classroom and becoming life-long learners).

This was a great opportunity for middle school and high-school students to perform community service, gain a valuable experience, and meet the volunteering hour requirements for NHS, 300 hour club, Scouts organizations, and so on. Volunteering students and adults with some proficiency in Hindi were able to volunteer in classrooms taking pictures, videos, teaching dances, managing games and other group activities, compiling videos, preparing and serving meals. We had an overwhelming response from the community for these volunteering opportunities. Thank you all for your selfless service - Namita Shah, Kiran Sajnani, Prateek Tandon, Ruchi Naik, Nirali Nahar, Aahana Shedge, Simren Mahajan, Shria Wadhwa, Sanika Bijwat, Madhumathi Kumar, Aashka Shah, and Amita Bijawat. Thank you Raji Peddada, Archana Sajnani, Janisha Shah, Jayshree Bohra, and Sheetal Pandit for sending in savory dishes for our campers.

Please write to the program director (Vidya Nahar) at or call her at 847-537-4710 for any questions.