Monday, February 23, 2015

Grade 3 & 4 Retreat

Grade 3 & 4 Retreat

Better late than never! Our Grade 3 & 4 students had an amazing time on their Chanukah themed Retreat, December 12-13. 

We started the evening with a wonderful family activity before dinner. We matched different Jewish values and actions that go with them with each of the branches of the chanukiah.

Then, we expanded our social circles by getting to know the other people at our tables. Together, we created Chanukah themed centerpieces that were then used at the Chanukah Jubilee.

Finally it was time for dinner! We had a lovely traditional Shabbat meal...

...followed by Shabbat evening services led by our teacher Mr. Stone and one of our school's madrichot, Rebecca Shankman.

After services, we let our parents stay for the oneg.

Once our parents left, it was time to get to the fun stuff! Before we could get started though, we needed to create a brit that outlined rules and expectations for the evening.


Our first activity of the evening was a "get to know you activity." Of course, it too was Chanukah themed! We took turns unwrapping a layer of a present and under each layer there was a question for us to answer about ourselves. It was great to get to know everyone a little bit better!

Then, we talked about how in order for the miracle of Chanukah to take place (we learned that the real miracle was that the Jewish army defeated the Assyrian Greek army), a lot of teamwork was involved. We practiced our own teamwork skills by working together to get the bouncy ball from one sheet to the other, without letting it touch the ground.

After all of our hard work, it was time for ice cream sundaes, a movie and bed.

In the morning, Mr. Mann and Mr. Moss came in to help us make pancakes. We got to put in fun toppings and it was the first creative cooking activity of the morning. 

After breakfast, our shin shinim (Israelis who are visiting us for the year), Itamar and Maayan, taught us some Israeli Chanukah games. In this one, we're trying to keep all of the dreidels spinning!

Then, we had a latke making competition! Each group tried out a different recipe...

...and while the latkes fried, Itamar and Maayan reviewed with us the story of Chanukah that we learned during our service the night before.

When our parents came to pick us up, we tried our latkes. They were delicious!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

What Happened in Grades 3-6 on Sunday, February 22...

Grade 3

In Mrs.Gabay’s class, we read Lekh Lekha, one of the first Torah portions, and about the first Jewish person! Just like with the last Torah portion that we looked at, we raised questions from the text that helped connect the text to our lives. One example is a question that helped us talk about journeys, “Why did God choose to ask somebody who was 75 to go on such a large journey?”

Meanwhile, in Mrs. Zaas’ class, we looked at the categories of G’milut Chasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness). The categories were written in Hebrew and English so we tried to read the Hebrew words using our notes.


Then we tried to come up with examples for each category.

We connected all of our learning together by talking about G'milut Chasadim in the story of Purim!

Grade 4

Today in Grade 4, after T’filah and Kehillah we split into our two classrooms. In Mrs. Abrams class, we reviewed upstanders and bystanders. An upstander is someone who stands up and does good for someone else or something they believe in while a bystander is the opposite and someone who does nothing. We brought up the quote, “It’s not upon you to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” We spoke about this quote because it ties together our curriculum of upstanders and bystanders. It is important because we believe and realize that we cannot completely solve a problem, but it is important to do our part. We then discussed what we think the word "work" means and the difference between "a career" and "work." Afterwards, we split into two groups. Each group got a die with questions about being an upstander. As a group, we rolled the die and discussed the question that the die landed on. After this activity, we made our own cubes and drew pictures or wrote six different things we felt an upstander would do. 

               In Mr. Stone’s class, we were paired up and given a series of scenarios relating to Shalom Bayit (our obligation to strive for peace in our homes) with different choices of what to do. Different choices scored different points. 

For example, in the example: “it is suppertime and your family is seated at the table. Your mom or dad serves a tuna casserole and a delicious salad. You hate tuna casserole. What do you do?” “You mention that you dislike tuna casserole and you eat salad,” scores one point. The option, “You eat salad and ask if your mom or dad could make one of your favorite dishes tomorrow night,” scores two points. The choice, “You eat salad and compliment your mom or dad on how delicious it is,” scores three points, while the option, “You announce that you HATE tuna casserole,” scores zero points. Other scenarios included, losing a Game Boy that belongs to your sibling, having to leave the house before completing your chores, struggling to finish your homework while your parent is busy, having to share the television with your family among other scenarios.  

After our Judaics classes, we all joined together for Hebrew with Mr. Stone. We started the by being asked how we were doing in Hebrew. We learned how to let someone know how we are feeling in modern Hebrew! After discussing how we were, we talking about Madrashim (lessons) and learned a Midrash (lesson) on the first time Mi Chamocha was read because we are finishing up on learning the prayer. We finished the day by reviewing the prayer. 

Grade 5

During T'filah today, we found out that next week is Purim! We also learned about the Purim carnival, which is next week. We talked about why we boo Haman (the reason being because he was a bad person). Rabbi and Cantor taught us that even though there are people who want to do bad, we shouldn't fight evil by becoming evil. During Kehillah, Mrs. Milgrom reminded us that school starts at 10:30 am on Sunday, March 1!

In Mrs. Zamir’s class, we talked a little about the Retreat coming up March 6-7. Then, we started reading a new text for Philosophical Inquiry. This one was about Parshat Noach. A lot of our questions focused on a strange part of the text having to do with animals, so as a class we decided to further explore material dealing with what foods we eat and why. 

With Ms. Silverstein, we began with Birkat ha Torah and tzedakah. We also reviewed the what is contained in the TaNaCH. It opens left to right, and we found where the Torah ends and the book of Nevi'im (Prophets) begins. Next we talked about what a prophet was, beginning by doing a worksheet. We discussed the role of prophets. We made ‘Prophet Wanted’ ads to illustrate the necessary characteristics of a prophet. 

During Hebrew with Mrs. Zamir, we began by talking about the date, the month, and the weather all in Hebrew! 

After, we tried to memorize the vocabulary of a prayer by making a fun song. 

Grade 6

Today in Grade 6 we were split up into groups. Each group was given a world issue to illustrate on a poster. Molly, Isabelle and Ilana had the topic “protecting the earth.”

Sydney and Taylor had “the care and protection of animals.” Their poster showed the class how to treat animals and how not to treat animals. 

Everyone presented their posters to the other groups.

Then, we broke out in small groups to discuss a story called The Hands of God, written by Lawrence Kushner. The story helped us think about how humans are like God's hands. Our G'milut Chasadim unit will focus on what this means in terms of our obligation to address World Issues.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

What Happened in Grades K & 2 on Sunday, February 8...


Today at the beginning of class, some of us played a memory game. This game used characters and objects from the story of Purim. We had to use our memory and learn about Purim.

Then during circle time, we talked about what we did during the week. Some of us went skiing and snowboarding.

Then we played Shimon Omer, or Simon Says in English. We got to learn some Hebrew words while we did it, such as Rosh, the word for head.

Next, Mrs. Bernstein told us a story about Purim. We learned that we should never be afraid to tell people that we are Jewish.

At the end of the day, we made and decorated masks that we could wear during Purim. What a fun day!

Grade 1

Mazal Tov  to our Grade 1 students on their Consecration this past Shabbat!

Grade 2

During the beginning of class, Grade 2 talked about transliteration. That is when the Hebrew words are written out using English letters. The prayer we were studying was Modeh Ani.  First, Ms. Evans helped us read slowly through the Hebrew. Then, she showed us the transliteration. We don't know all of the Hebrew letters and vowels yet, so the transliteration made it so much easier for us to read! We recited the prayer twice and then Chad, Jacob and Michael sang it with us!

During Havdallah, the sixth graders came around and we got to smell the spices and look at the candle! It was fun. 

Afterward we went to T'filah and we talked about this week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim. It’s all about rules, but mostly rules about how we handle situations when we're not sure what to do. If we aren’t sure, we now know we can ask our parents about the right Jewish way to respond. 

Back in class, we worked on the alef bet. We got out our workbooks and talked about the letter vav.

During library today, the librarian read us a book called God Must Like Cookies Too. It’s about a little girl who goes to synagogue with her grandmother. They go to the oneg Shabbat their temple holds and the girl got to have 3 cookies. After we read the story we got to pick out books! 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

What Happened in Grades 3-6 on Sunday, February 1...

Grade 3

Today in the third grade, we started our new Judaics classes. The students who had Mrs. Gabay last semester now have Mrs. Zaas and vice versa. Therefore, we got outlines of what we would be learning, and even participated in some getting to know you games.  

In Mrs. Zaas’s class, we talked about Shabbat, since our question of the day was: What is one fact you know about Shabbat? We first discussed the basics: candle lighting, challah eating, and grape juice drinking. We went into further detail and heard about what the Shabbat candles represent: Shalom Bayit (Peace in the Home) and Oneg Shabbat (Sabbath Joy). Then Mrs. Zaas stressed the importance of Tikkun Olam, G’milut Chasadim, and Tzedakah.

In Mrs. Gabay’s  class, we made Jewish stars with our names in the center, then on each point we listed our favorite Jewish holiday, favorite Jewish food, favorite song, favorite vacation, number of people in our family, and lastly, what we wanted to be when we grow up.

 Then we talked about the upcoming holiday, Tu b'Shevat, which is the birthday of the trees. Did you know that even if you plant a tree the day before it is still considered to be a whole year old? Lastly, we briefly discussed the five books of the Torah and their names.

Grade 4

Today in the fourth grade, we had art with Mrs. Schulgasser. For the introduction, Mrs. Schulgasser asked us questions about the Purim story. After that, we divided into two different teams to try to make a timeline of all the information we could remember about Purim. Whichever team had the most details correct won. Then we went back to the table individually, and created a three dimensional representation of something from the Purim story. 

Grade 5

During T'filah, Grade 5 talked about this week’s Parsha. It was about how things parents say to children are passed down to them orally. Cantor told us about why Mt. Sinai was chosen by God instead of another mountain. Next we had Kehillah. We celebrated the February birthdays, then we had a snack of graham crackers and water. 

In Mrs. Zamir’s Judaics class, we began with a game where we got into a circle and tried to count to ten without repeating numbers. The hard part was that we didn’t have a predefined order to say the numbers in. We had try to guess if someone was going to speak based on his/her body language. 

Then, Mrs. Zamir introduced us to Philosophical Inquiry, a process during which we will read a text and then raise questions about it to better understand the world around us.

In Miss Silverstein’s class we told everyone about ourselves as a way to begin the new semester with our new classes. We also made a new set of britot.  

We also got to learn about Tu b'Shevat with different fruits. We decided which prayers to say for each one. 

In Hebrew, we used sentence strips to review the Kedushah.

Grade 6

During T'filah, Grade 6 talked about this week’s Parsha. It was about how things parents say to children are passed down to them orally. Cantor told us about why Mt. Sinai was chosen by God instead of another mountain. Next we had Kehillah. We celebrated the February birthdays, then we had a snack of graham crackers and water. 

In class, Grade 6 reviewed last week’s speaker and we talked about what we wanted to do after we finished high school. We then had a discussion about serving in Israel; how once students finish high school they need to join the army. Is it fair or not? We thought no, but after our teacher described that Israelis deal with this all their lives, we figured it would seem fair to them. In fact, students look forward to joining the army once they graduate. 

Next we read in more detail about the army. Each group read a different collection of information and then presented what they read to the rest of the class.

Then we got to watch a video. It was called Grandpa’s Tree. It was about Tu b'Shevat. Once we’d finished it, we discussed how it made us feel, how we would celebrate Tu b'Shevat if we were in Israel.