Nov. 17, 2013
This Sunday, after discussing the disappearance of some of the money raised at last week’s snack sale, the students moved onto working on their timelines of Jewish history from Abraham through Moses. Students made significant progress and will complete them next week! Look forward to their timeline presentations (for parents) coming up in early December.
In Ivrit, we continued progressing through the Ahava Rabah, adding the prefix of “le” (to) to the students’ growing arsenal of Hebrew prefixes and suffixes.
The Big Idea Brigade discussed the concept of insiders and outsiders, connecting it both to their lives and the history of the Jewish people. We considered both the hidden downsides of being an “insider” and advantages that can come with being an “outsider”.
See everyone next Sunday!
Nov. 3, 2013
Last Sunday, the 6th graders held their elaborate “snack cart” fundraiser for the Make A Wish Foundation. Everyone participated well, and the whole SSJS enjoyed the variety of healthy/tasty treats!
The class then reviewed the matriarchs/patriarchs of Judaism material with a game of Jewpardy.
In Ivrit, students learned the prefix “v” (and) while reading further into the Ahava Raba. For homework, the students are to rewrite three Hebrew words (taken down in their machberot) with the prefix of the letter vav attached.
October 27, 2013
This Sunday, the 6th-graders spent the first portion of class finishing up planning for their Healthy Snack Cart fundraiser that is taking place at the beginning of school next Sunday.
We then began a review of this year’s first unit, on the mothers and fathers of Judaism. I introduced the timelines project – they are producing timelines that organize 20 different events we’ve studied, covering the lives of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Leah, Rachel, Joseph and Moses.They reviewed past examples, and the students then worked in pairs on organizing the different events chronologically. They will continue this next week, laying out the events and illustrating them to have them ready to present in the future.
In Ivrit, the students began reading and practicing the Ahava Rabah. Their homework was to read lines 6-10 aloud with a parent.
Finally, the “Big Idea Brigade” discussed competition – ways it’s helpful, harmful, and examples of it from Torah including Joseph and his brothers.
See everyone next Sunday!
October 20, 2013
Mr. Heller was absent.
October 6, 2013
This week the 6th graders began with a discussion of their tzedakah project. They have voted to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and have set an exciting, ambitious goal of $800! To support those goals, we discussed holding three fundraisers over the course of the year – a sale of delicious and healthy snacks early next month, a raffle in mid to late december and another sale in the Spring. Students brainstormed and debated a number of approaches to the upcoming sale, possibly tabling before and after school, or going room to room with a cart. The class did not yet reach a final decision.
The 6th graders then continued their study of the fathers and mothers of Judaism, hearing 4 stories from the life of Joseph (being nearly killed by his brothers and sold into slavery; getting tricked and then prisoned by Potiphar; interpreting dreams in prison and then for the Pharoah; and then forgiving, welcoming, and caring for his family during the great famine). As I told the stories the students moved around the room to signs that reflected whether they agreed or disagreed with different ethical choices made by different characters in the stories. Students then began working on 4-panel comic strips retelling one of the stories we read.
Unfortunately, a number of distractions kept the class from having enough time to complete their comic strip retellings of Joseph’s stories, so completing their comic strip was assigned as homework.
In ivrit (Hebrew), the students read through the opening lines of the Yotzer Or, practicing reading them while also learning the meaning of words. We then identified a Hebrew prefix (‘ha’ meaning the) and a Hebrew suffix (‘nu’ meaning ‘our’). Students’ homework was then to take 3 Hebrew nouns and rewrite them twice, once with ‘ha’ before it and once with ‘nu’ after it. Students wrote down the nouns in their machberot (notebooks).
Finally, the ‘Big Idea Brigade’ discussed the concept of forgiveness, using examples from their own lives and from the stories of Joseph, his brothers and his family, to think about situations in which it’s helpful and when it might also be more difficult and complicated.
Hope everyone is having a great weekend off and, though I will have a substitute next week, I look forward to seeing everyone soon!
September 29, 2013
This Sunday the 6th graders started out discussing tzedakah, and voted as a class to give the money they donate this year to the Make a Wish Foundation. We also began plans for a fundraiser in a month that we will continue planning this week.
The class then dove head first into our unit on the fathers and mothers of Judaism. The class read a set of stories about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their families. They then answered a series of questions about 1 of the stories, which I’ve collected and we will revisit the stories next week.
In Ivrit, the students did their last week of review on Hebrew letters and vowels, transliterating whole English sentences into Hebrew. Their homework for this week is to write one sentence of at least 7 words in English, and to fully transliterate it to Hebrew, with a parent sign-off.
Finally, instead of mini-courses, the whole SSJS gathered in the cafeteria for a fantastic Simchat Torah celebration.
See everyone next Sunday!
September 22, 2013
We opened class by discussing tzedakah, and brainstorming organizations we want to put our collected tzedakah for the year toward.
We then discussed the importance of Sukkot and the students shared different natural things they are thankful for. They then prepared decorations for the school’s sukkah.
Students then went to mini-course – in the Big Idea Brigade, we had a far ranging conversation that touched on faith, power, and what makes leaders effective, and why people follow them.
Next, in Hebrew, my group prepared our machberot (notebooks) with vowel and Hebrew letter lists, as well as a back page for a homework log. My students’ Hebrew homework for this week is to choose 5 one-syllable English words, and to then rewrite them with the appropriate Hebrew letters in place of the English consonants. A parent should check off in the homework log (at the back of the book) that they saw the completed homework.
Finally, the 6th and 7th graders finished the day by coming together in the sukkah for a lesson on sukkot and sukkot prayers.
See everyone next week for Simchat Torah!
September 15, 2013
This week the 6th-graders got introduced to the long period of Jewish history we will study this year. We began by comparing and contrasting ‘stories’ and ‘history’, considering different angles about what it will mean to study Jewish history using stories from the torah. I then read a story to the students about Abraham destroying the idols in his father’s workshop and trying to teach his father a lesson about there only being one G-d. Students considered whether Abraham should have been more responsible to his religious beliefs, or to honoring his father, and then compared this to situations in the students’ own lives when they disagreed with a parent. Finally, students read a newspaper article about Jewish athletes and the choice of whether or not to play their sport on Yom Kippur. The students considered the meaning of the holiday to them, and whether they would make the same or different choices from the athletes.
In Hebrew, students received their Machberet (notebook), and began by reviewing the Hebrew vowels. The students’ homework is to take the 5 English words we wrote on the board, and to rewrite them with Hebrew vowels in place of the English vowels. A parent should sign off on this work in their child’s machberet.
The Big Idea Brigade discussed the concepts of philosophy and knowledge, learning Plato’s “myth of the cave” and the way that things we know tend to change over time.
September 8, 2013
We had a great, full beginning to the 6th grade school year. After doing introductions, we reviewed classroom expectations and discussed the curriculum for the year (Jewish History from Abraham to the time of Jews being expelled from Spain; and Jewish ethics). Students signed the class behavior guidelines and added their own ideas about how to have a great classroom this year.
We then introduced the topic of ethics. Students read 1 of 3 examples of an ethical dilemma, and then we discussed their responses as a class.
Next we did a preliminary assessment of their Hebrew reading skills. We finished the morning by joining the 7th graders for selecting mini-courses. Students chose between working on a school newsletter, doing improvising and acting, and joining a “big ideas” discussion group.
Homework for this week is to review the class expectations with a parent and get a parent’s signature on them for next week. Have a great week and see you next Sunday!