Inventing new colors

Young children love the immediate satisfaction of painting. Mixing colors is a magic and instant alchemy that has enthralled our Pre-K students for the past few weeks in art. Mr. Mirsky challenged the children to “invent” as many new colors as they could. With this prompting, children learned the basics of color theory and improved fine motor control, but they were also given the opportunity to create something the world has never seen before. That’s the sense of discovery we love to encourage in our art room!


Constraints drive creativity

Certain mantras that infuse our curriculum come from the Design Thinking mindsets that we practice in TikkunXDesign. The mindset constraints drive creativity is especially prevalent in art. By imposing constraints, Joe Mirsky, art teacher extraordinaire, challenges his students to think outside the box. A great example of this principle is the attachment test. The idea is simple: encourage children to design creative ways to attach objects together without using glue or tape. Once students demonstrate mastery in an attachment test, glue and tape become available for use in art class.



Second grade students completed beautiful nature-themed watercolors with specific direction from our art teacher, Mr. Mirsky. He introduced students to a number of techniques including using salt to create a marble effect and using a straw to spread the paint into thin lines. These paintings have been paired with Haikus that the students wrote during their poetry unit. They are on display in our school’s main hallway. Visitors are in for a treat!

It’s great to have life
Fresh air water crunchy leaves
Fit peace in your life


Good smelling flowers
Blue jays flying in the sky
Bright stars in the sky







Stars are in the sky
Bees pollinating flowers
Sheep in their warm wool

The mountains are cool
Rocks are different colors
Climb the steep mountain






Music fills our school for Zimriyah

In the weeks leading up to Zimriyah, the halls of the Jewish Community Day School fill with singing. Zimriyah is a musical celebration of Hebrew language and Israel that is much beloved by JCDSRI students. Part of the school’s Hebrew curriculum, the music includes traditional and modern songs, religious songs, and also modern Israeli songs. The theme for this year’s festival was a tribute to Israel and a celebration of Israel’s 70th birthday. As part of the preparation for the festival, 70 facts about Israel were incorporated into our school’s curriculum.

Discussing the power of Zimriyah, JCDSRI Head of School, Andrea Katzman, explains: “Singing is considered a “best practice” in education. It is one of the most effective ways for children to develop sound awareness (critical for learning how to read successfully). After all, songs are filled with rhymes, alliteration and patterns – they invite children to play with the sounds of language, rhythm, and celebrate melodic creations. Singing also allows our students to communicate their feelings and thoughts in expressive and creative ways.”

Weaving song into the school’s Judaic curriculum is a meaningful way to develop students’ Jewish identity within a joyful, festive program. Katzman continues: “Our community’s songs give us access to shared memories and help us to imagine new worlds. They contain blessings and sparks of light.” A line in one of the songs from Zimriyah sums it up best and reflects the immense power of song: “let us sing together with one heart.”

Garden Beautification Day

Fifth graders have been working collaboratively in TikkunXDesign to improve JCDSRI’s outdoor learning space, the community garden. After research and interviews with many students in the school, the fifth grade class was able to determine several changes that could make the garden more usable and enjoyable for all.

On Sunday, April 29th, we were finally able to implement some of these plans. About 15 volunteers (including several students!) came to the school in drizzle and under grey skies to help complete our garden task list. We beautified the front of our school by planting many different kinds of perennials that we hope will make the front of the school more welcoming to guests, visitors and regulars alike.

A couple of big changes in the back include planting a pollinator bed to attract beneficial insects to our garden, as well as removing two raised beds to make space for a dynamic seating area in the garden. With this new configuration, teachers will be able to spend time talking to and teaching their group while students are focused in a circle, rather than dispersed throughout the garden and distracted by their surroundings.

A huge thank you to our volunteers for their enthusiasm and hard work!

There’s still more work to do, both for adults and for kids, but we’re confident that given a few more weeks our garden will be a dynamic, beautiful space for learning and teaching alike. If you’re interested in getting involved with school gardening, please contact our gardening teacher, Tiferet Rose at trose@jcdsri.com.

March is Read-With-Me month

March is Read-With-Me month! Ms. Silva, our dedicated 4th grade teacher and school librarian, has organized JCDSRI’s first annual Read-With-Me month! Our goal during the month of March is to demonstrate for students that reading and learning is a lifelong adventure. From March 1st until the 28th, we will welcome readers of all ages to join our community and share their favorite books with us. We are thrilled that among our many guests will be local politicians, business leaders, alumni, student athletes, family members and friends of our school.