The Glueless Forest


Children have completed their 3-d design unit and have created a variety of structures and figures.  To earn the privilege of using glue and tape, kids first had to show they could build things using different attachment strategies.  Even after glue and tape were given to them, students continued to build small creatures and plants using their newly learned attachment strategies.  I decided to put all of their creations together in a display that we call “The Glueless Forest.”  The results are impressive and speak for themselves.


September Updates

Throughout the school year, 5th graders will take on the responsibility of updating the class blog with information they want to share with the wider world. The students are responsible for deciding what to share, creating the text, and capturing images that help tell the story of our classroom. The 5th grade is also working on taking and using feedback, and would love to read your comments and suggestions for our next post. Please enjoy the post below–the first post written by 5th graders this year!
Thank you!
Ms. D and the 5th grade

Welcome to the fifth grade blog!
Every week Rabbi Gouze tells us a riddle. This week the one she gave us was:

I am at the beginning of every end
The end of every place
I am the beginning of eternity
The end of time and space
What am I?

Check next time for the answer and a new riddle!!! Leave a comment if you think you know the answer!

Another thing we do every week with Rabbi Gouze is Parshat Hashavua, which means weekly Torah portion. Rabbi Gouze combines the weekly Torah portion in English and Hebrew with a short summary, and puts it on a piece of paper, which she gives to fifth grade. Then we write about our opinions and interpretations of the Parshah and hang our writing in the classroom. Then we read each other’s opinions and decide if we agree or disagree. Earlier in September, the Parshah was about B’nai Yisrael and how we are The Chosen Ones. We had to give our opinions about whether we think we are the chosen ones or not. We learned our ancestors were promised that they and their seed would be chosen forever, and we learned that we are the seeds. Take a look at some of our ideas!

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In Design Lab, we have been working on a kippah project. We have been working on this because we noticed that many people are forgetting, losing, or choosing not to wear their kippot because it makes them uncomfortable. One group is making a kippah wheel to help people make better choices about their kippot. The other group is writing jingles to share over the intercom system to remind people when and why they should wear kippot. Here is one of our ideas:

“Wear your kippah on through and through.
That’s what G-d wants us to do!
Put your kippah on your head
for lunch and prayers, but not in bed!”

Another thing we did this month was work on making analogies for Freedom. We learned that analogies are when you combine two things that are different in lots of ways, but are similar in a couple of important ways. We wrote and created pictures that explain our analogies, and we got feedback from our classmates to help us make lots of drafts that got better each time. We also wrote reflections about the project. Here are a couple examples of rough drafts! Our finished projects are posted at school.

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Bruchim Habaim (welcome) to Hebrew with Rotem

I love the summer, but it is great to be back at school teaching Hebrew to the 5th graders. Our method continues to be teaching Hebrew in Hebrew as a living language and these 5th graders rock!

During the first two months of the school year, the whole school is focusing on the value “Ve’ahavta Lereacha Kamocha,” (Love Your Neighbor as Yourself). The students made the connection to our Zimriya song, ‘Amar Rabbi Akiva,’ from last year which they love to sing. Our first story we are studying in Lashon (language class) is about this value and this song. After reading the story and analyzing its themes and characters, the 5th graders are ready to retell the story in their own words. Very soon they will present their storyboard to the school community.

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writing the story in their words

The students already have plans to write a play based on the story…. Looking forward to see where they will take us!

Lehitraot (see you again),


What does it mean to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself?

This year, JCDSRI is weaving a values curriculum into all areas of the curriculum. This month’s Jewish value comes from Leviticus 19:18, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The fifth graders are using other Jewish texts, especially from Pirkei Avot (a section within the Rabbinic collection known as the Mishna), the Ethics of the Fathers, to help them unpack the meaning and application of this verse. Some of the questions that have been raised by them: What does it mean to be a neighbor – does that mean only people within your community? (They rejected that understanding). What happens if you don’t like yourself – how does that help you know how to treat somebody else? (This question is still being explored). What are the behaviors connected to this concept that will help to show that we love our neighbors? (Treating someone with respect, being helpful, reaching out to them, using kind words, etc). Using the teaching from Pirkei Avot which states, “I am only for myself, what am I; if I am not for myself, who will be; and if not now, when?,” we have explored the idea of maintaining a balance. While we need to be there to help others, we also have the obligation to take care of ourselves, These are important concepts to be considered at any time but are even more significant at this time of the year as we enter into the spiritual tasks of the HIgh Holy Day season. May all of you have a good year, one filled with blessings and health, and may you have more laughter than tears in the year to come.

Songs for Zimriyah 2016!

Here is a playlist of the songs for Zimriyah this year in case students and families want to practice at home!


All School: Shiru Shir, Shir Hachodashim, Rabbi Akiva, Nerot Shel Ahava, Mishe, Echad Mi Yode’a, Yom Huledet

Grades Pre-K, K, 1, 2: Basukkah shelanu, Shana Tova, Hashkediya Porachat, Letsan Katan

Grades 3,4,5:  Bashana haba-a, Sukkat Shalom, Ki Tavou,

Alumni song: Yesh Li Chag