4th Grade Buddies

As members of the 4th Grade, it is our duty to share our academic knowledge and understanding of the word ‘community’ with the students around us. One of the ways we keep the values of JCSD strong is through our partnership with buddies in Kindergarten. Over the past few weeks 4th Graders have been mentoring Kindergarten students in the art of being an author, all while sharpening our own drafting and editing skills!

We’ve helped our Kindergarten buddies develop their ideas using the writing process we have learned in years past: brainstorming, drafting, editing, and publishing. This week, we worked with them to expand their ideas on paper by helping them practice their letters and sentences, as well as illustrate the pages of their books. Through this activity we are living the Jewish value that we have been studying this month in Judaic Studies: love your neighbor as yourself.

These new books already look like they are full of adventures ready to be enjoyed by our entire JCDS community!



Bruchim Habaim (welcome) to Hebrew with Rotem

I love the summer, but it is great to be back teaching Hebrew to the 4th graders. This year we have two different groups for Ivrit (Hebrew) and I have the honor to teach six students of the class. Our method continues to be teaching Hebrew in Hebrew as a living language.

We started the school’s year talking about our summer. Mi medaber Ivrit bakayeetz? (who speaks Hebrew during the summer?) Mi metayel? (who travels?) Eifo? (where?) Mi mekabel matana? (who receives a present?) Mi holech le’machaneh kayeetz? (who goes to summer camp?) The students asked each other these questions and more, wrote their sentences and worked together to create a poster about ‘our summer.’ These students are busy working in our classroom.


Lehitraot (see you again), Rotem

Kindergarten Presents…4th Grade Buddies!

Last week the Kindergarten class got to have their first meeting with our awesome 4th grade buddies from Ms. Silva’s class! The buddies will now be joining us every Monday after lunch and spend our “rest time” with us. This is a wonderful opportunity for the buddies to read, write and relax together. Kindergarten is very excited that we just started reading the “Magic Tree House” series and will be starting a project to fill our own “tree house” (the loft) with magical books that we will write with the help of our amazing buddies. We hope to continue making wonderful memories with our buddies and inviting them to participate in some fun Autumn science experiments as the month progresses.

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Maybe we don’t need bridges anymore…

As it turns out, bridges are tough to build. Especially with constraints. Students were only allowed to use 100 popsicle sticks and white glue to build their bridges! Constraints drive creativity. Third graders persevered and learned to ‘fail forward fast’ and have a ‘bias toward action.’ Fail forward fast inspires designers to go with their instinct, build fast, and evaluate effectiveness of a prototype soIMG_6672 that they can move quickly onto making a better prototype. Similarly, bias toward action inspires designers to, again, go with their instincts rather than pondering the potential effectiveness of a prototype. In design lab, we do more and ponder less.

As of now, the bridges have been built, but not with complete success. In design lab, however, children know that they learn from failure and that it will only help them with the next prototype they build.

The innovative nature of the students in this classroom is evident. While monitoring the prototyping process, I overheard a small group of students whose building wasn’t going so well talking to one another: “If we were bridge builders, we would teach cars how to swim.”


Final Blog Post

We made it to June! I am so proud of this special group of ten. They have made so much progress, learned so much and they managed to have a great time through it all. Here are some pictures from our event filled week:

First, Dave the Animal Man returned to dazzle the third and fourth graders with his snakes, turtles, alligator and lizards. These children are much braver than their teacher.

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We performed out last Readers theater plays of the year. We chose two more Greek myths, one that explains the seasons and one that highlights the importance of trust and faith. Their acting skills have come a long way. Some of them might even need an agent!

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We went on a well deserved field trip to Roger Williams Park to play, observe, write and of course enjoy some popsicles. What a treat to have Peter and the JCDS van at our disposal.


We had a final meeting with our kindergarten buddies. This has been such a special part of the year for both age groups. We will resume these connections in the fall.


One of the highlights of the fourth grade year in Judaics is the performance of Beatle Torah! The show was truly amazing and I was so impressed by them all. They were confident, intelligent, funny, and so talented. I know they felt proud that all of their hard work and dedication paid off.

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As we wrap up this fourth grade year, I just wanted to say thank you to all of the wonderful 4th grade parents for your constant kindness and support. I hope you all have a fabulous and restful summer and  please keep in touch! I will leave you with this quote by William Yeats:

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

I hope these ten amazing thinkers will continue to trail blaze during their final year at JCDS and beyond!






Teaching about the Holocaust with Picture Books

“In order to understand who we are, our children need an authentic exploration of our past, including the Holocaust.” Emuna Braverman  bit.ly/1PQtBpw  Our library has a very good collection of Holocaust picture books as well as novels. One of our favorite books is The Butterfly written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco, an outstanding children’s author. This beautifully illustrated book relates an actual Polacco family Holocaust story.


Some other outstanding books in our collection are:




One More Border: The True Story of One Family’s Escape from War-Torn Europe is another true family story complete with photos of passports, family members , newspaper items and maps. The Kaplan family successfully escaped Europe and lives in Canada.

Review this excellent list of children’s Holocaust book by the United states Holocaust Memorial Museum for more selections.  bit.ly/1FN5zU5






Bowling Pin Extravaganza

Fourth graders were so proud to share their bowling pin creations with classmates, parents, and teachers. I was so impressed with the beautiful scrapbooks and the artistic bowling pin figures. Characters such as Mia Hamm,  Jim Henson and Jackie Robinson lined the classroom. The fourth graders shared all of their knowledge along with their projects to the students in grades 2-5.

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We finished the novel, Number The Stars. The children where saddened that the Jews had to give up everything and flee their homeland. They were also inspired by the courage of the Danish people, including the courageous king. We listened to the amazing story of Holocaust survivor, Alice Goldstein. She talked about her family’s escape from War torn Germany right before the Word War broke out. Her conversation was videotaped and will be made available on the blog very soon. Her story is worth watching! The kids also watched the incredible documentary, Paper Clips. They wanted to start a project of their own. We will be visiting a local charter school in Foxboro in early April. This school has been collecting almost 5,000,000 stamps over the past few years to represent lives lost during the Holocaust.

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The fourth graders performed a readers theater to their second grade friends across the hall. The Legend of Lightning Larry is a lighthearted country western play. Jonah played the lead role of lightning Larry. All of the characters came to life with very charming southern accents and wild dramatization.

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We wrapped up the fraction unit last week with a big test on the last few chapters of Singapore Math. I am thrilled to report that everyone aced it. We are moving on to workbook B this week with a focus on decimals, geometry and symmetry. We always try to end most math lessons with a game to help solidify the math skill and to have fun at the same time.



Thursday will be an all day Purim celebration with a visit to a local Jewish nursing home. Please remind your children that reading logs are due on Fridays with a parent signature and two literature responses. Have a wonderful week!