It is wonderful, exciting and challenging to start a new school year with familiar and new students. We talk in Hebrew in Lashon and everyone is making a huge effort to participate and express themselves. Every Thursday we start the day with מפגש בוקר, which means morning meeting in Hebrew. At the first meeting we talked about our summers. It was nice to hear about so many friends that went to Israel during the summer and that so many of us love the sea (I am an Israeli Marine Biologist…..)
A thoughtful and lively discussion about being part of a community led to the creation of our class rules. We are still in the process of internalizing and reinforcing them during our time together. To build a community is an important process.
For Rosh Hashana we explored a blessing for a good year, talked about the symbols, and with Elad the music teacher, learned the song ‘בשנה הבאה’, Bs’shana Ha’ba’ah, in the new year.
It is only our second week of school and we have already experienced so much! We are more familiar with our rules and routines (our school shoes have been a big hit!) and have made many new friends.
This week we have begun learning about Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year. We are now creating decorations for our classroom, practicing how to say “Happy New Year” in Hebrew (l’shanah tovah) and singing a song about apples and honey (tapoochim oo d’vash). We were excited to discover that during Rosh Hashanah we should eat sweet things – like honey and apples! This helps to remind us to have a sweet new year. Building upon the connection between apples and Rosh Hashanah, we read The Apple Tree’s Discovery.
Inspired by the book, we cut some apples open and discovered the stars inside! We then tasted different kids of apples (including Honeycrisp and Granny Smith). Afterward, we peeled and cut some more apples, put them in a pot with a little water, and heated them.
The next day, we examined our cooked apples and noted that they seemed to have “shrinked.” Most of us decided that the heat “melted the apples down!” We mashed our cooked apples and made applesauce. We shared that it tasted: “good, bad, juicy, cinnamony, delectable, and delicious!” It was exciting to eat something we had made.
We have thoroughly enjoyed our time in specialties this week. During Library we are always excited to check out books and spend time with Library Bear; during Design Lab we were captivated by the book Not a Box by Antoinette Portis and afterward built space ships and houses out of cardboard. We have enjoyed gym with Mrs. Sugerman and look forward to using the Gym on the third floor when construction is complete. During Music, Mr. Elad taught us a song he wrote about the seasons and we marched to the beat of his drum!
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We also unveiled our keillah’s “job chart” this week.
Our job chart reflects our community’s values and teaches us to be responsible for our classroom and our friends’ safety and well-being. Our jobs are: hazzan’it (prayer leader),
mevarech l’shalom (classroom greeter); loach shanah (our calendar-person); mezeg a’veer (weather-person); bee’kor cholim (caller of the sick) and feeder of our fish:
oseh shalom (peace-maker):
rosh ha’sho0rah (first-in-line):
machzeek et ha’delet (door holder):
so’pher yeladim (counter of children), o’rot (light-blinker) and acharon ha’shoorah (last-in-line). Ask your child if she or he remembers her/his job!
Finally, we celebrated Shabbat as a kehillah. Not only do we light candles, drink sweet grape juice, and eat delicious challah, but we also make special wishes (using magic glitter) and have a rockin’ Disco Dance Party. See the video below (or click on the link):
This year has been fantastic so far. In the Fifth Grade we went to the garden on the very first day of school and planted a few rows of spinach. This was exciting because we saw the garden after the whole summer and got a taste of what it would be like later in the year. This week we also made the job wheel, one job (which I think is cool) is the gardener. The gardener does the very hard job of watering the plants that we have in the garden. This year has truly been an awesome year so far.
We begin the school year by creating our class culture. How will we interact and learn together this year? Setting the tone for our class kehilla is (hopefully) evident in all that we’ve done this week. Fifth graders are encouraged to be inquisitive, to be creative, and to find meaning in all that they do. JCDSRI’s mission statement permeates the work that we do.
Students have already exerted leadership by planning and facilitating the first all-school Wednesday afternoon assembly. They were quite impressive and led a creative and engaging community-building activity.
Most mornings will begin with a Responsive Classroom morning meeting in the classroom. This helps build community and set the tone for the day. Curious to know more? Click here: https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/principles-and-practices-responsive-classroom
At Morning Meeting on the first day
With Rabbi Gouze, fifth graders read, thought about, and commented on different texts about learning. Each student then chose one that spoke to him or her personally.
Commenting on texts
In the garden we tasted our tomatoes that were planted last spring, and we planted spinach seeds.
We captured feelings to help plan for the assembly.
We took time to experience a new classroom material. Kinetic sand, the class gift from last year’s graduating class, was mesmerizing. How might play be thoughtfully used in the fifth grade classroom this year? Students reflected in writing what they thought about and how they felt after 10 minutes of quiet time exploring. Many reported a sense of calm. Some wrote about what they thought about.
Using a technique known as “synectics,” students made unpredictable connections to the notion of community.
We created a list of dispositions necessary in the math classroom. Fifth graders discussed why stick-with-it-ness is essential to having the right “mathitude,” or math attitude. We also cheered for math to help with our mindsets. Thank you to parents for helping our data collection. To date there is not one singular definition for math, and we appreciate you expanding our thinking.
This week, the mirror in our room asked students a provocative question with the intention of making it clear that infusing joy is essential to our education.
Our first week in fifth grade felt joyful to me. I wonder how students felt.