Creative Thinking in Fifth

As we prepare to embark on our winter vacations, I wanted to share some recent highlights in 5th grade:

Last week we met with our first grade buddies.  They were such incredible role models and helped their buddies practice for the Kabbalat Shabbat service.  Afterwards they read with their first grade buddies.

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When Mr. Tilove announced an ice cream party for the class that brought in the greatest number of cans to donate to the kosher food pantry, fifth graders took pause.  It was thrilling to witness the depth of their thinking and the kindness of their hearts as they made one beautiful comment after the next.  “I don’t think this is how God intended us to give,” remarked Abby.  Tomer suggested by encouraging other classes to bring in cans, we could be role models by demonstrating we’re not going to be competitive when it comes to Tzedakah.    Here are some notes from a class conversation:

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They thought deeply about the right way to give and what would make sense given the culture of kindness we have at JCDSRI.  After our notes were shared with Mr. Tilove, he led a discussion with grades 1-5 and bravely admitted that his plan wan’t well thought out.  What if he had used deign thinking?   As a school community, the decision was made to have a school-wide ice cream party if we reach a collective goal of 1,000 cans.  Even still, Jordan shared that there might be some who only give because of the incentive.  That said, I suspect all the fifth graders will enjoy their ice cream party this afternoon.  They did bring in over 140 cans!


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Fifth Graders continue to be publicly recognized by their peers for demonstrating respect, kindness, responsibility, and cooperation at all-school assemblies
Fifth Graders continue to be publicly recognized by their peers for demonstrating respect, kindness, responsibility, and cooperation at all-school assemblies

This week we spent some time working on our Teva project, which entails putting an old rain barrel in use in our garden while drawing attention to its environmental impact in terms of water conservation.  The thinking is to paint it with a design and have the rain barrel itself be part of a sculpture.  In 2015 we will visit and learn from local sculptors and artists who work with reused materials.  Fifth grader presented their deigns to each other.

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Yesterday a surprise guest taught the class part of a Yorkshire song.  While this would not have been sung during the time period we’ve been studying in Colonial America, the connection, though loose, stems from the fact that the colonists came from England.  Here’s a snippet of the fifth graders singing a very unusual kind of song for them.


If the YouTube link doesn’t work for you, try this one:


Today students handed in their Colonial America Newspaper Clippings Project.  What might a person be able to learn about this time period from a collection of newspaper clippings?  That was the premise for students, as they worked to create a compilation that reflected what they’ve learned about this time period in connection to the big ideas of religious freedom and creating community.  Collaboration was a key part of this project! The finished collections look rather authentic.  I can’t wait to read them all!

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I hope everyone’s been enjoying Hannukah and bringing the light into their lives.  It has become tradition in America to give and receive material gifts this time of year.  Fifth graders created skits during morning meeting this week to show ways one might receive a gift s/he isn’t excited about with kindness.  The message in the mirror this week is vital, and quite apropos this time of year.  Happy Hannukah & Happy New Year to all!

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