This Little Light of Mine!


We all enjoyed our classroom’s Hannukah celebration with our families and friends! We eagerly sang songs (Sivon, Sov, Sov, Sov; I Had a Little Driedel; 3 Little Latkes; This Little Light of Mine – HaNer HaKatan Sheli), proudly wore our beaded beautiful necklaces (complete with the svi’vonim we made out of clay) and our bejeweled candle crowns, lit our newly completed hannukiyot, and ate latkes with our “home-made” applesauce. Thank you to all that joined us for this festive celebration.

Writing Our Names in Braille


Last week, our kehillah learned about the life and work of Louis Braille, who created Braille – a tactile writing system used by people who are blind or have low vision. After examining some books written in Braille, we were able to practice writing our names in Hebrew and English Braille (using beads and seeds). We then used our names to create a huge hannukiyah in our classroom!




5th Graders Bring Hanukkah Joy to Miriam Hospital

imageOn Wednesday, the 3rd day of Hanukkah, the fifth grade class piled into what they affectionately call ‘The Teva Bus’ to take a short ride to the Miriam Hospital. There, they sang songs for the staff and visitors, and people stopped and listened to them as they were going about their hospital business. After their performance, which was applauded and appreciated, they then visited one of the hospital units housing patients who are living with cancer. Having previously made cards to hand out to patients, the students went in pairs to visit the different rooms; in some, they sang and in others, they just talked and wished the patients and family members well. One woman commented, “I’m about to go home soon and your visit will speed up my recovery even more!”

Another said, “You are doing God’s work.” As part of the preparation for this visit, imageRabbi Gouze spent time talking with the students about the importance of Bikkur Holim, (visiting the sick). The students showed a deep understanding of the need for connection, for feeling links to the community and for patients to be treated like normal human beings despite their being sick and separated from their daily routines and normal lives. The trip was meaningful and the students were able to see how their visit and time spent with the patients was very much appreciated by both staff and patients. It brought meaning to the value of Bikkur Holim and the reason why Judaism views it as such an important part of living in an ethical manner.

Below is a link to a video of the students singing in the lobby.

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRHm3lXlaD0″]


Buddies Celebrate Hanukkah Together

The Friday before Hanukkah, the Kindergarten class took a field trip to the Olive Oil store and learned about all the different types of olive oil as a way of preparing for the holiday. With the samples that they were given, they, along with their 4th grade buddies, then conducted an experiment. Which type of oil would burn the cleanest and the longest? Before the experiment, the 4th graders studied a text from the Talmud within which two rabbis discussed the best oil to use for the Hanukkiyah. One said olive oil because it burned clearer, while the second stated that he used poppy seed oil because it burned longer. The decision was that it was more important to have the flame be clearer, so the second rabbi switched to using olive oil. We then discussed why that would be a more important value in terms of the need to advertise the miracle.

On Wednesday morning, we gathered in the kindergarten class and, using small glass bowls, we lit the wicks that were soaking in different types of oil. We tested canola, sesame, vegetable, really good EVOO and regular EVOO as well as herb-infused EVOO’s like olive oil with garlic, lemon, or cayenne. The students made predictions as to which would burn longer or with less smoke. The chart below indicates their predictions. We discovered that the olive oil and the sesame oil both burned the best: not much smoke and lasting longer than the canola and vegetable oils. It did not seem to matter if the oil was infused with different herbs or not. The students loved doing the experiment and, as it turns out, their predictions did not match the results.

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On Friday, we came together again to sing to the seniors who were celebrating Hanukkah with a lunch party sponsored by the Kosher Meal Site of R.I. Our students sang songs and helped to bring holiday joy to the attendees of the lunch. One senior remarked to me, “Thank you so much, this made my day!”


Human Hanukkiyah and Dreidls


As a way of combining Hanukkah fun and the social curriculum, the 4th graders were asked to sculpt themselves into a human Hanukkiyah (the special 9 branched menorah used for Hanukkah)and then, in two groups, into dreidls (spinning tops used to play a Hanukkah game).  However, the challenge was to do this without any verbal or written language.  They needed to work cooperatively without talking and only using hand signals.  When they first sculpted themselves into the Hanukkiyah, one student was the definite leader who used his vision to make it work.  While it was accomplished within the time limit, the other students did not feel that they truly contributed in ways that worked for them.  When they were broken up into two groups to make the dreidl, each group took the time to work more cooperatively, and there was not the same sense of one person taking the authority upon him or herself. At the same time, it was a ‘messier’ process that required more time.

Besides being a fun activity, the students were able to learn a number of different skills and lessons:  efficiency vs. inclusivity of ideas, communicating ideas through non-verbal means, and different ways of working in a group.  Below are the pictures of them being a Hanukkiyah and the two dreidls.image


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Hanukkah Science and History, Dreidels and Buddies!

Chag Samach First Grade!

The best part of my job is the cross-curricular freedom I have to integrate the Chagim (The Jewish holidays)into the science curriculum. Hanukkah was not spared and we had a science lesson based on light and fire. We watched the following video then we went outside and tested two of the experiments from the video.

Here is the link:


* I did not show all of the video as we would have run out of time, so feel free to do some cool Hanukkah Science at home.



Here we are using a model moon and a lamp and observed the moon’s shadow as it moved around the sun. We even re-created a lunar eclipse!

Our Buddies came to visit!










In Ivrit (Hebrew), students listened to the Hanukkah story then worked together to sequence the story through pictures, solved Hebrew Hanukkah riddles and played with Sivivonim (Dreidels).






And finally, Ella and her dad just sent me this amazing discovery in Israel of a tiny Menorah found on a glass fragment that I just had to share with all of you. A Perfect way to end the festival of lights this year.

Thanks so much Ella and Adam!


Enjoy the vacation and can’t wait to see all of you when we return!