Partnership & Peace with ISRI

MLKtapeOn Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, students and families from JCDSRI and the Islamic School of RI (ISRI) gathered together to create a tape art mural to promote peace. In addition, the students collected puzzle and activity books for children at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. For video coverage of this wonderful event, visit ABC6 or WPRI

In February 2015, when ISRI was vandalized with hateful, anti-Islamic messages, students from JCDSRI made cards to show solidarity and support for their Muslim peers. Head of School Adam Tilove hand delivered the messages to ISRI’s Head of School Abdelnasser Hussein, and a friendship was born.

This year, with financial support from the Rhode Island Foundation, the two schools are building a partnership in the form of a 12-week theater program for their 5th graders, facilitated by the Center for Dynamic Learning. In addition, several whole school activities are planned, including the recent community building day on Martin Luther King Day organized by the two schools’ Parent Associations.

Mr. Tilove understands that, in the wake of terrorism in Israel and Paris, many people are nervous IMG_3260about such a partnership. He states that, among other things, “I believe in my partner Abdelnasser Hussein and the lovely people I have met from ISRI. I believe in people’s innate goodness and kindness, and I will not let evil acts poison my faith in humanity. Further, I believe that living in peace and mutual respect with one’s neighbors is not an option, but a mandate from Heaven: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ is a command from God, not a qualified suggestion.”

ISRI’s Mr. Hussein is confident that cooperation and understanding will combat misconceptions and hatred. He says, “I believe religion and freedom of speech are the preliminary common grounds which will lead us to unity as citizens of the United States. We can present ourselves as role models for tolerance.”


We Are All Upstanders!


This week, as we prepared to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we learned about Dr. King’s legacy and how he – and many others – worked to change people’s beliefs and attitudes, as well as the laws of the land. We acknowledged that there is still so much more work to be done and reflected on the ways in which we could build on Dr. King’s legacy of repairing our world (tikkun olom). Our reflections are hanging in the school lobby’s bulletin board.

Learning about Dr. King’s life also afforded us an opportunity to learn about  upstanders and bystanders. As one child explains: “An upstander stands up and says ‘STOP’!’ They say ‘stop’ when people aren’t showing kavod or hesed.”

“A person who helps people when they are fighting is an upstander,” states another student. “If someone is fighting, a bystander doesn’t help them. We should be an upstander and help people,” she continues. “Martin Luther King Jr. was an upstander. He taught people kavod, hesed and shalom. He also changed bad laws. Like if someone like Wilma Rudolph [an Olympic Gold-medalist – one of our favorite books recounts her life story] had brown skin and the doctors didn’t treat her well, the law should be that doctors have to take care of you.”

Every day our kehillah (community) works to affirm Dr. King’s words: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


My bucket is full!



Last week was our first full week back at school and what a busy week it was!

We read a marvelous book, How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Mary Rectmeyer  together.

IMG_5286This is a book that is appropriate for students from Kindergarten-Grade 2. This book explains that we all have invisible buckets of water over our heads. The negative actions of others toward us can empty the buckets, and our own meanness toward them can deplete their vessels, too. Positive actions reverse the process. Felix refuses to allow his sister to play blocks with him. When she angrily kicks over his tower, his grandfather explains that Felix dipped from his sister’s container. The next morning Felix actually sees a bucket floating over his own head, and during the course of the day, as he is alternately bullied and praised, he realizes what causes it to be empty or full.

This was a perfect book to read to our class and the kids quickly began to think about how we can use this in our classroom.

Ideas ranged from actual individual buckets to a class bucket.  Stay tuned to how we continue to talk about being aware of our buckets.

My bucket was almost completely full when we were joined by 2nd Grade for our weekly Tfillot on Thursday morning.  There is nothing sweeter then hearing all of their voices harmonizing together as they sing,  Ma Tovu. (one of the morning prayers that declares how happy we are to be in God’s house)

At the end of the week, students were challenged to think of at least one thing that filled their buckets this week. What a wonderful way to wrap up the week and welcome Shabbat and the weekend.


Three-Dimentional Shapes!

“How many vertices are there in a rectangular prism?”


There are 8 vertices in a rectangular prism.

(in case you need to be reminded…A vertex is where the edges of a shape meet. In other words, the corners of the shape)

Students learned  new geometry vocabulary this week and truly enjoyed creating their own  three- dimensional shapes out of cranberries and toothpicks.

Armed with their own small box of cranberries, they munched as they worked hard on their shapes of choice.

Check out the results of their work.















Sneak peak for next week!

This week we are learning about Martin Luther King Jr in honor of his birthday.

In Math, students will learn how to use Ordinal Numbers (first = 1st, second = 2nd up to tenth = 10th)
and Positional Words.  (also known has prepositional words such as next to, on top of, between, to the  left and right of…)

The homework this week will reflect this learning!

1st Grade Reminders!

I am convinced that there is a Kippah monster living in our classroom munching shamelessly on our Kippot. (by the way, that same monster lives in my dryer and gorges on my socks as well which is how I explain  all of the single socks in my drawer.)

Please send in extra Kippot!!!

Hot Lunch Announcement

Please review with your kids the day they have hot lunch.  Some kids are either totally shocked to find out they have hot lunch or kids come up to ask if they have hot lunch when they do not.  It is very disappointing for the kiddos when they do not (although they have food in their lunch boxes).
Shavouah tov!
Have a great week everyone!