Teamwork in First Grade


How can we love our neighbor as ourselves?

First Grade has been working hard on practicing how to work as a team. And what better way to practice working together as a team than herding goats?!

We were invited to Rabbi Philmus’ house to learn how to care and shepherd two very clever goats named Kesef and Cinnamon.

We gathered on a porch shaded by a beautiful grape arbor. We sat on hay bales and woven mats and held objects that could have been used during the time of the Torah. Students were asked to find objects that were either made from plants or came from an animal.


Once Kesef and Cinnamon had their hay stashed in the goat barn, students learned how to care for the goats, which included a quick nail trimming, grooming, and adjusting the goat’s harness.




We learned the key elements of goat herding:

  • Stay together as a group.
  • Show them where you want them to go by walking behind them.
  • Sometimes it helps to shake a can of goat treats and walk in the direction you want them to go.
  • Best of all, you can use a shofar to signal what you want them to do.

We also used commands; for example, Tekiyyah = run! Tekiyyah gedolah= stop!


First Grade was able to herd the goats all around the large field, then we stopped for a story and a game featuring goats and mountain lions. The goats were content to nosh on leaves during the game.

It was time for snack, and students had to work hard to herd the goats back to the house. img_8413

Thank you Rabbi Philmus!

May we continue to work as a team and to build a classroom community which works as a team, shows kindness, and has fun together.

 What a wonderful way to begin the new year!

שנה טובה ומתוקה – May we all have a sweet new year! 

Herding goats from Jewish Community Day School RI on Vimeo.

Sending our Love over the Sea

In the spirit of Rosh Hashanah, the time to wish our beloveds a good and a better year than the last one, I have asked my kids (in my class) to make wishing cards . Only this year we will add something new: this time not only are we going to write wishing cards for our families and friends, but also to kids in Israel. The moment I mentioned Israel and the fact that those cards will be read by Israeli kids, my class couldn’t stop asking me questions – they were super excited about it, but also very interested in the whole process. It has really warmed my heart to see such a great love and strong sense of bonding toward Israel – kids have endless love to give and we can all learn from them.     – Sivan Amon

The First Six Weeks of School

What an exciting time of year it is, especially for first graders!
This is the year students will learn how to read and write. An unbelievable milestone for students which marks the first step to mastering the important skill of  independent learning. To become an independent learner, the first six weeks of school are a crucial time to set a solid foundation of a safe, warm and welcoming  environment.  We have begun to work together to establish classroom procedures and to collaborate as a classroom community and in small learning groups.
Each student had the opportunity to  present his or her personalized puzzle pieces to the group. It was wonderful to hear of everyone’s favorite summer activities. We are blessed with four new students this year, so it was especially exciting to learn about their interests and begin to get to know each other.
 bluring photos
While our main focus over the next month and half is on classroom procedures, academics are slowly incorporated into our day’s routine. For example, I am a firm believer in kinetic learning. What better way to review counting to one hundred by 1’s, 2’s, 5’s and 10’s while exercising our bodies and our minds? We had so much fun taking a movement break while doing math!

The 1st Grade declares the pomegranate myth-“BUSTED”!

710 seeds


It is traditional to eat this fantastic fruit during the high holidays because it  it symbolizes fruitfulness. Also, it is said to have 613 seeds, which corresponds with the 613 mitzvot or commandments of the Torah.


Here in 1st grade, we put this idea to the test and discovered that we were the proud consumers of a pomegranate oozing with mitzvot. We counted each and every seed together. It became a lesson that incorporated Math, Science, Chagim and collaboration. We also practiced showing Kavoad (respect) for each other (especially while waiting for each group to count  their seeds; kavod is a skill that we have been working on this month)


It was fantastic to see the sparkle in their eyes as they finished counting the last seeds and shouted “710 seeds!” In science we talked about the properties of the fruit both on the inside and outside. Below is a fun chart that I found while preparing for this lesson. According to this chart, 613 is the average number of seeds the data gathered from average sized Pomegranates from all over the world.(We counted a large sized fruit)  This is truly fascinating. Enjoy!

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Tashlich with the whole school @ India Point Park, RI

rope jungle gym

Our first school wide field trip took place on Erev Yom Kippur. At Indian Park,we formed a wide circle of teachers and students and reflected on our past year. Mr. Tilove challenged us to think of one thing we can try to work on in order to be a better person. Then we had the opportunity to apologize to each other for possibly hurting or insulting one another over the past year. the root of the Hebrew word Tikkun means “ to fix “


Many of the students were a little shocked with me, as I made sure to look each one of them in the eye and apologize. As a teacher, it is really important to  model the behavior we want to see in our students. I wanted to show them that everyone is obligated to participate in Tikkun – even (or especially!) grownups.


Then the students were divided into three groups and participated in three stations:


Station #1: Students played a Yom Kippur version of “Pass the Stick” and shouted out past indiscretions as loud as they could while running around a obstacles course and passing the stick from one to the other.

Station #2: To climb the fantastic rope jungle gym.

Station #3: We listened to a meaningful story told by Rabbi Goauze and then threw bird seed (instead of bread crumbs) into the Providence Bay to symbolize throwing away our sins from the past year.

1st Grade hard at work doing Guided Reading Word Work Activities and Math Number Lines

We went to the JCC!

1st Grade visited with Artist Jason Freedman spoke about his artwork in his show entitled Monsters Who Don’t Know They Are Monsters.  Our students had the opportunity to view the show in the gallery, and asked amazing questions of the artist and do an art project together.

jcc Artist visit

September Highlights

Mystery visitor!

We were blessed to have Nadav’s mom Gaby read to us, She chose It Was Only A Dream by Chris Van Allsburg  which is Nadav’s favorite book…ever!) It was a very special moment for all of us.


Unexpected Class Gift!

Every once in a while in my wondering, I stumble upon a toy or object that I have to bring to our class.  Last week I found a perfect gift that involves teamwork and engineering! Check out the great photos!