Shoebox Required!

The holiday of Sukkot commemorates the 40 years that the Israelites traveled through the desert after fleeing Egyptian slavery. A Sukkah is a temporary structure which must have three sides. The roof must be sparse enough to see three stars while sitting in the Sukkah. It is our custom to eat all of our meals in the Sukkah during the 7 day holiday. There are some families who even sleep in a Sukkah! Welcoming signs, tables, chairs and decorations are used to create a warm and celebratory atmosphere to dine in and enjoy the holiday of Sukkot.

First grade students transformed shoeboxes into incredible Sukkot (plural for a Sukkah)  using sticks and leaves for schach (the roof of the Sukkah). We took advantage of the glorious Autumn weather to gather sticks and leaves from our playground. During Design Lab, with the help of Peter, students created these magical Sukkot.

sukkah-1 sukkah-2 sukkah-3 sukkah-4 sukkah-5 sukkah-6

Students took a “gallery walk” and spent time looking at their classmates’ work noticing interesting details. It was a special moment to listen to each student speak with genuine respect of each other’s work.

Chag Sameach (Happy Holidays) to all!


My Class is the Four Species of Sukkot

I mean this as an expression of how meaningful and beautiful they are to me.

Before every lesson I think to myself: what will I find today? As every teacher, I hope that they will: be well behaved all the time, give 100% participation all day from everyone, understand the curriculum the first time, and of course always be focused on the lesson’s theme only, with zero distractions during 45 minutes. Wake Up! NOT gonna happen!! The reason is because each one of my students is unique, like the four plants of Sukkot, and together they make our classroom interesting and lively. That’s the beauty in diversity. So every day I aim for the best, but I also try not to forget to enjoy the journey with them.      – Sivan Amon

The Time of Our Rejoicing!


Our community has discovered the joy of preparing for Sukkot – “the festival of booths”! Laden with screws, hard-hats, and a power drill, we’ve constructed a (very!) temporary dwelling in our classroom in honor of the holiday and decorated it with paper chains, leaves, and lights. We have already snuggled together under its roof, pretending to count the many stars or seek shelter from the (much needed) rain. During Sukkot our kehillah (community) has the opportunity to enter into another realm – one that compels us to refocus beyond the material (and usually temporary) “structures” of our lives and concentrate on our values: that of honoring our community, respecting nature, practicing hachnasat orchim (welcoming guests), and expressing gratitude. The holiday is also called zeman simchateiun – the time of our rejoicing – and we wish everyone a happy and meaningful Sukkot!