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2nd Grade Blog                                                              April 7, 2019

Hello Parents and Students,

Today in class we discussed the Holocaust. For all of the students, it was the first time they have learned (or even heard of) the topic. We discussed it in a very age-appropriate way and the students were empathetic and asked very thoughtful questions. Karen joined us for class today as it was such a sensitive subject.

The main messages for today were:

  • Empathy (these people are just like us)
  • Hope
  • This was a long time ago and very far away
  • Many people helped (even though they could have gotten into trouble if they were caught)
  • Ultimately the “good guys” won the war and the Nazis were punished
  • The establishment of Israel
  • Yom HaShoah exists to remember the Holocaust and also the Heroism


2nd Grade Blog                                                     March 31, 2019

Hello Parents and Students,

Today we visited an Animal Sanctuary in Ashford, CT called Our Companions. There are 42 acres and they are building in stages. Lindsay, who is in charge of the cat facilities, gave us the tour and answered a myriad of questions from the students.  We had a great time learning about the organization and took a tour of two “Kittie Cottages” where cats live until they are rehabilitated either from illness or behavioral issues. We were able to pet and play with a number of cats.

The goal of the organization is to house animals in a comfortable place until they are rehomed, or if that isn’t possible, for them to be loved there.  We also visited one of the “Dog Cottages” where we met Atlas who was a very sweet dog who lapped up all the attention we gave.

The ride was pretty long but the students had a great time.  Thanks to all of the parents who drove and came to enjoy our field trip as well.




2nd Grade Blog - Pajamataschen!                          March 17, 2019

Hello Parents and Students,

Today was the last Jewish Family Education (JFE) for this year and Kol Haverim’s second annual “Pajamataschen.”  Everyone had fun learning about Purim and making Hamantaschen…and of course, wearing pajamas (which for some reason, is always more fun outside the house and not at bedtime).

It was an extremely messy project but everyone made delicious Hamantaschen.  One of our students made the largest Hamantaschen I have ever seen (by far).

We also read a book called Talia and the Hamen-Tushies which was both funny and taught us about Purim.

Thanks to all who participated and helped with clean up (with a special thanks to Miri Schneider—Ethan’s mom—who drove me to buy all of the ingredients, handled all of the baking, and washed A LOT of dishes).

I look forward to seeing the students next week and am extremely excited about the field trip the following week.



2nd Grade Blog                                                              March 3, 2019

Hello Parents and Students,

Today was a day of improvisation, as we were supposed to go on a field trip to Our Companions Animal Sanctuary. Unfortunately, we were unable to go on the trip so we had fun with paper instead. We made fortune tellers, paper airplanes, Purim masks, and even origami Torahs and Stars of David. We also played two regular games (four corners and seven up) and were able to insert Hebrew letters/sounds and vowels into the games.

I am working on a date to reschedule the trip and will send an email out as soon as I have one; it will be either later in March or early April.

There is no religious school next week due to Professional Development. We will have our Jewish Family Education program the following week (March 16th). Looking forward to seeing you all then,

2nd Grade Blog                                                       February 24, 2019

Hello Students and Parents,

Today we had a very busy day and we learned a lot. 

  • First we had Music with Molly where we sang some of our favorite prayers and then learned a new song about Purim.
  • Secondly, we had a discussion about helping, and learned the following using the story of Yitro (from Exodus):
    • Even if you are good at something you may still need help.  The students drew a picture of something or things that they were good at and then we discussed how even though they were good at them they may still need a little help (for example, even if someone is a good dancer, she still goes to classes to learn more and become a better dancer). 
    • We then watched a video that showed how Moses’ role had changed since he led the Israelites out of Egypt and how he was constantly helping to resolve disputes and answer questions. His father-in-law (Yitro) suggested that he have more people helping him so he could spend more time with his family, etc.
    • The discussion centered around how even someone with such an important job needed help and instead of telling him what to do, his father-in-law suggested some ideas and let Moses decide for himself what was best.
    • We finished the conversation with how each student could take something they were good at and how it could be used for a mitzvah (for example, a number of students were good at reading and we discussed that perhaps they could read to younger children at their school.  This would produce at least two results: it would benefit the younger students to help them become better readers and to know that the older students took time out of their day to read to them, and secondly, make our students feel good that they were able to help others with their skills.)
  • Thirdly, we discussed our field trip and our subsequent mitzvah project.  The students are extremely excited about both and we had a special visitor to our class (Karen) who was able to hear the students’ questions and discussion about the field trip and project.
  • Lastly, we learned three of the four prayers said for Havdalah (wine, spices and fire). 

2nd Grade Blog                                                      February 10, 2019


Hello Parents and Students,

Today we learned about Havdalah.  We watched a video, which illustrated the meaning of Havdalah and significance of the prayers. We started to learn the first of the four prayers and my hope is that the students will know them all before the next (and last for the year) Jewish Family Education program.  Please put March 17th on your calendar, during our regular class time.  There will be more details to follow shortly.

We skipped our Primers today and played a rousing game of Jeopardy.  The class was divided into two teams (Aleph and Bet). The scores were extremely close but Team Aleph won. The categories were:

  • Hebrew Letters

  • Hebrew Letter Sounds

  • Hebrew Vowel Sounds

  • Shabbat

  • Havdalah

The students had a great time and I was impressed with their knowledge on the subjects.

There will be no class next week, February 17th, due to the long weekend “February Break.” School will resume on February 24th.

Have a wonderful break and I look forward to seeing you all on February 24th.


2nd Grade Blog                                                             February 3, 2019


Hello Parents and Students,

Thank you so much for your support for last Friday’s service led by the second graders (transportation, help with English readings, etc.).  They did such a wonderful job and I was extremely proud of them.

On Sunday, we had music with Molly and sang a number of the prayers you heard on Friday.

We continue to work in our Primers with everyone working at their own pace.  The students are really grasping the sounds of the letters and vowels. 

Our lesson was about finding G-d in small places.  We watched a short video about Moses and the burning bush and then discussed how surprised Moses was to hear G-d speaking from the bush.  This fueled our discussion about how everything is holy no matter what it is or how big it is.  One of the lines in the video said that Moses was surprised that G-d was not speaking as a mountain or something grander than a bush.

We then broke into groups and each group looked at an ordinary item (sock, dishcloth, rock, etc.) and discussed how one can find beauty and holiness in even everyday objects.

We finished the class by making cards for a classmate who is sick.

Looking forward to seeing everyone next week,


2nd Grade Blog                                                         January 27, 2019

Hello Parents and Students,

We had an atypical day today and didn’t have much time for classroom discussion because we did so many other things.

We talked about our field trip to an animal sanctuary.  The students were extremely excited and we talked about it for a long time.  We talked about why the animals were at the sanctuary and we are now thinking about what we can do for them, other than giving them love and attention while we are there.

We spent more time working on our Primers and have gotten quite far.  Everyone is working at their own pace and are all doing extremely well learning their letters and vowels.

We practiced our Shabbat prayers with Tami and Molly to be ready for the second grade Shabbat on Friday.  We also had a lesson with Karen where we discussed the Torah and Ark.  The Torah was opened and the students were able to see it up close and learn about its meaning and creation.

Looking forward to seeing everyone on Friday.


2nd Grade Blog                                                                January 13, 2019

Hello Parents and Students, 

Today we discussed Tu B’shevat (which translates to the 15th of the month of Shevat) and is the “New Year of the Trees.”  It is a holiday about rebirth and renewal, and is a good opportunity to appreciate nature and the environment.  Though it is winter here, it is springtime in Israel and trees there are beginning to blossom.


We discussed the holiday and some popular Israeli “tree” fruit (pomelos, mangos, dates and figs). The students enjoyed tasting the dates and figs.  We also played Tu B’shevat bingo which was a big hit.


The students are really getting ready to dive into Hebrew next year.  I actually had trouble getting them to put their Primers away so we could start our bingo game, which both surprised and delighted me.


Please continue to send in tzedakah so the students can choose and donate to a charity that they feel passionate about.  We will be discussing some choices at our next class on January 27th (as there is no class on the 20th due to the Martin Luther King weekend).


Looking forward to seeing everyone on January 27th.



2nd Grade Blog                                                       January 6, 2019

Today we discussed G’milut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness).  We focused on the difference between a mitzvah like tzedakah and G’milut Chasadim.  Though it’s a little difficult to understand, our students got the concept right away. Both are mitzvot (commandments) but different because one is free choice, meaning one can determine how and when loving kindness is demonstrated, and other mitzvot are more prescriptive and are done because one has been commanded to do so.

We talked about how sometimes it may seem difficult for children to make a difference in the world but they really can have a lot of impact (some examples were helping a friend who had fallen or sitting with someone at school who was sitting alone). We capped off our discussion with a project where we pictured the students as Kindness Superheroes: what would their “shields” look like and as Superheroes what types of acts would they perform? We had such a good discussion that not everyone had time to finish their projects. They have all of the materials and can finish at home if they would like to.

We also worked in our Hebrew primers (with the goal to finish the entire book and know all of the letters and sounds by the end of the school year).  This will prepare the students to jump right in next year when Hebrew learning takes on an even greater focus.  The students are working hard and I am almost certain that we can accomplish this goal.

We had a great (and extra-long) music session with Morah Molly and the Kindergarten/First Graders.  We had a lot of fun singing and learning hand movements and dance steps to go along with the prayers. 

 I have three quick reminders:

  • First, please send in tzedakah; the money will be going to a great cause which we will be discussing as a class a little later in the year.
  • Second, the special second grade Shabbat service and dinner will be on Friday, February 1.  More information will be forthcoming but I want to make sure it’s on all of our calendars.
  • Third, our second Jewish Family Education program will be held on Sunday, March 17.  It is still some time away from now but it will be a great session that shouldn’t be missed (and there will be hamantaschen)

Have a great week and I look forward to seeing everyone next Sunday!


2nd Grade Blog                                                         December 16, 2018

Hi Parents and Students!


We had fun at religious school today and worked on a number of activities, which included:

  • Continuing our Hebrew learning through the Hebrew Pre-Primer practice book
  • Talking about Bedtime Rituals and how easy it is to include prayer into our bedtime routine:
    • We talked about two prayers in particular, Sh’ma and Hashkiveinu, which make us feel safe when we are sleeping
    • We started a project depicting bedtime rituals and prayer which we will finish when we are back from break
  • Morah Molly taught us some new prayers and dances as we joined the Kindergarten and First Grade class in the Cohen Social Hall.
  • Please continue sending in money for tzedakah - we have just raised over $10 and every penny counts! 

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone when we return from break.  I hope everyone has some much-needed time off and is well rested and ready to learn in the new year!  I’m looking forward to seeing you all on January 6th


Happy New Year!


2nd Grade Blog                                                          December 9, 2018

Hi Parents and Students!

I would like to thank each and every one of you for making my experience at Kol Haverim so wonderful. I felt so welcomed right from the beginning and had such an amazing time teaching - it was such a learning experience for me and the students as well!

Ms Jen will be taking over teaching 2nd Grade next week as today unfortunately was my last class.

Thank you again for the wonderful semester. I can’t wait to see all of your successes!

Ciao from Italy! - Jess

2nd Grade Blog                                                         December 2, 2018

Hi Parents and Students!

We had another fun day at Religious School, which included furthering our learning through the Hebrew Pre-Primer practice book, reading a book about the historical history of Hanukkah and having a Hanukkah singalong session with Morah Molly and the Kindergarten and 1st grade class.

Please continue sending in money for tzedakah - we have just raised over $10 and every penny counts!

I look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday.


2nd Grade Blog                                                       November 18, 2018

Hi Parents and Students!

Today was my first time teaching solo and the students, madrichim and I had a very busy morning.

We discussed Eilu D’varim - a list of ten mitzvot focusing on the ways each of us can improve the world.  As it was a lot to think about, we read a paraphrasing of the prayer (by Evan Moffic):

How will you find happiness in this world and peace in the world to come? By learning these wisdom practices from your ancestors:
- Honor those who gave you life
- Be kind
- Keep learning
- Invite others into your life
- Be there when others need you
- Celebrate good times
- Support yourself and others during times of loss
- Pray with intention
- Forgive
- Look inside and commit

We then read a funny book about what not to do: 17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore by Jenny Offill.

We delved into four main points from the prayer and each student wrote down a mitzvah corresponding with these points. Here are their thoughtful responses:

Be Kind to People:

Be kind to people/Be really kind
Be kind and loving
Being kind to your parents
Be kind to others; don’t bully     
Be really nice/Be Nice
Use good manners (2)
Be helpful to other people
Help people carry things
Do chores
Donate to the poor

Make Peace among People

Giving back stuff that you stole
Be calm (2)
Help solve a conflict
Be really kind
Leave people alone

Treat Parents with Respect

Help your parents clean the table
Be helpful cleaning for my parents
Ask permission
Help people
Help your parents
Listen to your Mom and Dad

Pay Attention to Learning

Help with a problem
Help kids with math
Help kids focus
Listen to your teacher/Pay attention to the teacher
Because you have to learn
Focus on your work
Keep your mind open for new thoughts

We had a great music lesson with Morah Molly, sang the Chanukah prayers and learned some new Chanukah songs. Lastly, we made Chanukah cards for CKH college students and wished them well on their finals.

We learned a lot today and I look forward to being back in the classroom on December 18th as Jess has a final exam and is then off to Italy. 

Happy Thanksgiving!


2nd Grade Blog                                                             November 11, 2018

Hi Parents and Students!

Thank you SO much for the amazing Family Education Day! I truly appreciated seeing every student and parent so genuinely excited to participate and learn more about Hanukkah. This was my first Family Education event and clearly is going to be so hard to top - thank you so much for making the day so special for me!


I will not be teaching next week’s class, and instead Ms. Jenn, our co-teacher and my replacement for the Spring, will be teaching and getting to know the class better so we will have a smooth transition at the end of term.

Have a great rest of the week and a Happy Thanksgiving! See you on December 2nd.

Thanks again!

2nd Grade Blog                                                             November 4, 2018

Hi Parents and Students!

We are SO excited for our Family Education program next week! We have been practicing so hard for our concert and we are eager to show you our smooth moves and beautiful singing!

Please send your child in their pajamas - we’re going to have a super fun day!


2nd Grade Blog                                                              October 21, 2018

Hi Students and Parents!

We had an awesome day in Religious School today - we started practicing for our special entertainment portion of our Family Education program on November 11th, continued learning Hebrew with our pre-primers, and had a fun music class with Morah Molly where she taught the Hanukkah blessings!

I am greatly looking forward to our Family Education program on November 11! Get ready for a really fun, interactive bonding time with your child while learning about the history and importance of Hanukkah!



2nd Grade Blog                                                          October 14, 2018

Hi Students and Parents!

We had a musically fun day in Religious School today. Students had music class with Morah Molly, sang the Alef Bet song and continued learning Hebrew with their pre-primers. We had an introduction to popular Israeli music, and learned why God has made us unique!

If you would, please continue to send your child in with a smock as we will be doing arts and crafts often.

I am greatly looking forward to our Jewish Family Education day on November 11! Get ready for some fun!


2nd Grade Blog                                                        September 23, 2018

Hi Students and Parents!

We had an amazing day in Hebrew School today - students learned the importance and history of Sukkot, made decorations for the Kol Haverim sukkah, sang the Aleph Bet song and learned Hebrew letters, and even had music class! It was definitely a day filled with constant fun and giggles!

If you would, please continue to send your child in with a smock as we will be doing arts and crafts in the future. We do have a two-week break, and I know that I will certainly be looking forward to returning and teaching more amazing, fun things next class!


2nd Grade Blog                                                            September 16, 2018

Hello students and parents!

We had an absolutely wonderful first day of Hebrew School. We discussed how Rosh Hashana is the beginning of the Jewish New Year and how on every new year we make a resolution. Your child should be able to tell you their top resolution as well as the class’s top five!

I love to do arts and crafts with my students and we may potentially sometimes get a little messy, so if you would like to send your child in with an old T-shirt as a smock to protect their clothing, that would be appreciated!

I look forward to next week as we are going to learn about Sukkot! Thanks for an amazing first day.


Mon, July 22 2019 19 Tammuz 5779