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6th Grade Blog                                                         March 25-28, 2018

JUDAICA

On Sunday, we talked about the Four Children in the Haggadah, who they are and how we feel about them today, in response to the question, "How would you deal with each child at a Friday night Shabbat?" Here are the students' responses.

Becca 

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5th-6th Grade YAD Family Program!                      February 28, 2018

5th and 6th Graders, families, teachers and madrichim met with master craftsman Avi Zukerman, of The Ultimate Art Workshop, for a special personalized YAD family education program. Students and families learned about the use, history and meaning of the Yad, and made individual family heirlooms, as they each created a personal Yad to guide their future Torah readings.

Becca, Yifat, Lexi and Mr Z

6th Grade Blog                                                          February 21, 2018

Judaica

The 6th grade combined with the 4th grade for small-group discussions on a controversial issue with a few twists. We then learned about the Jewish perspective on these topics!

     

Becca

6th Grade Blog                                                    December 3-6, 2017

JUDAICA

On Sunday, we had a very reflective day and wrote letters to ourselves. We spent almost the whole time writing in response to several possible prompts. I told the students that I would send them these letters a year from now. Prompts included:

  • When do you feel most Jewish?
  • Is your religion important to you?
  • What is revelation and what meaning does it have in my life?

The students came up with a few more and then we all got to writing, including myself and our madrich, Jacob. We finished by making Hanukkah cards for CKH college students to help them feel like they have a lot of home!

Becca

3rd Grade Blog                                                       November 29, 2017

JUDAICA

On Wednesday, we had a lesson that the whole class seemed to really enjoy and be engaged in. After talking a lot about the significance of Torah reading as a community in the past few lessons, we decided to participate in an informal debate. We started off by listing all the ways that we know people give and receive information and the students got creative. Then I asked the students to cross off all the means of communication that did not exist around the time of Ezra and marketplace in around 450 B.C.E. We were left with very few and began to better understand why it was necessary for all of the people to gather in the marketplace and read Torah and discuss news. In each corner of the room was a piece of paper that offered the following choices:

  1. I definitely think the Torah should be read publicly. (Community-based Judaism)
  2. I definitely think the Torah should not be read publicly. (More individual-based Judaism)
  3. Unsure but I think that the Torah should be read publicly. (Leaning towards community-based Judaism)
  4. Unsure but I think that the Torah should not be read publicly. (Leaning towards individual-based Judaism)

The students arranged themselves in a corner (or in between, acting as it was a continuum) and then we transitioned into an awesome debate about Judaism as a community versus individual.

Becca

6th Grade Blog                                                    November 19, 2017

JUDAICA

On Sunday, we were lucky enough to have Rabbi Tulling come into our classroom to get to know the sixth grade class, in advance of the upcoming Shabbat service honoring the sixth grade. Additionally, these students are next up for their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs! We played a name game and the Rabbi allowed us time to ask any questions we may have about the Bar or Bat Mitzvah process. It was so nice to have this time to get to know the Rabbi a little more.

I look forward to seeing you all at the Sixth Grade Shabbat Service on Friday, December 1st. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Becca

 

6th Grade Blog                                            November 12-15, 2017

 

JUDAICA

Sunday's lesson was all about learning the Torah Service as a public reading. We began by asking a few preference questions; for example, do you prefer to watch a ball game on TV or to be at a stadium? and other similar questions. We then had a discussion about the difference between communal and private events. While there are things some of us like to do by ourselves, in the Jewish tradition, there are certain things that can only be done in community like a minyan, recitation of Bar’chu, recitation of kaddish, public Torah reading, and more. We talked about the following quote: “God reveals Himself not only in the majesty, beauty and orderliness of nature, but also in the vision and moral striving of the human spirit. Revelation is a continuous process, confined to no one group and to no one age.” We know that Revelation is ongoing and about us and we also know that our tradition of strong community is something that has been going on since the Torah was read publicly in the marketplace 2,500 years ago.

On Wednesday, we had an abbreviated class time due to an awesome program about sleepaway camp - specifically, the 3 URJ camps in our area: Eisner, Crane Lake and 6-Point Sci-Tech! I know that a lot of your children already attend sleepaway camp and absolutely love it! If they are not already enrolled and seem interested or would like to know more about the sleepaway camps that were discussed in the program tonight, please contact Karen Trager! Since class time was short, I left the time open to what the students wanted to do. They took an interest in helping me complete the classroom bulletin board. They took charge and we all created pieces that really reflected our individual personalities and how we are as a whole!

Becca

6th Grade Blog                                                  November 5-8, 2017

 

JUDAICA

On Sunday, we finished up our unit on Torah. We did a brief review of everything we have learned so far in the Torah unit. This included: k’tuvim/writings, the Book of Ruth, wisdom literature, mishlei/ proverbs, and t’hillim/psalms. After a quick discussion and recap on the topics, I told the students that we would be making commercials as our unit wrap-up activity. Everyone thought this was so much fun. The students worked in groups and chose a topic that they would like to “advertise” in a commercial. Many students really connected with psalms, but others chose a different topic. It was fun to give the students more choice in what they were working on. On Wednesday, we began our unit on Avodah, which means the work that we do to find sacred connections to God, community, and self. This lesson was all about Revelation at Mount Sinai. I had the students close their eyes and we turned the lights off to enable complete focus. I read to the students the moment of encounter between God and the Jewish people. Once I was done reading, I asked what this moment was trying to describe. It was the Revelation in which the Jewish people accepted the Ten Commandments and we accepted responsibility for our actions. Revelation is a word that Jews have struggled with for a long time. We created our own working definitions of what Revelation means in an interesting way. The class was split into groups and was asked to read a portion of the worksheet and then stop and write what they learned about Revelation. The paper rotated and each group would refine the definition into one that the whole class could agree on. Although it is not perfect, we all left with a much better understanding of what Revelation is.

         

Becca

 

HEBREW

We had a strong Hebrew class on Sunday, thanks to the number of madrichim.  We worked in groups of two, or individually, and worked on refining Shema and Ve'ahavta, Modeh/Modah Ani, Avot Imahot, and Gevurot.  We should complete these by the end of this month.  We are also beginning Ma Tovu and Nissim b'chol Yom as the next prayers.  This will keep us quite productive. 

On Wednesday, we took a good look together on the preparations for what parts we will lead at the sixth grade service.  As a reminder, the 1st Friday Community Shabbat Service and Dinner for our class is on December 1, 2017, beginning at 6:00 pm with services.  We will continue our preparations in the next couple of classes.  Sunday's class will feature more individual and paired-up study as we have been doing on Sundays.  This will make the students much stronger as a result. 

See you on Sunday. 

Mr. Z.

6th Grade Blog                                           October 29-November 1, 2017

 

JUDAICA

This lesson was the second of a two-part lesson on psalms. We talked about how music often leads to very emotional reactions from people. We discovered that psalms can emit a range of emotions from people. I showed the students two songs that were based on psalms and we talked about their reactions. Most students thought the songs were way too sad and felt very down after listening to them. I asked them what they would like to see in psalms and a variety of answers came up. I thought it could be helpful for the students to try and come up with their own psalms. They loved this idea and we ended class with sharing our own psalms, some that were set to music and some that were not.

Becca

 

HEBREW

In class today, I made the morning just a Hebrew day. Our madrichim worked with the students on Shema and V'ahavta, Avot/Imahot, Gevurot and Ma Tovu. These prayers will be our focus over the next few classes. We also spent a few minutes discussing some of the meanings of Shema and V'ahavta as discussed in the text.

Best, 

Jeff

6th Grade Blog                                                        October 22-25, 2017

JUDAICA

On Sunday, we did a review of Proverbs and the importance of them in Judaism. Since we didn’t get a chance to finish this activity last time, we became experts on certain proverbs. Each student was able to pick from a list of proverbs one that they really resonated with. They took some time to look into them and then presented to the class some of their thoughts. We ended up turning this activity into a whole class discussion. On Wednesday, the focus was on poetry, liturgy, and Psalms in Judaism. We started by talking about a time where someone shared news with us and we had no words to respond.The students and I shared some upsetting moments as well as more positive experiences when this has happened to us. I explained that Psalms are meant for us to turn to when we really can’t express how we are feeling or what we are thinking. The Psalms are interesting because they are the only part of the tanakh where God is not telling us or asking to do something. Rather, Psalms are words to inspire or help us get through things. As a class, we read some psalms and talked about what we learn about the relationship between the writer and God or what emotions were evoked by the psalms.

Becca

HEBREW

On Wednesday, we covered some short stories relating to Yom Kippur and Sukkot, and expect to complete the fall holidays unit by next week. The students really enjoyed the stories we learned; we read "A Whole Heart" and "The Invisible Guests." Our holiday studies also include learning the Hebrew blessings. We are also working on the 6th grade required prayers and refining students' reading fluency.

On Sunday, we worked solely on Hebrew, since we had several madrichim present.  We studied our prayers well.  At this point, your son or daughter is being assessed on the following prayers:

  • Modeh/Modah Ani,
  • Shema & Ve'ahavta,
  • Avot, Gevurot,
  • Nissim B'chol Yom

We are refining our chanting, reading, and progressing from here.  

Mr. Z.

6th Grade Blog                                                     October 15-18, 2017

HEBREW

We had a discussion and materials on Yom Kippur and Sukkot today, which included the story "Maybe Even Higher."  We also did classwork on our required prayers.

Mr Z

 

JUDAICA

On Sunday, we continued discussing wisdom literature since we were short on time last class. We reviewed characteristics of people who are wise, read some quotes from the Torah and discussed if they were sources of wisdom and why. I gave students an envelope of index cards and challenged them to order the cards in whatever way they could all agree upon - whether it was in order of importance or set up as a flow chart, the class just had to come to a consensus. Some of the words included were: God, wisdom, success, reputation, wealth, understanding, knowledge, and more. I was so impressed by their ultimate decisions and explanations! 

           

On Wednesday, the class was introduced to Proverbs, specifically Jewish proverbs. We talked about what a proverb is in English and discussed a few common examples. We then read over a number of proverbs from the Tanakh, focusing on some that stood out, and why and why exactly they were included in the Tanakh in the first place as pieces of wisdom literature.

Becca

6th Grade Blog                                                 September 24-27, 2017

HEBREW

In Wednesday's class, we focused on the importance and meaning of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  We covered a few short stories and general information from Mr. Z.'s library of materials.  Everyone in class enjoyed learning a little more in-depth.  We will wrap up our holiday studies when we return from our break, and will move forward on our Hebrew prayer study. 

Best,

Mr. Z.

Sunday in class, we had a substitute, as Mr. Z. was out-of-town for his niece's wedding.  It was a good class.  Gianna Michaelson did a great job, with the madrichim, at working with the students on their basic prayers.  The main focus was perfecting the Shema and Ve'ah'hav'tah.  Work was begun on Ma Tovu including the first six to eight lines. 

Mr. Z.

JUDAICA

The beginning of Wednesday's class was dedicated to finishing up writing our skits and performing them. It seems like everyone had fun adapting The Book of Ruth and making it their own and it seems to be a way for the students to better understand/ remember the main ideas from the story. We even had one group modernize the story, which was absolutely awesome and made everything more relatable. We focused the rest of the class on holidays that were either coming up or had just passed. The students led a brief discussion on Rosh Hashanah and what the holiday meant to them and Yom Kippur and why people fast. Lastly, we discussed Sukkot and the students understood the holiday as one that really brought communities together, where people can invite others into their sukkahs and see the interconnectedness of humanity. We ended with a fun activity where we made corn decorations for the sukkah out of popcorn!

             

Please remind your children to bring tzedakah every week; every little bit counts!

Becca

6th Grade Blog                                                   September 17, 2017

JUDAICA

Continuing M’gillat Rut/ The Book of Ruth, we read another quick version of the story of Ruth and reviewed what we did last class. The students worked in groups to come up with movie titles for “The Book of Ruth.” They were encouraged to be as creative as possible. The names they came up with were “Til Death Do Us Part,” “The Walking to Be Fed,” and “The House of Bread.”

The students then worked in groups to produce a storyboard, with directions and ideas from “Creating the Movie Instruction Sheet” and “The Story Board Layout Sheet,” that reflects their understanding of the story and their group’s opinion about God’s role in it. We plan to perform our skits next class!

Becca

6th Grade Blog                                              September 17, 2017

HEBREW

We have continued practicing our required prayers and looking at some that we're not quite familiar with. I will have assessments completed by the first week of October or so.

At this time, I would like to take a moment to wish each and every one of you, and your families, a happy, healthy, sweet and productive New Year. L'Shanah Tova and an easy fast for Yom Kippur to all.

Mr Z

6th Grade Blog                                                September 10-13, 2017

Judaica

Wednesday's lesson was focused on M’gillat Rut/The Book of Ruth, which is part of k’tuvim. The students came up with a list of words that have the same spelling but different meanings. I explained that in this book, some of the characters have names that suggest an interesting meaning and some people think that these are clues to a deeper meaning in the text. We read a shortened version of M’gillat Rut and talked about how it is read on the holiday of Shavuot which commemorates the day the Jews received the Torah. We discussed what the word “irony” means and decided which names in the story were ironic and which ones actually fit the character well. For example, Moab means “house of bread,” but Moab had a famine. Elimelech means "my God is king," but he disappears from the story almost immediately. On the other hand, Ruth means friend or companion, which is very telling of her character. This story of Ruth will be continued in following lessons.

Sunday's lesson from the Torah strand of our CHAI Curriculum was focused on k'tuvim or writings. Although some students had heard the word before, we started off with a little explanation on what exactly k'tuvim was. Our madrich, Jacob, explained the word TaNaKh and how it contains the Torah, Nevi'im (the Prophets), and k'tuvim. K'tuvim contains some books the students may have heard of before, like the story of Esther and m'gillah or m'gillot (scrolls). I asked the students to look around the room for fourteen slips of paper that I had hidden. Once they were all found, each student picked 1 or 2 slips of text to become the expert on and to put the text into their own words. We stood in a circle reading each text and explaining what each meant to us. Each slip included words from a part of k'tuvim and indicated a specific connection to God. I asked the sixth graders to work as a team to make these slips of paper into a paper chain (this is the paper chain on Maya's ponytail in the picture)

and then asked them why I had them do that. Their answers were great! They understood that each of these Revelations or pieces of text were a new link that we have with God. Sometimes connections are fragile or very strong or there may even be times when we do not feel connected at all, but together they form the relationship that we have with God. With a few minutes left, I had them work in pairs on a k'tuvim quotation-matching challenge where they had to match the writing on the left with a text on the right using context clues. This was difficult, but most of them were able to figure at least some of them out!

Please remind your student to bring a contribution for tzedakah each week if at all possible 

Thanks.

Becca

 

Hebrew

Our class was very luckyon Wednesday; we were able to work outside, since it was such a lovely day! We have started with a review of the basic prayers each student should know including Shemah, Ve'ah'hav'tah, Modeh/Modah Ani and the Mourner's Kaddish. We also have been reading prayers we are not familiar with to assess general ability. I will continue assessments for three to four classes and then we'll begin progress on new prayers and perfecting some others.

Our day on Sunday went by fast. We covered important needs - including staff introductions, rules, safety and security procedures, and the value of respect for staff, property, the building and each other. Our school is nut free and it is important that snacks be nut free as well. We discussed Hebrew books and supplies and how we will work in very small groups. We also enjoyed a few ice breakers to get to know each other better. We will begin looking at Hebrew prayers and some High Holiday work beginning with our next class.

I am always accessible for any questions or concerns you might have. Please email me at MrZ@kolhaverim.org, or call me at 860.693.9521 /h or 860.539.7042 /c.

Thanks.

Mr Z

6th Grade Blog                                           September 6, 2017

6th Grade Hebrew

It was great to meet your songs and daughters for our first class today. The opening day went well, and we discussed relevant rules in class. We also touched upon safety, security and respect. This conversation will continue on Sunday.

Mr Z

 

6th Grade Judaica

It was so nice to meet the 6th grade students! They are a pretty compact and giggly group of students, and I feel as though we will get a lot done this year. I started our short time together with an introduction of myself so the students could get to know me a bit more! I talked about my personal Jewish history and that I am an elementary education major at UConn! We then followed with a Starburst icebreaker where each student got two different colored Starbursts, and the flavors corresponded with a question the students could answer about themselves. I also designed a Jenga game where I wrote some Judaism-related as well as getting-to-know-you questions on the blocks. I am so excited for this year!

If you ever need to contact me, please feel free to at becca@kolhaverim.com. I will see everyone on Sunday morning!

Becca

Thu, April 26 2018 11 Iyar 5778