Weeks of November 21 and 28–Jewish Studies ט

 - by Morah Rachel


We  are SOOOO thankful for our amazing students and their families in Kitah Alef.  We aren’t just giving thanks on Thanksgiving but every day!!  מודה אני Modeh Anee!!  Thanks for returning the siddurim and little by little  the photos  as well.

We look forward to VIP day on Tuesday and hope you’ll dance with us!

Enjoy the holiday with family and friends!

Our newest letter is:  ט tet

and our newest vowels are ..   eh

Words with ט tet:

טבח  tabach   chef

אוטו oto  automobile

טלויזיה televisia  television

טוסט toast  toast

טוב tov good for boy

טובה tovah  for girl

It’s a great story about a crazy chef who loves cars!!!  FUN!!

Every week a new portion in the Torah is read.  These 2 weeks the  פרשת השבוע  Parshat HaShavuah portions  of the week are: חיי שרה    תולדות   Chaye Sarah    and Toldot.  We are introduced to Rivka and the following week to her twins….. just like the twins in our class!!

Ulichnie’s Update November 18th

 - by erinulichnie

Upcoming events:

  • VIP Day – Wednesday, November 22nd, 1:30-3:30
  • Thanksgiving Break – November 23-24
  • Show and tell – Friday, December 2
  • Book Fair – December 5 – 9
  • Campout – December 10
  • Hanukkah Program and family STEAM activities – December 12, 6:30 pm
  • Hanukkah  Celebration – Friday, December 16, time TBD
  • Winter Break – December 19 – January 2

Things have been going great in all areas of first grade.  I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids.  I appreciate all that you do at home to help make your children successful.  I am truly thankful for all of the fabulous families.  I hope you have a Thanksgiving filled with fun, love, laughter, and amazing food.  Happy Thanksgiving!

In spelling, we are still working on the “magic e” words.  We have learned to tell the difference between the short and long vowel sounds.  Last week, we even got to build our words with pull and peel Twizzlers!  We will have no spelling list this week.

In reading, we have started our first “Lit Log”.  We respond to our current chapter book read aloud each day.  We are reading The Wishbone Wish, from the Judy Moody series.  Students write and discuss predictions, characters, setting, problem, solution, vocabulary, and even rate the book.  We will be doing some fun Thanksgiving reading and writing next week.  Please keep reading each day over the break.

In writing, we learned to zoom in on small moments and write seed stories.  Writers are working on including feelings and description on their personal narratives.  We love writing time!

In math, we have been focusing on geometry.  We are discussing shapes and their attributes.  We have discussed the following shapes: circles, squares, rectangles, trapezoids, pentagons, hexagons, and rhombuses, to name a few.  Students have been using pattern blocks to explore and create patterns.  We are discussing how shapes can be sorted and categorized.  We even created symmetrical designs for our turkey feathers.

Week of Nov. 14– Updated Jewish Studies Voicethread!!

 - by Morah Rachel

 And now introducing on your own computer at home.:   


“Dear Kitah Alef Parents,

We are excited to introduce the online program VOICETHREAD (Kol Kesher).  VOICE THREAD is an amazing new learning tool, which allows for conversations around images and for Hebrew to be brought into every home.

Each student has been set up with his/her own account and we are asking parents to help sign in their child at VOICE THREAD. The instructions will follow….”   Click on the following to be invited!


On Friday, 11/11, we sent more of this letter explaining about Voicethread and the  reading/singing assignment for Kitah Alef.  It also gives you your child’s password!  These are the correct usernames and passwords!!   The homework is just to listen to the songs and point to the words.  We  practiced the whole process at school so the children will be experienced.  Thanks for joining us in this new endeavor!!!  It will get better and better as we all get used to it!!  (Right now there is a song to review the letter Zayin on Voicethread called  Shalom Zayin….. Many more to follow!!)

Thanks for returning the yellow siddurim HaSiddur Sheli by Tuesday, the 15th,  and keep sending in those photographs if you haven’t completed them !!  It is a joy for the students to see the pictures corresponding to the prayer.

אריאות  Ariyot   We learn a new letter:

ח  Chet    (Clear your throat!!)  like in the word Chanukah!!  חנוכה

Whose name begins with this letter????

  חנה Chana in our class!!!!   AND WHO ELSE????

מורה     חנה  our very own Morah   CHANA!!



Some other words that we learn  are:

אח  ach  brother

אחות achot  sister

חגיגה  chagigah   celebration   (our חגיגת הסידור Chagigat HaSiddur  Celebration of us getting our new Shabbat prayerbooks  is  coming in February!)

חדש  chadash   new (for a boy)

חדשה  chadasha  new (for a girl)

משפחה  mishpacha family

The story this week tells us about a wonderful event ….

ברית מילה  brit milah  (covenant of circumcision— bris).

תפילות  Tefilot  Prayers  We are moving forward with many prayers like ואהבת  V’Ahavta  “And you shall love”  which is the paragraph after the Shema and many others!!  Rabbi Tilman taught us about Tefillin and Talit…. the “costume” that Jews wear when they pray everyday.


In the Torah this week coming up is all about Avraham and Sarah and how they showed hospitality.  פרשת השבוע וירא Parshat HaShavua Vayera


Ulichnie’s Update November 8th

 - by erinulichnie

It was so great meeting with you all for conferences!  Thank you so much for making the time.

Upcoming events:

  • Teacher inservice – no school for students on Monday, November 14th
  • VIP Day – Wednesday, November 22nd, 1:30-3:30 Save the date!
  • Thanksgiving Break – November 23-24

Just a quick reminder that our regular library day has been switched to Wednesday each week.  Sorry for any confusion!

This week in spelling and phonics we have been working on distinguishing between the short and long a sounds.  We completed a word sort and worked on sentence formation.  Next week, we will be working on the long i sound.

In reading, we are learning about the election process through our read aloud Bad Kitty for President.  We are discussing election vocabulary like, campaign, media, primary, nominee, and debate.  Some of our discussions get pretty interesting!  I am also completing reading assessments for sight words, comprehension and taking the Star reading assessment for the first quarter.

In writing, we have been taking some time to do some free choice writing.  Our next unit in writing will be informational or non-fiction writing.

Our field trip to the Florida Theater was a great success.  Our class really enjoyed the musical.  It was fun to see the characters we have been reading about come to life on stage.  Here are a few pictures.

In math, we are wrapping us our unit on subtraction.  We have been knocking out some workbook pages.  We are also working on solving subtraction word problems.  Students are learning how to subtract when comparing.  Students are using story mats and manipulatives to solve subtraction problems.  Then, they created their own picture story  problems and wrote stories to go with them.  Finally, we got to solve each other’s problems.  Please keep practicing Rocket Math when you see sheets coming home.  Students are moving up quickly!


Week of Nov. 7–Jewish Studies HW for our families :) ז

 - by Morah Rachel

HaSiddur Sheli   My Siddur  (Yellow 3 ring prayerbook)


We are very excited about the creation of a siddur (prayerbook) by each of our students.  This project is designed to enable our students to see themselves on the pages of the siddur and make it more meaningful. The addition of your child’s photographs and drawings will give new meaning to the text.  IT WILL BE  OUR VERY OWN PERSONALIZED SIDDUR!!




PLEASE help us by taking pictures of your child doing things that illustrate or dramatize the prayers listed on the left in the letter. The page numbers in HaSiddur Sheli are on the far left side circled.  We offer a list of suggested photographs as examples on the right.  You may use what we suggest or better still, be creative and come up with your own.  Parents from Kitah Bet can assist you if you have questions… they did a great job last year!!

Please either glue the pictures on the correct page in the siddur or label the picture  and we can glue them here at school.  THE SIDDUR MUST BE RETURNED TO SCHOOL by TUESDAY, NOV. 15th.   Additional time will be given to your family to complete the assignment, if needed.  Pictures can be sent in at your convenience.  However, we need HaSiddur Sheli– My Prayerbook at school on that Tuesday (or earlier if possible)!!!

We thank you in advance for your time and effort in making this project a success.  You are helping make the tradition come alive for your children.

Luckily, technology has enabled us to do this assignment easily at home.  If there are difficulties, don’t worry!  Let us know how we can help!!!



אריאות Ariyot

We learned the letter  ו vav in our second Ariyot book… and must underscore how important it is to review this with your child. It is confusing!  FYI  — the letter vav can be a letter AND  a vowel.  It makes the sound of O when it has a dot Over its head like in the word  שלום Shalom.

We have a new letter this week…..

ז the letter Zayin is next with words like:

אוז Avaz   a male goose

אוזה  avazah   a female goose

אוזון  avazone  a baby goose

זז  zaz  moves for a boy

זזה   zazah  moves for a girl

זהב  zahav   gold

We meet the cutest little goose in this story ….

זוזו האוזון   Zozo HaAvazone   Zozo the baby goose.

Enjoy reading and re-reading this story with your child.  Act out the parts…. it’s fun!

פרשת השבוע  Parshat HaShavua    Portion of the Week  in the

תורה  TORAH  5 Books of Moses

This week’s portion is לך לך Lech Lecha  GO!!!    God tells Avraham and Sarah to go and they went!!

As we explained before, we have a new workbook for Torah portions and we’re enjoying all the cutting and gluing to help us learn !!!   AND many of us are familiar with these stories….. see what we did for last week’s portion about Noah and the Ark. (Not our Noah, but the one in the Torah!!) We made an edible ark….. so yummy to eat the lesson!


Week of Oct. 31— Jewish Studies

 - by Morah Rachel

תודה רבה TODAH RABA  MANY THANKS to all our families who helped make the holidays so special.  Especially, we would like to thank those who volunteered during the High Holidays,  those who drove us on our sukkah hop and those who hosted us in their beautiful sukkot! WOW!  We also loved dancing with the Torahs and our students on Simchat Torah!    We really appreciate our fabulous Kitah Alef  family!!

AND now back to our regular routine and  a full week of school!!!!

We are so excited to be in the next book of אריאות Ariyot_____it’s GREEN!!  See last week’s post for more information about the letter  ו Vav.    It’s always a good idea to keep the old Ariyot workbook for review.

פרשת השבוע Parshat HaShavuah  The Torah portion of the week

בראשית Breisheet  In the Beginning  (Genesis) is the name of the first book of the Torah and was also the name of the first portion that we cut, glued & colored. It includes creation and Adam & Eve and the Garden of Eden!!   This week’s Torah portion is:

נח  NOACH  Noah  Yes, like our Noah in class…. and  the animals, the flood and the rainbow!!  We work on the Torah portion each Friday!!

תפילות  Tefilot  Prayers  We enjoy  praying with Rabbi Tilman on Tuesdays.  We are so glad to count him in our minyan.

שלום בכיתה  Shalom BaKitah   We  have finally returned to this book and enjoy learning all about our classroom and  the stuff in our backpacks!  🙂

Ulichnie’s Update October 28th

 - by erinulichnie

Upcoming events:

  • Field trip – Tuesday, November 1st to Florida Theater
  • Parent Teacher Conferences – Monday, November 8th
  • Teacher inservice – no school for students on Monday, November 14th
  • VIP Day – Wednesday, November 22nd, 1:30-3:30
  • Thanksgiving Break – November 23-24


In spelling and phonics, we have been focusing on the short u sound for the last 2 weeks.  Next week, we will learn about long a words and the “magic e”.  We will go back to a spelling test each week since our schedule will be back to normal for the month of November.

In reading, we are continuing with reading groups and Daily 5 activities.  We have introduced reading with a friend, which the kids love!  Readers are working on reading strategies like using pictures to figure out words, framing a word with your fingers, chunking parts of words to read, and discussing vocabulary and our books with our groups.  In writer’s workshop, we have been writing about the election.  Students wrote about their candidates and what they would do if they were president.  We will be finishing up our personal narrative writing unit next week.

Here are some pictures to give you an idea what Daily 5 is all about.

In math, we have been working on subtraction.  We have been learning different strategies to subtract, such as, writing equations, drawing a picture, using a number line, and creating a number bond.  I have also been completing end of the quarter assessments this week.  Students are continuing work with partners and take one minute timed quizzes to move up and meet their rocket math goals.  Keep practicing addition and subtraction facts at home.  You can search for fun apps and websites.  I like this site:  http://www.mathplayground.com/index_addition_subtraction.html

rocket math

Teamwork during rocket math

Playing addition and subtraction games

Playing addition and subtraction games on laptops

In social studies, we have been learning about the election.  We wrote campaign speeches, then, created campaign commercials with the Chatter pics app.  Students even had to register to vote.  Our election was held on Wednesday, and the winner was Slippery the seal!  We also worked with Mrs. Gutterman in art to create portraits of our candidates.  So fun!  We also learned about some of our national symbols, the bald eagle, the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, the White House, and the American flag.

Check out this bald eagle cam we found.  We saw the eagle on the nest and take flight.



Creating animal portraits in art

Here are some old pictures from our science lab when we learned about constellations.

Other fun pictures…

Weeks of Oct. 17 and 24—Jewish Studies חג שמח ו

 - by Morah Rachel

We missed y’all very much and are glad to be back —safe and sound!!! Hope that your fast was meaningful and easy……and the hurricane didn’t cause too many problems!

And now (no time to catch your breath!!) ………………..

חג שמח  Chag Sameach!  Happy Holiday!  This week,  starting on Sunday evening, 10/16,  will be the holiday of  סוכות Sukkot.

Please come to services during the holiday or at least eat a meal in a Sukkah or visit the BIG Sukkah at the Center and see our beautiful fruit hanging!!

חג הסכות Chag HaSukkot!  The Holiday of Sukkot is one of our favorites!   We will celebrate all 8 days!!  It is a wonderful,busy time of year in the Jewish calendar and we hope it is even more enjoyable with our students singing and reading!!  Even though there seems to be little class time, at home our lessons are reinforced by reviewing!!

Especially fun will be our Sukkah Hop on Thursday, Oct. 20th  

Thanks to those who will be driving….  we always could  use more!! Once again, thanks to our drivers!!!  Couldn’t hop without you!!

אורחים  Orchim  Guests   We will be guests in several  sukkot and and we say a BIG  תודה רבה  Todah Raba to our hosts in advance!

מינים 4  Arbaah Minim  the 4 species of the holiday that we shake are:

אתרוג  etrog  citron (like a lemon)

לולב lulav  palm branch

הדס  hadas   myrtle branch

ערבה aravah willow branch

We  learn the blessing and enjoy the shaking in all directions… God’s goodness is everywhere!

After a wonderful week of Sukkot eating, celebrating,  shaking the lulav and etrog comes:

שמחת תורהה Simchat Torah  Rejoicing in the Torah!! We will be marching and singing with the Torah as we begin once again from  בראשית B’reisheet, Genesis.  So proud of the 3 honorees at the Jacksonville Jewish Center….all are present or past Day School parents!!

שמחת תורה    YES!!! This year it will be on Monday evening, Oct. 24th and Tuesday, Oct. 25th.  We think that this is the best day of all to celebrate with the Torah.   Don’t sit through services…. DANCE!!!  We know how!!! We dance every Friday in Kitah Alef for Kabbalat Shabbat and enjoy this with ALL our teachers!  What a busy and fun time of year this is!

שמח  sameach   happy for a boy

שמחה  s’maycha  happy for a girl

We are all very happy to finish the Torah and begin it again on this exuberant holiday.

פרשת השבוע Parshat HaShavua   Portion of the Week

We will have a new book in our class.  Each portion that is read from the Torah each week has 2 pages to enjoy.  We will enjoy learning about each portion and coloring the pages.  We will do this in class on Fridays and if time doesn’t permit, it will come home.  Parshat HaShavua has to be returned to class the next week by Monday or Tuesday at the latest so we can work on the next portion.  The new book is……

בראשית B’reisheet   (In the beginning) Genesis is our first book of Torah portions and each week we will read along with the rest of the Jewish world the portion of the  week.  WE LOVE LEARNING TORAH!!!

אריאות  Ariyot    Get ready….. a new letter and a new book is here!!!

 (Sorry that this is such a long blog….. but trying to keep you up with our holidays and regular classwork.)

We are beginning our new book of————

אריאות  Ariyot       WOW!!!!  It is green!!  Halleluyah!!

(Please remember  the homework is to READ with your child!!! )

ו The letter vav continues to surprise us!  We love meeting:

אדון בלון  Adon Balon Mr. Balloon  and the always changing balloon that is

ורוד  Varode  pink!  (In this word, it is not only a letter but also a vowel!!)

Please note that this letter can be found linking words as the word AND!!!

אבא ואמא  Aba V’Ema    Father AND Mother

שחר ושרונה Shachar V’Sharona  Shachar AND Sharona

Ulichnie’s Update October 13th

 - by erinulichnie

I am so excited to be back!  I hope all of you and your families made it through the excitement of the hurricane and the holidays in one piece.  There was lots of excitement talking about it in  class.  I am looking forward to our Sukkah Hop next Thursday at 1:30.

In spelling and word work we are working on learning words with the short i  and short o sounds.  Students write words on marker boards, create rainbow words, played on the spelling city app,  and played a fun game where they “splat” the words to spell them.  We won’t have a spelling test next week, due to the short week.  We will have the same spelling words for 2 weeks.  So, our next spelling test will be on Friday, October 28th.

In reading, we are focusing on fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary in our groups.  Students are reading books on their level in small groups.  We also write about what we have read.  Keep reading at home over our holidays.

In writing, we have been doing great writing personal narratives.  We are focusing on using capital letters to start and punctuation to end our sentences.  Here is a great writing resource for students.  Students can select images and write stories to create books.


In math, our focus has been addition and subtraction.  We started Rocket Math a couple weeks ago.  Students are loving it!  I sent an information letter home on Friday.  The program helps students memorize addition facts through repetition and practice.  Each student progresses at his or her own pace.  As they reach addition goals, they move up to a more difficult level.  When you see math papers labeled keep practicing, you can practice those problems orally or written with you child to help them move up more quickly.  We also learned about fact families this week.

In science, we wrapped up our unit on space.  Students learned about constellations.  We went to the science lab and created our own constellations.

In social studies, students learned about Florida.  We completed a Weekly Studies magazine, discussed Florida geography and the Florida flag.

Please let me know if you need anything or have questions about what is going on in class.


Week of Oct. 3–Jewish Studies שנה טובה Shana Tovah!!

 - by Morah Rachel

SHORT WEEK but lots to do!!!!

…… so much happening in Kitah Alef!!  Including  new letters——

ד  Dalet!!

דן  Dan   a boy  in Morah Shira’s virtual class

דינה  Dina    a girl in Morah Shira’s virtual class

דבש  devash   honey

דג   dag     a fish

דגיג  dagig   a little fish

דגים  dagim   many fish

HEY!!  We are also beginning another new letter…..

ה  The letter Hey   We finally will get to finish this letter and complete this book!!

הללויה Halleluyah!

הר    har  mountain

הרים  harim  mountains

הבהב  HavHav  a dog’s name and the sound a dog makes in Hebrew (BowWow!)

הלל  Hillel  a boy student in  Morah Shira’s virtural classroom

הדסה  Hadassah   a girl student in Morah Shira’s virtual classroom

המורה שירה  HaMorah Shira  the teacher whose name is Shira in the virtual classroom

ה the letter Hey (with a vowel that makes an AH  sound)   in the beginning of a word means THE

Keep up the good work…. reading, singing and reviewing.   We appreciate all your efforts!  We LOVE this class!!!

Here are some photos from our class:

Gone Fishin’     דג דג דגים  Dag  Dag  Dagim    Fish, fish , many fish!

We fished with magnets.  We ate  fishing poles ( pretzel rods) and fished in water (blue frosting).  We caught some fish in a  bottle!!!  FUN!!!

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הפסקה Hafsaka    Break time

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Torah Service with the Hazzan!!

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ראש השנה   Rosh Hashanah begins this Sunday evening (10/2) and we wish all of our families in Kitah Alef a Shana Tovah–a sweet new year!

Hope you enjoyed your Rosh Hashanah treat and the singable card we made for you. Thanks to Ms. Gutterman for her help in teaching our class about a still life!!

תשליך Tashlich   The Throwing away of our sins —-on Monday afternoon, 10/3 is a great family event to start off the new year!  Come to our pond at the JJC at  6 pm (or any body of water on Rosh Hashana afternoon)   and join us in getting rid of all the old, bad things (bread crumbs)  we did this past year.  Just in case, there are more things to get rid of, we will discuss and do this also at school later in the week.