May 22 and 29—Holiday…. after…. Holiday…….

 - by Morah Rachel

Hope that everyone had a wonderful Shavuot holiday!! So proud of our students that remembered the 10 commandments in Hebrew!!!  (It seems like it was just yesterday that they recited them at our Haggigat HaSiddur in February!!! )  And we looked beautiful at our Bikkurim Festival at school….. all in white and flowers in our hair and fruit ready to donate.   WOW!!!

And we hope that you have a meaningful Memorial Day as well.

פרשת השבוע  Parshat HaShavua These weeks’ Torah portions are נשא  בהעלתך  Naso and BeHa’alotecha  and we learn more about the Kohanim.

As we get close to completing our cursive letters, we know that there will be plenty of time to practice using all that we have learned.  Writing and then reading what we wrote is so important!!! Check in the blue notebook to see what we will be writing next!

Listen for more songs and fun!!

May 14— חג שבועות שמח Happy Shavuot

 - by Morah Rachel

If you are reading this on Sunday…….. Happy Mother’s Day!!  יום האם שמח  Yom HaEm Sameach.

THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH..….. we received such yummy treats and cards and flowers and more during  Teacher  Appreciation week.  Morah Rachel and Morah Hanna thank you for everything but your children are what we are most grateful  for.

We had a wonderful time for לג בעומר Lag B’Omer and enjoyed Color War last Thursday! And we thank Shelly השליחה HaShlicha from Federation who taught us this past week in honor of  יום ירושלים Yom Yerushalayim  Jerusalem Day.  See the Kotel (Western Wall) we helped build!!

The holiday of  שבועות Shavuot is the next holiday and we will celebrate it on May 19-21. We are so proud that we are learning all about the 10 Commandments!  (we remember lots from February!!)  AND we will be able to write them in cursive!!  

Don’t forget we will wear white on Friday, the 18th and bring fresh fruit to be donated in honor of שבועות   Shavuot  and

Bikkurim  The Festival of the the First Fruits  בכורים

חג שמח  Chag Sameach!! We will finish counting the Omer….49 days!! Time flies from Passover!!

Lots to do…… cursive continues... And we practiced our Hebrew  about what we wear…… Begadim   בגדים    Clothes

With real models…. one boy and one girl and we labeled what they were wearing.

אני לובשת                                                          אני לובש

Anee Lovesh   I  wear…..                          Anee Loveshet  I wear….

פרשת השבוע במדבר Parshat HaShavua The Torah portion this week is Bamidbar…. we begin the 4th book of the Torah (Numbers).

Week of May 7— Jewish Studies is busy!!! (and fun!!)

 - by Morah Rachel

We had a wonderful time on ל׳ג בעומר Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day of counting the Omer  between Pesach and Shavuot. Kudos to Coach Z and all the teachers for planning such a fun Color War in honor of the holiday!!!  We all were winners!!

We enjoyed making our Lag B’Omer campfires (מדורה) Medurah and dancing the Hora Medurah around our campfire.  Be careful!!!!

Hope to see y’all at the Lag B’Omer pool party today (Sunday, 5/6)  at the Center!!

אריאות כותב  Ariyot Kotev  Ariyot Writes in CURSIVE !!!  

We are very busy practicing our handwriting, writing cursive words & creating stories!   Cursive really does flow!!  Please remember to continue reading —old stories from Ariyot ( it’s a good idea to keep old Tal Am workbooks for this purpose) and the new words in cursive.  Review is key!!  The writing homework should not take very long to complete (3-5 minutes maximum), but they need to be able to read what they wrote as well!!

 We are learning the letters ש ק ח ד כ כ ך Shin, Kof, Chet, Dalet,Kaf, Chaf and Chaf Sofit. It’s amazing how well we can write in cursive and how much fun it is to write like the grown-ups do!!!  We are moving fast….. so keep practicing!!!

פרשת השבוע בהר ובחקתי Parshat HaShavua Behar U’Bechukotai  This week has another double Torah portion and is about how good it is to study and how the land needs to rest every 7 years and about doing mitzvot.

We are testing their prayer skills individually and we are very proud of our  students!!! Hope you’re seeing them at home and at synagogue following the prayers and chanting them correctly!! WOW!! How far we’ve come!!

We are celebrating many things this week.   WE APPRECIATE BEING APPRECIATED at the Teacher Appreciation Dinner on Wednesday.  We will celebrate Morah Hanna’s birthday on Friday.

AND of course,  יום האם  Yom HaEm Mother’s Day on Sunday.

We wish all of our moms יום האם שמח Yom HaEm Sameach!! Happy Mother’s Day!!  Hope you enjoy our little gift & song!  We appreciate you not just one Sunday a year but everyday!!! We say thanks for being such good moms to our students and for helping us out in Kitah Alef!!

We are also celebrating on Sunday  יום ירושלים Yom Yerushalayim  Day of Jerusalem. We remember on this day  in 1967 Yerushalayim became one city.  Listen for more beautiful songs!!!



Week of April 30– Springtime in Hebrew Cursive

 - by Morah Rachel


Cursive homework continues!!!!  We are so proud of our beautiful handwriting!! It’s sooo fun!  We love writing carefully in our  writing notebooks!  We are writing the letters ג ר ה ב ב  Gimel, Resh, Hey, Bet and Vet. etc.   WOW!!! We are moving very quickly —approximately one letter a day! We are being sticklers about HOW to write each letter.  Most letters are based on the letter Resh…. starting from the top like a crescent .   Cursive writing homework  should be fun and not last more than 5-10 minutes each night.  Reading should continue at home of all the old Ariyot books.   Reviewing means remembering!!

We are (finally) back to  a fun workbook  שלום בבית ובחוץ Shalom Babayit U’VaChutz  Shalom in the House and outside.  We know in Hebrew about washing hands with soap, clothes we’re wearing and food we’re eating!!

פרשת השבוע אמר Parshat Hashavua  Portion of the Torah this week is Emor.


ל”ג בעומר Lag B’Omer is this week!!!!  

On Thursday, May 3rd, our school will be celebrating the 33rd day of the Omer (Lag B’Omer….ל”ג בעומר)

ל  Lamed equals 30

ג  Gimel equals 3

ל”ג  Lag equals 33

We will celebrate the 33rd day of the Omer with יום ספורט  Yom Sport!!!  More info to follow about Color War!!

Adding Another Chapter to Our Story

 - by arielnewton

Our first grade class has been hard at work developing their “teaching voices” as writers.  Teaching their peers about topics that they know best, each student has chosen a topic to use in their composition of a chapter book.  With a diverse group of authors, writing topics range from How to Pick Coffee Beans in Minecraft to All About People. We have recently been working on adding specific details to our texts.  Through the integration of comparisons and other writing strategies, we strive to make our books tangible to all audiences. With this in mind, we’re finishing up and making our final edits before our writing celebration this week!

Finishing another exciting chapter in first grade, we had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Science and History last week. We showed what we know about animal adaptations and habitats, visited and interacted with real wildlife, and explored the museum’s historical past and future exhibits. It was a blast! Please enjoy our candid photos below!



Week of April 23– Back to Alef

 - by Morah Rachel

Yes!  We know all the letters and it’s time to write like a pro!!

אריאות כותב  Ariyot Kotev    Ariyot writes!!! in CURSIVE !!!!  Cursive homework is fun!!  It should not be too tiring for them to finish up any work not completed in class.  We are moving fast (almost a letter a day!) and please let us know if there are any difficulties.

  We begin with:


א  Alef  We wll make cursive Alefs  out of twizzlers!!   Remember that the direction of writing in Hebrew is right to left!!! Each student  received a blue

מחברת      machberet     writing notebook

in order to practice writing.  Every night writing practice will be expected if not completed in class!!  This does not mean that reading practice stops.  PLEASE help your child to review their  Hebrew reading and writing.  The most writing  to be done is 4-5 repetitions on a line.  If more is done and it takes too long, then your child has NOT followed the easy instructions.  This should be fun and not a burden!  The blue writing notebook will be sent home if work is not completed in class!!!

We are continuing with ו י נ ן  Vav, Yud, Nun and Nun Sofit.    We move quickly through the  cursive alphabet so we’ll be ready for Kitah Bet!!!

ספירת העומר  Sefirat HaOmer  Counting of the Omer    From the 2nd night of Pesach  we count each day until we reach the holiday of Shavuot.  We are anticipating receiving  the 10 Commandments!!!  We include this in our daily prayers.  Ask your child what day of the Omer is it today??

תפילות Tefilot  Prayers  We have begun testing each student on the prayers that we have learned in our class.  It’s amazing to see what progress we have made!! The test includes reading, chanting and explaining the BIG IDEA of each prayer.  Don’t worry about this…. we have it under control!!

פרשת השבוע  Parshat Hashavua  Portion of the Torah this week is another double portion..

.אחרי מות  Acharei Mot

קדשים  Kedoshim

and we learn the meaning of a scapegoat.

Engineering Wildlife

 - by arielnewton

In generals studies we have been learning all about animals and plants, their adaptations, and different habitats. As a result, this has prepared us greatly for our upcoming visit to the MOSH and allows us to explore our imaginations and apply our understanding of science concepts through the completion of another STEAM challenge.

Our first graders have been examining a variety of animals and their traits and characteristics in order to discover how adaptations help them survive in their environment. Having a solid understanding of how animals survive in their habitats, its time to apply what we know and get creative. This week we have begun phase one of our “Engineering Animals” project.  Students are to create a new and unique animal that will survive a particular habitat. Not only must they be able to justify how their animal’s adaptation(s) will help it survive, but their animal prototype must also have a moving part. As a result, this life science and mechanical engineering activity is perfect to display our class’s creativity, content knowledge, and over all critical thinking skills. We look forward to sharing our final products and presentations with you soon!

Also, please remember that our field trip to the MOSH will be this upcoming Tuesday, April 17th. Students should bring a bagged lunch and beverage to take with us on our adventure. Remember to wear MJGDS uniforms and arrive to school at our regular meeting time of 8:15 in order to ensure appropriate loading and departure with every child.

Weeks of April 9 and 16– Jewish Studies x times 2

 - by Morah Rachel

Due to the holidays, we’re running a little late on our blog.  Please forgive us!!!  There is lots of information below!!!

(Did you get a personalized clay Seder plate before the holiday?  Hope you and your families enjoyed  our art projects and our wonderful Seder leaders/singers!)

On Thursday of this week, we will remember the 6 million Jews and others  who died in the Holocaust and the kindness of many who helped save others.  Just FYI if you hear a little about this from your child.

Tiyul to shul is this Shabbat  4/14….. it’s just a lovely way to all walk a little together to come to services on Saturday morning.  Check it out!!

Back to regular business:

Here she is…… שרה   Sarah!!!! ( We call her מורה שרה Morah Sarah)  Finally!!  Imagine that there is a dot on the left side for the letter Sin. (And guess who’s holding the letter Sin????? Mayer!!


אריאות  Ariyot   Yes, we are completing the 4th book of Ariyot and finishing the Alef-Bet!!  Mazal Tov!!

ת  Tof is the last letter  and we learn words like:

תודה todah   thanks

תורה תורות  Torah  Torot    5 Books of Moses

תעודה תעודות te-u-dah   te-u-dot  certificate (s)

אותיות o-tee-yot   letters

תנועות te-nu-ot  vowels

מתנה מתנות  matanah  matanot  present (s)

חוברת חוברות  choveret  chov-rot  workbook (s)

תפילה תפילות  tefila tefilot  prayer (s)

There is no “test” at the end of this letter….. BEWARE!!! 🙂  Cursive is coming!!   WOW!

ספירת העומר  Sefirat HaOmer  Counting of the Omer    From the 2nd night of Pesach  we count each day until we reach the holiday of Shavuot.  We are anticipating receiving  the 10 Commandments!!!  We include this in our daily prayers.  Ask your child what day of the Omer is it today??

תפילות Tefilot Prayers   At this point of the year, we are checking to see if our students can chant and read the prayers we have learned this year.  We are also learning more about these prayers with Rabbi Rosenblum.

Don’t forget that the Community Wide Celebration for Israel’s birthday will be on Sunday, April 15 from 12-3 at the JCA.  And we are singing at 12:15… please arrive at noon in school uniform and sing along.    Come celebrate and have fun !!!

יום העצמאות Yom Ha-Atzmaoot   Israel’s Independence Day  is  next week .  Listen for some great songs about Israel’s Birthday on the 5th day ( ה Hay)  of the Hebrew month of Iyar.  We will wear blue and white on Thursday 4/19 in honor of Israel’s 70th birthday!!

פרשת השבוע  Parshat HaShavua  Portion of this Week is שמיני Shemini  all about Kashrut.

תזריע Tazria and מצורע  Metzorah We have 2 portions  for the following week. (We double up a few times in order to finish the Torah on time) We are learning about leprosy and gross contagious stuff and what our ancestors did about all kinds of medical issues……. it’s really fascinating for the kids.

Animal Adaptations

 - by arielnewton

This week in first grade we have been exploring plant and animal adaptations. This exciting topic has allowed us to complete a variety of STEAM activities and experiments. We joined Mrs. Jaffa in the science lab to explore the importance of one of our greatest adaptations as human beings…thumbs! We completed a variety of seemingly “easy” tasks together, including tying a knot with yarn, buttoning our shirts, and cutting a corner from a piece of paper.  However, we then completed these tasks with our thumbs taped to the palms of our hands! The kids were shocked to see how difficult our previously completed tasks had become.

Later in the week we completed Mystery Science experiments exploring the importance of camouflage and the physical adaptations of species.  After constructing a make-shift forest in our classroom, students were sent on a mission to find 9 moths camouflaged in our learning environment. What a challenge! To reward their perseverance, students created their own moths to hide throughout the classroom. Students also answered the question, “Why do birds have beaks?” through an exploration activity. Given two different beak selections, students were asked to forage for food (uncooked macaroni) among a habitat filled with rocks (beans). They were able to distinguish which beak type was the best to forage in this particular habitat and composed a theory as to why birds have different beak sizes and shapes.


Don’t Forget!

For our model Seder next Tuesday at 1:00 pm, students may wear Shabbat clothing.



“Pint-Sized” Surveyors!

 - by arielnewton

Wow! It is such an amazing experience to see first graders take control of their learning and use “professionalism” while implementing what they have been practicing across curriculum and in new environments. This week we had the opportunity to visit the kindergarten and second grade classrooms to present personalized surveys and analyze data. Our students came up with original survey questions to share with their peers, presented their surveys one-by-one to each class, and gathered their data. Afterwards, we came back together to create unique pictographs, tally charts, and bar graphs to represent our data. Next week, we will culminated this experience by presenting our research to our own class and analyzing our results.