Celebrating our covenant with God – end of Lech Lecha unit party

This week we finished the last section of our Chumash/Torah unit Parashat Lech Lecha.  In this section, Avraham performs the mitzvah of Brit Milah.  We learned the meaning of this covenant with God and then made a life connection to this commandment by bringing pictures of the students’ Brit Millah or baby pictures.

The brit milah (Hebrew: בְּרִית מִילָה‬, pronounced [bʁit miˈla], “covenant of circumcision”; Yiddish pronunciation: bris [bʀɪs]) is a Jewish religious male circumcision ceremony performed by a mohel (“circumciser”) on the eighth day of the infant’s life.
​To learn more about this commandment, click here 

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Facetime with Avner at the Kotel in Jerusalem

On May 10th we had a fun activity about the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem with the Jacksonville Shlicha Shelly.  We painted bricks, assembled a partial wall and wrote sample notes, as is customary to put in the Kotel.



Yesterday we were able to Facetime with Anver and his brother Noam who are visitinig Israel this week.  They were at the Kotel (the Western Wall) in Jerusalem.  Before Avner  left, each student wrote a note to God to be placed in the Kotel and Avner placed our notes in the Kotel for us.

It was so exciting to be able to ask questions and know that our notes made it to the Kotel.

Todah rabah  Avner !

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Funny Money and Fraction Action!

If you need convincing that math is everywhere, our fourth quarter math will do the trick!  We began learning about money a few weeks ago.  Students worked together using Publix flyers.  They had to create a meal plan for a day and estimate how much the food would cost.  They recalled how to round numbers, added up multiple items, and compared their estimate with the actual cost.  Through that process they demonstrated that they could work out priorities (if one student wanted some apples for lunch and their partner didn’t!)  They discussed what options were healthy, and they learned what BOGO means.  They saw that sometimes there are advertisements for BOGO, and sometimes the advertisement says, “Buy 2 for $5.00, save $0.75.”.  See the pictures below and check out the smiles.


But wait, there’s more!  We started learning about fractions last week.  Students are learning that fractions can be part of a set.  For example, two out of fifteen students wear glasses.  Fractions often mean part of a whole, as when you cut one apple into two pieces.  They’re also discovering that fractions are even more fun when you can eat them.  We crunched tasty graham crackers on Friday, and there’s more munching planned for this week!


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Celebrating Israel @70

On Thursday we celebrated Israel’s 70th Yom HaAtzmaut by experiencing Israel through science, music, art, dancing, sports and of course food.

We learned about Israel’s continued hope for peace through music and art.



We ate falafel in a pita with all the fixings.





We played Ga Ga, a game similar to dodgeball, which was brought to the US by Israeli counselors working at Jewish summer camps.  





We learned about Israeli innovation of drip irrigation which saves  large parts of humanity from starving and how Tel Aviv began in 1909 as a small settlement on the sand dunes and now it is Israel’s 2nd largest city with high rise buildings.  We worked in teams to design a high rise building from Pasta.

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Community Yom HaAtzmaut Performance

We were honored to perform at the community Yom HaAtzmaut celebration on Sunday, April 15th at the Jewish Community Alliance.

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Hats off to hands on!

Hello!  Third graders have had so many opportunities to learn in meaningful, age appropriate ways.  They’re having a great time diving into the content.  Words their way has been very enjoyable and students love sorting the words, learning new vocabulary, and looking at “oddball” words.  The English language is actually quite difficult to master, particularly for a person who is not a native speaker.  Approximately 50% of words in our language are not spelled as they are pronounced (through, though, knew, sew…).

Students are also investigating milliliters and liters and we have had a lot of fun pouring, estimating and measuring.  Food coloring is very exciting to third graders!

Mrs. Jaffa introduced types of energy in the science lab, and students rotated to four different stations to learn about sound waves and refraction and reflection.  Students were amazed that they could make grains of salt move by placing a tuning fork near them on a surface.  They are learning about potential and kinetic energy in class by building a paper roller coaster.

I am reading Because of Winn Dixie and students are seeing how a character develops in a story.  They’re having deep discussions with their peers and making connections between this read aloud and Wish (our last read aloud).

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Chag Purim Samech

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Play, have fun & learn about Israel



The countdown to Israel’s 70th birthday has begun.  Play, have fun and learn about Israel.

For students to play, they need to complete the following steps:

  1. Click on: https://countdown70.lookstein.org/

  2. S/he should click on “Student”

  3. S/he should type the school code


  4. S/he types his/her first name and then birthday

  5. S/he chooses their grade

Come back everyday to https://countdown70.lookstein.org for a new challenge.


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Persuasive Writing

“Speech has power. Words do not fade. What starts out as a sound, ends in a deed.” -Abraham Joshua Herschel

We are certainly living in a time when we see the power of words. The ability to share them quickly with an audience all over the world is unique to this time in history. I listen to the courageous, passionate teenagers who survived the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. I read letters to politicians from students who demand changes because they want to be safe in school. These teenagers are using their voice and will be heard. So when is the time to begin teaching children how to write with passion so that people will listen? It turns out the time is now. Third graders are learning how to write persuasively, and I can imagine in a few years they will follow in the footsteps of those teenagers to make changes we so desperately need in our country.

I introduced persuasive writing this quarter by sharing a letter that a five year old child wrote to the CEO of The Gap. Click here to check it out. We continued by writing a letter to Mrs. Scharf Anderson to request adding some new books to our classroom library. She read every letter and your children were successful in their quest to expand our classroom library! Students have been writing “long and strong” and are learning how to organize their work and support their claims. They recently learned to anticipate what a reader might ask. They are using phrases in their writing such as, “You might wonder why”, or “If you’re concerned about _______, let me explain”. They see a real world purpose to this work and they have conversations with each other where they advise a friend to write a persuasive letter to address an issue. I hope you see the vast difference in this kind of curriculum versus simply completing a writing prompt. I’m excited to show you their progress at parent teacher conferences in March.

Here is a link to the checklist students use to set goals and check their progress.

Illustrated Checklist 3rd grade opinion writing

I love to add photos of the students working together!  Enjoy these too.

Eli D. and Brennan using watercolor colored pencils to combine art and writing

Aaron and Mason sharing ideas during writing workshop.

Ariadna, Joey, Hank, and Eli Z. enjoying watercolor colored pencils!





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SPECIAL evening on February 13!

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