Tornado in science lab causes NO damage!

Did you hear the news about several tornadoes that were seen in The Martin J. Gottlieb School science lab?  Fortunately no one was hurt and there was no damage.  Our fearless teacher, Mrs. Jaffa, taught students how to create their very own tornado last week!  Students worked together and learned about the scientific process in order to create their tornado.  There were several groups that did not create a tornado the first time they tried.  Imagine that!  Students had to persevere and try again, just like true scientists.  One of our core values is teaching students that learning involves taking risks.  It’s OK to have to work through problems.  We all love to see the final product (in this case, a tornado), but the valuable part is the process of learning.  Look at the excitement in the video below!

Students are continuing to learn about weather, what the difference is between weather and climate, what causes changes in climate, why we need to understand about weather, and severe weather.  They are learning that reading non-fiction is different than reading fiction.  We get ready for that kind of reading in a unique way.  I am teaching them about previewing the text, reading text features like headings, sub-headings, looking at photos and captions, and accessing prior knowledge.  It’s wonderful to have such an engaging curriculum that is motivating to students and teachers.

I hope you all had a terrific weekend.  If there is anything you need, please don’t hesitate to contact Liat or me.


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4 out of 3 people struggle with math :)

“Pure mathematics is, in it’s way, the poetry of logical ideas.”  Albert Einstein

I’m learning to love math, but it has taken me a long time.  I haven’t always had a happy relationship with numbers, and struggled with math in school.  You might wonder what changed.  How did this tumultuous relationship with numbers turn into a friendship?  Singapore Math is the game changer.  Seriously.

I went to a couple days of staff development last year and now I have a much deeper understanding of how the program works.  The more I teach in this manner – using models to help with word problems, breaking numbers into parts to add and subtract, and using a part / whole model – the more I like it.  I see students mastering the concepts and developing a genuine understanding about numbers and how to solve word problems.  I’ll give you an example.  When I taught math before, I used to teach that when the word “more” was used it meant that the problem was asking students to add.  And then this problem came up:  “Suzie had 15 pencils and Sam had 25 pencils.  How many more did Sam have?”  My instruction to add didn’t work in that instance and I was stuck.  Singapore math shows students how to draw a model of the problem using a part / whole system, and it works every time.  It’s logical.  And for someone who struggled with math, the pictures make the concepts relatable.

The video clip below is an example of Joey M. using cubes to solve a math problem.  Students made 3D clouds with Mrs. Gutterman and they wanted to know when they would be ready.  The clouds are pencil toppers and they are so cool!  So she said it would be a while because they take about a half hour to print.  Students were pressing me to answer how long it would take.  So I seized a teachable moment and turned the problem over to them!  Several students worked on the problem, however I videotaped only one.  Watch Joey explain how he solved this!

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday evening for open house.  It is from 7:00 – 8:30.

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When I was a little girl I thought that North was always straight ahead of me. If I turned, then North was still straight ahead. Your third graders won’t have that misconception! We have been learning all about maps lately, and when you come into the classroom you will see some of their work. They have compared maps and globes, learned about symbols on maps, identified regions in the U.S., and labeled states where they have visited.  Mrs. Gutterman taught them about analogous colors, and they painted maps. Then they took a photo of their map and imported it into pic collage, and they are working on adding text about states, landmarks, and landforms. Mrs. Hallett has been teaching students how to do research using various databases and web-sites (Google Earth, Kiddle.Co, World Book On-Line etc.)  They’ve been learning about landmarks in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and The Caribbean. They will be using an app called Book Creator to create a project about what they learned, and they will post that to their blog. It’s incredible to see nine year olds examine a variety of sources, read, take notes, use software to publish, and reflect on their learning.  When I tell my daughters in high school about all the fun the students have while they learn, they always say, “I wish we could learn like that.”

Exciting science in the lab is coming this week, along with 3D printing!

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We’ve been in school. Then out of school. In. Then out. In. Out. These transitions can make life difficult for anyone, and your children might be experiencing some anxiety about the change of schedule. Simply managing a regular bed-time can be tricky! I remember when my daughters were young and small changes to their routine caused lots of emotional ups and downs. The less sleep they got the more chocolate I ate.

You might also be hearing about how third grade is harder than second grade. It is! When your children were in the early elementary years they were learning to read, and now they are reading to learn. It sounds fairly simple, but it is a major shift in cognitive focus. I am teaching students to think deeply about what they read, to monitor their comprehension strategies, compare and contrast texts, and to write like real authors. And that’s just the beginning! I am going to share more about the curriculum at open house (10/24 6:00 – 7:30). I know that students are working hard and they will begin to see their own growth soon and feel pride in their work. There are cross-curricular projects they will do to enhance their learning, and they will have such a great time creating and exploring.

Below are a couple of students working hard during our writing workshop. Writing long and strong is a focus during this time.   Eli D. is writing in his writer’s notebook and there is a rubric on his desk that shows him what the end result should look like. Writing is a process and it’s important for students to see what the goals are. Chloe has the same rubric, and an organizer to help her select topics for her writing. The first quarter writing is all about personal narratives. I can’t wait to show you the wonderful work your children have been doing, and by the end of the quarter they will post to their blog and reflect on their learning.


Don’t worry! I haven’t forgotten about social studies and science! The students have been learning about maps and regions of the U.S., and they are just starting to explore about landmarks. Mrs. Hallett is teaching students how to research and present information.  Mrs. Gutterman is teaching students about watercolors and analogous colors in relation to maps. Later in October, students will be learning about weather and will be in the science lab with Mrs. Jaffa. Mrs. Gutterman found something amazing to coordinate with that, but I want you and the students to be surprised so I’m not telling you yet! Let’s just say, GO STEAM!

I love teaching your children, and working with the team here at school.

Here are some dates to keep in mind:

First Quarter Ends 10/30

Parent Teacher Conferences, Wednesday, 11/1 (details about times will be shared soon!)




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We are Ready for Rosh HaShana

We are ready for Rosh Hashana!

We listened to the Shofar every day and learned the vocabulary and the customs of the holiday.  Today we got a taste of Rosh HaShana: we ate apples & honey, pomegranate, and a honey cake.  

Each student prepared a Shana Tova card to go along with the honey cake they baked for their family.  

Mrs. Scharf-Anderson read us a story about Tashlich and then we went out to our school pond and threw our bad deeds (really it was bread) into the water.

Shana Tova from Kitah Gimmel !

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It’s more than a dot…

Wow!  See what our amazing Karin Hallett has been working on with third grade in this video.  Keep in mind we’ve had only 14 days of school.

3rd Grade International Dot Day from MJGDS Classrooms on Vimeo.

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Building A Reading Life in 3rd Grade

She’s the Michael Jordan of educators.

And she’s whispering in my ear as I teach. Well, not exactly. But I feel like I hear her voice as I talk to my students about reading and writing. Who is this amazing woman, you ask? Lucy Calkins, the author of our reading and writing curriculum, Founding Director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, and professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has worked with children and educators for over thirty years, and it is very exciting to be able to implement the programs she researched and created.  It is a privilege to be at The Martin J. Gottlieb Day School where we have curriculum that is this stellar.

You might be thinking, big deal. Curriculum shurickulum. I’m here to tell you that this #isareallybigdeal. Third graders (your darlings) start the year off by learning about how to build a reading life. A reading life!  The first several weeks are spent thinking about how books are like gold (valuable and treasured), setting goals to support volume and stamina, finding “just right” books, reading with fluency and expression, and diving deeper into comprehension. They learn about authors’ craft, character development, figurative language, and developing questions. Students read books that they’re excited about, and they become part of a literate community that shares the joy of beautiful writing. Wow!

You might wonder what you can do at home to support your child’s literacy. It’s hard when there are after school sports, activities, gadgets and play-dates. The Washington Post published an article (click here) that has reasonable ideas to help build a reading life. One of the ideas I loved was sharing your own love of reading, and talking about a part that made you smile or that really caught your attention. I’ll be sharing those moments with my students this year too.

We’re off to a fantastic start in third grade! Please remember to send your child to school with a full tummy so they’re ready to learn, a snack, and a good night of sleep. The photos you’ve sent of your child reading in their favorite cozy place are fantastic. Please remember to send me one if you haven’t done so already.

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”~ Anna Quindlen

Shabbat Shalom!


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First Week of Third Grade/Kitah Gimmel

Our first week in third grade was full of learning and fun!  In both general studies and Jewish studies students learned about respect – kavod כבוד.  We established routines and procedures and created our class rules.  We did a variety of activities to learn about showing kindness to others.  One activity showed how mean comments can hurt people inside.  Please ask your children to explain the apple activity, and here is a photo in case they forgot!  You can see that one apple is bruised and one is not.   There is a video clip at the end of this blog post that demonstrates the lesson students learned.

Students also wrote about how they will show respect, listen to others, have self-control, and be kind and safe.  We read the books Chrysanthemum and Chester’s Way to reinforce those ideas.  These values will be  modeled and discussed throughout the school year as children build their social and emotional skills.

Your children are avid readers!  We began talking about building a reading life and how to be successful readers at home and at school.  I am so excited to see that students are already talking about being deeply engaged in a book, when they almost feel as though they are “in” the book.  Wow!  Here are some photos of your sweet children reading in class.  

In Jewish Studies we reviewed blessings, prayers and vocabulary that we learned last year.  We learned about collaborating and working together in groups while trying to spell a new important vocabulary word which will be our theme for the year:  B’hatzlacha  בהצלחה- meaning that we will be successful in showing Kavod כבוד and learning Hebrew עברית.


We learned that you have to work together, sometimes fail on the first try, try again and don’t give up until you get the correct answer.  Can you tell which image shows the word B’hatzlacha spelled correctly?





The students also blew the shofar every morning in honor of the month of Elul as we get ready to welcome Rosh HaShana.



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Learning about the Map of Israel

Today we learned about different cities in Israel by using a giant map of Israel, a book and a bus.

hermes h belts

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The Magical Cafe

Good afternoon from the happy owner of The Magical Café! We had a very successful opening (and closing) of our restaurant. I am delighted that the staff of The Magical Café did such a wonderful job preparing the food and performing their jobs with such a high level of professionalism. After reading your reviews, it appears you had a magical experience as well.   Here are my thoughts about our morning…

Your children love to learn in meaningful, relevant, and “hands-on” ways. They were in charge of a great deal in the restaurant. They voted on the name, Kyra made the t-shirt design, they suggested recipes, applied for their jobs, and brainstormed ways to make the restaurant a success. They learned about money, teamwork, and work ethic. They each have a new appreciation for people who work in restaurants!   The money you paid will go to a charity that the students select though a vote.

Students wrote on their blog in class today about what they learned, and they posted photos. Please read them, encourage your family members to read and respond too.

I have a new level of respect for anyone in the restaurant business! It truly takes a great deal of planning, organization and collaboration to carry out all the tasks. My heartfelt gratitude to Rabbi Rogozen, Mrs. Hallett, Ms. Lewis (4th grade), Morah Liat, Rachel B., Jessica K., Marissa K., Simon S., , my daughter Julia, and everyone who helped us. There is definitely a reason for the phrase “It takes a village.”

When I get home I will post the recipes. I am so glad that you enjoyed the breakfast. Shabbat Shalom!



replica cartier love

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