Celebrating Tu B’Shevat

 We celebrated Tu B’Shevat and nature by having a Tu B’Shevat Seder.

We also participated in the Knesset school wide door decorating competition.  We created a tree made of all recyclable items.  The tree is like the Tree of Life (Etz Chaim) that we read about in class.

Lastly, we went on a field trip to Tree Hill Nature Preserve.  We had a nature walk and learned about animals that live in Florida.


3D Cannukiyot

In class we learned about what makes a Chanukiah kosher. A kosher chanukiah has to have candles that are in a single row and the same height, except for the shamash. We also learned about the story of Chanukah from the perspective of Judah Maccabee.

In science, students learned about series and parallel circuits.

Students learned how to use Tinkercad, a program used to design 3D printed chanukiyot. Next they used LED lights and batteries to create a simple circuits, to light up the chanukiya {menorah} on the first day of Chanukah.

In the following video, the students are reciting the brachot (blessings) which are recited on the first night of Chanukah.

Rocketing Through our Math Facts!

Mastering Math Facts

Students practicing in pairs.

During our daily math facts practice, students work at their own pace to master two new facts and their inverse at each level. New facts are added to and practiced with facts that are already mastered.

What are we working towards? Students are working towards learning their facts to an automatic level.

What is the “automatic level”? The automatic level of learning is the ability to do something without thinking about the steps involved.

Stages of Learning..

1. Accuracy – We can do something correctly if we take our time and concentrate.
2. Fluency – We can do the task quickly without mistakes. This comes after much practice.
3. Automaticity – We can perform the task without giving any real thought to the steps involved.

All students MUST go through all the stages!

Why do we need to know our Math Facts Automatically..

Future success in math is dependent on knowing the basic facts so well that the correct answers just come to you, without your having to compute them each time.

Your brain is able to devote more attention to more complex operations or multi-step problems.

How can parents help?

1. Practice every night.
2. Praise and encourage student achievements.
3. Expect success!


VIP Day 2017

We had a great time celebrating VIP Day. Together, we played Thanksgiving themed math games and reflected on what we’re thankful for in different ways. I loved seeing the Thankful Trees that showed all the things we are thankful for at home, at school/work, in nature and the world. It was wonderful to see so many family members!

Modeh Ani-מודה אני

חביב אדם שנברא בצלם-We are all created in God’s image

Each of us has different characteristics and we look differently.  Some of us are tall and short, some funny and some serious.  But we are all created in God’s image ( בצלם א-לוהים ברא אותם).  Therefore we treat each other with  Kavod (respect).  We should not make fun of each other, call each other unkind names or use hurtful words.

This is one of the 4th grade classroom rules that we learned in class and ALL of us are working on implementing the rule.

Civic Orchestra of Jacksonville

We had so much fun with Melinda Gopp and Ms. Terry! Melinda Gopp is the artist in residence for the Civic Orchestra of Jacksonville . She was on hand to show our students how to translate music into visual art. The student art will be on display at the orchestra’s concert at the Jacksonville Jewish Center on Sunday, December 10!


Cross-Collaboration interweaves classroom subjects and increases student understanding between disciplines. By mixing STEAM concepts into Jewish Education, the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School creates a unique appreciation for a student’s connection to Judaism and strengthens their Jewish identity. It also enhances learning and the ability to transfer knowledge and skills to and from other subject areas.

In Jewish Studies, fourth graders are preparing for Sukkot. They experimented with closed and open circuits while testing conductive materials using the Makey Makey and etrogim. A Makey Makey turns anything that is conductive into a keyboard. Etrogim are conductive. The Makey Makey turned the etrogim into a keyboard.

In art, students examined the influences that inspired Georgia O’Keefe to paint subjects close-up. They designed close-up artworks of etrogim for Sukkot. They use tempera paint and colored pencils to create the still-life.

We are Ready for Rosh HaShana

We have been getting ready for Rosh Hashanah in class.  We learned about the 7 steps of T’shuva (saying sorry) from the Rambam.  Today we also learned about the customs of the holiday by eating apples & honey, pomegranate and a honey cake.  In addition we created an apple dish from clay in Art class. Mrs. Scharf-Anderson read us a story about Tashlich and then we went out to our school pond  to do Tashlich.


                            Shanah Tovah!

Marble Run

What’s a marble run? In our classroom, it’s a team building activity that uses collaboration to explore and solve a STEAM-related challenge.

The Challenge: Students were divided into groups of 3s to create a marble track using a given set of materials and have the marble land in a taped off 8 inch square and stay there. Points will be given for the length of the track, whether or not the marble traveled the entire length of the track, and if the marble stayed in the designated square.

Materials: 1 piece of card stock, 3 straws, 1 piece of string, 3 sheets of paper, 5 mailing labels, 4 paper clips, 3 rubber bands, and 2 pencils.

Process: The teams was given a 2 minute brainstorming session. They were allowed to talk and sketch out any plans or ideas they had for constructing the track. After which, they were given 20 minutes to construct their tracks. Each team received a marble in the last 5 minutes of the building time to test their track and make adjustments, if needed. When the timer went off, we watched as each team got to run the marble along their track for scoring.

Observation: As the teams worked on constructing their tracks, I walked around and listened in on their ideas and discussed what they were doing. Some teams worked well together from the start, some learned along the way that everyone has something valuable to add to the project, other teams disagreed along the way.

Reflection: After the activity, we gather together on the carpet to discuss the activity. In their reflections, students were asked to list what they learned from the activity. They said that they learned:

  • How to build things and have fun
  • How to get another with each other
  • How to work together in groups
  • From their mistakes – how to work better as a group
  • To deal with pressure and being timed
  • The science of a falling objects

I was really proud the ideas they shared during the reflection process. I was also surprised that no one asked about their points or who won. They genuinely had fun working and creating together. They were even really good about complimenting other teams on their creations, regardless of how the final products came out.

As mentioned in a previous post, community-building activities are important in our classrooms. It begins the first week of school and continues throughout the entire school year.