As we flow in and out of winter and spring, our explorations continue in the Elementary classroom. This week we have been busy observing inorganic and organic material with a microscope. The children discovered that when they looked closely at living things, they could see small "bubbles" that we identified as cells. A group of students have planned a "going out" to continue their exploration of minerals at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. We also had the opportunity to visit the Davis Library this week and the children have been able to explore more areas of literature. A fascination with roller coasters is leading us to the study of potential and kinetic energy and momentum. In Hebrew and Judaics, the children continue to explore the spoken and written Hebrew language through games and exercises and analyzing and imagining about the Chumash narratives about Avram, Sarai, Yitzchak, Rivkah, Yakov, Eisav, Amram, Yocheved, Miriam and Moshe. We have also planted seeds in our class that will hopefully grow into seedlings in time to be planted as a vegetable garden at school.
Here are the pesukim learned this week:
First years: vocabulary and reading preparation for Bereishit 1:9-13.
Second years: Lech Lecha 12:1-5
Third years: Toldot 25:29-34, 26:1-7
Fifth years: Shemot 2:1-15
The buzz in school this week was the celebratory Opening Event. In preparation for the event, the Elementary students busied themselves with finishing off fabric art projects, helping prepare a display of their mezuzah case production and practicing the songs they presented. The children also continued some of their ongoing work on fictional story writing and research of ancient civilizations. With the snow compacting through melting on the field, the children also explored building various snow structures outside.
The second year students deserve a special Mazal Tov for completing Parshat Noach this week as well.
This week we have continued our hands-on explorations and creations in class by experimenting with fabric art of the Israeli flag. We have continued research of various sea creatures and mammals and have begun discussing and planning possibilities for goings out to see the animals we researched in person. Additionally, we have extended our explorations of growing potatoes and carrots in to full plants by beginning the planning of a vegetable garden for the spring. As a group we have also begun focusing on developing methods for managing time responsibly, planning future tasks and predicting time needed for specific activities.
Parshat Ki Tisa:
1. What lead the Jewish people to think that Moshe had died on Har Sinai? What did they feel they needed to replace Moshe? How did Aharon react? What lesson does this teach us about jumping to conclusions about people?
2. How did Moshe react when he saw the people worshipping the Golden Calf? Who followed Moshe in stopping the worshippers of the Golden Calf? Why did Moshe react this way? How did Moshe feel about the people?
3. What did Hashem want to do to the people at this point? How did Moshe convince Hashem not to react to the people? What did Moshe receive from Hashem that showed the people were forgiven? What lessons about standing up for justice and forgiveness can we learn from this part of the story?
As we entered the week of the Parsha which discusses the sewing and crafting of the priestly clothing, it seemed the Elementary students sensed the need to walk in the steps of their ancestors and explored various fabric arts and sewing projects in class this week. We continued collecting data from experiments and exploring ways of measuring in our environment. Other research we pursued included group work on the ancient Aztec, Egyptian and Chinese civilizations, individual explorations of shark species and the origin and meaning of our names. In anticipation of receiving the scrolls for our mezuzot in the school, we also spent time this week putting a lot of creative energy and effort in to crafting enough mezuzah cases for all the doorways in the school.
1. 1. What type of oil was used for the Menorah? When was the Menorah supposed to be lit? Who was supposed to light it? What do we do in modern times to remember the Menorah? What lesson does this teach us about serving Hashem?
2. 2. Who was selected to be the Kohanim? What was the role of the Kohanim? What did Hashem tell the Kohanim to do to teach them about their special role? What can we do to follow this lesson in our lives?
3. 3. How many pieces of clothing did the regular Kohein wear? How many pieces did the Kohein Gadol wear? What was the special item the Kohein Gadol wore on his chest? What did it have on it? What lesson was this supposed to teach Benei Yisrael?
** Please send in a bicycle helmet to ice skating
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When it is snowy and cold, the Elementary goes sledding. While the weather served as a deterrent for some activities, we capitalized on it with some exciting and invigorating winter fun at our new campus. This week in class we have been busy making gorgeous mezuzah cases for our new building with beading artist Devora Malka Gilbert. We have also been preparing to write a class newspaper by interviewing fellow students and staff members. Some students have been exploring and researching the ideas of freedom and responsibility and how these ideas play out in our lives and school. Students have also been exploring the scientific method and applying it to explorations of growing plants from roots.
** Please send in a bicycle helmet to ice skating
January weather has brought us both frigid temperatures as well as quite nice temperatures. We have to be vigilant in our preparation for the weather and our outdoor dress. The lovely weather on Wednesday gave us a prime opportunity to take a walking trip to the Davis library. The students enjoy the exercise and getting new books to read.
Several new books from the library have included some fascinating science experiment books that have caught the attention of students. We have been gathering supplies and will have more results to come!
The time is upon us to celebrate TuB’Shvat. The students have brought in a variety of fruits to share. In preparation, they have been learning the Hebrew names and labeling the fruits. The children had a Tu B'Shvat seder with Morah Racheli, in honor of the holiday. They cut up the fruit, prepared for the party, and then sang songs and celebrated!
We have also been discussing various important themes surrounding choices and how the choices we make affect others. In remembrance of Martin Luther King Day, we have discussed parts of his “I have a dream” speech. While you enjoy the day off on Monday, please remember the importance of your choices!The students have now participated in their first ice skating lessons of 2014. After a very successful trip, the students are looking forward to returning. The coaches have asked that each student bring a bicycle helmet to the lesson
While keeping Mother Nature at bay and getting back to consistency at school, we have been busy at school this week. We have picked up some of the independent explorations, research and writing we started before the winter break. Additionally, we have been honing our math skills through consistent work and practice. Some of the integrated studies we have explored have been discussing properties of matter in connection with the beginning of Bereishit, the effects of varying sunrise and sunset with the seasons on Tefillah times in the Mishnah and the volume of water drunk by camels to understand the amount of water Rivkah drew for Eliezer’s camels. Our fifth year students have finished Parshat Vayigash (with a discussion of Yosef’s tax policy in Egypt) and are busy preparing presentations in preparation for Parshat Vayechi.
1. Which direction did the Jews travel out of Egypt? Why does the Chumash say they traveled this way? What does this teach us about making changes?
2. How did Moshe react when the Jews panicked at the Yam Suf? What did Hashem tell Moshe? What does this teach us about responsibility?
3. How did the Jews react after they were saved at the Yam Suf? What does this show us about gratitude? How was this gratitude expressed? What does this teach us about the value of singing?
As the seasons have turned and we head in to winter, the Elementary class has focused on some weather themed explorations. We have been reading the nature themed poetry of Robert Frost and depicting his imagery with water colors. Additionally, the children have looked at natural snowflake structures and discovered the unique geometry, angles and symmetry of each snowflake. Many children have also begun a unit exploring computer science through the materials and curriculum available at code.org. This has been a wonderful platform for bringing the great lessons of numbers and language together in a practical modern application. The children have also completed filming a short retelling of the stories in Parshat Bereishit as a way of presenting what they have learned in Chumash lessons.
1. What change happened in Egypt after Yosef and his brothers died? What was Paroh’s fear? What was his plan to save him from his fear? Why was Paroh confident in his plan?
2. How did Moshe survive the command to throw the Jewish babies in the Nile River? Who raised Moshe? How did Moshe feel when he saw the Jewish people enslaved and working hard? How did he react? What was the result?
3. What strange thing happened when Moshe was out in the field tending sheep? What did Hashem tell Moshe he was destined to do? How did Moshe react? What does this tell us about Moshe’s personality?
4. What was Hashem’s final offer for helping Moshe on his mission? What lesson about the way the Jewish people are supposed to function does this teach us?
As the the Elementary class adjusts and settles in to its new space, we have already gotten busy working. We finished out the last few days of Chanukkah with dipped wax candle making and a PowerPoint presentation put together by the children. These activities opened discussions about and helped emphasize the halachot of candle lighting on Chanukkah. Also, the children are gearing up to present their famous person research next week and are busy producing creative methods of sharing information with the class. Additionally, the second year students have been busy collaborating with other students to produce a play summarizing the information they learned in Parshat Bereishit.
1. How did Yosef reveal his identity to his brothers? Why was this so shocking? What lesson about responsibility does this story teach us?
2. How did Yakov behave when he was introduced to Pharaoh? What does this teach us about our attitude about events in life?
3. How did Yosef gain ownership of all the property in Egypt for Pharaoh? Why did he do this? What was going to happen in the future as a result?
With Hanukkah and the move imminent, the Elementary has been focused on continuing research, writing and math work from last week. We have also been applying problem solving and research skills to working out logistics of the move and making decisions about how to establish our new classroom in the new building. Students have been getting in the Hanukkah spirit through Hanukkah lessons, creative writing, singing and creative construction of menorahs. The children have also been working on helping our school community through getting personally involved in packing and other move preparations.
1. What did Yakov give to Yosef? Why? What happened as a result?
2. What did Yosef's brothers do to Yosef at first? Whose idea was this? What did they do with Yosef in the end? What did the brothers tell Yakov? How did Yakov feel after this news?
3. What happened to Yosef when he arrived in Egypt? Where did he end up? What job did he have? How was Yosef able to succeed despite having such bad things happen to him? What does this teach us about perseverance?
Brrr! Some of us are still shivering from our trip to Flag Ponds Nature Park! While we discovered that being out in cold weather for several hours requires proper attire, we also had a wonderful time exploring a variety of habitats near the Chesapeake Bay. In the swamp, tidewater forest and bay habitats in the park we explored, touched and observed dragonfly nymphs, shrimp, water bugs, swans, eagles, great blue herons, keely fish, blue crabs, skillet fish and pipe fish to name a few. Our naturalist, Gene, did a wonderful job guiding us in discovering and learning about the unique ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay. We owe a special thank you to the chaperones who helped make this trip possible through their presence and driving services: Andy Boltax, Ami
Katz, Abe Sterne and Iris Yachin. Stay posted for the children's own words describing their experience in next week's bulletin.
Additionally this week, we continued and extended our president reports through experimenting with music and singing of all the presidents' names. We also extended our exploration of the natural world through studying and learning how to classify rocks, crystals and gems. We also studied leaf types, gathered samples of fallen leaves and labeled various leaf rubbings. Additionally, we began preparing for Chanukah through forming our own "natural" menorahs made from dirt and clay from the earth outside our building.
1st years: reading, vocabulary work,
2nd years: finished Parshat Bereishit!
3rd years: Bereishit 24:1-3, discussion of Avraham's beginning to search for a wife for Yitzchak
5th years: Berishit 47:1-6, Yosef's brothers meet Paroh
Mishnah: finished the first Perek of Berachot
Chanukah: beginning to discuss ideas related to the Chag
1. How did Yakov prepare for his meeting with Eisav? What does this teach us about how to prepare for meeting with people who may be difficult to deal with?
2. Who was the mysterious man that Yakov wrestled with in the night? What did yakov want from the man? What did the man tell Yakov and what was his explanation? How did Yakov describe this experience afterwards?
3. How did Eisav describe his wealth when Yakov asked? How did Yakov describe his family and wealth? What does this teach us about how to view what we have in life?
This week the Elementary was busy observing and exploring in preparation for our trip to the Chesapeake Bay next week. Specific species we investigated included discussions about crabs and zoo plankton. We looked at and defined various parts of trees and plants. Additionally, we explored jellyfish and bats that live in and around the Chesapeake Bay. We also discussed the inter-connectedness of humans and all of these living things in the food web and the affect of our actions on life in the bay. Other areas we explored this week were statistics, graphs and other practical math applications.
1st Years- Hebrew Reading, Gematria, Pre-Chumash work, vocabulary
2nd Years- Bereishit 5:1-32, Discussion of the ten generations from Adam to Noach
3rd Years- Bereishit 23:7-20, Discussion of the sale of Maarat Hamachpeilah
5th Years- Bereishit 46:8-30, Discussion of Yakov’s descent to Egypt and initial greeting of Yosef
Navi- 3rd Perek of Shoftim- The Shoftim cycle playing out with Otniel and Ehud
Mishnah- Torah Shebaal Peh concepts, First Perek of Brachot
Elementary Program Field Trip - November 12 Read all the information on the Director's Desk.
This week the Elementary continued their regular work. Additionally, they explored the optical art of Vasarely, which uses straight lines to create the visual effects of curves and three dimensions. The children experimented with the ancient Jewish numeric system of Gematria through guided work and math conversions. The children have also been enjoying a variety of books and literature through independent reading. They have been using these books as inspiration for follow up compositions of their own story writing. The children have also explored using cinquain and quatrain forms of poetry. The third year students have just finished Parashat Vayeira and have begun planning a siyum showcasing elements of the Parashah in creative ways. We have also begun singing Chanukah songs in anticipation of the upcoming holiday.
1st Years: Reading, prefix work, chumash vocabulary
2nd Years: Bereishit-19, Kayin's punishment, jealousy and the following generations
3rd Years: Bereishit-24, 23:1-9, G-d's promise to Avraham, Avraham's family and Sarah's death
4th Years: Bereishit 45:26-28, 46:1-7, Yakov's reaction to the news that Yosef wants him to descend to Egypt, G-d's reassurance that it is for the best to descend to Egypt
Navi: Shoftim-20, The importance of passing national history to the next generation and the cycle of Shoftim
Mishnah: underlying concepts of Torah Shebaal Peh, review of Brachot 1:1
1. How many descriptions of Tefillah does the Chumash give for Yitzchak and Rivkah before their children are born? Why is Tefillah so important in the lives of the Avot and Imahot? What can we learn about how to daven from the examples in this story?
2. How does the Torah describe Yakov and Eisav respectively? What was their order of birth? Which parent preferred which child and why? How did Yakov buy the firstborn status? What was important about being the firstborn?
3. How did Yakov get the brachot from Yitzchak? What was the difference between the berachah for Yakov and the berachah for Eisav? How did Eisav react when he heard the berachah had been given to Yakov and why?
This week in Elementary we have continued pursuing our various areas of studies. Some highlights included learning about Pointillism and looking at examples from Surat. We then started creating our Pointillist styled works. Other explorations were made into the history of ballistics and racial integration of professional sports. The children also worked on understanding and producing geometric designs in three dimensions. Additionally, children looked in to some of the science and geography of sports.
1st years: Hebrew reading, Chumash vocabulary and skill work
2nd years: Bereishit 4:1-4:9. The story of Kayin and Hevel
3rd years: Bereishit . Completing the story of Akeidat Yitzchak
5th years: Bereishit 45:19-28. Discussion of the bringing of Yakov to Egypt and the beginnings of exile.
Navi: Shoftim 1:1-36, 2:1-10. Jewish conquest of Canaan and loss of identity in the land.
Mishnah: Berachot 1:1-2
Parashat Chayei Sarah
1. What was Avraham's challenge in dealing with Ephron? How did the timing of this challenge make it even more difficult? How did Avraham conduct himself? What does this teach us about communicating with others?
2. How did Eliezer refer to himself when talking to Betuel? Why would Eliezer emphasize this about himself? What can we learn from this story about focusing on goals and missions?
3. What was Yakov doing when Rivkah first saw him? How did she react? What does this story teach about the experience of tefillah?
This week in the Elementary we were busy exploring the origins of written language. Students experimented with making their own pictographs, clay tablets and creating their own language. As an extension of this study, we have scheduled for a demonstartion from a sofer (Jewish scribe) in a few weeks.
The children have also been researching the Solar System and constellations. The children have begun planning creative ways of showing what they have learned.
Also, the children have begun exploring forms of fiber arts through finger weaving with a variety of materials.
This week we celebrated October birthdays with a cake baked by the birthday children for the class.
With the success of the bake sale last week, the funds have been raised to help offset the cost of our trip we have scheduled onto explore the Chesapeake Bay at Flag Ponds Nature Park. The fifth year students did a great job of developing leadership skills through organzing the school and coordinating the logistics of the sale. All the students had a chance to participate and actively engage in helping turn an idea into reality as a group.
1st Years: Pre-Chumash skills- Work with Hebrew nouns, verbs, prefixes and reading
2nd Years: Bereishit 3:6-21, Discussion of the mistake of eating from the Eitz Hadaat.
3rd Years: Bereishit-34, 22:1-8, Discussion of Avraham's treaty with Avimelech, Beginning of discussion of Akeidat Yitzchak.
5th years: Bereshit 45:10-18, Discussion of Yosef's plan for bringing his father and brothers to live in Egypt.
Navi: Introduction to Navi and Shoftim
Mishnah: Discussion of history and personalities of major Tannaim
Parshat Vayera discussion questions:
1. What character trait did Avraham display at the beginning of the Parshah? Why did this become the most important character trait for Avraham? What did this have to do with him discovering G-d on his own?
2. In response to the prayer of whom does the Chumash say G-d saved Yishmael? What reason does the Chumash say Yishmael deserved to be saved? What lesson can this teach us about changing our actions?
3. What did G-d ask Avraham to do to Yitzchak at the end of the Parshah? Why was this particularly confusing to Avraham? Did Avraham tell anybody about this mission? What happened in the end and what did this show about Avraham? What lesson can we learn from this story?
Dear Elementary Parents,
We are finally on our road, and the school year is progressing well.
This week, the Elementary has been busy with many big projects and important discussions.
Bake Sale - Field Trip
All of the children have rolled up their sleeves and helped out with the bake sale we are running to raise money for our trip to Flag Ponds Nature Park. The students have coordinated a naturalist led program to explore the Chesapeake Bay. They hope to have the chance to get a hands on experience of the bay and the life within it.
Writing Reports & Written Language
The students are also working on reports about famous people including Presidents, First Ladies, authors and athletes. They have been gathering research in preparation for making presentations in clas.
We have also begun discussing the story of written language. The students are learning about the development of the alphabet from cave drawings and pictographs.
The children have also had important class discussions regarding how to make collective group activities work more smoothly. The concepts of compromise and allowing others to voice their opinions respectfully were emphasized.Many of the children were very interested in discussing their attitudes towards animals in response to Parashat Noach. This, again, gave the children the opportunity to share their thoughts respectfully and listen respectfully as a group.
Chumash round up:
First years: Pre-Chumash skills of identifying nouns and prefixes in Hebrew and Hebrew reading practice.
Second years: Bereishit-3:6- Discussion of the creation of Adam and his life in Gan Eden.
Third years: Bereishit-26- Discussion of Avraham banishing Hagar and Yishmael and their survival on their own. Discussion of Avraham's treaty with Avimelech.
Fifth years: Bereishit 44:32-45:13. Discussion of Yosef revealing his identity to his brothers.
Parashat Lech Lecha discussion questions:
1. How does the Chumash introduce Avram? Does it tell us anything about his personality or how grew up? Why would the Chumash leave Avram's early years in mystery?
2. What was the "Brit Bein Habetarim?" What was Avram afraid of and how did Hashem reassure him?
3. What is the meaning of the name Avraham according to the Chumash? Why is Avraham given this name?
Thank you for putting the newsletter together!
Amanda and Daniel
Dear Parents of the Elementary Class,
We have sent an important letter today to your email account.
If you haven't received it, please contact the office, or the elementary class.
Please read it and share with us your thoughts.
Shana Tova and Gmar Chatima Tova,
Dear Parents of the Elementary Class,
We have an opportunity to go to Hershey Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania on September 23 as a part of the celebration for Sukkot.
We will meet at the school, ready to leave at 8:15 am. The cost of the the trip will be $42 per child (that includes entry and ice cream).
We will be returning by 4:30 p.m.
We will need to know if your child is participating by September 12. (If ordered by September 15 save $5).
The children will need to bring a school shirt, an extended lunch box or some $20 to purchase food.
We are looking for chaperons and drivers. If you are interested please contact us at elementary@alef....org
8/30/2013Dear Elementary Parents,
Greetings from the Elementary. We have had an exciting first week. Each day we have learned more about working together, communicating, and respecting each other. Our goal is to have a strong community of individuals with the skills to interact respectfully in group discussions and to listen attentively to ideas from others.
One area we feel strongly about is nutrition and its role in our lives. We hope to guide the children in making positive nutritional choices as well as understanding how it affects their body. Please encourage your children to make their own lunches in order to be a part of that process. They may need guidance and assistance in the beginning; however, the independence and choices are key in the Elementary child's development.
A few of the interesting things we have been exploring are:
-buoyancy and boats
-Rosh Hashana and the shofar
We look forward to a great year together.
Amanda Hess and Daniel Moses
Welcome Back to our Elementary Students - Recap
We are so excited to start a new school year and are happy to have you with us. Our Elementary class started Tuesday 8/27/2013 at 8 a.m.
We missed some of you at the Back to School Night for the Elementary Class. Here is a short recap:
· Communication with our school - We mainly communicate via emails. If you have not received an email from Ellie Lichtash , or info@alef....org, please contact me to add you to the e-mail list. info@alefbet is checked each day even if Ellie is out of the office, by other office staff: Janel and Miriam.
· Elementary class messages should be sent to Elementary@alefbetmon.....org
· Start time of El class is 8:15a.m.
Drop off is between 8 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
Pick up is between 3:30 to 3:45 p.m.
· Please check the Parents Page on the left side bar on the website for Director Desk and Bulletin updates. You will find the list of items that you need for school – such as Indoor Shoes!
· Snack List – will be posted on google doc, from Janel by Friday.
· Vision: we shared our vision of expanding the school and hoping to find a new location for the year 2013. This might happen mid year, as we are actively looking for facilities.
· Introducing - Miriam Singer, our Level Educational Director, and new staff members Rachel Sharon Hebrew Support staff.
· Updated Calendar is on the web. Use Yellow copy from the office (replace the blue copy).
· Educational Night – Oct 16, and October 30 and December (TBA) Guest Speaker Peter Davidson.
· Extra Curricular Activities – for Elementary are on Thursday between 2:30 and 3-30 p.m.:
soccer, Ice Skating and baseball.
· Ms. Hess is the teacher for the Elementary Class ages 6 – 12 (1st through 6th grade), Support Staff – Daniel Moses and Rachel Sharon, Sandra Katz.
· Miriam Singer is the Level Educational Director .
· Office staff includes: Janel Herman, Business Manger (on all questions of payments, contracts and so forth), and Ellie Lichtash, Head of School. We are looking to hire PT Office Associate.
· Make sure to pick up a School Shirt for your child and for yourself (used on Field trips and school activities.
· Volunteer’s List for the year to the PTO – be sure to sign up for 2 items on the list
· Please notify your teacher: If a parent is travelling or if there is a change in the house such as- Grandma is in town, someone close is going through a family crisis or procedure – please let us know. Your child’s emotions are dear to us, and every little change in the house affects her/him.
Alef Bet Montessori Staff