Sept 13, 2009

We spent the early part getting to know each other. We introduced ourselves and each shared the favorite thing we did this summer.

Next the topic of discussion was about what it is to be Jewish. Quite a bit of time was spent talking about the major holidays throughout the year:

    Rosh Hashanah
    Yom Kippur
    Tu B’Shvat

We also discussed some key Jewish values (Tzedakah, Tikkun Olam, taking responsibility for our own actions) and talked about how we would be working with the pre-school class on a Tikkun Olam project throughout the year.

Muriel Sterne visited us for our Hebrew lesson.

    Shalom Moreh Scott (Hello, teacher Scott)
    Shalom Talmidim (Hello students)

Rosh Hashanah related words

    Rosh – head
    Hashanah – year
    Ta[uach – apple
    D’vash – honey

We joined the other classes for apples and honey and listened to Sam (from the juniors class) play the shofar.

I took the kids through a slide presentation on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. They had the opportunity to hear the shofar again including the shofar calls (tekia, teruah, shevarim, tekia gedolah) as well as the singing of Kol Nidre. We will try to post the PowerPoint on the Word Press site. (Download that presentation here.) If for some reason that does not work, I can email it to the parents.

I had planned on having each student think about something they could do to help make the world a better place and to draw a picture depicting what that is and how they are going to help. Unfortunately, time was tight so we will finish the project at the next session. I then hope to take the pictures and mount them to poster boards so they can be displayed in our classroom throughout the year.

We ended the class by joining the pre-school students to decide what the Tikkun Olam focus would be for the year. The majority of students were interested in doing things related to animals. Projects may include making toys for animals at shelters, organizing pet food drives, letter writing (e.g. to encourage people to work to reduce the destruction of the rainforests in order to protect the wildlife) or others yet to be determined.

Each student was given a blue folder (Katja had to leave early and did not get hers, however the documents will be available electronically). In the folder was a schedule for the year, a sheet titled “Measure Up” (this was an assignment I had ready for class if time permitted…time was not on our side) and a sheet with the header “Yamim Noraim Journal.”

Yamim Noraim is the 10 day period between Rosh Hashanah. In the spirit of Rosh Hashanah as a time for us all to think about the things we can do to better ourselves as people and things we can do to help improve the world around us, I would like the students to complete the journal with an entry on each day of Yamim Noraim. (Download here.) It should only take a few minutes each night. They simply need to think about something they did well that day, something they could have done better and a goal for the next day.

We had a fantastic time (at least I did) and the class flew by!

One thought on “Class summary – Middles, September 2009

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