Archive | December, 2017


12 Dec

We are the Maccabees’s marching marching…

We continue learning about the heroic Maccabbees and the unkind, mean ruler King Antiochus who told the Jewish people:









The king had his soldiers watch all the Jewish people to be sure they followed the new rules.

Clearly, this made the Jewish people sad, and afraid of the king’s army.

Morah Gail explained how the Jewish people decided to continue to have Shabbat, to do mitzvahs, to light the menorah and give thanks to Hashem.

She told us how the Jewish people hid in caves to study the Torah, and be thankful to Hashem.


The caves provided a good, safe place for the Jewish people.

We learned that the brave Jewish children tricked the Greek soldiers.

They studied the Torah, with a lookout.

When the lookout called to them that a soldier was coming, they would hide the Torah and play dreidel.


We aren’t studying the Torah! We are just playing dreidel!

After hearing about the search for oil in the Holy Temple, and the excitement of finding one small jar, we went on an oil hunt!

Where is the oil?

We found it!


Since the children learned all about ancient Israel and the long process in which oil was made, and after watching in our own menorah how oil is naturally consumed by the flame, we really understood what a great miracle it was the oil lasted for 8 whole days

We spun dreidels, and kept a record of how many times our dreidel landed on each letter.


We finished off the day with a cooking activity making yummy dreidle cookies!



Shalom, Morah Gail & Zack


Full Week of Fun!

8 Dec

Our first full week of school in a while has been filled with talk about Chanukah. We have started singing Chanukah songs, counting the nights of Chanukah and the candles on the Menorah, spinning dreidels, reading Chanukah books, and making art inspired by Chanukah. It has been so much fun to watch the Chickadees become more and more excited about celebrating Chanukah! We are excited to continue celebrating next week!

We used Chanukah stickers to make a Chanukah poster this week. The Chickadees also used dot paints to color in a giant dreidel.

As always, My Gym was so much fun this week! The Chickadees played with foam noodles, balls, and rings. The kids love being silly with Moreh Ryan and eagerly look forward to his puppet shows at the end of My Gym.

We got to play outside a lot this week and enjoyed the sunshine, even though it was cold. We also enjoyed playing in the classroom, especially with the new Chanukah and counting puzzles we introduced this week.


What a great week with the Chickadees! Thank you to all who came to parent-teacher conferences, it was so nice to talk with you!


” What’s in the Bag?”

8 Dec

Hello Hummingbird families,

We have been busy this week getting ready for Chanukah! We introduced ” What’s in the Bag?” to the kids and they are loving it. We have a bag filled with Chanukah goodies, dreidels, candles, and a Menorah, and we sing with them ” What’s in the bag?”, and then one by one introduce each of the items. We did the blessings for lighting the Menorah and sang many Chanukah songs. By the end of the week, the kids were asking for “Whats in the bag?” and their faces lit up when we did it!  They really enjoyed watching us light the Menorah and are saying ” dreidel” and ” candles ” all the time now. We are getting so excited about our party next week, we can’t wait to see you there!

We hope you enjoy the pictures,

Morah Julia, Moreh Eli, and Morah Ronisha


December 3rd – 8th

8 Dec

Eagles’ Exploration and Learning

Color Mixing

This week we read the book “Little Blue and Little Yellow” By Leo Lionni which is about two friends (blue and yellow) who discover that when they mix together, they become a new color of green.  We introduced primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) and asked the children what they know about how new colors are made when you mix two primary colors together. We then mixed liquid watercolors to experiment what new colors we could make.  On Tuesday, we continued our experimentation of mixing colors by doing an activity that involved marbles, which is always lots of fun.  The children put two primary colored Tempera paints and a marble in a small container with a lid.  They then got to shake around the marble and paint and were surprised to open the container and find a new color!


New Activities

During the conference days we had some free time to rearrange the class and to add different activities.  The children have been having fun making rubber band patterns on the Geoboard, creating more patterns using popsicle sticks and using building prompts to strengthen their building skills with the blocks and Magnatiles.  The most popular new activity is the Pipes and Connectors.  You may have seen some wonderful Sukkahs in the hallway built by students of Moreh David (Tova K’s dad) using PVC pipes and connectors.  They were no longer being used, so Moreh David generously let us use them for a while.  The children have enjoyed building many different things with them and they have been doing really well following our rules to keep everyone safe.  Right now this activity is an outside work where they have more space to use them, but when the rain really kicks in we will find space inside to use them.  Through building with pipes and connectors the children are learning problem solving skills, teamwork and using their imaginations.  The pipes can very easily be made into some kind of weapons, but of course, they know that weapons are not allowed in school, so their ‘weapons’ quickly turned into cannons to shoot ice cream and food for the squirrels in the woods behind the playground.


How to Interrupt a Teacher Politely

Last week we taught the children how to interrupt a teacher politely.  When they need help from a teacher we encourage them not to call to us from across the classroom, but to come up to ask for help.  We have been learning how to ask to help during our Second Step lessons.  If the teacher is talking to another child or adult the children then need to interrupt us using the following steps:

  1. Child puts their hand on teachers hip or shoulder
  2. Teacher puts their hand over the child’s, letting them know the teacher knows they need help
  3. The child waits patiently with their hands behind their back until the teacher talks to them
  4. When the teacher is able to, they talk with the child.

The children understand that if they need urgent help because they or someone else is hurt then they can interrupt verbally.  This method is something we are all practicing, even us teachers!  It takes a little discipline on the adult and child’s part, but once they are in the habit it makes things much easier.  We highly recommend trying it at home!

Second Step

Our Second Step puppet friends, Sam and Sarah, demonstrated to the class how to ask for help in a respectful and effective way. First, Sarah was whining and yelling about not being able to find the green paint. Her friend, Sam, encouraged her to use a strong and respectful voice because he could not really understand what she needed. When Sarah tried again, using a strong and respectful voice, Sam let her know that he was happy to help her and really appreciated how she asked. He said that this time he could hear and understand her words much better. A couple of students also had a chance to demonstrate. As mentioned previously with Polite Interrupting, we are encouraging the Eagles to use a strong and respectful voice to express their needs to us, as well as their peers. That said, we are also explaining that if it is an emergency, they should get our attention any way that can. We have shared different situations, such as a classmate falling or someone getting stuck on the climber outside, that would be considered emergencies.



This week the Eagles learned two important but unrelated stories in Jewish history.

First they learned the story from this week’s parasha, Vayeshev. This is the beginning of Yosef’s (Joseph’s) complicated relationship with his family. His father gifts him a beautiful kutonet pasim, striped tunic. This leads to great jealousy, sibling rivalry at its worst, between him and his 11 brothers. We counted various items to see how big of a family Yosef had. This tension is compounded as Yosef tells his brothers of his dreams in which they symbolically bow to him. Then the brothers play a horrible trick on him! They grab his kutonet pasim, throw him into a big pit, and leaving him there. When they return to rescue him, he is gone, having been taken by a caravan to Mitzrayim, Egypt. Through no fault of his own, Yosef ends up in jail. There he meets two people and accurately interprets their dreams.  The brothers return to their father and lie, saying they do not know what happened to Yosef but maybe they found his ripped kutonet pasim.

Throughout this story we paused regularly to reflect on the actions of the characters, giving them thumbs up, down, or in the middle. Did we think they act in the right way? What could they have done differently?

Then each student made their own kutonet pasim with watercolors. They enjoyed the painting but each tunic is meant to empower them about making better choices when they are feeling jealous, angry, or frustrated.
There is less than one week until Hanukkah! The class enjoyed the story of the Maccabees leading the Jewish people against King Antiochus to preserve the right to be Jewish. When it was explained that the Menorah was always lit to provide a constant light source in the Beit Hamikdash, the Temple, the children were confused. Why were there lights, or nightlights, or flashlights? Eventually a student recommended candle light and we discussed using oil like candles.

As the story continues and the Maccabees are victorious against Antiochus and work to rededicate the Temple that he trashed, the crucial oil cannot be found for lighting the seven branched Menorah. Finally only one jug, enough for one day is found. Miraculously it lasts for eight. The students pretended to learn Torah each day near the Menorah, sleep at night, and wake each morning shocked by the miracle that the oil is still burning seven consecutive times. Finally the week necessary for procuring new olive oil is over and they are able to light it as usual.

The students made shields so they can protect the Temple with the Maccabees (or be Wonder Woman).  We began making Channukiyot, the nine branched candelabra to celebrate the eight days that the seven branched Menorah continually burned. It is a good thing we love numbers in the Eagles!

The students compared the letters on the dreidel to the letters on the alef-bet chart. This led to a more focused look at the shape of each letter and they noticed that many letters look similar to another letter. This is an exciting step in early literacy.  

Ivrit with Bentzi

This week Morah Chani reviewed the Hebrew names of family members and the children continued their work on the bayit they are making for their Mishpacha.


Story Drama

This week in Story Drama, Morah Anne Marie shared a book called There’s NO Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent. The children thoroughly enjoyed being dragons–flying all over and breathing fire!





7 Dec

In the midst of all the activites and games in the Robins’, we discovered just how much we know about Chanukah.


Morah Gail: What was the great miracle that happened?

A.C: Chanukah! The oil lasting for 8 days.

Morah Gail: Where did this miracle happen?

R.B.: In the Beit Hamigdash, the Jewish people had a lot of clean up.

Morah Gail: Yes, the Jewish people cleaned up and made the Beit Hamikdash beautiful, where was the holy temple?

R.H.: In Israel!

Morah Gail: Which people did the Maccabee’s chase away?

B.S.W.: the mean guys and the king

Morah Gail: What was the king’s name?

R.B.: Antiochus

Morah Gail: After the great miracle of the Maccabee’s chasing the Greeks away, what other miracle happened?

H.R: The Candles


Morah Gail; Today we use candles and some people still use oil, what did they use long ago?

E.N.: Oil

Morah Gail: Was there alot of oil?

K.A.: No, just a drop

Morah Gail: How many days did the oil last?

All the children: 8 Days!

Morah Gail: How do we celebrate and remember the great miracle?

E.M: Play dreidel



Morah Gail: We play dreidel, what are the letters on the dreidel?

E.V.: Nun

E.N.: Gimmel

L.L: hey

S.A: Shin

Morah Gail: The letters on the dreidel say Nes Gadol Hayah Sham. Which means?

R.B.: A big miracle

Morah Gail: What else do we do to celebrate?

M.T.: Light the Menorah



Morah Gail: Many people will place their menorah in a window to help remind people of the miracle.

B.S.W.: and so everyone can see the candles burning.

Morah Gail: We also eat yummy treats to remind us of the miracle. What treats do we eat?

E.N.: Latkes!


Z.A.: Sufganiot=Donuts!

E.V.: What about birthday cakes and cupcakes?

Morah Gail; Those are sweet treats also, but the treats we eat for chanukah are all cooked/fried with what?

S.A.: Ingredients!

Morah Gail: After all the ingredients are mixed what are the treats cooked/fried in?

H.R.: oil, it reminds us of the one drop of oil that is the miracle.






6 Dec

My plan was sharing with you more about Chanukah and what we have been working on in class.  Change of plans.  I could not help but share the amazing times the Robins have with Moreh Ryan.  They love My Gym so much and ask daily if Moreh Ryan is coming.  Enjoy the short video and I will post about Chanukah on Friday.



4 Dec

The Robins Traveled in Time Machine to Experience ChanukahIMG_7555

Time travel is a common phenomenon in the Robins.  We actually went back in time today to the caves where the Jewish children secretly learned Torah during the Chanukah story.  Each child was equipped with a scroll and a dreidel.  When the king’s helpers marched in, the children hid their scrolls and took out their dreidels.  It was very exciting! The Guard would say “no learning Torah,” the children responded, “Oh no we’re playing dreidle.”







There were times when the children became Maccabees and told King Antiochus to “never, ever, ever, come back and stay far away”.  The Maccabees then moved on to the Beit Hamikdash where they cleaned up the terrible mess and found one small jug of oil!  The best part of the journey was going to sleep and waking up eight times in a row to see that the oil was still burning!


 Shalom, Morah Gail & Zack