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October 16th – 20th

20 Oct

Eagles’ Exploration and Learning

 

This week, with the cooler weather coming, we practiced putting on our jackets.  We practice turning our sleeves the right way and using the ‘flip’ method to put on our jackets.

Cutting

We have been doing a lot of cutting recently while making crafts for the holidays.  Many children still need practice holding and using scissors, which is typical for this age.  We reviewed how to hold scissors and to point them away from you when you cut.  The children practiced cutting paper strips that varied in difficulty.  Some strips were plain paper, others had straight, diagonal, and curvy lines.  We will continue helping the children refine their scissor skills throughout the year.

 

 

Second Step

This week we started the Second Step program, which is a socio-emotional program.  We met a puppet named Sam who was new to our classroom.  We practiced welcoming Sam and introducing ourselves.  The children told him the things they like to do in school. Sam felt very welcome and the Eagles continued to invite him to join us in Tefillah and our closing circle.

 

We read the book “How do Dinosaurs Go to School”, and thought about the different ways the dinosaurs acted.  We discussed behaviors that we agreed were respectful and kind and not respectful.  Using copies from the pages in the book showing the dinosaurs acting in different ways in school, we sorted them into respectful and not respectful behaviors.  The children agreed that respectful behaviors in school include sitting quietly during circle, helping  friends, and following directions.  They also agreed that interrupting friends and teachers, yelling, and making silly noises to distract their peers were not respectful behaviors.  We will continue to discuss these kinds of behaviors and work together to create classroom agreements about how we should act in school.

 

Judaics

This week’s Torah portion is Noach, recounting the story of Noah’s ark. This leads to many exciting learning opportunities, building on their learning in Robins.

First we talked about the negative behavior Hashem observed in almost everyone in the whole world. No one had any kindness for anyone else! We talked about the kindness we show others and how we feel when we experience the opposite. Social-emotional reflection is key.

Then Hashem commanded one of the only kind people, Noach [Noah] to build a teyvah [ark]. It took him 120 years, but he did it! We talked about what would be needed to build it, and everyone was excited about building tools. The students had previously expressed an interest in hammering so during Open Exploration we hammered.

Students used real hammers, hammering 100 nails into a mail tube. Their strength and ability grew with each attempt.  Hammering is a valuable developmental skill, helping children gain increasing control over their bodies, hand–eye coordination, manipulative skills and muscular strength. We also stressed that hammers are tools, not toys. This means they have a specific purpose and method of being used.  The students were wonderful about respecting the hammers.

 

Tap tap boards, a method for artistically using smaller hammers and tacks, were also introduced.

After lots of hammering, the students also painted and glued on a paper to represent the teyvah and made animal matching cards.

The students were pleasantly surprised when the tube became a rainstick, as Noach’s story continued. They also used small hammers and tacks to create art on ‘tap tap’ boards.

Ivrit with Bentzi

This week Bentzi (and Morah Chani!) reviewed color words with us. We practiced our Hebrew colors when we were told, “If you’re wearing adom (red), la’amod (stand up).” Then we would leshevet (sit down) and do another color. In addition to adom, we learned yarok (green), kachol (blue), tzahov (yellow), and segol (purple). Morah Chani and Bentzi begin each session with the song “Boker Tov” (Good Morning) and ends with “Shalom Chaverim” (Good-bye My Friends). Learning Hebrew color words with Morah Chani made for a nice transition into the colors of the rainbow in the story of Noach that Morah Rubissa later shared.

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Story Drama

This week the problem was how to get a little girl who is a picky eater to eat new foods.  The children came up with ideas such as; throw the food up in the air and let her catch it and squeeze the tomatoes.  Morah Anne-Marie then shared the book “I will Never Eat a Tomato” By Lauren Child.  Charlie makes a lunch for Lola that she will not eat, so Charlie has to come up with creative ideas to get her to eat her lunch.

Art

We read the book “Owl Babies” and the children began creating their own owls.  They tore paper for the feather and glued them on.  Next week they will add more details to their owls.

 

 

October 2nd and 3rd

4 Oct

Eagles’ Exploration and Learning

Sukkot is here! To prepare for this joyous holiday, the Eagles got to practice shaking a real lulav. They learned how to shake it up, down, and all around to show that Hashem is everywhere. The children made their own lulav out of paper. In doing so, they also got extra practice cutting with scissors along straight lines.

Each child made their own etrog, as well. By filling yellow balloons with some dried beans, we were able to give our etrogs the same bumpy texture as a real one. We even added a little lemon essence to give them a fresh scent.

Last week the Eagles started making doves to symbolize peace. After reading the book “Talk Peace”, each child shared something they do to feel peaceful. We finished our doves this week. They are beautiful and would make a wonderful addition to any Sukkah!

A couple of Sukkot-themed books we read this week were “Tamar’s Sukkah” and “Engineer Ari and the Sukkah Express.

Wishing you all Chag Sameach!

September 25th – 29th

1 Oct

Eagles’ Exploration and Learning

Bees and Hexagons

This week we read books about Honey Bees.  The children were interested to learn that bees drink nectar and collect pollen on their legs and body, and that they live in big families called colonies.  Each colony has thousands of bees!  We talked about how they make Hexagon shaped cells, where the baby bees (Larva) are kept and also honey.  They loved the fact that the first thing a honey bee has to do when it comes out of it’s cocoon is to clean it’s room!  We also wondered how Honey Bees make those perfect hexagon shapes.  We know that they make wax in a special gland in their abdomen, but how do they make the wax into a Hexagon shape?  It seems that even scientists are not quite sure of the answer.  They know that they use their bodies to make circles in the wax, but, from our research, we could not find any explanation as to how they form the perfect hexagon shapes.  If any of you have any further knowledge of this we would love to know!   Morah Gail also lent us a very fragile honey comb that the children were able to explore using magnifying glasses.

We talked about how many sides a hexagon has and the children practiced making hexagons with different building materials.  We also cut and painted hexagon shapes and created our own bee hive.

Kites

In addition to bees the children were interested in kites this week.  Using materials from the art shelf such as paper, collage materials, and string, they created their own kites.  We took them outside to fly but some children were disappointed that they fell apart.  We followed the children’s interests and found some simple kite designs and added  kite making materials to our art supply shelf.  The children got very creative with the materials we provided and they ended up with some much stronger kites.

Judaics

Ready for Yom Kippur

The students prepared for Yom Kppur. First they discussed that it is a serious holiday, exploring different moods and accompanying facial expressions. Then four prohibitions of the day were taught:

  1. No eating or drinking for healthy grown-ups.
  2. No lotions or creams.
  3. No extra washing of hands or bodies.
  4. No leather shoes.

Next the topic of teshuva (repentance) was readdressed.  This is a concept we discuss regularly, the need to reflect, acknowledge our mistakes, verbalize our apology, and try to improve.

Every Yom Kippur Sefer Yonah (commonly referred to as Jonah and the Whale), a biblical story of repentance, is read.  Morah Rubissa narrated this tale, acting out the story to a rapt Eagles audience.  Afterwards the students painted fish (the Torah never says it is a whale) and colored tiny Yonahs. The next day they cut out the fish and assembled something amazing. The children can recount the story of Yonah; his three days of teshuva inside the belly of a fish, and then have the fish spit him onto dry land, so he can tell the king of Nineveh that they must do teshuva.

Chalav U D’vash with Bentzi

Every Tuesday Morah Chani will teach the Bentzi Curriculum to the Eagles.  She will work with only half the class at a time so they will get lots of practice with the vocabulary.  This week they learned basic words and sentences to greet people.

Vocabulary

Shalom

Yaladim – Children

Ani – I am

Lo – No

Ken – Yes

Sentences

  1. Bentzi: “Shalom, ani Bentzi”
  2. Child: “Shalom, ani Julia”
  3. All: “Shalom Julia”

The children all took turns introducing themselves and the group greeted them individually.  They also played a fun game where they picked up random photo’s of their peers and introduced themselves as the person on the photo, the children found this very amusing!

Morah Chani also introduced the children to some animal names and the children were interested to learn that some animals names are the same in Hebrew as they are in English.

Playing Duck, Duck, Goose with Mr. A.

Story Drama

This week our big problem was how to prepare a birthday party for Cow and Morah Anne-Marie read the book “A Birthday for Cow” by Jan Thomas.  The children were very amused by the fact that despite all their efforts (and the characters in the book), to make a cake, buy gifts and put up decorations, all cow was really excited about was getting a Turnip!

Art

This week Morah Jan shared the book “Jamberry” by Bruce Degen with the Eagles. A boy and a bear go on many adventures through several kinds of berries. “Jamberry” is a rhyming book and the kids had fun making up their own berry rhymes. Then they created a picture using paper, paint, and crayons to show the bear, either wearing or holding his top hat, surrounded by “billions” of berries!

 

September 18th – 20th

20 Sep

Eagles’ Exploration and Learning

With our discussions of  Rosh Hashanah we have talked a lot about the foods that are eaten during this time, including apples.  This week we continued to have fun exploring apples; we counted, tasted and charted them.

Apple Counting

We provided charts with the numbers 1-5 and 1-10 written on them.  The children used Q-Tips and paint to dot on the corresponding number of ‘apples’.  Through this activity the children practice counting, one-to-one correspondence and fine motor skills.  The children enjoyed the Q-Tip painting, so in addition to counting apples they also made their own paintings.

Apple Tasting

Over the last few weeks we a have been drawing, painting and eating apples dipped in honey.  This week we tasted three different kinds of apples and the children decided which kind they liked the most.  We started by talking about our five senses and explored the apples using our sense of touch, smell, hearing, sight, and lastly, taste.  The children described what they felt, saw,  heard and smelled, and we recorded their answers.

 

The children then tasted three different apples; Granny Smith, Golden Delicious and Red Delicious and we asked them to describe how they tasted.  We gave them some time to think about the apples they tasted and then we created a bar graph with their preferences.  The winning apple……. Granny Smith!

Bees

We provided the children with open-ended materials such as yellow and black paper, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, glue and scissors, and asked them “What can you create with these materials?”  Many of the children immediately thought of bees and created a very diverse collection of the insects.  They also used the materials to make other unique creations.

 

P.E with Mr. A

This week Mr. A taught us how to safely use the climbing wall in the gym.

 

Making Dough for Round Challah

L ‘Shana Tovah!

September 11th – 15th

18 Sep

Eagles’ Exploration and Learning

This week the children worked on completing their Rosh Hashana cards for their family members. Thank you all for getting names and addresses to us. They went out in the mail on Friday.

Each card included a cute photo of your child holding a bowl of apples, a still life drawing of apples that they created and then painted with water colors, and a special greeting that was dictated by the child.  It was heart warming to hear the special  things they wanted to say to their loved ones. Thoughts included “I miss you”, “I love you”, “Thank you for ___”, and “I like to play ___ with you”. Of course, they all ended with a Happy New Year or Shanah Tovah, whichever the child chose to include. Some children even signed their own names!

On Friday afternoon, we introduced classroom jobs. Each “Eagle Helper” waited eagerly to find out their assigned a job for next week. Jobs include leading or ending the line, holding the door, checking on clean up jobs around the room, turning on/off the lights, assisting with the calendar and the daily schedule, and helping to lead brachot at lunch and tefillah each morning. A few kids will be on “vacation” each week and couple will also be “substitutes” in case someone is absent or unable to complete their job at that time.

Judaics with Morah Rubissa

Rosh Hashana involves many exciting topics.  The students practiced the phrase ‘Shana Tova!’, ‘a good year.’ The students enjoyed contemplating what makes a situation feel good.

We discussed the many symbolic foods eaten on Rosh Hashana, from apples and honey to leeks and pomegranates.  The students printed with apples and pomegranates to decorate mats of the prayers recited on each of these special foods.  I hope you will be able to use them at your Rosh Hashanah meals.

We explored the topic of teshuva, repentance, as it connects to Rosh Hashana and everyone’s social emotional development. Acknowledging our mistakes, apologizing and striving to do better is a crucial life skill, learned in preschool and fine-tuned over our lives.

The students learned about the ritual of tashlich.  Tashlich is a prayer service held by a body of water on Rosh Hashana (or in the weeks that follow). The service involves the symbolic casting away of one’s sins.  The students enjoyed a version of this activity.

“Think about one averah, one thing you did this year you wish you hadn’t done,” Rubissa instructed.

“But I haven’t done anything wrong all year!” remarked one student.

“Me neither.  I’m always really good,” agreed another.

“Wow! So you always listen really well to everything your parents and teachers say, every time? And there was never ever a time you got angry and used your hands…” Rubissa asked.

“Oh! Maybe there were a few times…” Solemn nods all around the classroom.

The students then used markers to draw a picture of their averah, on a special circular paper (Circle is another theme. Ask your child to name a circular object related to Rosh Hashana.).  No one had to share their image, but many shared times they yelled at someone, didn’t listen well, or took their siblings things.

Then each child took their averah picture to the nearest body of water, the sensory table.  Each child placed their paper in the water and watched in amazement as their averah disappeared before their very eyes!  May all of our processes be so easy and evident!

Art

Morah Jan read two books about Winnie the Pooh and his love for honey.  The children cut out their own honey pots and painted them with ‘honey’.

Story Drama

This week we had our first Story Drama class with Morah Anne Marie.  During this class the children get to use their imagination while they try to solve a “really big problem” from a story book.  This week the children had to solve the problem of how to get King Bidgood out of the bathtub from the book “King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub” by Audrey Wood.

August 30th – September 8th

10 Sep

Eagles’ Exploration and Learning

Over the last few weeks we have been spending a lot of time introducing and reinforcing our classroom routines and expectations.  We have talked about how to sit and participate in circle time, how to line up, and the daily schedule.  We also discussed what to do during open exploration time, how to choose appropriate snacks and how to serve yourself morning snack.

Cleaning Up in the Eagles’ Class

During Open Exploration time we encourage the children to clean up when they are done with an activity, it is difficult for children to remember to put away something when they are done with it, as they are already excited to move onto the next activity.  We will continue to work with the children on this concept.   Also, at the end of each work period the children all help each other clean up the classroom, even if they were not playing with a specific toy.  We reinforce working together to get our classroom clean.  The children have been doing great at working together to clean up our classroom and we appreciate the team effort it takes.

Snack Time

During our Free Exploration time the children serve themselves snack.  They have name sticks that they made and when they see an available spot at the snack table, and are hungry, they put their name stick down to let other children know they are going to eat snack.  They then go and wash their hands.   After their hands are washed they gather their snack from their snack basket in the classroom and Morah Rubissa says the Bachot for snack.  They are then ready to eat!.  We appreciate how well the children have been doing with this new procedure.  They independently get snack when they are hungry and clean up after themselves.  We remind children throughout the morning to eat snack and we can see who has not eaten snack by the name sticks that are left in the basket.

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Judaics with Morah Rubissa

One major theme of the Jewish month of Elul, is the active effort towards bettering oneself. This is always challenging, but the Eagles are remarkable in their efforts in self-improvement.  Following are some examples of what we might hear at school.

Example # 1

J: I can’t see the book!

Teacher: Can you say that more kindly?

J: E, can you move from in front of me so I can see?


Example # 2

T: I want the bike! Let me have it!

Teacher: How can you ask differently?

T: Z, may I please have a turn on the bike?

Z: I will use it for two more minutes and then I will give it to you, okay?

The confidence and skill with which the Eagles use prosocial language and the ease with which they redirect is a reflection of guidance from their wonderful families and prior teachers.  This prosocial behavior also manifests in their pleasure in cooperative learning.

We are exploring the language and idea of positive behavior in the Torah context of the Scales of Judgement [מאזניים  moznayim] and always trying to work harder on Mitzvot (defined in our classroom as behaviors which make the world around us a better place and improve our relationship with God) and avoid Averot (transgressions, the opposite of Mitzvot).

 

We looked at real balance scales and explored the mathematical and religious concept of balance and making our Mitzvot heavier.  The students enjoyed playing with the classroom scales and made a paper scale to represent the weighing of mitzvot and averot.

My Gym

Morah Ryan returned this week to do My Gym with the Children, they were very excited to share with him that they were no longer Robins but are now big Eagles!  We look forward to flexing our muscles and improving our coordination with his fun games and activities.

June 5th – 16th

20 Jun

Eagles Exploration and Learning

What a great last two weeks of school we had.  We celebrated four birthdays, got to do our last Story Drama outside, went on a nature walk, attended the school Talent show (the Eagles first experience of a school assembly) and of course there was the Graduation!

Story Drama

Graduation

We were so proud of our Eagle students at the Graduation.  They worked so hard to prepare for the ceremony and performed beautifully!

Talent Show

Birthdays.  Happy Birthday to Sarah, Caleb, Shmuel and Eden!

Nature Walk

Thank-you

We would like give a big THANK YOU to the Marc Singer Agency (Farmer’s Insurance) for generously donating the following items to the Eagles class and EC this year: Two Little Tikes Cozy Coupe cars, natural wood building blocks, an assortment of animal figures, and two Ikea expedit shelves.