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MLK Tekes

Writing, Reading, and Social Studies

We started the week with a little experiment: If we crack a brown egg and a white egg, will they look different on the inside? Many students predicted that the yolks might be a different color, or that one egg would be have more liquid. When we cracked the eggs and compared them, the “ooh!” and “ahh!” that erupted around the room made this an exciting moment. We realized the eggs looked so similar- both had a yellowish yolk, and both looked like raw eggs. Students quickly made the connection that although the eggs had a different color shell, they were about the same on the inside- just like human beings. Although we all look different, on the inside we all want to be happy, safe, loved, and treated fairly. The second graders all understood how this tied in to our unit on civil rights!

We have continued to prepare for our Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tekes, which provided a wonderful opportunity to integrate writing, reading, and social studies. We read nonfiction books about Martin Luther King Jr, Ruby Bridges, and other people who were a part of the civil rights movement. After reviewing the actions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ruby Bridges, the second graders brainstormed and selected a few big words to describe qualities of great leaders. Then, they chose a quote from a recent read aloud that felt particularly important to them. We talked about what we think these leaders meant when they said these words, and wrote about what they mean to us. Over the next few days we turned these planning sheets into gorgeously detailed ‘story quilt’ squares made with marker, construction paper, colored pencil and textured scrapbook paper. Students carefully arranged their big words and quotations on the square, arranging them with drawings and symbols of freedom, peace, friendship, love, bravery and equality. Next, each child worked to create a detailed, quilt-like border, inspired by Faith Ringgold’s art, which we read about as well.

Keep your eye out for our beautiful quilt on the 2nd bulletin board!

Parashat Ha’shavuah

Every week we have a mini Torah service during Thursday tfillah. We sing the names of all the parashot in the current book from the Torah, and then we answer the question, “Mahi parashat hashavua?” What is the weekly torah portion?

Then students listen as the teacher chants the first verse of the weekly portion, and they try to identify and repeat words that they recognize. From these key words, we hear a bit about the story in the portion, as we follow the narrative from week to week.

Students can now sing the names of the parashot from Sefer Breisheet, the first book in the Torah, as you see in the video. They also learned that after completing a book we say, “chazak chazak, v’nitchazek!”, loosely translated, let’s move from strength to strength. This week we continue our parsha stiduies as we move on to Sefer Shmot, the second book in the Torah.

Yahadut: What Makes Someone A Jew?

Today we read the book “What Makes Someone a Jew?” by Lauren Seidman.

Children were asked to try and answer the titular question before we read the book. They came up with a wide range of answers related to family, what we believe, and things that we do. The book begins by asking the question, “Is it the way that they look or the things that they do?” By the end of the book we saw that there is no one way that a Jewish person looks, but many ways that we can act Jewish. It was an interesting book that spurred thoughtful conversation from the children. We also discussed the connection between the content in the book, and the timing of MLK day and our school’s Week of Action.