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October 9, 2020 — The [Jewish] Holiday Season

Hebrew with Rimma

We reviewed vocabulary related to the school: subjects of study and schedule, location and the name of different rooms such as lab,  library, gym, art room. We also learned phrases that they may need in daily interactions with other students in school such as “how many times a week we have a PE class, how long is the break etc. Students wrote a short essay about their school that can be a presentation to someone who never was in the school.

Students described their friend physically and what they like to do with their friend. They illustrated the depicted friend by learning some drawing techniques for the proportional and expressive portrait.

Students also started a new mini unit “Countries and Languages”. They are learning the names of the countries, nationalities and languages in Hebrew. They also discover which flags belong to which country, what are the capital cities of these countries and where these countries are located. We also discussed if the emojis are also language and if so, is this universal language.

We continue to develop our writing and speaking skills by using past tense and modal verbs that are always followed by the infinitives. Students also are learning how to type in Hebrew.

Chag sukkot sameach!


Hebrew Heritage with Tomer

In heritage, the 4th grade students started to write short essays about themselves. We went over the three tenses and they were able to write short paragraphs in each tense. We also elaborated, read, and wrote about the holiday of Tishrei.


Math with Justin

In math, our fourth graders have finished their unit on place value, working hard to master concepts like rounding and ordering numbers and using bar models for multi-step addition and subtraction word problems. Now our students are moving on to multiplication and division. Our learners have already started learning vocabulary like factor, quotient, remainder while also developing different multiplication and division strategies including area models, breaking apart numbers for easier mental computation, and traditional algorithms. Fourth graders will continue to build their number sense along with their multiplication and division skills as we continue this unit.



Humanities with Hilary

Dear 4th Grade Families,

I can’t say enough how lucky I am to be working with your students again. I am BLOWN AWAY by their growth in writing, and have loved their ‘realistic’ fiction stories! Each story is different from another, and some students have really shown their creativity. In the last blog, I wrote about how we were working on strengthening our characters and story arc. Over the last two weeks, our focus has been on creating paragraphs (when they need to happen), editing as we go (for capital/lower case letters and punctuation), dialogue and the revision process.

The revision process is a step up from last year, where students are responsible for not only working on each new (and old) technique, but also for being able to find evidence in their text of where they have used it. Writing and rewriting and rewriting is never fun, yet once you recognize how you’ve used it, the entire process becomes that much easier. We’re also learning the difference between editing/revising your own work, and being a proofreader for a classmate. We may have trouble finding it in our own work — but can we proofread and edit more easily on someone else’s work?

In Social Studies, we have begun our Colonial America unit. We are starting by focusing on two other settlements that turned into successful colony locations. Last year, we studied New Amsterdam/New York, and this year we are learning about the Jamestown/Williamsburg, VA and Plimoth, MA settlements. Over the next few weeks, we will not just be learning about the European perspective of colonies, but also the indigenous, African and Caribbean perspectives. We will continue to think about what happened to the people who WERE here before Europeans, and how enslaved people helped build what we know of as America. But that’s a bit down the line. When discussing Jamestown, we recognized the importance of having skilled and specialized workers in a settlement, especially farmers, to lead to success. When discussing the Pilgrims, we connected their desire for religious freedoms to that of immigrants during the turn of the 19th Century.


I can’t wait to continue this journey with your student!
Shabbat Shalom,



Judaic Studies with Phyllis

Ask your child what ancestor they invited to their Sukkah on Thursday in tefila!  
We connected the Sukkot tradition of Ushpizin (or inviting Biblical guests to our Sukkah) to the Ancestor (Avot and Imahot) prayer in the Amidah by journaling about our ancestors.  What a treat it was to learn about all of the brave and inspiring ancestors of our class.  Since we cannot sing Hallel, we learned about the themes found in Hallel such as praise, thanks and joy and decorated our classrooms with Hallel chains while we listened to both a Breslov Chassidic and Moroccan hallel.  Below you will see a picture of our hallel chain and the Sukkot cards the 4th graders made for their buddies!  They were so excited to finally be the BIG buddies – and the kindergarteners were equally excited to receive the cards.
This week we reviewed the teaching “All of Israel is Responsible for One Another” as an introduction into the Midrash about the different Sukkot species – lulav, etrog, hadas and aravah.  We will return to this quote about responsibility and community next week as we finalize our class contracts for the year.  The midrash teaches that they represent the people of Israel who possess different attributes, but when we hold them all together we are a united community.   Finally we began our first Torah study about the commandment to build Sukkot or booths for 7 days.  We will explore the mishnah about making your Sukkah permanent and your home impermanent during the holiday of Sukkot and talk about the difference between permanent/impermanent dwelling places and how many people in New York City are homelessness and what it means to have to live with an impermanent dwelling place over a long period of time.

We hope that everyone had a great time at the first ever virtual Sukkah Sleepover!  The children were an absolute delight.  Enjoy the pictures of our festivities. (Seen at the bottom of our blog)

Art with Iviva

To coordinate with social studies, we have been learning how to set up our own cardboard looms and how to weave shapes (a new skill instead of weaving straight lines or stripes) inspired by weavings by Native Americans. Last week, I shared a video of Navajo artist D. Y. Begay, who weaves with yarn she dyes with plants and soil she finds in the desert near her home. I dyed some yarns at home for students using sumac, and shared a video of the steps I used. Some students thought the plant was the same as the “Blood of the Maccabees” found in Israel. While the two plants are different, I love how they are using knowledge from other parts of their lives to connect with our conversations and activities in art. I am also impressed with their patience and perseverance. I normally set up all the looms for students and manually tie knots and assist with switching yarns and threading needles. This year, each student is responsible for setting up, knotting, switching yarns, etc. while still acting as designers working creatively with color and pattern. They are rising to these challenges technically and artistically.






Music with Heidi

Fourth Graders are becoming pros at recognizing the structure/form of musical pieces. They have also been learning about the instrumentation of non-classical pieces. In class, we have been playing the rhythmic patterns and the rhythms of songs and analyzing a wide variety of pop and Musical Theatre pieces. I have been enjoying getting to know their musical tastes as they spiritedly offer up songs to study in class. Fourth Graders are also learning to perform rhythmic counterpoint (individual students playing different body rhythms at the same time) with our Music Rules Rap.