Students are continuing to hone their critical writing skills as we work through the structure of literary analysis essays. the 8th graders have developed theme statements from their summer reading, The Chosen, and are basing their essays around their ideas of Judaism, friendship, and war.
This week in Social Studies, students have been exploring human migration, indigeneity, and Native American origin stories. We began by exploring the power of our own origin stories–religious, national, familial–and illustrated some representations of our origins.
The 8th Grade has spent the past few weeks learning about and mastering Scientific Notation and the Laws of Exponents. They’ve completed various tasks on Mathspace and Khan Academy to strengthen their skills regarding these concepts. Yesterday, the 8th Grade was surprised to learn that every assignment they’ve done on Khan Academy since September went toward helping children in need around the world.
Khan Academy runs a motivational program called LearnStorm at the start of each school year where students in a class work together as a team to gain levels with every assignment they complete. This year, Khan Academy and UNICEF Kid Power collaborated to develop mid-program level prizes that allow students to give back globally!
Through the hard work of the 8th Grade, each pod was able to earn a meal for a family in need, 25 water purification tablets that each treat 100 liters of water which provide children and their families with proper water, sanitation and hygiene, a jump rope for a child in a school, refugee camp, or child-soldier rehabilitation center around the world, and a therapeutic food packet for a severely malnourished child around the world.
Way to go, 8th Grade!
Science has started strong with discovery of what is an atom. Students created 3D models using beads and pipecleaners. They needed to correctly position the three basic particles within an atom, namely the electron, proton, neutron. This first interactive activity allowed students to visually see these particles and start to understand the structure of an atom. We also used our interactive software from “Explore Learning” in order to have a further discovery of these particle interactions within atoms. Science continued with their exploration of atoms and the periodic table. Students were assigned different elements in order to make a brochure about the properties of their element. We also played a fun atomic bingo activity in class in order to discover how elements are arranged on the periodic table. This allowed students to notice the difference between the element name and its symbol. In the following weeks we will apply our knowledge about atoms into the concept of molecules. We cannot wait to continue our hands on activities in order to master these science concepts, even while keeping individually safe during these covid times.
So excited to write our first real blog of the year!
We have finished our back to school review unit. The students took a test and the grades are in Jupiter.
These days we will focus on formally evaluating our students in the four skills- reading, writing, speech and listening and we will get in touch with you as per the results.
I wish everyone a healthy and safe Sukkot.
The 8th graders have been thinking through some deep and challenging questions. For Rosh haShana and Yom Kippur, we looked at the famous prayer, “Unetaneh Tokef” which says that God determines our fate based on our past behavior. This really troubled many of the 8th graders, and was a jumping off point to explore how to interpret, reimagine, or argue with tefilot/liturgy that we disagree with. For Sukkot, we looked at the Jewish value of community and inclusion, as expressed by the bringing together of the 4 haMinim/4 Species. Are there any limits? What do we do, as citizens of the U.S. or as members of the Jewish community, when there are people who want to exclude us, or who say our beliefs and ways of life are not valid? Should we include people who would not include us? 8th graders had perceptive, humane, and passionate perspectives on these questions.
As one 8th grader pointed out, perhaps we should be focusing more on the question of inclusion than exclusion. To that end, we are looking at the experiences of Jews of color. According to the most recent Pew report, 1 out of 7 Jews in the U.S. (1 million total) are Jews of color. We listened to and read through Rabbi Angela Buchdahl’s recent sermon about the ways she as a Jew of color has felt invisible to and not welcomed by Jewish community. Why is this? What can our 8th graders, as future leaders of the Jewish community, do to help bring about change? Students had amazing responses to Rabbi Buchdahl’s sermon — please let me know if you’d like me to share them with you!
Shana tova and chag sameach,