Grades 4 & 5

with Jamie Wolfe

February 12, 2012
Following t'fillah we joined Brianna & Rikki's class for Music time with Ricki. After music we had a great weekly check in and brief hafsakah. We then resumed our Shabbat Blessings study by first reviewing last week's learning, then concluded with the remaining blessings. While still in music day mode we sang some Shabbat songs. I then did individual student assessments of Hebrew blessing skills (reading the hebrew/transliterations/understandings of translations and points of reference). Closure consisted of review of the day lesson and homework.

*Homework is to study the parts of the Blessing booklet we reviewed and (if possible) to model study skills with sibling(s) and/or parent(s), then using their knowledge in Shabbat observance at home/temple and reporting back on the experience.

February 5, 2012
Following tfillah we gathered in the class for weekly check-in, where it quickly, and seamlessly, developed into a conversation around the idea of fairness, due to the fact that the students trade shifts each week: a timekeeper, who goes first, who gets to use the swivel chairs, how people address one another, etc. The word "integrity" came up and it was decided that it would be our Word of the Day, after looking it up together in the Dictionary and deciphering its meaning. After a brief hafsakah, we began studying Shabbat Prayers with our "Shabbat Blessings and Songs" booklets. We ended with an impromptu, abridged, performance of our G'milut Chasadim skits from earlier in the year for the lower grades before the sweet Tu'Bishvat song Brianna's class performed.

January 22, 2012
Shalom! Following t'fillah, our combined classes had music time with Ricki, then gathered together for a weekly check in. After a brief hafsakah, we started our Tu B'shvat study by constructing a "community forest", whereby each student drew their own tree of life with words, colors, and pictures expressing their life foundation and values and who in their experiences have added to it. Our "forest" will "planted" on the walls of BIJ next week and will be prominently on display at the First Friday Shabbat Service and Potluck Dinner on February 2.

December 11, 2011

Following t'fillah, we gathered for weekly check in, collected our tzedakah, and reviewed the significance of where our donations are going.  We then headed for music time.  After hafsakah, we learned in groups about the teaching of Maimonidies and levels of tzedakah culminating in group skits, which were written and acted out by the students.  With much anticipation we ended the day by heading to the fabulous Chanukah Faire!


December 4, 2011

Following t'fillah, we gathered in our class for our weekly check-in. The students then completed an assessment on previous topics. We then ventured to the library for a Chanukah storytelling, discussion, and personal reading. We first read the book, "Hannukah at Valley Forge" about a Jewish soldier celebrating the festival of lights during the American Revolution. Following a brief hafsakah, the children had a short independent free read while I met with students to discuss extra homework opportunities and personal thoughts on the class so far.


November 20, 2011

Our theme for this Family Education Day was Kehillah Kedoshah. Check out our pictures, they're worth 1000 words!


November 13, 2011

We began the lesson with two truths and a lie, where everyone came up with two true statements about themselves and one false, and everyone had to guess which one was false. Then we looked at how Truth or honesty plays a role true Judaism, and what Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel had to say about truth. We then split up into 2 groups, each group had to respond to a scenario that each house would have responded to the scenarios. The class was joined with the 6th and 7th graders, which we concluded our day with havdallah.

November 6, 2011

Following t'fillah, we returned to class for our weekly check in.  But this was no ordinary weekly check-in.  In sharing our own experiences we also each gave an example of how we thought our time talking, and our words and actions, generally are interpreted by others.  Some of what the students shared:  Whether it be friends recounting the day or parents recalling their Bat/Bar Mitzvah with their children, the act of communication involves showing the other person respect and value, learning from what is being said, making each other feel special for being able to chat, and engaging in act of kindness derived from topics being raised. Then, relating to Parshat Noach, how our words are reinforced by the actions that follow them.  So for Noah, his words, were shown in building the Ark; whereas, in our weekly share, our attention and respect is shown when listening to our friends.  We then took from our interests and passions and made a personal logo, which can go home next week after the paint dries.  Following a brief hafsaka, we ventured to the Fireside Room Library where each student chose a Jewish themed book for their independent reading.

October 30, 2011
This week our class focused on relating Jewish values to Jewish teachings. We asked: How does the act of g’milut chasadim influence Noah in the portion? What influences Avram in his trek to the Promised Land? How do symbols like the menorah bond our people?

October 23, 2011

Following t'fillah, wour class regrouped in the classroom for weekly check in.  We then began our integrated lesson on Torah and our Jewish item of the week, messuzot.  With Simchat Torah behind us now, we started with a introduction to all the parshot.  We then researched where in the Torah the origins of the mesuzah are found, while also reading straight from Deuteronomy about what prayers are in a mezzuzah.  After a brief hafsakah, the students were given their new binders for the year and are we started sorting our work into the binders which we will use the rest of the year.  The students ended class by decorating their new binders with their name and designs.  

October 16, 2011
Following t'fillah our class joined our fellow students for music time. After we discussed the meanings and history of Simchat Torah then applied that to our own interests to design and create our holiday prayer flag for students to take home. After a brief hafsakah, our class ventured to the BIJ Sukkah to revisit various topics and blessings of Sukkot, shake the lulav, and have a snack.
October 9, 2011
The morning began with a slideshow presentation about a boy who is helping his father build their sukkah. He describes the holiday and explained why we construct a temporary dwelling each year. We had a fantastic day learning about Sukkot and the traditional ushpizin (guests) who are invited. We discussed characteristics of each character and why they deserve to be invited to the sukkah each year. It was a great opportunity to refresh our memories about our forefathers. Together everyone made paper doll chains of the ushpizin that they want to invite into their sukkah.
September 25, 2011

Following t'fillah our class regrouped in the sanctuary for a lesson on tallitot.  We then returned to class for some Hebrew letter learning. After a brief hafsaka, we returned to for a discussion & reading of Israel's different regions with a comparison of Israel and California.  The day culminated by the blowing of the shofar which we experienced as a whole student community.

Homework:  Completion of assigned Hebrew letter work.  Finish reading region handout.

September 18, 2011

Following t'fillah, we returned to the classroom for an art activity on how music choice, melody, prayer, and location play a role in how our emotion and kavanah (intention) are affected.  We reflected on the environment of different synagogues we have visited and how that affected the t'fillah service and our feelings.  Following a brief hafsakah (break) the students completed a short assessment dealing with Jewish themes we will learn this year. Then, we were lucky to have a visit from the 6th and 7th grade class. They presented findings from their lesson. We concluded with a show and tell of a havadallah set and made preparations for the observance of Havdallah in the coming weeks and months. 

First day of Classes - September 11, 2011

Shalom, I'm super excited to be back for another year of YAFE at BIJ! This week following our joyous t'fillah (in a packed Fireside room), we returned to our classroom in the mercaz and had a short round-the-rug check in and shared about how our summers went before we headed to music time. After our hafsakah (break) we went back to class where we discussed and wrote out our interests and objectives we have for this year's Jewish learning