Emily Branton

Author's details

Name: Emily Branton
Date registered: August 19, 2016

Latest posts

  1. Springing forward — May 10, 2018
  2. Chavruta — May 4, 2018
  3. Many stories, many media — April 26, 2018
  4. Joyful expression — April 20, 2018
  5. Hurting with words, helping with words — April 13, 2018

Author's posts listings

May 10

Springing forward

Look, I know we say it every year. But it’s true every year: I can’t believe how much you’ve grown! It’s especially visible right now, as the ענפים (Anafim– “branches” for 3rd-4th grade children) are simultaneously finishing up their last theme projects, and their last big עברית (Ivrit- Hebrew) challenges of the year. Everywhere I look, I see …

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May 04

Chavruta

You can hear the sound of children’s voices from out in the hallway. Inside of the ענפים (Anafim- “branches” for 3rd-4th grade children) classroom, ten eight- to ten-year-olds are sitting at tables, each across from a partner. And as each pair reads and discusses a Jewish text together, an ancient tradition called חברותא (chavruta- ‘friend,’ or learning partnership) comes to life. …

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Apr 26

Many stories, many media

Our אונאת דברים (Ona’at Devarim– ‘hurting with words’) projects are starting to take shape: At this point in the theme, after several weeks of exploring core Jewish texts together, many ענפים (Anafim– “Branches” for 3rd-4th grade) children have started to gravitate towards the big questions or ideas that are most compelling to them, and are developing a sense …

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Apr 20

Joyful expression

ענפים (Anafim, “Branches” for 3rd-4th grade children) have grown a lot this year. For example, they can sit together and work in חברותא (havruta, text study partnership) to explore a new Rabbinic text, connecting it with their own ideas and their peers’ ideas. That requires a lot of different reading, writing, and collaboration skills, not …

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Apr 13

Hurting with words, helping with words

The fourth-grader collapsed with a sigh next to where I was sitting with a third-grader in the hallway. “I can’t figure it out!” the fourth-grader said to me. “I designed my character to be a really, really nice guy. Someone who always helps other people, always wants to do the right thing. So I figured out who hurts him with …

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Mar 30

Activating Pesach (Passover) knowledge and questions

After several years at the Jewish Enrichment Center, ענפים (Anafim, “Branches” for 3rd-4th grade children) know a lot about פסח (Pesach, Passover). They’re familiar with the major parts of the סדר (Seder, the “Order” of the Passover meal), the items traditionally on the seder plate, connection between the holiday and the text in Exodus 1-15 which describes …

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Mar 02

Peer interviews

As our שבת (Shabbat) projects take shape in ענפים (Anafim, “branches” for 3rd-4th grade children), the children are starting to interview each other to develop their artist’s statements. Sometimes the questions are spontaneous: “Whoa! How did you do that?” Sometimes, great follow-up questions grow out of answers to our set interview protocol: “Wait, that’s really different …

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Feb 23

Yes They Can

One of my favorite parts of project time is the focus and competence radiating from ענפים (Anafim, “branches” for 3rd-4th grade children). Of course, it’s no surprise that ענפים (Anafim) approach their project work with such patience and commitment, since after all, each project grows out of a child’s authentic ideas and discoveries. They’re excited to share their thinking with …

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Feb 16

Thinking without words

As the children left the classroom yesterday, I took a deep breath. Wow. ענפים (Anafim– “branches” for 3rd-4th grade children) made a huge leap forward on their שבת (Shabbat) projects this week! Their own personal interpretations of שבת (Shabbat) started to take shape, as they made connections between different concepts and conversations we’ve explored over the past few weeks. Each …

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Feb 09

Building on Shabbat Foundations

This week, I offered the children a new prompt: “Okay, ענפים (Anafim– “Branches” for 3rd-4th grade children). You’ve explored a lot of different ideas about what שבת (Shabbat) could be about, and now you are growing your own personal opinions about what שבת (Shabbat) should be about. Imagine that you could build a שבת (Shabbat) house, showing …

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