May 31

Celebrations Are Around the Corner!


We are so excited to see you all this Sunday for the last Family Exploration and Celebration of the year.  It begins at 9am followed by a picnic at Harold Washington Park at 10:30am and Pack-Up at 11:30am!  Our children have been wrapping up the different projects they have been working on this theme and cannot wait to share them with all of you.


In Shteelim we’ve been learning about “apology of action.” An apology of action is giving someone a hug or drawing them a picture to show that you are sorry.  With all of our hard work this theme we’ve earned badges that we created and will be presented at a special ceremony on Sunday!



In Nitzanim we painted pots that represent each one of ur themes from this year!



In Anafim we started on our scrapbook pages for the end of the year!



In Alonim V’Middle school we finished up the pages we been working on for our zine!


See you all on Sunday morning for Family Exploration and Celebration!

May 24

The little things

As our final projects for the year draw to a close, I keep noticing the little details: those day-to-day parts of life in our classroom that make all the big, amazing achievements possible. Like…

Our כיבוד (kibud– snack) routine, where the whole group joins in reciting the ברכות (berachot– blessings). These ברכות (berachot) then become a key reference point for זמן עברית (z’man Ivrit- Hebrew time), as a source of familiar vocabulary, pronouns, and noun forms.


And the games we play, at the end of the day, to reinforce Hebrew vocabulary connected to counting and verbs, and our sense of joy and community.


And the determination inside of the children themselves, who know  that they are capable of learning and creating amazing things, and excited to show themselves the world what they can do. It shows up in requests for “just a few more minutes!” and “I want to do the bonus” and “wait, I want to try that again. Will you stay here and help me?”

Together, a hundred little things have added up to become one amazing year!




May 24

A Collaboration Celebration!

In Shteelim (“Saplings” for Kindergarten) we have been reflecting on the ways we like playing and exploring at the Jewish Enrichment Center. One thing that I was not surprised to hear children talk about is collaboration, that they like playing and exploring together.

When we use our talking stick, we are collaborating on having a conversation where we all listen to each other’s  ideas. When we agree to talk one at a time and listen to the child that is speaking, we can learn so much from each other!

Reflecting on playing Ona’at Devarim (Hurting with words) and repairing a relationship with an apology of action.

In Shteelim (“Saplings” for Kindergarten) we love playing collaboratively in our building center!

These children are reflecting on our first theme of the year, Avraham v’Sarah (Abraham and Sarah), though building. First, they discussed what to build and who would build what, using statements that start with, “I think that we should…”, listening to each idea before they started.


These children are working together on the placement of a strand of beads for our end of year project. We really need two sets of hands to glue them on!

These children are noticing materials that other children already glued onto our end of year project. This way they can decide which new need materials to add next!


In the game crossing river, a group works together to move from one side of a room to the other, without touching the “water”!

“I like playing crossing the river so much, because we work together!”

We all need to work together if we want to make waves. We all need to lift the Parachute and sit on the edge at the same time if we want to make a tent!

Shteelim (“Saplings” for Kindergarten), it has been so wonderful watching you grow into a collaborative and caring community though out this year!

May 23

Celebrating our Hebrew learning

We have just a few sessions left before we conclude our year, and Beit Nitzanim is abuzz with energy as children hurry to complete their Hebrew mastery challenges. What’s a Hebrew mastery challenge, you might ask? It’s a just-right Hebrew goal, just for me. And when I complete one of my goals, I get to celebrate all of the hard work I did this year by putting a big checkmark in the box! (Do you know how much first and second graders love to make checkmarks?!)

Just look at all of the incredible Hebrew learning we’re celebrating:

Singing the Hebrew months independently.

Writing the entire Aleph-Bet in script.

Inventive spelling five words in Hebrew.

Learning all of the sounds of the Hebrew letters.

And so much more! Congratulations on all of your hard work and learning this year, Nitzanim!


May 23

And Suddenly…

There is quiet


new understanding of old text

synthesis of the main idea

naming our learning, and what was really important about our work this year.

It’s end of year final project time. We have two days left to finish our project, the project that prompts us to revisit text, sort memories, determine what we’ve learned, and design a physical reminder of our learning this year. Our room is energized and focused. We have two days left and you can bet we’ll feel proud of our work when it’s done.

May 22

Shorashim is Learning to Write Hebrew!

Shorashim (“Roots” for Nursery) has been learning about Hebrew all year, and we are finally starting to get the hang of making the letters ourselves!

But just writing the Aleph-bet with a marker is not nearly as exciting as using white-board markers!  With these we can write, wipe it off, then write again!  We got so much practice writing our שמות (shemot – names) on special pages that let us both trace and free-write!

And of course, what better way to experiment with letter shapes than with moldable, bendable wiki sticks?

“Here’s a mem on the chart…”

“…And here’s a mem that I made!”

And all that practice gave me confidence to write a whole new letter: a SHIN!

May 17

So Many Ways to Learn Ivrit (Hebrew)!


We’ve been very active in Anafim (“Branches,” for 3rd/4th grade children) developing our projects for this theme AND setting goals to complete our Ivrit (Hebrew) challenges for this quarter!  Children have found various things to challenge themselves on in Ivrit and different ways to grow on those.

Some children have been….


…timing how quickly they can read a sentence!

…learning three new chapters in Ivrit (Hebrew)!

…writing brachot (blessings) in inventive spelling

…turning it into a game!

…learning new T’filot (prayers)!


I look forward to completing our Ivrit challenges in the next couple weeks!

May 17

Reflection and Creation


This week in Shteelim “(Saplings” for Kindergarten) we have been working on our final project, something that will help us remember our year in Shteelim when we come visit it, in the future.

Our first step was to start looking back at our year together in photos, we talked about what we like to play together, memories from the 3 themes we focused on this year, and reminisced about the projects that we liked creating.

Many of us made small images out of clay remind us of our themes, including a tent and water bowl for Avraham V’Sarah and Shabbat Candles for Shabbat. These will be attached to the final project when it is finished.



Then we started our creation process:

We decided which paint color would go where.



We get to pick out the materials we want to work with, there are beads, tiles, sequins and more!

We are even making accents out of wire to add to our project!

After we coil the wire around the end of a spoon we get to smash it by stepping on it!

We are doing quiet, focused work…

…and we are proud of our choices!

May 17

Project Time is Magic

It’s May! In May, kids are bursting with energy. They start trying things they’d never have done a few months ago, and not the good stuff, either. (I didn’t catch a photo, but yes, those were our mature, responsible fifth and sixth graders playing a “game” of stealing crackers off of each other’s napkins yesterday.) The month of May can challenge all of the community-building and learning we’ve achieved.

But oh, the focus! the collaboration! When it was time to work on our projects, the room buzzed happily with children researching, planning, sketching, questioning, problem-solving. They’re pouring their May energy into one final project.

By fifth and sixth grade, our project format is so familiar that it’s not teacher-led; the children themselves are driving the process. They channel their crazy May energy into a project that shows their ideas, a project of their design, and their creation. It’s kind of magic.



May 16

What does community look like?

We started something new this week. I can’t tell you much about it because… it’s a secret! What I can tell you is that our new project represents the culmination of one whole year together in Nitzanim. Children have worked so hard to learn what it looks like and sounds like to be a Nitzanim community, and it’s ever-so-clear in they way they’re working together on their very special secret project.

This year we worked on taking turns, and here one child holds the painting surface steady while another paints. Then, they’ll switch.  These two used their words to figure out who would be first and who would be second, but other children played Rock-Paper-Scissors.

This year we worked on using kind words. Instead of taking the plate out of someone else’s hand, these children said, “May I have a turn?”

This year, we’ve considered the needs of others. These two are so carefully painting in a small space and making sure not to accidentally knock each other.

And this year, we’ve lent a hand with נקיון (nekayon–clean-up) even if we didn’t make the mess because we’re all responsible for our community.

Wow, Nitzanim! What a gorgeous community you’ve built!

Older posts «

Facebook Like Button for Dummies