Tag Archive: Alonim/Middle School 5778

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 …

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May 10

Any Partner is a Good Partner

Social relationships are PRIMARY in middle school. Kids care a lot about who they work with. Yet, this week, when we launched our year-end project, something beautiful happened: middle schoolers paired up based on the content they were excited about, not with their closest friends. Pairs who’ve been working together all year split up, and new pairs formed – without …

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May 04

We Love to Learn in So Many Ways

Hey. Just because we can think critically and have long, respectful conversations to hash out our point of view (and absolutely adore doing it), doesn’t mean it’s the only way we like to learn. Please nurture the whole of us. We love to learn in so many, many ways. We like to learn outside. We like to ask our own …

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Apr 27

Oh, The Feeling!

This week, our Tuesday group of 5th and 6th graders studied gemara. Argued by the ancient rabbis 2nd – 6th century CE, the text has its own distinctive, cryptic style. Gemara is HARD. And it was SO FUN. First we studied the text in pairs to try to figure out the topic sentence, who’s talking, and …

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Apr 19

Is it Ona’at Devarim (Hurting People With Words)?

A father and son are hunting together. The son accidentally left his safety off and the dad accidentally shot his own finger. Another time, the father and son are hunting again, and the boy says, “Oh, I need to put my safety on.” The dad replies, “Yeah, we don’t want a remake of last time.” …

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Apr 12

Raising Middle Schoolers’ Compassion

By the time you’re in middle school, you’ve got a lot of examples of things that aren’t nice to say. And, you know not to say them. So our new theme, אוֹנָאַת דְבָרִים (Ona’at Devarim – hurting people with words) isn’t about figuring out what words might hurt each other. For middle schoolers, our theme is about …

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Mar 30

Sell Your Bread? Say What?!

It came up casually, as part of a different conversation about Pesach, and immediately, it grabbed our 5th – 7th grade children’s attention: some Jews sell their חמץ chametz (leavened foods) for Pesach. What?! How? Why?   So we did what we usually do when children have questions: we started researching. We turned to the Torah, to …

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Mar 02

Do Middle Schoolers Still Play?

Do middle schoolers still play? Not, play organized sports games, or board games, or video games. But do they still want to let their imaginations run and use their hands to create and get silly together? Just a quick look around the middle school room this week said it all. Here we are… …making a rocking chair, …

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Feb 23

Kids With Advanced Project Skills

It’s great to be a middle schooler! So capable, so responsible, so caring of everyone around them. And SO engrossed in their projects that we couldn’t drag them away at the end of the day!   We got right to work drafting our projects.   We tested out building ideas. Here’s the part where you …

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Feb 16

A Lonely Grandmother and a Foolish Soldier Make Shabbat…

I knew it in theory: eleven year olds are just at the beginning stages of establishing their own identity, they love doing “adult” things, and are increasingly able to take on different perspectives. Still, the children’s enthusiasm for our Shabbat project blew me away. “Can we work more on our characters today?” they asked RIGHT …

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