Tag Archive: child-initiated

Nov 06

Wow!

Wow… just amazing. Yesterday, we started heading in the direction of our final projects in Beit Nitzanim. I won’t tell you much more about our projects so that I don’t ruin the surprise. What I can tell you is that I’ve never seen Nitzanim so abuzz with purpose and excitement. These children truly took charge …

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Nov 02

Fifth Graders’ Joyous Play

Children’s capacity and desire to play – it blew me away this week. We redesigned our room on Monday, and I put a new centerpiece on the table. Immediately children began to stack, rearrange, sort, play. Then children wanted to use these materials to build the Torah text. Such joy! It was like the Torah was …

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Oct 26

Interlude

  Our small Monday group of ענפים (Anafim, “branches” for 3rd-4th grade children) was wondering about how many conversations the early Rabbis wrote down, so we took an impromptu trip to visit the תלמוד (Talmud- one of the core compendia of Rabbinic literature). They asked tons of questions, bouncing off of each others’ observations and ideas, and also made a …

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Oct 19

Trying something new

At the Jewish Enrichment Center, we have a pretty well-established practice of coming up with our classroom rules collaboratively. Children first think of what they hope to do this year– their “hopes and goals.” Then, they decide together what three or four general rules for the classroom will support them in taking care of themselves, each …

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May 08

A Peek Inside the Torah

We had an impromptu Torah exploration today! It all started with a question. One child is beginning to learn to chant three פסוקים (pesukim–verses) from בראשית (Breishit–Genesis). I handed her a copy of the verses on a piece of printer paper. Her text has Hebrew letters, vowels, and Torah trope. Child: What is this? It’s not a …

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Apr 07

Anafim taking the wheel

“Ok, we know all the other parts of the סדר (Seder, the ritual Passover meal). But what is נרצה (Nirtzah)? Our chart just has a picture of moon and stars.” “Let’s go downstairs and look at the הגדות (Haggadot, guidebooks for the Seder) set out at the book fair to see what they say.” “Okay, but we …

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Apr 06

Bake Sale for Hunger

This week, children in our mixed-age חוגים (chugim, Pesach electives) were given a text from the seder that says, “Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in need come and celebrate Passover.” When asked how they want to help hungry people in Chicago, they came up with a plan to …

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Apr 04

The Joy of a Challenge

There has been such joy this week in Beit Nitzanim as children take on new Hebrew challenges! What a sense of accomplishment when a child can choose her own way to explore and track her progress! One second grader has been working to sound out and write a giant stack of Passover-related Hebrew words. She’s already …

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Jan 12

But what does it mean?

We looked at a new שורש (shoresh, root) this week, and it happens to also be the foundation of our new theme. The שורש (shoresh, root) is ק.ד.ש (the letters kuf, daled, shin). See how it’s the backbone of the name of our new theme, קדושה (kedusha, holiness; spelled kuf, daled, vav, shin, heh)? So what is ק.ד.ש about? …

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Nov 10

Hebrew Discoveries

  A child was working on learning ברכות השחר (birchot hashachar, “Morning Blessings,” a part of the morning prayer service), when she called me over. “Morah Leah, that word means “night,” right? “Well, the סדור (siddur, prayer book) you’re using includes the translation. What does it say?” “…who allows us to distinguish between day and …

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