Tag Archive: cooperative learning

Oct 20

Many minds, helping hands

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During the first few days of סוכות (the festival of Sukkot), we in ענפים (Anafim, “Branches” for 3rd-4th grade) began our Sukkah City project by figuring out the Early Rabbis’ rules of what a סוכה (sukkah) needs in order to count as a סוכה (sukkah). We looked at pictures of סוכות (sukkot) and discussed what …

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Oct 16

Sukkot Bamidbar

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Today, in Beit Nitzanim, I asked children to journey into imagination with me. We imagined that we were slaves to Par’oh in מצרים (Mitzrayim—Egypt). After a series of plagues and the hardening of Par’oh’s heart, we were finally free! We had to hurry to get out of Egypt before Par’oh changed his mind. But what …

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May 18

And the story goes…

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This week we have been reviewing stories from the Torah that we have heard before… months ago! But our nursery and kindergarten children seem to remember like it was yesterday. We started with Bereshit (the beginning), floated with Noah, remembered Yosef (Joseph), and parted the sea with Moshe (Moses). There are so many stories and so …

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Apr 21

Prove It

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Sometimes, the best learning comes up unexpectedly. It’s up to us to seize the moment. There we were, pulling apart the structure of Rabban Gamliel’s argument (really! with great enthusiasm!), and one fourth grader said, “Hallel is in the Tanakh.” [Tanakh is an acronym for Torah, Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings).] And I said, “Prove …

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Apr 18

Child Directed Projects in Nitzanim

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Over the last four weeks in Beit Nitzanim, we’ve been experimenting. We wondered what it might look like for 1st/2nd grade children to design their own projects? Here are three aspects of the way we structured this four-week process: Chavrutah and small group work. Small group and chavrutah (partner) work allowed children not only to …

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Apr 12

Strengthening our Interpretations with New Perspectives

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In Beit Nitzanim (“Buds” for 1st/2nd) we are continuing to explore Rabban Gamliel’s (1st century CE) words in the Haggadah: Whoever does not talk about these three things on Passover does not fulfill his/her responsibility, and these are they: פֶּסַח (pesach—Passover offering), מַצָּה (matzah—unleavened bread), and מָרוֹר (maror—bitter herb). Last week, children connected פֶּסַח (pesach—Passover …

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Apr 04

Reimagining Seder Symbols

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בכל דור ודור B’chol dor va’dor—in every generation,  Jews reimagine a Judaism that speaks to them personally. At the Jewish Enrichment Center, children mold a Judaism that piques their interest, inspires them to ask questions, and allows their creativity to guide them. Today in Beit Nitzanim, we began a project to reinvent a part of …

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Feb 21

Asking and Answering Big Questions

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It might not look like much. Two children and an iPad. Or, a different two children and an iPad. While it may not look like much, Nitzanim accomplished something extraordinary today. After identifying their Big Questions (see this post for more about our Big Questions about Yosef), children were handed an iPad and a brief …

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Dec 09

Did You Know…?

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..that there are three alternate endings to the Chanukah story? (Chanukah Story for Nitzanim). Today, Nitzanim worked in pairs to build their own version of the Chanukah endings. Here’s what they have to say: Book of Maccabees I: Chapter 4 This ending explains Chanukah as a celebration of the rededication of the temple. Child 1: …

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Sep 10

Nitzanim Conducts Research

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This week Nitzanim conducted research about the שופר (shofar) independently! Their own questions and ideas drove their research.  Here’s how they did it: Brainstorm what it means to conduct research. One child defined research as, “When you’re wondering about something…you go on a quest until you find out what you’re looking for.”  Make observations about the …

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