Author's posts

How to Succeed as a Middle School Teacher

What’s a failsafe way to get the attention of a group of middle schoolers? It’s not that they don’t want to hear each other’s ideas, or instructions for a new game, or where the clipboard is that they’ve just asked for. It’s just that they’re exhausted. It’s never-ending, this middle school drive to turn towards …

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Words Matter

Check out this new piece by Rabbi Rebecca Milder about listening closely to children. Beautiful and practical.

WHAT are we learning?

One of the things I love most about doing projects with children is being together in that moment of new insight. It’s like a jolt of lighting that flashes between all of us. I can’t know in advance what the children will find striking about the content we’re exploring. So when that connection happens, we …

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Pesach (Passover) Taboo

Can you make your friend guess the Pesach word on your card without saying any of the taboo words on the bottom of the card? Extreme fun! And, one of the middle schoolers said, “What a great way to review Pesach material.” Middle schoolers made the cards ourselves. All of the words we guessed were …

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An Update About Grandma Edna

Yes, it looks like one of Edna’s granddaughters will be heading to the wedding canopy! In the meantime, the creators of Edna are wrestling with a challenge we all face: how do we work for change on our planet? With a peer, one of Edna’s creators (right) read articles about three different organizations related to …

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It’s Time to Meet With the Rabbi

Jackyn and Bartolo are getting married! Well, they’re not engaged yet, but the wedding is definitely on. Yesterday, the creators of Jackyn (and Bartolo) met with Rabbi David Minkus for a pre-marriage conversation. “Mazal tov! What an honor. I love meeting with couples,” he said. Then he proceeded to stump our creators with his first …

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Responsibility, Community

What are the identities of the imaginary characters we will hold dear for the next several months? The decision seems much more weighty than a year ago. As our imaginary characters begin to come to life again, middle schoolers are weighing potential characters’ life choices: should my character go to college even if he wants …

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Coming Home

“Oh, I remember this!” “I’m so proud of this!” Our imaginary characters are back! The energy in our room skyrocketed. Everyone talked at once (which isn’t very different from how the middle schoolers usually interact with each other). We’ve said good-bye to a few beloved characters. The creator of Big Shaq, our Roman soldier who …

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Growing up?

Snippets from this week’s conversations about becoming B-Mitzvah (which happens whether or not we choose to celebrate it, which is important, because not all of us are sure that we want to have a public ritual)… “I really think Torah should be part of your Bat Mitzvah. It’s not just about reading Torah. But a …

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Individual and Communal Responsibility

Who gets to decide if I go to war? We opened our segment on “Conscientious Objector” with a deep looking at Picasso’s Guernica, and most middle schoolers zeroed in on that part with the mom holding her dead child. Oh, my goodness. Should my country get to decide if I serve? Should I have the …

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