Opening Minds, Bridging Differences, Living Jewish Values.

Middle School Moments

Grade 6 students used a Van Degraaff generator to demonstrate different aspects of static electricity. When the machine was turned on, the tissue paper took on the same negative charge as the metal ball and the colored strands of paper not only were repelled from the ball but from each other as well, demonstrating that like charges repel each other.

Read more about Grade 6 Explores Static Electricity

I am always amazed by how much our teachers (and students!) can fit into a four-day week. This week our sixth graders participated in a perspective-taking exercise in Tanach class, discussing what it would be like to be Moshe standing at the burning bush being asked to lead a nation out of slavery. Sixth graders also created batteries fueled by pickles this week in science class.

Seventh grade students studied the origins of the "modern day" Torah service in their Torah she'b'al Peh classes. In math class, seventh graders completed a ratio and proportion project that entailed scaling an NBA basketball court to meet the needs of a gummy bear team. Students had to calculate key dimensions of a court that serves a typical 6.5 foot player and scale it down for a one inch gummy bear, including drawing a scale model.

Eighth grade students were introduced this week to their seven-week science research project. The students will reflect on what they learned during the first semester and how it will support them as they begin the background research phase of their independent investigations.

This week all of our Middle School students took the CTP-4 standardized test issued by the Educational Records Bureau. For two mornings students immersed themselves in filing in bubbles to answer multiple-choice questions--a type of testing that is unusual for us at Heschel.

This week we also celebrated Rosh Hodesh Shevat, and the Bnai Mitzvah of eighth graders Jeremy Libchaber and Philip von Mueffling. Mazel tov to Jeremy, Philip, and their families!

Please note the following calendar items:

Monday, January 22 - 7/8th grade boys basketball practice, 4:30-6:15; Beauty and the Beast rehearsal, 4:40-6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, January 23 - Professional Development day for teachers - NO CLASSES. Girls basketball home game vs. Bank Street, 4:15-5:45 p.m.

Wednesday, January 24 - Parents' Institute Learning with Ariela, 8:15-9:15 a.m.; 6th grade basketball, 4:30-6:00 p.m.; Beauty and the Beast rehearsal, 4:40-6:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 25 - Boys basketball home game vs. SILS, 4:15-5:45 p.m.; Girls basketball home game vs. SILS, 5:30-7:00 p.m.; Beauty and the Beast rehearsal, 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Friday, January 26 - 8th grade parent meeting re. Sex Ed curriculum, 8:00-9:00 a.m.


Click here to view next week's student schedules.

Shabbat Shalom!

Lori Skopp
Middle School Head

Read more about Middle School Update 1.19.18

We had a great week of school (enjoying the great thaw outside, even though our roof remained frozen and inaccessible)! Our sixth graders continued working on collecting information and writing notes and source cards for their ancient Egypt research projects. Seventh graders began their engineering/Rube Goldberg unit by building devices that roll back and forth using magnets and rubber bands. Eighth grade students worked on essays about racism, based on To Kill a Mockingbird.

This week was also "Heschel at Heschel" week. Throughout the week we enjoyed "namesake breaks" where teachers shared their thoughts about a Heschel quote via our loudspeaker system. On Friday as part of our MLK grade-level assemblies, each advisory group presented a Hesed project that it devised and will pursue during the second semester of school.

This week we also celebrated the in-school Bar Mitzvah of Dylan Germain. Mazel tov to Dylan and his family!

As a reminder, we will be administering the "ERBs" (a standardized test from the Educational Records Bureau) at the Middle School next Wednesday (1/17/2018) and Thursday (1/18/2018) mornings. We have been preparing students in school for the tests with both practice problems and test-taking strategy workshops. There are also a few helpful things that parents can do at home:

1. On Thursday, make sure your child has a simple four-function calculator available, since calculators are permitted for one of the math sections of the test. Programmable calculators are not allowed, nor are handheld electronic devices with calculator apps; the Casio calculator on our school supply list is permitted. Please note that the school does not have extra calculators to give students.

2. Make sure your child gets a good night's sleep before the ERBs (both Tuesday and Wednesday nights).

3. Make sure your child has a filling breakfast both mornings of the test. Please send your child with healthy and filling snacks to eat during the breaks.

4. Send your child with three #2 pencils (sharpened with erasers). The school will have additional pencils on hand.

5. Your child should bring a book to read quietly (in case he or she finishes a sub-test with time to spare).

* * *

Please note the following calendar items:

Monday, January 15 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - NO SCHOOL

Tuesday, January 16 - Boys home basketball game vs. Avenues, 4:30-6:00 p.m.; Beauty and Beast rehearsal, 4:40-6:00 p.m.; 8th grade Israel trip meeting for parents, 7:00-8:15 p.m.

Wednesday, January 17 - ERBs (verbal sections); 6th grade basketball, 4:30-6:00 p.m.; Beauty and the Beast rehearsal, 4:40-6:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 18 - ERBs (math sections); Girls home basketball game vs. Winward, 4:30-6:00 p.m.; Boys basketball game vs. Bank Street (610 West 112th Street), 5:00-6:30 p.m.; Beauty and the Beast rehearsal, 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Click here to view next week's student schedule.

Click here to view images of the start of the 7th grade's Rube Goldberg unit.


Shabbat Shalom!

Lori Skopp
Middle School Head


Read more about Middle School Update 1.12.18


After witnessing a "Magic Rollback Can", Middle School students initially were unable to explain how the can could both move down a ramp, stop, reverse direction, and move back up a ramp. They dissected the apparatus to theorize how it worked and developed a model of their own. The last component will challenge the students to revise their original design to create a better model. This exploratory work leads to an understanding of inertia, which enables the can to continue moving, stop moving, and change direction.

Read more about Middle School Students Study Inertia With "Magic Rollback Can"

We had a nice, abbreviated-by-the-snowstorm first week of 2018. Students and teachers returned from the winter break rested, refreshed, and still shivering from the freezing cold temperatures of the week. For two brief and wonderful days, we reimmersed ourselves in school, felt the warmth of the school community, and began to reestablish academic routines. But then came our first snow day of the year! While students spent Thursday frolicking in the snow, or perhaps enjoying hot drinks and staying indoors, teachers continued working from home to finalize the details of Friday's community read day.

The community read day enabled students and teachers to explore myriad facets of Lauren Wolk's Wolf Hollow, a new young adult novel set in rural Pennsylvania of the 1940s. Our discussions of the book included a focus on peer relationships, bullying, what causes evil behavior, farm life, the economics of the 1940s, the inner lives of characters, and the physical setting of the book. In one chapter of the book the police use dogs to track human scent, and on Friday we were lucky to have a K-9 officer and his dog meet with our students. I would like to thank the entire faculty, and especially the humanities teachers, for making Wolf Hollow day such a tremendous success.

Please note the following calendar items:

Monday, January 8 - Boys home basketball game vs. Columbia, 4:45 p.m.

Tuesday, January 9 - Girls home basketball game vs. Columbia, 4:45 p.m.; Beauty and the Beast rehearsal, 4:40-6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, January 10 - 6th grade basketball practice, 4:30-6:00 p.m.; Middle School Tea with Lori and Jack, 5:30-6:45 p.m.

Thursday, January 11 - 7th/8th grade girls/boys basketball practice, 3:50-6:15 p.m.; Beauty and the Beast rehearsal, 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Shabbat Shalom and stay warm!

Lori Skopp
Middle School Head


Read more about Middle School Update 1.5.18

The Middle School celebrated their annual Community Read on January 5. Wolf Hollow, by Lauren Wolk, follows Annabelle McBride as she faces a bully and defends a war veteran in need of assistance. In a wide array of interactive sessions, students were invited to live the book for a day. While some learned to square dance, others met with an NYPD officer and his scent dog (also an NYPD officer...for real!). A session on photography invited students to imagine a world in which they only get one shot--so it needs to pack lots of meaning. Students cooked, mapped the town, made herbal remedies, studied fairytales, and examined the attitude to animals in Jewish sources, all topics rooted in the book. All-in-all a fun-filled day celebrating the pleasure of a good book.

Read more about MS Participates in "Wolf Hollow" Community Read