In order to make our journey this year as productive, positive and enlightening as possible we spent a lot of time this week creating classroom communities in which the children feel comfortable and supported. This week we have been getting to know each other, building a foundation of trust and solidifying our understanding of Heschel’s core values: respect, responsibility, safety and community.
These important social messages can easily be reinforced throughout the year at home as well. Making playdates with a variety of children or reaching out to the new Heschel families could be a great place to start!
In an effort to foster community, the school instituted a “Lower School Read” for which students from across the grades were asked to read the same text, A Moon for Moe and Mo, by Jane Breskin Zalben. Throughout the week, this text has been read, discussed, analyzed and used as a jumping off point for many thoughtful discussions with a focus on the school’s four core values. In the shared space of the 6th and 7th floor hallways, students were then invited to add their thoughts to a communal mural, which you will certainly get to see on Back to School Night!
Third graders were able to get to know their classmates through some creative math activities this week which included making and sharing posters about the important numbers in their lives and playing a “Find Someone Who” bingo game using their multiplication facts. For example: Find someone who has more than 3x4 cousins.
We recommend asking your child questions about some of these activities as a way to begin to forge the home-school connection.
Here is a good article about other ways you can get your child sharing all the news from school. Enjoy!
We also began studying Humash this week. Rabbi Anne came in and told the Talmudic story of the angel who comes and teaches us the entire Torah before we are born. As we are leaving the womb, the angel touches on the lip (some versions of the midrash say kisses us…) and we forget everything we learned. The students wondered why the angel would go to all the trouble of teaching us the Torah and then making us forget it. As one student put it, “maybe the angel makes us forget but not totally. So when we learn it again at Heschel, it will be easier.” Then the students began their journey of studying Torah by covering the first words of their first verse (written on index cards…) in Hershey’s kisses, so that the words will always be sweet in their mouths.