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Minute to Win: 10 Plagues Edition

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Elementary students have been gearing up for Pesach (Passover) with immersive learning and experiences. 

At our recent Rosh Chodesh assembly- welcoming the new Jewish month of Nissan in which we celebrate Pesach, we re-enacted the 10 Plagues with a grand ‘Minute To Win It’ competition. Interactive races were certainly unforgettable. When the students recall the 10 Plagues at the Pesach Seder this year, the exciting activity they participated in at school, will definitely come to mind. 

Some of the activities included, The "blood" (fruit punch) race, “frog” spoon jump, search for the "lice" in the rice, and a hysterical sheep-nose “animal”-cotton-ball race. 

With large balls swinging overhead, students challenged each other to guess ‘how many bottles can your “hail” knock over?’ 

Red- speckled gloves assisted the students to ace the challenge of not letting 

the “boils” touch your balloon! Each contest really got the students into the Pesach spirit!

In the classrooms, Pesach learning has been underway with a frenzy, helping to infuse the students’ holiday with true meaning.

K- 1 created large sized 4 cups of wine and large round Matzahs to decorate the classroom bulletin boards, as well as a larger-than-life Mt. Sinai and 10 Commandments/Tablets, symbolizing the receiving of the Torah after the Exodus from Egypt.

As a Pesach gift to bring home for holiday enjoyment, the students created Afikomen bags (K) and fingertip washing towels (1st).

2nd -3rd graders perused the entire Haggadah and created their own personal Haggadahs with explanations and art embellishments. 

4th- 5th Grade learned about the Yom Tov in detail and those teachings were depicted onto large cardboard Seder plates which were 3-D and realistic looking.

6th- 8th graders compiled a booklet of Dvar Torah explanations to discuss during the Seder while the Haggadah will be recited. Each student contributed meaningful content.

School-wide, each student received a colorful holiday checklist that lists the daily Mitzvahs and special holiday traditions. Students are encouraged to use the checklists to keep up with the holiday observances over Passover/Spring break.

STA students are good and ready for Pesach, and are excited to celebrate with family, friends, and community!

Loyalist vs. Patriot: The Art of Debate

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Each student or group of students was randomly assigned a historical figure, some Patriots and some Loyalists. Students researched their characters and prepared a presentation that included props. Following each presentation, "reporters" were prepared with questions to debate each character's stance as either a Loyalist or Patriot. The students did an excellent job and thoroughly enjoyed getting to use our new sound system for this project!

Immersive Learning: Preparing for Pesach at JPA

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Our approach to educating our students about Pesach goes beyond conventional methods, immersing them in a hands-on experience that brings the story to life. In each classroom, sensory bins transformed into scenes from the story. Children explored the Nile River filled with frogs, rocks, and bottles, experiencing the 10 Makkot firsthand. Kinetic sand became the medium for building pyramids, allowing young minds to grasp the monumental task faced by the Jews in Egypt. Grape juice sensory activities heightened their senses, connecting them to the rituals of the Seder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dramatic play took on a meaningful role as well, with matzah bakeries allowing children to participate in the tradition of making matzah. Through a blend of water, flour, and playdough, they learned about the haste with which the Jews fled Egypt. Furthermore, each class crafted their own Hagaddah, delving into the story of Pesach and the steps of the Seder, while also creating symbolic items such as seder plates, kiddush cups, and afikoman bags.

The pinnacle of our learning journey was our model Seder, a culmination of weeks of exploration and discovery. Grandparents and parents joined us as we reenacted the steps of the Seder, sang the Ma Nishtana, and joyfully danced, expressing our hope for the next year's celebration to take place in Jerusalem. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Israel, Our Eternal Homeland; Our Modern Story

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Love for Israel just courses through our veins here at STA! STA 3rd- 5th graders are excited to have just started a new course with Rabbi Yossie Nemes, titled “Israel, Our Eternal Homeland; Our Modern Story”. Each lesson is filled with historical information, stories, and deep messages, brought to life through props and artifacts as well. The students “meet” an important figure in modern Israeli history each lesson and discuss his/her profile- such as when/where born, passed away, significant family info and of course, highlights of how they contributed to modern Israeli history.

Lesson 1 took the students back to the 20 years under British rule before the 1948 War of Independence. Heroism of the Jewish people was depicted as well as tragedies discussed, such as the Chevron Massacre, 1929. David Ben Gurion and Menachem Begin were profiled and their impact discussed.

In Lesson 2 the students learned about events in the 1950's and 1960's such as the establishment of the Ma’abarot, the tent cities erected for 120,000 Holocaust survivors, and even more Jews coming from Sefardic countries. Rabbi Nemes fascinated the students with the story of Adolf Eichman's escape to Argentina, how his location was identified, and The Mossad's brave capture of Eichman, finally bringing him to Israel for trial.

The students eagerly await the next lessons and look forward to connecting even more to Israel, especially during these challenging times!

Embracing Purim: Transforming Early Childhood Dramatic Play

KYa8ecupjWsdqA79WBn9RQ.jpgIn our early childhood classrooms, the buzz of excitement filled the air as we dove into celebrating Purim. This year, we've revamped our dramatic play areas to reflect the holiday's spirit, sparking curiosity and creativity in our young learners. With colorful puppets, we've recreated the city of Shushan, inviting children to step into the shoes of Esther, Mordechai, and Haman. Through these playful roles, they explore themes of the Purim story, learning valuable lessons about the power of prayer and resilience.

In the Robins and Blue Jays classrooms, a shoe store buzzes with activity, as children took on the roles of shopkeepers and customers. Amidst the pretend transactions and negotiations, they develop essential communication skills and learn about the dynamics of commerce and community. Meanwhile, in the Chickadees classroom, a puppet theater comes to life, allowing children to become directors, actors, and audience members of their own creative productions. With costumes and make up, they explore self-expression and storytelling, building confidence and their creativity.

Through these immersive play experiences, our children embark on a journey of discovery and learning about Purim. By embracing the magic of Purim through dramatic play, we foster a love for learning and exploration that will stay with our young learners for years to come.

Photosynthesis in Action

20240221_155130.jpgMiddle schoolers have been learning about the process of photosynthesis. To set up the experiment, students exhaled Carbon Dioxide into Bromothymol Blue using straws. This caused the BTB to turn from blue to yellow. They added plants into two test tubes with the yellow BTB. One tube was placed in the window and one in the closet. We filled two tubes with the chemical but without a plant, placed in the same locations as a control. The purpose of this experiment is to see if the plant will photosynthesize with and without sunlight. If it does, the BTB should turn blue again to show the absorption of Carbon Dioxide. After 24 hours, the students made their observations and discussed why it did or didn’t photosynthesize. Once the experiment concluded, the plants went back to the aquarium and we decided as a class to get fish. Students researched types of fish that can be together in a 1.5 gallon tank. They compiled a list that included names and prices. We are now the proud owners of Guppies.

Composting and Tasting for Tu B'shvat

IMG-20240111-WA0079.jpgScience & Torah merged in an immersive and fascinating way at STA Elementary, as Tu B'shvat approached. In advance of the New Year for Trees, we were introduced to our new composter by Chef Alex, who explained the process and benefits of composting. Students were excited to fill the composter with soil and earthworms, getting really close up to nature in action. We discussed the verse in the Torah regarding ‘Bal Tashchit’- ‘do not destroy fruit trees’, which taken further, mandates, not to waste food from trees or the earth. Elementary students joined in groups to decorate special compost collection buckets for each elementary and JPA class. To culminate the activity, refreshing home-made fruit smoothies were enjoyed by all!

On the actual day of Tu B'shvat, students gathered for a program in the Multi-purpose room, heard a special story and Tu B'shvat poems, and were then delighted with a Tu B'shvat Tasting! A colorful and delicious array of fruits was set out - exotic, fresh, and dried, including of course the traditional, ‘Shivat HaMinim’, 7 species with which the Land of Israel is blessed. Students enjoyed the various tastes and textures of grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, dates, dragon fruit, guava, grapefruit, apricots and more! Lessons for us, from a tree, came to life in classroom discussions and students prepared artwork, essays, songs, and more. Hey, don't forget to spread out your leafy branches of beautiful good deeds..and always remember to share your delicious fruits of kindness with others!

Math in Children's Literature

20240122_111740.jpgWe defeated dragons, we shared with friends, we feared melting ice sheets are just a few of the story lines our Middle School authors thought of to create their own works of literature. The students were given a list of math skills and a few guidelines to write a children’s book. What resulted was beyond expectations! Middle schoolers showed their amazing creativity and writing skills in math. The project ended with the authors reading their books to different classes. What an amazing experience!

Social Emotional Learning in JPA

IMG-20240126-WA0001.jpgThe Children in the Chickadees class watched in awe as Ms. Paris poured baking soda into red colored vinegar. It began to bubble and boil.

This was not your typical volcano science experiment; this was a demonstration to help the children understand their feelings, in this case, what it feels like to be angry. 

They used the blue color to represent feeling sad and yellow for happiness. The children are asked often: what are you feeling today? We teach them to recognize their emotions, which is the first step to emotional regulation. This is a skill that in previous generations was often missing in our education system.

Social emotional learning has become a vital piece of Early Childhood education with it often taking precedence over the other important parts of the curriculum. 

STEM Challenge

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Recently, our 4th and 5th grade students celebrated the completion of a Social Studies Lesson with a quick STEM challenge. This glow in the dark building kit was a huge hit as students collaborated to create a class structure in under 10 minutes!

 

Parsha Poetry

In English Language Arts, our fourth and fifth graders are wrapping up a unit on poetry by creating a poem on Parshat Vayeishev. In a flurry of inspiration, students  write simultaneously on a google document and vote on decisions to add or omit lines of poetry. The final product is truly a piece of beautiful collaborative writing. This is a great example where general studies and Judaic instruction integrate to form a solid lesson.

Chanukah Gifts in Memory of Esther Schreiber OBM

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A beautiful initiative was organized by some alumni of Slater Torah Academy where members of the community and friends of Esther Schreiber OBM contributed towards Chanukah gifts for the children of Slater Torah Academy. Just last year, Esther lovingly wrapped gifts for her granddaughter Lilly's preschool class for Chanukah. She loved giving to the children and especially on her favorite holiday, Chanukah. Each child received a Happy Chanukah hat and a Chanukah treat. Thank you to all who organized and participated towards these special presents! 

Student Teaching in Middle School

Addressing multiple reading, writing, speaking, and listening standards for learning, our middle school students take turns teaching the class a randomly selected grammar concept. 

Prior to teaching, each student is responsible for preparing the lesson presentation, opportunities for students to practice the grammar skill, and an assessment. All students in the “audience” must complete a feedback rubric for each “teacher’s” lesson in addition to completing the lesson assessment.


 

Model Menorah Contest

IMG-20231211-WA0027.jpgHere's a trivia question for you! What do uno playing cards, peace symbols, colored chalk sand, duct tape and spoons have to do with Chanukah? 

They are all unique and creative 3-D modalities that STA Elementary students have used to fashion their Model Menorahs this year. Annually, STA Elementary holds a Model Menorah Contest and students in grades 1- 8 are encouraged to use STEAM techniques to create interesting, themed menorahs. Each year, students impress us with their designs and this year, no less! We have many wonderful contest entries that were submitted, including, Tzedakah box menorah, Israeli flag menorah, Clay menorah,  Blocks Menorah, Peace symbols menorah, and more! Judges will rate the menorahs based on the requirements, which include, independent work, creativity, uniqueness, theme message, and if the menorah is Kosher for use. We are excited to see which entry will win 1st place in the entire school and who will be the winners from each class! The messages of each menorah are very uplifting. As the entrant with the UNO playing cards menorah wrote on the menorah's theme sign:

Let's 'UNOite' as one (Uno!) and share the light! Happy Chanukah!

 

Fire Safety Learning

jRxm5wkJUmkSseszZNMFRQ.jpgIn the Chickadees class, we have been studying fire safety in connection with our study about Chanukah. We acted out a real fire scenario in a fun way by playing a dramatic play game. We dressed up as firefighters and used red, orange and yellow balls to represent the fire. We each had a spray bottle to spray the balls to put out the fire. We practiced stop, drop and roll and talked about always having an adult help us when we are using fire. We took a class visit to see the fire extinguishers in the school. 

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