Torah – TORAH It is a tree of life to those who hold fast to it. Its ways are delight, and all its paths are peace. – Proverbs 3:17-18 Yom Rosh Ha- Hashanah Atzmaut Shavuot Yom Kippur Pesach Sukkot(Passover) Simchat Purim Torah Tu Hanukah B’Shevat JEWISH LIFE Holidays: Marking Sacred Time and Space
Language Every DayIncorporating spoken and written Hebrew along with English each day helps develop the language centers of the brain. Expressing different language sounds help develop flexibility in the tongue and lips during vocalization.Boker Tov! Boker Ore!(Good Morning)Mah Tovu(A blessing we sing to begin each day)Echad, Steim, Shalosh(counting during free play, meetings, facilitated projects, transitions)Yallah!(Let’s Go!, actually an Arabic slang phrase used daily in Israel)HaMotzi
September Rosh Hashanah The Jewish New Year Beginning the school semester with the “head of the(Jewish) year” is grounding for the children as they begin to discuss time and become familiar with a new classroom environment. Provocations such as this poster may provide creative inspiration, provoke curiosity, or serve as informational resources.
The Jewish New Year provided an opportunity for the children to build pre-literacy skills andbroaden their language horizons as they exploredEnglish and Hebrew letters and spoken phrases. Aidan Moses Marina AshtonCreating “Shanah Tova!” (Happy New Year) Cards
Jonah Cohen chose to decorate the front of his card and write on the back: “To Grandma. Jonah” Frequent opportunities for expression of self and creativity are important for child development.
The Shofar calls “Wake Up!” Hands-on activities help the children directly connect to the holiday experience, creating lasting memories and meaning.While on a fieldtrip, Mia picked up a largestick. “Look! It’s a shofar!”.Drawing connections between priorknowledge and the current outside worlddemonstrates a child’s comprehension,application, analysis, and synthesisdevelopment.
Yom Kippur Yom Kippur offers a unique opportunity to “reset” one’s personal choices. A book called, “The Hardest Word” served as a provocation for investigation into important questions. September
Discussing Yom KippurDo we ever make mistakes? Noah: “Everybody makes mistakes.”What should we do when we make a mistake? Zach: “If you do something to your friends you have to say sorry and talk to them so it doesn’t hurt their feelings.” Aidan: “You need to be nice to all the people. Not 1, or 2, not only to your family, not only to your teachers…”Is it enough to just say, “I’m sorry?” Marina: "No. We have to do something to make them feel better. The Ziz gave vegetables to the children to say sorry."
The children also wrote or drew Yom Kippur journal entries. Marina Ashton practiced writing: “I’m sorry.” & “I forgive you.” Mia Pisacane drew:“This is me on a roller coaster at Temple.” & “Somebody saying sorry.”
Sukkot The agriculturally based harvest Festival of Booths (temporary shelters) inspired a building project which continued over several months. As the first project of the year it offered many challenges and learning opportunities: - Basic problem solving - Hand-eye coordination - Sensory experiences - Fine motor skills - Complex physics explorations - Overcoming frustration and building persistence - Expressing personal creativityBrooks: “It smells like lemon.”
The children expressed immediate interest in building their own small Sukkah. Through research and investigation the children discovered many different ways people can build a sukkah. We visited the wooden sukkah on the roof and the cloth sukkah in the atrium.
The Process of Trial, Error, and Resolution Brooks chose to try decorating his sukkah prior to building the structure. Timothy chose to connectblocks ofwood withtape as a floor.
As building continued the children began to evaluate their work process. A Few Thoughts on Structural Engineering• Brooks: "How do I put holes to see stars?“• Timothy: "Maybe we could saw it?“• Marina: "Maybe we could stick a nail in it?“• Noah: "Its like a puzzle and you have to find the one that goes in the hole." (about using a screwdriver.) October
There were frequent opportunities for shared social- emotional development. Noah: “Patrick, do you want some help? Regular glue doesn’t work, you have to use hot glue and nails.”
Simchat Torah The children chose to make their own small Torah, yad (pointer to read the Torah), flag, or apple on a stick (inspired by a Sammy Spider book) to carry in the celebratory parade, as we marked the “birthday” of the Torah, when reading of the Torah begins all over Brooks: “Do you want to see me read again at the my Torah with my yad?” very
Challenges while creating This project offered ample opportunity to promote problem solving skill build fine motor skills through cutting, development. writing, and gluing.Timothy: “How do I make it stick Patrick: “I want to glue the together?” letters on.” Creating Our Own Torahs
Hanukkah Playing dreidle games provide counting and sorting practice.Hanukkah Decorations by: Grant Moses Jonah Cohen Brooks Wagonfeld
Shabbat Shabbat each Friday establishes a routine, delineates between the everyday and the sacred, and is an important social occasion facilitating connections between children and the surrounding community.Timothy and Patrick help knead We all gather around the the challah for that day’s challah and say the HaMotzi. Shabbat.
Looking at Daily Activities Through The Lens: JEWISH VALUES “ Jewish values reflect our preschool identity, create meaning in our daily life and provide a framework for the kind of relationships we strive to create.” – Claude and Louise Rosenberg ECE Curriculum
Tikkun Ha-olam– REPAIR OF THE WORLDHow wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. – Anne Frank The children noticed garbage on our playground and carried it together to the recycling bin.
Taking care of living things in our spaces happens naturally. Jonah and Tae noticed David The daily classroom “shamash” watering plants on the roof and asked (helper), cares for everyone and to help. This experience created a everything. connection between David and the GK teachers, inspiring a currentlyOctober unfolding learning experience!
The children regularly turn to recycled materials to use in their projects. Everyday mindfulness at an early age creates a lifetime of positive habits. Providing children with possibilities instead of answers helps build critical thinking and logical reasoning skills. Planning and writing lists (and then following them!), exercises the children’s mental flexibility and builds persistence and self- motivation. Aidan: “Guys, I see the wood.”
Re-ut – FRIENDSHIPEach of us bears the imprint of a friend met along the way, in each the trace of each. -Primo Levi A spontaneous moment in which Aidan chose to share a written self-reflection with his friends.
Aidan Moses: I am strong I am creative I am learning to shareI am practicingbuilding November: Each child wrote a personal reflection to display on the back of their portfolio.
Ha h nasat Or h im – WELCOMING STRANGERS Let your house be open wide. – Pirkei Avot 1:5 The children practiced physical and mental flexibility as they worked to give Marina’s mom, Jackie, attention and respect while gaining new perspectives on exercise and mindfulness through yoga. November
Tzedek – JUSTICE Until we are all free, we are none of us free. – Emma Lazarus Favorite games such as chess, memory, and Uno create opportunities for the children to practice fairness toward one another, follow establishedrules, and begin to look outside of their own needs, becoming aware of those of their community.
K’lal Yisrael – JEWISH INCLUSIVENESSI make this covenant with all who are here this day and also with all who are not here. – Deuteronomy 29:13-14 The children created ‘Thank You’ notes for Darrell, a member of our larger JCC staff community who went out of his way to create a child-friendly solution for our paper-towel needs. November
The children continued to design and write thank you messages and cards for approximately two weeks, reaching out to Darrell on a regular basis. Noah Goldman Timothy HaasNovember
Rua h – SPIRIT Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit. – Zechariah 4:6Learning when and how it is appropriate toexpress oneself physically is an importantpart of physical and mental development.The children practice finding their innerstrength, and expressing their needs anddesires verbally.
Jewish InclusivenessJCCSF’s SpiritSheva Torah Welcoming StrangersMiddot: JusticeSeven Core Repair of the world FriendshipJewishValues Increase Individual… Provide a Vehicle for… Increase Communal… Sense of Self-Worth Creative Expression ↓ Sense of Responsibility ↓ + Self-Confidence Academic Learning ↓ Ownership of Independence Choices and Actions + ↓ ↓ Continued Growth as Leadership Skills Individuals Self-Motivation ↓ ↓ and as a Individual and CommunalRealization of self as part Community Fulfillment of a larger community
BOOK MAKINGInception:Children noticed therewere many differenttypes of books on ourclassroom bookshelf.This sparked adiscussion that led toreading the chapter book“Stuart Little”, a little biteach day, in preparationfor kindergarten reading.One day, Marina shareda book called,“PandaMan” that she had Marina sharing “PandaMan”, while hermade at home. friends listen and ask questions.The children were soinspired that theydecided they would liketo create their own books
ExplorationAfter “Stuart Little”, we began reading “Trumpet of the Swan”. Looking for books in the school library promotes critical analysis and recognition of During each reading session, the personal preferences. children recall prior events in the story, formulate hypotheses about future adventures, and wrestle with the bigger picture and finding meaning. November
Research The children investigated alphabet books, picture books, comic books, chapter books, and more! Special thanks to you families forMia is particularly intrigued by donating such amazing books duringShel Silverstein’s poetry book. the book drive! These books have been an important resource during this exploration.
Process When first discussing how we might create our own books, the children pointed out that we would first need to know how to write. This inspired them to practice their handwriting and letter recognition skills. They would choose a particular letter, words, or the entire alphabet on which to focus for a pre- established period of time. Project learning promotes children’s self-motivation, allowing the Brooks chose to acquisition of academic skills topractice the letter “B”. happen easily and naturally.
Noah chose to practicewriting the alphabet in his journal. Zach chose to practice writing “Zach”.
Creating LinksThe children’s explorations of one subject often intersect with other on-going explorations. One day during facilitated learning time, Aidan chose to practice writing by copying words from a special train song that the children sing daily. Aidan Moses
Connecting past learning to immediate experiencesdemonstrates a child’s cognitive capacities coming to life. Brooks: “I want to make a chapter book with pictures of Lego trains.” Brooks’ initial Book Making intention was to draw a book about Lego trains. First, he constructed a Lego train and station, then copied it onto paper with colored pencils.
Picture BooksMarina decided to add another book to her “PandaMan” adventure series. “Pandaman is going across the Golden Gate Bridge.” “This is Pandman. He is traveling to San Francisco.” Marina Ashton December
Reflection, Evaluation, Revision, Product Noah Goldman “A Comic Book”Noah initially approached creating a book through imitation. After reflecting on his work, he decided to create a new comic book about vampires.
Pictures First or Words First? Noah Goldman: “This is going to be a book about vampires. It’s for my sister. She loves vampires.”One of our Book Making discussion topics has been, “How do we begin to make a book?”. The children discovered that the creative process varies for each person.
Noah Goldman January Noah ultimately chose to scrap his initial two bookmaking attempts and begin again by writing his story first.
Grant first began a book about December ninjas. Upon reflection, he noticed that each picture was Grant Moses similar to the last. “There were the Bad Guys...”Grant began his next book, “The Bad Guys”, at home, adding additional pages and writing down the words to his story at school.
“How To Make a Chanukiah” Jonah Cohen Timothy HaasInspired by our pending trip to Brandeis, the children wanted to write instructions for their buddies on how to make a chanukiah.
Patrick Williams “Z Page” December Alphabet Books “The zebra is going to run around in circles.”Patrick chose to make an Alphabet book modeled after Graeme Base’s “Animalia”.
Community BuildingJuliette from GK2 came over to begin making her own book. Mia carefully explained a few important aspects of the book making process. Juliette’s Story: “One upon a time there was a princess with no name. She lived at the end of San Francisco by herself in a rainbow painted house. She travels all around San Francisco, sometimes, even to Canada to see her family. She goes hiking to Tennessee Valley Beach once a week, every Monday. When she’s there, she likes running in the
Future Plans• Continue to evaluate and revise work• Add illustrations/words if desired• Explore binding options• Share books with our friends!• Continue project with friends from other classes
TRAINSInception: The children first demonstrated interest in trains while exploring the different environments of GK 1 & 2 in the Fall.
Exploration Provided with provocations, the children investigated numerous types of trains from all over the world. They became interested indiscussing, drawing, painting, building, reading, and writing about trains.
The children worked togetherwith the train set, discussing howto make the train tracks connect,and what signs and buildingsmight be needed near the tracks.The exploration provides manyopportunities for leadership rolesto emerge, as well as forchallenges such as team-work,collaboration, and compromise.
Marina Ashton “This is the caboose, and there’s lots of people, so there’s another one.” October 2012Projects such as this provide ample opportunity for children to practiceskills such as comparing, measuring, classifying, quantifying, qualifying, categorizing, discriminating and deducing.
ResearchThe children investigated many aspects of trains, including different types oftrains, local and far away trains, trains that hold people and those that don’t, and more! Mia Pisacane “This is the train and all the lightening bolts for the train are for the electric.” November 2012 Jonah Cohen “The N Train” November 2012San Francisco Trains
Grant Moses“These are the seats.” November 2012
Noah Goldman“One train is right there, another is right there, and that train crashed.” November 2012 Spatial relationships and cause and effect factors arise frequently. Thechildren have many opportunities to pose hypotheses and draw conclusions while exploring trains.
Bullet Trains are of particular interest to the children. Brooks Wagonfeld “This is a freight train, and this is a Bullet Train. These trains don’t actually run on tracks.” November 2012 Patrick Williams January 2013
A Conversation about Bullet Trains: One day, while looking at a photograph of a bullet train...Patrick Williams: “Hey, this is a bullet train!”BenNoah: “I’ve been on 200 Bullet Trains. This isn’t a bullet train, I know.”Patrick Williams: “It is! I’ve been on all the bullet trains in the world!”BenNoah: “Whichever one has the bigger engine goes faster.”Brooks: “I saw this bullet train on TV, that’s how I know it’s a bullet train.”
Frequent individual and communal reflection on projectwork inspires the children and promotes both academic and social-emotional growth.
A picture book called, “The Daylight Limited”, inspiredthe children to design and build their own model trains.
Process• The process started with the drawing of blueprints.• Next, they made lists of items they might need.• With list in hand, we collected materials.
Patrick WilliamsModel Train Blueprint October 2012
Brooks WagonfeldModel Train Blueprint October 2012
Process & ProductTimothy’s first model train (out of paper, tape and caps) December 2012 Zach used his blueprint as a reference when beginning to explore the materials he chose. December 2012
Patrick perused a train book to get ideas for designing the outside of his train. Timothy cut paper to cover and decorate the tea box he chose to usefor his second model train body.
Timothy Haas (Second) Model Train“The car has a sleeping bag in it.” (tea box, caps, paper, wood) January 2013
Brooks WagonfeldModel train and Tracks January 2013
Patrick WilliamsA Bullet Train and a Tree January 2013
Where Creativity and Reality Converge: At the Train StationZach: “Brooks, what is that?”Brooks: “It’s my train station.”Marina: “How do the people get in and out?”Brooks: “Well, they go in there and out there.” Brooks (pointing) Wagonfeld “It’s a map.Zach: “So are you going to That’s where the train is on put a door there?” the map.” January 2013
Also inspired by the book, some children demonstrated particular interest in dining cars. Zachary Goodman Dining Car Blueprint January 2013
Marina Ashton Food Freight Train “Apicture ofa picture of a train.” January 2013
Aidan MosesThe Inside of a Food Hauling Freight Train January 2013
Future Plans We are currently discussing creating a “Train Day”! We plan to turn the classroom into a train, dining car and all! Some children are creating stations andpeople to go along with their trains.
Blueprints for Turning the Classroom into a Train Noah Goodman Classroom Dining Car Blueprint January 2013 Grant Moses Classroom Dining Car Blueprint January 2013
Shared InterestsAt independent free play time in GK2, children created atrain and tickets, and invited friends to “come aboard!” Marina and Grant enjoy the dining car while Yan, Tickets to ride the train all Riley and Isaac are the around the world. conductors.
Morningtown Ride: The PhenomenonThis song/story was just one of many provocations offered to the children when first exploring trains. Each day the children requested to hear it or sing it, until it morphed into a ritual that closes our day together.
What Have We Learned?• The blueprints encourage children to describe their details, label them, create a list of materials, and follow through with their plan.• Children stayed on particular “tracks” when gathering materials and when actually building their trains.• Children remained with the same project for a longer period of time each day and over numerous days, giving them the chance to test their focus, reflection, and evaluation skills as they become increasingly self-motivated.
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL AND ACADEMIC GROWTH IN GAN KATANIn every single aspect of the children’s daily activities, from free play, to facilitated projects, to putting on our jackets and backpacks, critical development and learning occurs. Zach: “I can count to 100!” Jonah: “Timothy, can you help me tie a knot?”
November A Conversation While Building :Aidan: “I started it, then Noah joined, then Grant, so Noah: “Everyone can take turns.”I’m first.” Zach: “How ‘bout if everyone’s in charge...Timothy: “I was here first.” And no one’s in charge..?”Zach: “Guys, how ‘bout it goes in a circle?... Nobody’s Aidan: “But it won’t make sense! How willin charge, it goes Noah, Timothy, me, Aidan, then we know which direction to go?”Grant. How ‘bout nobody’s in charge?”Grant: “This is my house.”Brooks: “I agree with Grant and Aidan.”Aidan: “Well, I’m in charge. Somebody has to be incharge, and it’s me.”Zach: “No, nobody’s the president, nobody’s in charge.It’s not fair to anybody.”Grant: “Every day we can keep switching the order.” Relationships between theTimothy: “I’m getting a headache. You have to do children, teachers, andeveryone’s ideas or it’s not fair, and they won’t want toplay with you.” families are central to the learning process.
Gan Katan 3 Parent Teacher Exchange February 2013 Carlie Seelig &Special thanks to Hugh Molesworth for being an invaluable reference and resource! Nikki Lazarus