Education – 5th grade

2/25: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Many parents were at the synagogue learning with a guest speaker on our Kulanu theme (https://www.adl.org/resources/press-release/adl-launches-new-program-provide-synagogues-tools-address-antisemitism)
  2. Our day paralleled the Kulanu theme by using the Chicago Holocaust Museum’s Teaching Trunks (https://www.ilholocaustmuseum.org/students-educators/teaching-trunks/)
  3. Discussion about identity
    • We specifically talked about what makes you, you.
  4. Read a passage from Good-bye Marianne
    • Talked about why Marianne was leaving.
    • Students then were asked what they would bring in their suitcases if they had to leave their home forever.
  5. Combined with 6th grade for two activities and discussion based upon identity and morals.
    • Discussed the Sneetches and Passage to Freedom: The Sugihra Story
  6. At Shira, Morah Alexa taught 4th & 5th grades some wonderful new songs related to our school’s theme of Kulanu learning: love, peace, and understanding.
  7. The session ended with 4th -6th grade joining with Morah Alexa and Rabbi Prass in our weekly t’fillah. In addition to unpacking our day’s theme of kulanu, Rabbi Prass told a story from the great German Israeli Philosopher Martin Buber on how we can get to know our friends and neighbors better so we all can live in a tolerant and peaceful society.

Homework to be completed by next class:

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2/18: Today in class we worked on:

  1. We reviewed what we have learned this year. We played four corners as well as jeopardy.
  2. At Shira, Morah Alexa taught 4th – 6th grade the famous Debbie Friedman song “Im Tirtzu” and we had some theatre exercises to “waken us up.”
  3. We began talking about Purim. We discussed what Purim is and why we celebrate it.
  4. At Tefilla, Rabbi Prass and Morah Alexa led 4th -6th grade.  We talked about why our day is better when we start with an attitude of gratitude.  Then we talked about how Judaism has a tradition of starting each day with Modeh Ani, a prayer for thanks.   Rabbi Prass led us in a play, in which 5 talmidim participated in, going over the main ideas of this week’s Torah portion Tetzaveh.

Homework to be completed by next class:

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2/11: Today in class we worked on:

  1. We had our 5th Grade Boker B’yachad today and the 5th Grade Faux Wedding.  It was great to see all the parents joining us.
  2. First, we participated in an all-school t’fillah led by Rabbi Bellows, Rabbi Prass, and Morah Alexa.  As part of the t’fillah we were part of the Auf Ruf for the 5th Grade Faux Wedding and enjoyed the sour candy treats thrown at the “Chatan and Kallah.”
  3. The parents had time to study with Rabbi Bellows.
  4. Had our 5th grade FAUX wedding which was a way to show our families and each other all that we had studied.
  5. We had a ‘sweet’ reception afterward where we all were able to enjoy each other’s company.
  6. Our students did an amazing job

Homework to be completed by next class:

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2/4: Today in class we worked on:

  1. We continued talking about Jewish Weddings
    1. We continued to talk about the various symbols in a Jewish wedding and what they mean to us
    1. We talked about our future husbands or wife and the traits we want them to have, we talked about how we want to raise our future children
    1. We also discussed what type of wedding we want when we get older
    1. We looked at ketubah and even practiced filling one in
  2. All of 4th – 6th grade joined for shira led by Morah Alexa and Rabbi Prass where we had Yom Folk.  The students have seen some of these songs in our songbook and they have been asking for them!  We narrowed down their requests and sang: American Pie, Hallelujah, Puff magic Dragon, Leaving on a Jet Plane, and This Land is your Land.  We talked about the Jewish Folk artists: Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Petter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary.
  3. We practice for our 5th grade faux wedding happening on 2/11. Parents are invited!
  4. At Tefillah, Morah Alexa and Rabbi Prass led the 4th – 6th grade.  We continued  focusing on the birkot hashacar. Members of the 5th Grade acted out the important themes of this week’s Torah portion Parashat Mishpatim.

Homework to be completed by next class:

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1/28: Today in class we worked on:

  1. We continued talking about Jewish Weddings
    1. We continued to talk about the various symbols in a Jewish wedding and what they mean to us
    1. We talked about our future husbands or wife and the traits we want them to have, we talked about how we want to raise our future children
    1. We also discussed what type of wedding we want when we get older
  2. We began to practice for our 5th grade faux wedding happening on 2/11
  3. At Shira, Morah Alexa got 4th & 5th grade going with happy songs for the late holiday of Tu B’Shvat that everyone could clap and move for!
  4. At Tefillah, Rabbi Prass and Morah Alexa led 4th – 6th grade in prayers from our School Siddur that we don’t always incorporate into our weekly service.   We also saw how date seeds, found at Masada, blossomed into trees after lying dormant since ancient times.  

Homework to be completed by next class:

  1. February 11th is the 5th grade Boker B’yachad
  2. You can always access the school calendars by clicking here.
  3. You can always access the entire CBA calendar by clicking here.

1/21: Today in class we worked on:

  1. We began talking about Jewish Weddings
    1. We picked our parts for the 5th grade faux wedding (February 11, 9:30 – 11:30)
    1. We talked about different symbols in a Jewish Wedding
    1. Students completed worksheets that had them think about their future spouses and what they think is important as well as what the various symbols mean to them and why they are important
  2. We continued to talked about Tu Bishvat  
    1. We talked about what the significance of this holiday is
    1. We talked about the sedar and the differences between a Passover sedar and the tu bishavat sedar
  3. At Shira Morah Alexa taught 4th – 5th graders two new songs for the upcoming chag of Tu B’Shvat, including a number written by the late Debbie Friedman.
  4. At Tefilla with all of 4th – 6th grade and led by Morah Alexa and Rabbi Prass,  Rabbi Prass came dressed as a tree in honor of Tu B’Shvat!  We saw how Judaism has always respected the earth and our environment.

Homework to be completed by next class:

  1. February 11th is the 5th grade Boker B’yachad
  2. You can always access the school calendars by clicking here.
  3. You can always access the entire CBA calendar by clicking here.

1/14: Today in class we worked on:

  1. We discussed Bar and Bat Mitzvah.
    1. We finally were able to watch Keeping Up with the Steins
  2. We began to talk about Tu Bishvat
    1. We talked about what the significance of this holiday is
    1. Why we celebrate when it is winter in Chicago
  3. At Shira, 4th & 5th grades reviewed some of the songs we had learned earlier in the school year.
  4. At Tefilla, Rabbi Prass tied in the upcoming MLK Holiday with the tragic 100 days our fellow Jews have been held as hostages by the Hamas terrorists.  T’fillah was with all of 4th – 6th grade, and the 6th grade parents. 

Homework to be completed by next class:

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12/17: Today in class we worked on:

  1. First at an early all-school Tefilla, led by Rabbi Prass, Rabbi Bellows, and Morah Alexa, we celebrated the consecration of new CBA Religious School students.  It was wonderful to see the parents and grandparents of the celebrants join us. 
  2. We discussed bar and bat mitzvah.
    1. We talked about why we have one
    1. The significance of a bar and bat mitzvah
    1. Where they fall on the life cycle
    1. We attempted to watch keeping up with the steins (technology issue, will try again after break)
  3. Finally, we finished off class today with 4th – 6th grade Shira led by Morah Alexa.

Reminders:

  • December 24: CBA Religious School Winter Break Begins
  • January 14: Religious School Resumes
  • You can always access the school calendars by clicking here.
  • You can always access the entire CBA calendar by clicking here.

12/10: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Today was Yom Chanukah (Chanukah Day) in Religious School.
  2. We began in our classroom, where we collected tzedakah, divided into groups for the days, and then each group created a team name which was a playful connection to a Chanukah theme.
  3. Then the whole school gathered for t’fillah led by Rabbi Prass and Morah Alexa.  We talked about Chanukah.
  4. After this, we went thru 5 Chanukah-themed rotations, with each one competing for points.  We rotated by grade. The rotations were:
    1. Chanukah Story: Light & Darkness – we talked about where light and darkness was in the Chanukah story and in our world today.
    1. Dreidel where we looked at part of CBA congregant Mrs Popper’s 200 Dreidel collection.
    1. Chanukah Opposites: Two Truths (aka Opposites) can exist
    1. Chanukah Celebrations: Healthy Debate based on the Talmud debate on how to light the Chanukiah
    1. Chanukah Art: making our own Magen Macabee    
  5. We came back together for an all school Chanukah shira led by Morah Alexa.  As part of Austin, Rabbi Prass, Lauren and Sonia told us the Chanukah story.
  6. On the way out, each of the Talmidim (learners) was given: a glow stick, a dreidel, and a bag of chocolate gelt.

Homework to be completed by next class:

  1. Please remember tzedakah for the next class.
  2. Happy Hanukah.
  3. We have lots of events coming up which you can see by clicking  here.

12/3: Today in class we worked on:

  1. We studied Hanukkah
    1. We talked about why we celebrate Hannukah
    1. The difference between a menorah and a hanukkiah
    1. We practiced the Hanukkah prayers
    1. We played dreidel
  2. At Shira, Morah Alexa taught us, along with 4th & 6th grade several songs in anticipation of this week’s joyous chag of Chanukah, which starts on Thursday night.
  3. At Tefilla, Rabbi Prass and Morah Alexa showed 4th – 6th grade how many of our regular prayers in our school siddur related to the story of Chanukah.  We also enjoyed a reenactment of the Chanukah story from the 6th graders.

Homework to be completed by next class:

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11/19: Today in class we worked on:

  1. We wrapped up talking about Shabbat and Havdalah
    1. We discussed how to make Shabbat meaningful
    1. We discussed how to tell when Havdalah is
    1. We practiced the Shabbat prayers as well as the Havdalah prayers.
  2. We began talking about Hannukah by completing a KWL Chart (what I know, what I want to know, and at the end we will talk about what the students learned)
  3. At Shira, we, along with 4th – 6th grade enjoyed the talents of our guest soloist Matthew Stoll who filled in for Morah Alexa.
  4. At Tefilla with all of 4th – 6th grade, led by Rabbi Prass and Matthew S, Rabbi Prass interwove his experiences participating in the March for Israel in Washington last week with our prayers.

Homework to be completed by next class:

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11/12: Today in class we worked on:

  1. We began talking about Shabbat
    1. We discussed why Shabbat is important
    1. How our families celebrate shabbat
    1. Why we even have a shabbat every week
  2. For Shira where Morah Alexa, with Rosh Chodesh Kislev this week, shared a Chanukah ballad with all of 4th – 6th grade.  
  3. At Tefilla the 4th grade parents rejoined us, along with the 4th – 6th graders. Rabbi Prass, with the help of 5th and 6th graders, shared with us all on the importance of maintaining Jewish Unity, especially during these troubled times.

Homework to be completed by next class:

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11/5: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Continued our baby naming unit.
    1. We had our baby naming!
    1. We discussed with Rabbi Prass why we name our children
    1. Why it was important to study baby naming
    1. We named our babies
  2. At Shira Morah Alexa taught all of 4th – 6th grade two new songs, including “Evdu Et Hashem B’Simcha!”
  3. Our morning wrapped up with Tefilla where Rabbi Prass shared with all of 4th – 6th grade how “mitzvah minded” Israelis have been going on beyond the call, as it were, during these last hard three weeks.  This included IDF soldiers watering plants in a kibbutz greenhouse that was struck by Hamas on 7 Oct, a grandmother baking cookies for those in need, and a car dealer offering new vehicles to those who lost their autos on that tragic Shabbat. 

Homework to be completed by next class:

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10/29: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Continued our baby naming unit.
    1. We talked about our names and who we were named for, as well as why we were named after the person
    1. We talked about how we make our names good.
  2. Compared brit milah to a brit bat
  3. At Tefilla, led by Rabbi Prass and Morah Alexa, we enjoyed a lovely play, performed by the 6th Grade Class on the first Torah portions of Sefer Beresheath.
  4. At Shira, Morah Alexa taught us, along with 4th & 6th grade more songs.

Homework to be completed by next class:

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10/22: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Continued our baby naming unit.
    1. We talked about why we study the Jewish life cycle
    1. What is Brit and Bat Milah are what the differences are
    1. We continued our conversation about naming
  2. In honor of ‘Camp Sunday’, we had a school wide Havdalah service as our morning Tefilla this week, which was led by Morah Alexa and Rabbi Prass.  A representative from 4th, 5th, and 6th grade sat in the middle of the circle to hold the 3 Havdalah symbols. The 4th grade rep was Parker L
  3. Then Will Rivlin, an assistant Camp Director from OSRUI, came and we enjoyed a presentation from him on the amazing opportunities for fun, learning, and Jewish community from 4 Reform Jewish Summer camps.  Those camps and links to their websites are: 6 Points Creative Arts Camp, 6 Points Sci Tech Camp, 6 Points Sports Academy, OSRUI

Homework to be completed by next class:

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10/15: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Finished our Simchat Torah unit: Discussed why the Torah is so important; Ways that we can honor the torah in our everyday life.
  2. Began our baby naming unit: Discussed why we have a name and why our names are so important.
  3. At Shira, 4th – 6th grade enjoyed singing along with a former 4th grade CBA Religious School student Matthew Stoll, who was our song leader today.  He is now a junior in high school and still a CBA student.
  4. When we returned to the class we discussed the situation in Medinat Yisrael and then had the opportunity to write letters of support to Israeli kids and those serving in the IDF. These will be personally delivered by a friend of Rabbi Prass later this week
  5. Finally, at Tefilla Rabbi Prass challenged all of us to stay Jewishly connected during these difficult times. T’fillah was led by Rabbi Prass and Matthew Stoll.

Homework to be completed by next class:

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10/8: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Wrapped up talking about Sukkot
  2. Talked about Simchat Torah
    1. What the holiday is and the meaning
    1. Why is it important to both the Jewish people and to us individually
    1. How we celebrate
  3. We discussed as a whole school what is happening in Israel with Rabbi Prass. We were encouraged to reach out to people we know in Israel we know: family, friends, or past Israeli counselors from summer camp and let them know they are not alone.  Together we made a short video letting them know we are thinking of them.  You can see it by clicking this links: https://youtu.be/Uy5VqPOI0-8 OR https://fb.watch/nz-5agvBD6/
  4. 4th – 6th grade gathered for Shirah (Music) with Morah Alexa.
  5. T’filah (Prayer) with all of 4th – 6th grade, led by Rabbi Prass and Morah Alexa.  We talked about our final Fall holiday Simchat Torah, Hoshanah Rabba, and Shemini Atzeret.

Homework to be completed by next class:

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10/1: Today in class we worked on:

  1. It was wonderful to have the whole school at the synagogue for our annual session at Beth Am centered around Sukkot and Simchat Torah.
  2. We began the session with an all school game of “I spy with my little eye” something Jewish in the CBA sanctuary.  The K – 6th grade learners found the eternal light, ark, Israeli Flags, Stars of David, Torah scrolls, and much more.  It was so much fun to let their eyes explore our congregations sanctuary space.
  3. Then we had an all school t’fillah led by Rabbi Prass and Morah Alexa. 
  4. From there we spread outside and throughout the building for 5 Sukkot related stations.  We rotated every 15 minutes by grade.  The stations were:
    1. Sukkot terms and concepts thru a rousing game of charades
    1. Build your own sukkah thru origami.  The learners wrote on the roof “My own home is beautiful because…..”
    1. Usphizin (inviting guests into my sukkah): The learners thought about who they would want to invite into their sukkah this week
    1. A Sukkah Scavenger Hunt of the Mind using Sukkot terms and concepts
    1. Sukkah visit with Rabbi Bellows where they spent time in the real sukkah and had an opportunity to shake the lulav & etrog.
  5. We concluded the session with shira, joining in songs connected to sukkot and the next holiday of Simchat Torah.

Homework to be completed by next class:

  1. Next Sunday we return to JCYS.

9/10: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Rabbi Prass opened the new school year with an assembly, where both the Madrichim and Morim performed short plays to start our new term off.  Rabbi Prass blew from his long Yemenite Shofar and we were introduced to our awesome new song leader Morah Alexa!
  2. We got to know each other better by: Telling each other our names our favorite activity, and something fun we did this summer.
  3. Made Rosh Hashana cards for our CBA college students.
  4. Began talking about Rosh Hashana
  5. We talked about the different symbols of Rosh Hashana and their significance.
    1. We shared what we are proud of this past year.
    1. Students share something they accomplished this year.
    1. As well as sharing any goals they may have this coming year.
  6. Our day was completed with Shira.  Morah Alexa began teaching us new songs, such as “Hava NeShira”, and everyone enjoyed learning from her!

Homework to be completed by next class:

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