Education – 6th 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. Trope Plus with Moreh Dickson (see HW for what prayers we worked on)  
  4. Discussion about Identity and “What makes you, you?”
  5. Read a passage from “Good-bye, Marianne” book and wrote about what we would put in our suitcases if we were going on the Kiddietransport
  6. Combined with 5th grade for two activities/discussions based around identity and morals. Discussed “The Sneetches” by Dr. Seuss and “Passage To Freedom: The Sugihara Story”
  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:

  1. Practice the prayers Morah Dickson worked on during Trope Plus
  2. Tallit Blessing and Shema (page 1)
  3. Blessing Before Reading Torah (Page 6)
  4. Blessing After Reading Torah (Page 7)
  5. Blessing Before Reading Haftarah (Page 8)
  6. Blessing After Reading Haftarah (Page 9)

2/18: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Trope Plus with Moreh Dickson
  2. Started a discussion about the prophet, Isaiah, and her story and how she came to be influential.
  3. Finished reading the prophet through and discussed the main points about the prophet Isaiah.
  4. Discussion about what Isaiah would say about the Rise in Antisemitism in the modern world.
  5. 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 from our participated in, going over the main ideas of this week’s Torah portion Tetzaveh.

Homework to be completed by next class:

  1. Practice the prayers Morah Dickson worked on during Trope Plus
  2. Tallit Blessing and Shema (page 1)
  3. Blessing Before Reading Torah (Page 6)
  4. Blessing After Reading Torah (Page 7)
  5. Blessing Before Reading Haftarah (Page 8)
  6. Blessing After Reading Haftarah (Page 9)

2/11: Today in class we worked on:

  1. 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.”
  2. Started a discussion about the prophet, Deborah, and her story and how she came to be influential.
  3. Finished reading the Prophet and discussed the main points about the Prophet Deborah.
  4. Discussion about what Deborah would say about the Rise in Antisemitism in the modern world.
  5. We ended our day with a 4th & 6th special scheduling of Shira with Morah Alexa. When there is no Trope with Morah Dickson, we will be going to Shira.

Homework to be completed by next class:

  1. Practice the prayers Morah Dickson worked on during Trope Plus
    1. Tallit Blessing and Shema (page 1)
    1. Blessing Before Reading Torah (Page 6)
    1. Blessing After Reading Torah (Page 7)
    1. Blessing Before Reading Haftorah (Page 8)
  2. TropePlus materials on the Beth Am Website: https://www.bethambg.org/education-6th-grade-3/

2/4: Today in class we worked on:

  1. We talked about healthy debates: How do we as Jews, as 6th graders, and as humans have healthy/civil debates.
  2. We discussed definitions of the words “Apartheid”, “Genocide”, and “Colonizer”.  Several of the students were able to offer working definitions of them.  For others, it was their first time.
  3. Then we applied these words to a movement activity: Stand up and move along a line, based on your opinion to the following: do you agree, disagree, or somewhere in the middle that Israel was committing Genocide, Apartheid, or Colonizer.  Once they moved, they were asked to explain to the rest of the class, why they felt that way. The goal was to give all 6th graders present the opportunity to explore how they feel about it.  And of course we answered questions and clarified places where social media had given our 6th graders wrong information. 
  4. 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 the these songs in our song book 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.
  5. 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:

  1. Practice the prayers Morah Dickson worked on during Trope Plus
    1. Tallit Blessing and Shema (page 1)
    1. Blessing Before Reading Torah (Page 6)
    1. Blessing After Reading Torah (Page 7)
    1. Blessing Before Reading Haftorah (Page 8)

TropePlus materials on the Beth Am Website: https://www.bethambg.org/education-6th-grade-3/

1/28: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Trope Plus with Morah Dickson
    1. Worked on Tallit Blessing, Shema, Blessing Before and After Reading Torah, Blessing Before the Haftorah
  2. Discussion about what yesterday meant (International Holocaust Day of Remembrance) and how it relates to what is going on in Israel today.
  3. Read through and discussed main points about the prophet Ezekiel.
  4. Discussion about what Ezekiel would say about the Rise in Antisemitism in the modern world.
  5. 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. Practice the prayers Morah Dickson worked on during Trope Plus
    1. Tallit Blessing and Shema (page 1)
    1. Blessing Before Reading Torah (Page 6)
    1. Blessing After Reading Torah (Page 7)
    1. Blessing Before Reading Haftorah (Page 8)
  2. TropePlus materials on the Beth Am Website: https://www.bethambg.org/education-6th-grade-3/

1/21: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Trope Plus with Morah Dickson
    1. Worked on Tallit Blessing, Shema, Blessing Before and After Reading Torah
  2. Discussion about the Prophets, who they are and what they did with Rabbi Prass
  3. Started reading introductions to certain prophets.
  4. Decided to focus on what certain prophets would say about the Rise in Antisemitism in the modern world: 6 Prophets Chosen: Ezekiel, Hosea, Debora, Solomon, Hannah and Isaiah
  5. 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. Practice the prayers Morah Dickson worked on during Trope Plus
    • Tallit Blessing and Shema (page 1)
    • Blessing Before Reading Torah (Page 6)
    • Blessing After Reading Torah (Page 7)
  2. TropePlus materials on the Beth Am Website: https://www.bethambg.org/education-6th-grade-3/

1/14: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Welcome Activity and Introductions (6th Grade Boker B’Yachad)
  2. Our first Trope Plus session with Morah Dickson, 6th graders, and Parents. Trope Plus will be the 6th grade shira for most of 2nd semester.
  3. Broke Off Into Two Groups  
    1. Parents with Rabbi Bellows discussing important tachlis (logistics) for becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  There will be a different opportunity for parents to access this information at an upcoming nuts’n’bolts meeting with Rabbi Bellows and Marcy Chez.
    1. Students stayed with Morah Aaron for “This Is Jewish Me” – discussion about prophets and values. Answered question about where our values come from and how do these values and prophets make up who you are as a Jew
  4. Parents re-joined their children. Children shared their drawings and ideas with parents.
  5. Group activity with both students and parents sharing thoughts about becoming a B’nai Mitzvah and what it means to you as a parent and what it means to you as a student.
  6. 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. 
  7. Thank you to the parents that braved the elements to share the day with us. We are truly appreciative for all of you. Moreh Aaron Wurtzel.

Homework to be completed by next class:

N/A

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. Reviewed traits of the Orthodox Movement, Conservative Movement and Reform Movement in Judaism
  3. Re-wrote our Letters of Affirmation with our newfound information about each of the movements.
  4. Finally, we finished off class today with 4th – 6th grade Shira led by Morah Alexa.

Reminders:

  • December 24th: CBA Religious School Winter Break Begins
  • January 14th: 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. Reviewed Reform and Conservative Judaism Movement
  2. Discussed Orthodox Movement.
  3. At Shira, Morah Alexa taught us, along with 4th – 5th grade several songs in anticipation of this week’s joyous chag of Chanukah, which starts on Thursday night.
  4. Finished Discussion about the Orthodox Movement
  5. Discussed what Holidays look like in each sect (focus – Yom Kippur, Hanukkah, Passover)
  6. 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 our own 6th graders.

Homework to be completed by next class:

N/A

11/19: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Finished Discussion about Reform Judaism. Discussed 3 Articles from last week (Article 1 – History Of The Reform Movement, Article 2 – What Is A Reform Jew?, Article 3 – Guiding Principles of Reform Judaism.
  2. At Shira, we, along with 4th – 6th grade enjoyed the talents of our guest soloist Matthew Stoll who filled in for Morah Alexa.
  3. Discussed Conservative Judaism and the Conservative Movement. Compared it to the Reform Movement
  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.
  5. Have A Wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Homework to be completed by next class:

N/A

11/12: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Discussed Reform Movement. Broke up into 3 Groups to read articles. Article 1 – History Of The Reform Movement, Article 2 – What Is A Reform Jew?, and Article 3 – Guiding Principles of Reform Judaism.
  2. For Shira where Morah Alexa, with Rosh Chodesh Kislev this week, shared a Chanukah ballad with all of 4th – 6th grade.
  3. Started Working On Important Notes From Our Articles (Discussion of Articles will come next week)
  4. 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:

N/A

11/5: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Filmed our skits as part of the culmination on our middot (Jewish values) unit
  2. Students worked on a Letter of Affirmation about “What Reform Judaism is?” and “What do you know about the Reform Movement?”
  3. At Shira Morah Alexa taught all of 4th – 6th grade two new songs, including “Evdu Et Hashem B’Simcha!”
  4. 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:

N/A

10/29: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Worked On Scripts for Middot Project
  2. At Shira, Morah Alexa taught us, along with 4th & 5th grade more songs.
  3. Contd. Work on writing scripts
  4. 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

Homework to be completed by next class:

N/A

10/22: Today in class we worked on:

  1. 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.
  2. Discussion about Middot and how it relates to what is going on in Israel today.
  3. Shira was different this week as we had an All-School Sing-along with Morah Alexa. 
  4. 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:

N/A

10/15: Today in class we worked on:

  1. Review from Last Cass. (Cut down our list to 5 middot; Boys were scripting Shalom, Girls started scripting Chesed)
  2. When we returned to the class we discussed the situation in Medinat Yisrael and then had the opportunity to write letters of supports to Israeli kids and those serving in the IDF.  These will be personally delivered by a friend of Rabbi Prass later this week
  3. Boys finished staging for Shalom, Girls finished staging for Chesed
  4. 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.
  5. Staged our final 2 values; Rachamim/Bina and Nedivut.
  6. 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:

N/A

Today in class we worked on:

  1. Review Middot. (What are middot?, What middot do we want to focus on as we move towards starting to film our scripts about Values)
  2. Cut down the list of Middot to 5 general focuses (Gimilut Chasadim – Acts of Loving Kindness, Rachamim/Bina – Compassion/Understanding, Nedivut – Generosity, Chesed – Kindness, Shalom – Peace)
  3. Started working on scripts for our skits. Wrote Gimilut Chasadim as a class. Girls worked on Chesed; Boys worked on Peace
  4. The entire school, K – 6, met in the atrium with Rabbi Prass to talk about the recent events in Israel.  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/

Homework to be completed by next class:

N/A

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. We enjoyed an Opening Ceremony- with all grades together, and so many parents in attendance.  It was great to see the parents!
  2. Introductions (Name, Middle School We Attend, What does Being Jewish Mean To You)
  3. What are Middot? – Conversations about what we value personally, and then what do we as Jews value.
  4. Jewish Middot – Conversation about Acts of Loving Kindness, Respect, Wisdom, Beauty, Justice, and Peace
  5. Shirah (Music) with 4th – 6th grade led by Morah Alexa

Homework to be completed by next class:

N/A