It was lovely to have had a vacation break, but then delightful to return to see our children, families, and teachers.  We decided to have a sharing time so we could learn about what everyone did on their winter break.  Some of us had the opportunity to travel on cruises or visit other places (Mexico, Florida, Israel), while others relaxed and had playdates or visited fun places like Imagination Station.  This was a good chance for the children to have practice organizing their thoughts and learning to express themselves in front of a group. They enjoyed all the attention too.

We thought it would be beneficial to continue with the review of the Hebrew alphabet.  The children worked on the letter Gimel, cutting and gluing pictures of words with the initial sound of the Gimel.  The words were: gahl – wheel; gamal – camel; and gezer – carrot.  The children are becoming more proficient in their cutting skills as well as their Hebrew literacy.

Since we discussed and celebrated trees for Tu B’Shevat, we decided to expand the theme of growing things by doing an experiment with beans.  First the children watched a stop gap video of beans growing in the ground.  They were able to see the roots, stems and leaves sprouting.  We had the children count out five red beans and place them on wet paper towels.  They then folded the towels over the beans and inserted them in zip lock bags. The bags were placed on the window sill. We will wait a week and then check to see what has happened to the beans.  Will they look like the beans we saw in the video?

 It’s always fun to pay a visit to the Exploration Room.  The children continually find new ways to work with the materials there.  They are especially fascinated with the overhead projector and took turns placing various combinations of objects, that transformed, when they were projected onto the wall.

The children learn new concepts from a variety of modes and methods.  Besides identifying the English alphabet letters, it is our goal for them to differentiate the sounds the letters make.  We have been working on the letter “Tt”.  We have practiced writing the letter and also identifying pictures which have the initial letter sound.  We found a cute project to give more practice with identifying the “T” sound.  The children cut out the head, legs, and tail of a turtle.  They glued these onto a small paper plate.  Then they glued words that begin with the “T” sound onto the turtle’s back. When at home, you can also help your child identify things around the house that have the initial “T” sound.

 

 While discussing this week’s Parsha, Mishpatim, one of the rules that was accessible for the children to understand was kashrut.  In order to help them classify or sort things according to this rule, the children painted pictures of meat (basar) and dairy (chalav). These pictures were then glued onto a red foam background for meat and a blue foam background for dairy.  The Hebrew words were inscribed on their little banner and a handle affixed so it could be hung up in the proper place in their kitchens. We read several books that related to this week’s and last week’s Parashot:  10 Good Rules: A Counting Book by Susan Remick Topek, The Ten Commandments For Jewish Children by Miriam Nerlove, and No Rules For Michael by Sylvia A. Rouss, about Michael, who wishes there weren’t any rules in his school.  A good discussion followed the reading of this book.  The children definitely saw the need for rules in our classroom, especially when it comes to sharing and taking turns.