Friday, May 30, 2014

Strong Proud Thoughtful

Shavuot is just 4 days away!
Morah Katie: A holiday is coming up any day now...
Sroli: Shavuot!
Morah Katie: Why do we celebrate Shavuot?
Zim: Hashem loves us and gave us the Torah.
This week we took a trip to the synagogue to look at the big Torah.
 Rabbi Greenburg showed us the ark where the Torah is kept.
 He brought it down for a closer look.
We all gave it a hug.
We looked at the words in the Torah, the words that teach us mitzvahs and stories to help us make good choices. 

We got to put the beautiful crown back on the Torah.

Sroli: Hashem gave the Torah on Har Sinai because he wasn’t a braggy mountain.
Efraim: He wants us to be like Har Sinai.
Morah Katie: What was Mount Sinai like?
Zim: He didn’t brag like the other mountains. He talked more nicely.
Amelia: I am drawing the flower mountain, it was pretty but kind of bossy.
Jack: I made the volcano with it's exploding lava.
Morah Katie: How does it make you feel when people around you begin to brag?
Sroli: Not so good.
Judah: Makes you feel sad.
Anton: I like to walk away.
Morah Katie: How would you want them to speak to you?
Efraim: Kindly.
Morah Katie: If someone spoke in a caring and thoughtful way how would you feel?
Efraim: Happy.
Sroli: I'd smile.
Every morning we sing:
Hareini Mikabel alay mitzvat Asei
shel viahavta lirie-acha camocha
 I take upon myself the mitzvah of loving my fellow friend as myself

Morah Katie: What does loving my fellow friend as myself mean?
Efraim: Be happy with them.
Sroli: Invite them to play.
Judah: Look at their face to see how they feel.
Isaac: Help them.
Efraim: Speak kindly.
Sroli: Share a toy.
Morah Katie: When you do those things how do you feel?
Sroli: Good.
Morah Katie: When you feel good, is it easier to help others feel good?
Kids: Yes.
Morah Katie: When you help a friend, do you feel proud?
Kids: (thinking...)
Morah Katie: Pride can be an interesting feeling. 
I would like to share something with you:
 Yesterday Natan drew a beautiful picture. 
When he was done he asked for help writing his name. 
I asked him what part of his name could he write?
Natan said: I will try my N.
Do you know what? Natan wrote his very own N for the very first time! Natan, how did you feel?
Natan: Happy 
Morah Katie: When you do something that makes you feel proud, you feel happy.  When you are feeling happy and proud, are you better able to care for others?
Kids: Yes!
Morah Katie: What does the Torah teach us?
Anton: To do good things!
Sroli: To help!
Efraim: Be kind.
Jack: To make helpful choices.

Some kind and thoughtful moments from the week:
Jack: Anton can I play with you?
Anton: No I want to play by myself.
Jack turns to walk away.
Anton: Jack actually you can play with me. It would be more fun.

Abigail is feeling proud that she latched her helmet by herself.
On the playground Efraim wanted a turn on a bike.
Initially, Efraim was feeling frustrated. He found a kind voice:
Efraim: Abigail, may you share the bike?
Abigail: Yes! I can share. Here have my bike.
Efraim: Thank you Abigail.

Sroli: I made 2 Torahs!
I am feeling proud.

Efraim: I made Har Sinai, that is Moshe at top.
Moments too quick for the camera:
Judah giving Archie a nice and gentle hug in line after playtime.
Ari helping Archie wash his hands.
Amelia checking in Evan when she heard him crying.
Zim helping Natan put his sock on.  
Efraim telling Abigail her notebook looks interesting.
Jack helping Natan tape his art on the wall. 
Anton helping Judah put the blocks away.

Fortunately, these moments happen daily at The Gan.  
Each year as we learn in greater detail why Shavuot is special, I am pleased to witness that these children  are strong enough to make good choices, proud of their choices and who they are, and thoughtful caring people.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

As of today, Friday May 23 we have had 155 days of school.
We have been counting more than just school days, we have been
counting down to a very exciting holiday.

Morah Tzivie: Since Passover, we have been counting the days until the next holiday.
What are some of the special things we do on a holiday?
Zim: Light candles.
Sroli: Eat challah.
Morah Tzivie: We can wear special clothes. 
Does anyone know the name of this holiday, this very special day?
Efraim: Shavuot!
Morah Tzivie:  Yes.  Hashem told the Jewish people He was going to give them a special present 49 days after they left Egypt.
Do you know what the present was?
Kids: The TORAH!
Morah Tzivie: Yes! We have been counting each day as we prepare to celebrate this very special holiday.
Who can tell me what is in the Torah?  
What does it tell us?
Gracie: Stories.
Efriam: Holidays.
Zim: It tells us to do kind things.
Morah Tzivie: Hashem told the Jewish people that he was going to give the special present on a mountain. 
Well the mountains of the world heard this and became so excited.  They became SO excited they began to brag about themselves, and they argued together about who was better.
What is bragging?
Gracie: When you don't speak kindly about what you can do.
Efriam: Others feel bad.
Morah Tzivie: Bragging is speaking about yourself in a way that makes others around you feel bad. BUT one mountain didn't brag. Mt. Sinai thought to himself, I know I am special because Hashem created me.  I feel bad when I hear the other mountains bragging and boasting.  I am going to use kind words and be happy and proud of who I am. 
Can you guess which mountain Hashem chose?
Gracie: Mt.Sinai!
Morah Tzivie: We are special and all have something we are proud of, we can invite our friends to join us, we can share it with others.
Gracie: It's a volcano but it wouldn't brag or be mean and bossy, it would just spout lava to grow islands.
Sroli: My mountain is covered with lakes and water.  
Efriam: You can swim on that mountain.
Efriam: I make a tall mountain. It can see the clouds. It would speak nicely, kind words.
We talked about mitzvahs we learn about in the Torah:
Zim: Helping
Efraim: Sharing
Gracie: Giving to others

Judah: Scout will you help me make the rocket?
Scout: Yes I can help you.
Judah: Thanks, now that we made the rocket will you help me make the bat?
Scout: Yes I can help you make the bat too.

We are eagerly waiting until day 49. 
Today it has been 38 days since we began counting, we only have 
11! days to go!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

We arrived on our 7th and final continent.
We returned to North America. 
Our first stop was Mexico.
Bienvenidos Amigos!
While traveling through Mexico, we met a new friend: Omar.
Morah Katie: What does our friend in Mexico need to grow up strong and healthy?
Efraim: Shelter.
Gracie: Clothes just like we do.
Abigail: Milk.
Sroli: Food.
Morah Katie: Are those things different from the things you need here in Vancouver Washington?
Kids: No! 
Gracie: We all need them.

Efraim noticed that Omar's house looked like it had a lot of squares and rectangles on it's walls. 
He decided to create a similar home in the classroom using our blocks.
 We noticed that Omar enjoys wrapping beans in tortillas. 
We made some fresh tortillas in class.
We left Mexico Tuesday, and traveled to Canada Wednesday.
In Canada we met Levi. 
We immediately noticed that his name is very similar to our friend and former student Levi, however our Canadian friend pronounces his name Lee-vi.
Morah Katie: We have a new friend, Levi. Levi lives on the tundra in the Northern part of Canada, not by the ocean like Omar.  What do both Omar and Levi need to be happy and healthy?
Efraim: Clothes.
Scout: Aunts and uncles.
Isaac: Friends.
Sroli: Food.
Ameila: Milk.
Gracie: Shelter.
Morah Katie: So even though they live very different lives, these 2 boys need the same things in order to grow up healthy and happy? 
Kids: Yes! 
While in Canada we discovered that Canadians are very similar to Americans.
We are both countries with citizens from many places around the world.
Many Canadians enjoy the sport of Hockey.
We enjoyed Canadian maple syrup;
we made pancakes to go with it.

Gracie: This is the country we live in. It's in North America.
Isaac: But what about that one, down there ?
Gracie: That one is SOUTH America, we went there but we don't live there.
Morah Katie: You have traveled to all 7 continents, what did you discover about what all children around the world need?
Natan: They need food.
Efriam: They all need shelter.
Gracie: They all need clothes.
Sroli: They need sandwiches.
Jacob: They need dinner.
Abigail: Blankets. And Milk.
Jack: A club house.
Morah Katie: A club house would be fun, if you don't have a club house, what can you use to have fun? You all have one.
Gracie: Our brain.
Morah Katie:Please tell my your favorite country, and why.
Isaac: Antarctica, because of the penguins.
 Gracie: Ukraine, because I liked the dancing.
Anton: I also like Antarctica best because I like a lot of penguins.
Scout: Japan, I like the kimonos.
Efraim: Botswana, I like to dance in Botswana.
Sroli: I like North America best. I liked Mexico. It was fun.
Abigail: I liked Europe, all of Europe.

Shalom, Sayanara, Sala Sentle, Au Revoir
G'day, Adios, Adeus, Au Revoir, Do pobacennja,
Adios, Good bye!