Thursday, May 14, 2015

Making our way to Mt. Sinai

We are making our way to Mt. Sinai.
Morah Tzivie showed us a Torah, we looked at all the Hebrew words.
The Torahis the special gift Hashem gave to the Jewish people. 
It has all the mitzvahs we do and stories we tell. 
Hashem gave us the Torah to help us be thoughtful, loving people.
Morah Tzivie shared a story about mountains.
Morah Tzivie: Hashem wanted to give the Jewish people his special gift, the Torah, on a mountain.
A mountain is strong, Hashem wants his people to be strong.  
The mountains heard this and began to argue. They became boastful and braggy. 
What does that mean?
Isaac: You say things in a mean style.
Abigail: Stuff like: I'M SO PRETTY, I'M THE BEST.
Morah Tzivie: Bragging and being boastful is not very nice to hear.  
Which mountain did Hashem give the Torah on?
Kids: Mt. Sinai!
Morah Tzivie: Why did he choose Mt. Sinai?
Sroli: It wasn't bragging.
Morah Tzivie:  Mt. Sinai thought to himself, "I am happy with who I am because Hashem made me. I am special because Hashem made me. I don't want to say hurtful things to my friends, I only want to say kind, thoughtful things".
Hashem wants us to be strong like a mountain, to be proud of who we are, BUT also kind and thoughtful.

For a couple of weeks, I have noticed an increase in this exact behavior.  
At times during the day my friends have become braggy, and thoughtless of others.
Why would this be occurring?  

In September, the children came to school eager to learn and create friendships. 
As the year progressed,  their skills and capabilities, as well as friendships strengthened.
With increased competency comes increased independence, confidence and self assurance.
The children should be proud of what they have accomplished.  
As with all new phases, this greater sense of pride may need some polishing.  
What may be "super easy" for one child now, may still be a challenge for another.  
It is now our job as teachers to acknowledge the accomplishment, and help that child maintain humility. 
We can guide the child's attention to their friend's face. 
What do we see? Is their friend feeling sad? Is their friend excited that their buddy is an excellent counter?  
If the friend is feeling sad,  we offer phrases such as: 
Another way to say writing is super easy for you could be to say, I have been working on my writing and I am better now.  
When I hear my friends being bossy: no you can't play with us, I wonder what caused such a declaration and encourage conversation. 
 I overheard the following this week:
Abigail: Natan why do you and Sroli never play with me anymore?
Natan: Well I don't like it when you boss me.  
Abigail:  So you are not my friend? You don't like me? 
Natan: I like to play with you but you tell what to do. I don't like that.
Abigail: Well I do that because when my friends don't play with me I get sad. I'll not boss you today. will you play with me today?
Natan: Yes, I  like playing ghost zombie with you, just don't boss me.
I told my friends that Shavout is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate with them. 
I love listening to the story of the bragging mountains and thoughtful Mt Sinai.  
Morah Katie: Do we behave like Mt. Sinai just while we get ready for Shavuot?
Kids: NO!
Morah Katie: Should we try to be like Mt. Sinai everyday?
Kids: Yes.
Morah Katie: Is it easy to be thoughtful and kind all the time? 
      (silence)   Sometimes it can be hard if we are tired, or hungry, maybe our feelings have been hurt. Should we just give up and be unkind?  Should we keep trying?
Kids: Yes!
Morah Katie: How can you be like Mt. Sinai today?
Abigail: I can invite a friend to play with me.
Anton: I can use nice words.
Isaac: I can help.
Natan: I can share.
We began creating our own Mt. Sinai's.
We transformed a simple, sturdy "mountain" 
 into beautiful, but humble Mt. Sinai.
Our thursday dismissal went as follows:
Morah Katie: I mistook many of you for Mt. Sinai today. Remind me, why I was mistaking you?
Abigail: I made a door so everyone could come on the pirate ship.
Natan: I helped put the wood blocks away.
Isaac: I wrote ה  for Abigail. I made her art.
Judah: I shared my tzedakah with Olivia.
Olivia: I played with Judah.
Sroli: I helped clean up.
Anton: I helped clean up the blocks even though I played hockey at play time.
Morah Katie: YES! Now I remember, so many kind and thoughtful things happened today. 

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