hillel celebrates a unique teacher appreciation week
A truly great teacher is hard to find but our PTO members located all our wonderful teachers this week, driving across metro Detroit to deliver gifts to their homes during Teacher Appreciation Week.
“Our teachers are always an inspiration to us and their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed,” said parent Lisa Keller, who serves on the Teacher Appreciation Week committee along with parents Lindsay Mall and Nicole Matsamakis. “It’s even more amazing that during this unprecedented time, they are keeping their connections with each child. They’re leaving an imprint on our children, and I was honored to be able to drop off something special for our teachers at this time.”
In addition to treats and T-shirts for our teachers, all week long students showed their gratitude in messages and videos delivered electronically to their classroom and specialty teachers.
PTO President Amy Sapeika will speak on behalf of parents at tonight’s Teacher Celebration Shabbat Candle Lighting at 7:00 p.m. We invite you to attend using this link.
Authentic Writing Unit Now “In the Books”
Our first graders have a lot to be proud of this week - they published lengthy non-fiction books about the animal of their choice after weeks of tireless research and planning. The final products were shared with an authentic audience on Flipgrid, where teachers and classmates could listen and comment on the work.
Max Goodman wrote about German Shepherds, a breed that is “loosely shaped” like his family’s mutt Schemy (named for beloved University of Michigan head football coach "Bo" Schembechler).
“I loved how you made reference to German Shepherd Rin Tin Tin, the famous movie and television star,” said learning specialist Carol Fridson in response to Max’s story. “He was my favorite growing up!”
“It was such a nice way for the students and teachers who haven’t seen each other in so many weeks to connect,” said Sherri Goodman, Max’s mother.
It was even nicer, she added, that the project, which at first seemed daunting to Max, became a source of excitement as it neared completion.
“You tell a kid he has to write a book, and it can be a battle,” she said. “As a parent overseeing the work at home, you want to do things like correct spelling, but you have to hold back because the teacher needs to see the authentic work.”
By the end, Max was happy to hold a book in his hand, and he learned a valuable lesson, his mom said. “The value of sticking with a huge project, and how great you feel when you see the light at the end of the tunnel, and you arrive at your destination.”
going above & Beyond to teach, and connect, with students
With remote learning now in its second month, our teachers are going above and beyond just as they do at school. This week saw ECC "drive-bys" and teachers dropping off (sanitized) Mother’s Day projects for students to complete, and the resumption of teacher Betsy Wolf’s Friday morning Ivrit book club for third graders.
“We’re reading The Cat in the Hat Comes Back in Hebrew” using booklets made at school before the mid-March closure, Morah Wolf said. She even hand-delivered the booklets to students’ porches, along with mini muffins, in advance of the first Zoom meeting.
The book club adds to Morah Wolf’s other supplementary offerings. While the third grade Ivrit curriculum of Hebrew writing, Torah, chagim, and reading is delivered via SeeSaw Monday through Thursday, she and her counterparts, Hadass Zaid and Morah Niva Amiel-Wilner, are also holding an optional live Torah class on Wednesday afternoons.
“As we are teaching them new material remotely, we want to give them every opportunity to ask questions and discuss more in depth these new Torah portions. We don’t want them to miss out on any of the learning that would be happening in the classroom. It is also purely selfish on our part," she said. "We all miss our students and any chance to see them and talk to them, even if it is just via Zoom, brings us joy!”
SOCIAL DISTANCING CAN'T STOP LOVE
Our ECC teachers are relentless in their drive to deliver as much engaging content to their students as is possible to fit into a week of learning! Copious amounts of developmentally-appropriate handwriting, reading, math, science and art projects are delivered daily, along with Ivrit, and our teachers don't stop there.
They're driving by with handmade signs, dropping off projects, and scheduling individual FaceTime chats with little ones, especially before bedtime.
Here's Morah Etti teaching Hebrew vocabulary related to family just in time for Mother's Day, with a little help from her own daughter. Enjoy!
twice as nice: geometry at home
First graders are studying Geometry, including 3-D shapes and their attributes. By working at home they have been able to see shapes within their environment such as canned food for cylinders, a party hat for a cone, and rectangular prisms everywhere!
The lessons are taking root. Now, even when they aren't doing their school work, twins Brendyn and Emma Tischler are often pointing out different shapes, saying, "Look it's a ____," said mother Elissa Tischler, a Hillel kindergarten teacher. The observations lead to discussions asking “how they know that,” she said.
The twins have not been together in class since they were ECC students, but they’re fortunate to have each other now as classmates, Mrs. Tischler said. “They really are lucky to have each other during this time.”
alumni news: Class of 2016 zooms in for a Reunion
Every spring we bring back to school our class of alumni who are now graduating high school. This year, school came to them in their living rooms and bedrooms and at their kitchen tables, as the Class of 2016 connected virtually with one another and with staff for a reunion.
“Hillel did a great job connecting us,” said Ben Goldstein, who will attend Michigan State University in the fall. “It was great to see everyone.”
Laela Saulson, who will also attend Michigan State University in the fall, agreed. “It was great to see my classmates and all of the staff, and to reminisce and catch up, and finding out what everyone is planning to do next year was fun.”