72 YEARS STRONG!
A round of applause for our families and resourceful teachers who pulled off an energetic Yom Ha-atzma’ut on Wednesday! Even over the Internet, our school spirit shined, starting bright and early with an ECC trip to Israel, and followed by live cooking demonstrations, games that tested our Israel knowledge, and I.D.F. "training" with our Shinshinim. For many, the day ended with a recorded concert performance by the Holy Band, which had performed for Hillel live on the occasion of Israel’s 70th birthday two years ago!
Throughout the day, families showed off how they were commemorating Israel Independence Day, with blue and white cakes, homemade flags, chalk art, and Israeli dance parties in the living room. Principal Melissa Michaelson kicked off the day with a blue & white cake displayed during morning announcements. “Yom Ha-atzma’ut is a significant and joyous chag, and I wanted to bring some extra sweetness to the day since we can’t physically be together.”
Yuval Weiss-Izhaki, who led the IDF activities, loved reuniting with our community. “It was amazing to see and talk with students again.” Yuval was among our Detroit-based Shinshinim who returned to Israel after school closed due to the coronavirus. “I enjoyed watching them do the workout to the best of their abilities, even if it meant they had to sweat a bit,” he said with a wink.
“I loved working out with Yuval,” said seventh grader Zachary Elbinger. “It was fun to get some exercise in the middle of the school day.”
Closer to home, in her kitchen, Judaic Studies teacher Omer Chudnow taught how to make a classic Israeli salad with techina, assisted by her third grade son, Reemone. “It was fun,” she said. And naturally, she had to make the most of our new reality. “I had to figure out where to place my computer so everyone could see what I was doing!”
We thank the sponsors who were to have helped make our in-school festivities a success, and are grateful for their continued support: Telemus Financial Life Management and Fischman Insurance Group, our Carnival event sponsors; Sandy and Jim Danto, our Games and Bounce House sponsor; and Mira and Leopoldo Eisenberg, our Sweet Treat sponsor.
Home is where the learning is: new student programs launched
This week remote learning kicked into higher gear with additional educational programs provided to students, as well as new live classes that give students opportunities to engage with our specialty teachers.
The online math proficiency program, iReady, offers skills reinforcement for our fifth and sixth grades, and is also offered optionally in seventh and eighth grades. “It’s a way for students to get extra practice in and work on concepts that may be challenging,” said Kim Love, Director of Student Services.
Specialists' new live classes supplement the abundant recorded material delivered to ECC-4 students. Throughout the week, children can now "zoom" into MakerSpace Recess, Movement with P.E. teachers, Shabbat music, and ECC music classes.
Early signs of success: 17 students joined Dawn Straith, our Innovation Hub Coordinator and Educator, to make a mobile out of Jewish stars using objects found at home. “It’s been great to see what the students have been making on their own while at home, and now we can brainstorm activities to do together,” Mrs. Straith said.
“We’ve heard from several parents who are happy and grateful for this real-time approach,” said Andrea Jenkins, 1-4 Learning Communities Director. “For parents looking for more live time with teachers, this is a daily opportunity we are happy to provide.”
Activity links will be sent to ECC-4 families at the start of each week.
Tigay’s Tips for Staying On Task
In a recent video message sent to second grade parents, 1-2 General Studies teacher Julie Tigay shared some strategies that can help all students succeed during our time at home, and make home and school “feel as similar as possible.”
- Make a daily checklist that your child can check off when assignments are completed. It will help you as a family to stay organized, and it will add to your child's feeling of independence.
- When they’re meant to be focusing on a lesson, make sure your children are not multi-tasking.
- Use the worksheets and papers (i.e. “Weekend Newspaper”) we have made available for you to print out - they are what students are used to using at school.
- Read with a snack!
“We hope you’re having some fun being a fly on the wall, seeing the learning,” she said. “Everyone, adult and child alike, is doing the best we can with everything we’re going through. Please recognize your child’s abilities, and notice what they do well!”
Part of the focus of our seventh grade Diyyun class asks students to identify and reflect upon their Jewish identities, “and to recognize that our Jewish journey mirrors the challenges and highlights of Jewish history,” teacher Leah Gawel explained. During our remote learning period, she has given her students time to create digital Jewish memory books at home, where they can reminisce with their parents, find old photos, and “create some meaningful family moments,” she said. The assignment also wove in vocabulary and emphasized solid writing skills as would be expected in any General Studies class.
The results are heartwarming, and revealing -- as students share their family histories, favorite Jewish foods, holidays, and customs. Students also, in some cases, wrestle with questions related to levels of observance and ritual practice, and their future Jewish aspirations.
Judaism includes knowing that “I have a community to rely on, and people I can trust,” student Michael Basso said.
Student Meir Shomer included as one of his favorite memories the use of his mother Molly Spalter's chanukkiah to light candles on Chanukah, one that was given to her upon her own Hillel graduation in 1999, a hopeful sign that these students will pass on the Jewish tradition to their own children in the future.
recipe of the week: chocolate chip scones
We're still tallying results from last week's survey of your favorite Hillel lunch, so in the meantime try this delectable chocolate chip scone recipe from our food services team. Post your results using #hilleldayathome. Betayavon!