language arts in view
The literary output of students has been incredible during remote learning! This week, first graders held a virtual Poetry Slam in which they wrote about babies, skiing, lakes, and more, and second graders shared Slice of Life short stories about everything from kayaks to marshmallows to play dates. Further on in fourth grade, students shared essays (and much more!) for their Discover Michigan program, sixth graders finished essays on the subject of song lyrics (see story below), and eighth graders completed poems (see below) reflecting on their years at Hillel as they prepare for graduation.
Before they head out the door, eighth grade students also typically sneak letters of gratitude into teachers’ mailboxes at school. This year, circumstances forced them to be a little less stealthy - they sent their notes via email. Filled with memories and affection, we share one excerpt here with you, by Talia Begres:
...although my friends helped shape me into the person I am today, the teachers had a bigger influence. They taught me valuable [academic] skills, and life skills such as self-confidence and perseverance, and also Jewish values. I will never forget the connection I made with each and every one of my teachers. They have encouraged me, helped me to feel safe and calm through every fire and tornado drill, and inspired me to help others. They are family to me.
We invite you to celebrate our Class of 2020 at a special Shabbat candle lighting tonight at 7:00 p.m. via this Zoom link.
Hats Off to Fourth Grade
Fourth graders showed off their multidimensional learning about our great state of Michigan on Thursday during their Discover Michigan virtual program, including written essays, original Michigan-related video games, lighthouses completed in science, and more, all while wearing their class shirts and teachers humming beloved songs from past Michigan Night programs. Kol hakavod for adapting the unit to remote learning!
Earlier in the week, these students held a mock Michigan legislative session via Zoom with Sen. Jeremy Moss (class of 2000), and Rep. Robert Wittenberg. They asked questions, deliberated, and ultimately decided to ban weapons from the state capitol building except for law enforcement. Working through this vote taught students about government, debate, and consensus.
Throughout their study of Michigan over the course of the year, students have shown an amazing ability to collaborate with peers, gain practical skills in technology and publishing, demonstrate patience, and have exhibited growth, teacher Rachel Kellert said. “Our team has been blown away by their dedication, and the amount of work they’ve put in.”
Whether you’re a Billie Eilish fan or not, her lyrics are worthy of analysis, and sixth grader Laya Holtzman (at right) dove deep into the song “Ocean Eyes” to write her final essay in teacher Renee Liberman’s class.
The essay comes on the heels of a poetry unit in which sixth graders delved into the genre’s elements of rhyme, repetition, alliteration, and imagery - setting a mood or carrying through a theme. During their study, students discovered that song is also a form of poetry; hence the assignment to analyze a song of their choice.
Laya’s take on Eilish’s song is that “falling into your ocean eyes, those ocean eyes,” is about falling in love, and more. There are phrases that indicate compassion and not taking loved ones for granted, no matter the circumstance. Further, in the lyrics, “I’ve been walking through a world gone blind, can't stop thinking of your diamond mind,” Laya finds the blindness metaphor apt for today’s world, one in which despite the fact that pain, anger, sadness, and uncertainty prevail, it’s important to “take a closer look in life at all the big and little things, like hanging out with friends, going to a new place, a new car!” she writes. “Because one day it won't be there.”
"This is my favorite essay because it demonstrates so much student voice and choice,” Ms. Liberman said. As Laya did, “students often realize what their favorite song is truly about.”
ecc 4 end-of-year celebration
At this morning's program for our ECC 4-year-old students, teachers shared words of wisdom for students who are ending their time in our Early Childhood Center! A few tears were shed as slideshow memories played, and parents and grandparents heard the sweet voices of students singing. Below catch a glimpse of the program as Miss Anna Gartman makes a wish for the world in which these precious children will grow. Mazal tov to all the families!