stories of the week: bring on the fish!
Students in our fourth grade Math Trailblazer class have been exploring the concepts of area and volume. They have developed strategies for measuring area and perimeter with fractional side lengths; they understand that precise measurements are an important part of engineering design, and they gained a deep understanding of volume as they engaged in authentic project-based learning by designing a fish tank for our school. Students analyzed various locations around school to determine which would best suit a fish tank. After deciding upon the location, students determined the dimensions of their fish tank, and calculated the amount of water their tank can hold, the number of fish, and approximate cost. Students collaborated with one another as they built their prototype, decided upon a theme, and brought their fish tank to life.
On Wednesday, the students presented their prototypes to members of the Leadership Team. The concepts, designs, and presentations were "nothing short of amazing," the team said. The learning was apparent. Students clearly understood the engineering concepts, and gained essential communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills during the process. The various themes incorporated Hillel’s motto of Better Together - depicting all aspects of learning at Hillel from MENSCH sense to art and even Jacques Cousteau! The Leadership Team will no doubt have a difficult time choosing a winner. Stay tuned for an aquarium update after winter break.
tomorrow's innovators learn from the industrial past
As part of their learning about Detroit’s history, third graders have been creating their own assembly lines. First, they simulated building Magnatiles homes assembly line-style, and then built the same homes using tiles located in a single place. They quickly discovered that the assembly line was more efficient. During Chanukkah, using an assembly line, students rolled out dough, cut it into shapes, brushed the shapes with egg white, coated the cookies with sprinkles, and then baked and ate them. “That was a delicious, hand-on activity,” teacher Kimberly Stern said.
To deepen their learning, third graders took a field trip to the Ford Rouge plant, where they toured a working assembly line and were amazed at how quickly an F-150 is made. “They really understood then that the purpose of an assembly line is to make production of goods faster and more accurate,” Mrs. Stern said.
Overall, when they reflected on the field trip, the third graders said they’d learned about the advantages of innovation in industry, and the hand that today’s students can have in creating tomorrow’s advances.
As student Nora Margolis said, “Tomorrow starts today!"
curriculum news: leaning into a "circle of voices"
Education today revolves around relationships between teachers and students, and among students themselves. Since disagreements are inherent in relationships, reconciliation is an essential skill. This was the lofty subject of a recent lunchtime meeting of the first and second grade learning community faculty. As they sat in low classroom chairs and ate, faculty discussed the importance of teaching students the art of interjection.
“When we have morning meeting and during other class discussions, we use a ‘circle of voices’ approach that removes hierarchy, and we take turns. What we’re trying to teach the kids is to be active listeners, rather than anticipate what they’re going to say when it’s their turn,” teacher Julie Tigay explained.
“So often people are thinking about what they’re going to say, rather than listening to the speaker,” teacher Jodi Tepper added. “But we’re teaching students to 'talk into the silence,' to find that moment when you’re really listening and can then interject.”
The circle has other benefits, such as increasing eye contact, and creating community by making everyone an integral link. Learn more in a great article here.
"mathletes" prove the Pythagorean theorem
For the fourth year, eighth grade math students have found inventive ways to prove Pythagorean’s theorem of the relation among the three sides of a right triangle, that the square of the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. Using 3D-printed squares and cubes, water wheels, and stop-motion video, they presented their explanations of the theorem to a panel of judges, who assessed their presentation skills as well as their products, ultimately choosing the sand wheel depicted here, made by Emma Coden, Erin Starr, Avery Felhandler, and Catherine Bean.
When asked whether the theorem has real-life application, student Phoebe Silver confidently explained its use in figuring out shortcuts when traveling. “It’s useful to find the quickest way from point A to point B,” she said, such as a highway that cuts diagonally between two locations.
what's in a name? 7-8 community now "yachad"
Many of you may identify this line from William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. As it applies to our “7-8 community,” our name connotes that we are together rather than a separate seventh grade and eighth grade, and not simply because we share the second floor of Hillel! In our view, we don’t need to keep students separated when together they can gain a positive educational experience full of shared values and a love for Judaism.
"When we returned to school in August, it was important to the 7-8 staff that we had our own identity as a learning community," teacher Nicole Miller explained. "We chose the name Yachad (together) as the word represents many aspects of who we are. We learn in the same area of the school, pray and have lunch together, and we are closing out our final years at Hillel together as travelers and leaders, with our 7th grade trip to Washington, D.C. and our eighth grade trip to Israel. When our students think of our community, they conjure friends, learning, communication, caring, and role models."
The root of the word yachad comes from echad (one). As beautifully outlined in this article, the most famous people who were beyachad - as one - were father and son Abraham and Isaac, as noted in this verse: "And the two of them walked together, vayelchu sh'nehem yachdav" (Genesis 22:8).
The article goes on to state that “Yachad also has spiritual connotations.” Indeed, every morning at Hillel, we pray as a community, and strive to “make our heart one...free of conflict and doubt...for a state of yachad strengthens both the individual and the nation.”
With all of this in mind, students were tasked with creating a logo for our new name. Staff narrowed down many entries, students voted, and they chose a design by seventh grader Jonah Owen. We are proud of our identity! Look out for the logo on future communications from our community!
the man behind the menu
By Eliana Goldman, fifth grade reporter in training
Chef Steve Fryzel has always wanted to be a cook. He says his whole family was “into cooking.” Today, he works for Flik Independent School Dining, and is located at Hillel! He calls himself a “passionate cook.” By his account, the most popular meals he serves at Hillel are pizza, grilled cheese, and mac and cheese. He rotates those favorites with other items, too, including meat meals featuring grass-fed beef, or chicken, on Wednesdays and Fridays!
“We have a schedule, and we change it every month, so people don’t get bored!” Chef said.
ecc Spirit week is wacky!
Our youngest learners are ringing out 2018 with fun costumes and a visit from the Farmington Hills Fire Department this week as they enjoy their own Spirit Week. From comfy, cozy day to dress-up day, students - and teachers - used their imaginations and had an extra dose of excitement each day!
The entire Hillel community, together with many other local partner organizations, will experience havdalah and celebrate the new week with music, crafts, food, and fun on Saturday, January 12 at 6:30 p.m. This event, sponsored by Telemus Financial Life Management and Fischman Insurance Group, will be fun for all ages. Mark the date on your calendar, invite your friends, and plan on enjoying a Saturday night at Hillel. RSVP at www.hillelday.org/havdalapalooza now! And add a Havdalapalooza frame to your Facebook profile picture here.
Prospective parents with children entering kindergarten through fourth grade next year are invited to Come Fly a Kite at Hillel at our SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS Family Open House on Wednesday, January 23 at 5:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy a scrumptious dinner (spoonful of sugar included, of course), engaging activities designed to make imaginations soar, and meet our practically perfect teachers! Please pass along the information to friends and make sure they RSVP at www.hillelday.org/familyopenhouse.
annual fund update
To date, we have raised $302,865. Whether your contribution is $5 or $5,000, please know that gifts of all sizes do make a difference, and will help us reach our goal of $675,000. Give to the Annual Fund because you believe in the work of our school, the dedication of our teachers and the impact a Hillel education will have on your child’s future.
Thank you to all those who have donated to the Annual Fund this week:
Did you know your purchases can make a difference? AmazonSmile donates to Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit when you do your shopping here.