Etta Bernstein (Sun/Wed & Tues/Thurs):
Dear Kitah Bet Parents,
It has been wonderful getting to know your students.
This year, our priority is learning to read Hebrew by learning each letter and vowel, as well as the rules for putting them together into syllables (phonemes) and words. Hebrew is totally phonetic when written with vowels. So far, Bet 3 has worked through lessons 1 - 3 in their Hebrew textbook. Bet 1 and 2 have had fewer sessions and have covered lessons 1 - 2 and have been introduced to lesson 3. We reinforce lessons with learning games and activities. Students are also assessed frequently, often through games, reading groups, and occasional testing.
In addition to Hebrew reading, the students are learning Hebrew conversation skills. Students have a word or phrase of the day. After a short review, the students learn the new word within the framework of vocabulary that is already learned. We started with a Hebrew conversation and game (Mi Lo Po?) about attendance.
Students are also learning prayers - short prayers from the daily morning service and prayers from Kabbalat Shabbat. Most of the prayers have melodies, making them easier to learn. Students have learned La’asok B’Divrei Torah, Modeh Ani, and the prayers for Shabbat candles, and HaMotzi for the challah. They are just beginning to learn the Kiddush.
Students also study Judaic topics. Bet 3 has been learning about the holidays, Israel, and Sukkot. For the High Holidays, students had lively classroom discussions about new beginnings. They each made a short list about what they want to do in the coming year. When learning about Sukkot, the students learned a song (“The Sukkot Song”), learned the parts and rules about a Sukkah, and they learned about the parts of the lulav. Students have also learned about Jewish symbols. We talked about why symbols are important and identified some of the Jewish symbols in our homes, school, and synagogue. (See photo.)
Bet 1 and Bet 2 learn Judaic topics with Josh Lazar.
We look forward to continuing our learning journey together in our classroom communities.
Josh Lazar (Sun/Wed):
I could not have asked for a better start to my teaching at Talmud Torah. The students have been a joy and the community has welcomed me with open arms.
To start the year, I have focused on teaching about the holidays at the start of the Jewish year, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. Overall, my experience at Talmud Torah, and with the community as a whole, has been better than I could have imagined.
More specifically, our focus has been on teaching the general concepts, themes and symbols of all of the fall holidays. In the classroom, I start off every class asking every student מה שלומך or how are you, and one question to check in on them. We then move into our lesson. We usually structure the class so that we have a lesson and an activity. For example, in one class the students learned about the symbols of Rosh Hashanah. Then the students played Rosh Hashanah tic tac toe to show what they have learned in a fun and engaging way.
In Kitah Bet, we emphasize the importance of learning about Jewish mitzvot as well. The students heard the story of Jonah and The Hardest Word to introduce them to the idea of Teshuvah (repentance). Throughout each reading the students were asked to think about and explain parts of the story to ensure full understanding.
In our next lesson we will be focusing on learning about Israel, its symbols, and important places.