Author: Debi Himelfarb

What’s New at ShalomLearning?

What’s New at ShalomLearning?

At ShalomLearning, we’re always improving our offering.  Check out these latest updates to our program

All New K-2 Values-Based Curriculum

  • Explores 12 Jewish values through the senses, arts, and literature.
  • Stand-alone lesson plans for Jewish holidays.
  • Lessons plans include “Fun With Hebrew.” These activities introduce Hebrew letter sounds and words.

Updated 3-7 Values-Based Curriculum

  • Each lesson has a 45 minute or a 90 minute option
  • More hands-on in-class activities for greater student engagement
  • Options for 6th and 7th graders to integrate personal devices

Torah Aura Revisions

  • New in-class lesson plans and updated slides for more engaging learning
  • Additional Torah Service prayers and other tefillot
  • Updated online and at-home activities for better reinforcement of self-paced learning
We Have A Winner!

We Have A Winner!

Mazel Tov to Ben Z from CA for being the first ever ShalomLearning Escape Room winner! Ben correctly used the Gematria chart and decoder ring to escape all 5 rooms and piece together the clues to pinpoint the secret location within a half mile of the exact solution. Above is a photograph of all the notes he took along the journey. Way to go, Ben! We can’t wait to hear how you spend your $100 winnings!

Heidi from ShalomLearning worked with Ben’s parents to arrange a surprise video conference to break the great news. Watch his reaction:

Even though we have a grand prize winner, we hope the rest of you will keep playing! Remember, you need to escape all 5 rooms to receive your $20 Amazon gift card. Game play is open through March 31, so keep pushing forward to get to the end!

We’ve received so much positive feedback about this program that we’re excited to announce that an all-new ShalomLearning Escape Room Adventure will be available in Fall 2019!  More details will be available later this Spring, but if you have any questions or suggestions, please send us a note at help@shalomlearning.org.

Sample Activity from our New Second Grade

Sample Activity from our New Second Grade

This fall (September 2019) ShalomLearning will offer three new levels of our values-based curriculum (K-2).  Similar to grades 3-7, our lessons tie in Biblical stories, prayers, and other Jewish text to a value. In addition, for these grades, we focus on art and literature.

Here’s a sample activity from our Ba’al Tashchit unit for second grade. Keep in mind, this is just one piece of a larger lesson plan.

Sample Activity

 

בַּל תַּשְׁחִית

Ba’al Tashchit-Don’t Waste

ShalomLearning: Grade 2

 

From ט”ו בִּשְׁבָט  Tu B’Shevat To בַּל תַּשְׁחִית Ba’al Tashchit – Don’t Waste


Values in Art: Hanoch Piven and Recycled Art
40 minutes total (can be broken into two twenty-minute sessions)
Supplies:
Scrap paper for the students to brainstorm their portraits
Construction paper
Glue
Crayons
Scissors
Clean recycled / found objects (lids, game pieces, figures, old cards, etc.)
Magazines (to cut up)

Last week we learned about ט”ו בִּשְׁבָט Tu B’Shevat, the holiday where we celebrate trees. So, it makes perfect sense that this week we’re going to take that love of nature just one step further and explore a key Jewish value: בַּל תַּשְׁחִית Ba’al Tashchit Don’t Waste. בַּל תַּשְׁחִית Ba’al Tashchit Don’t Waste is the idea that we are responsible for how we interact with the world around us and our impact on the environment.

What are some of the ways that you know that we can have an impact on the world? Brainstorm a list, including creating trash, recycling, driving a car, using disposable items instead of reusable. Be sure the students identify that you can recycle items and reuse them.

We have identified that there are many ways we impact the environment, in good ways and not-so-good ways. We’re going to focus on some of the ways we can improve our impact.

Together, let’s make a list of ideas of ways that follow the ideals of בַּל תַּשְׁחִית  Ba’al Tashchit Don’t Waste. I’ve given one idea for each category, to get you started, but let’s see what else we can do, both here and at home.
Reduce:
Use reusable plates / cups
Reuse:
Turn plastic jugs or cans into planters
Recycle:
Make sure all paper and cardboard get into a recycling bin!

 

If possible, come up with specific ideas for things that the students can implement – things like making sure all the paper gets cleaned up from your classroom and put into the recycling bin. If your synagogue (or other location) doesn’t have ample recycling bins, perhaps you can make a new one! If you have access to outdoor or window space, you could plan a future project to create planters.

One creative way to reuse a variety of objects is to create new art from it! Hanoch Piven, a famous Israeli artist, does just that. He creates portraits of famous people from across the globe. Let’s look at a few of the portraits he has made from the website Piven World http://www.pivenworld.com/hanoch-piven-illustrations.

Show students a variety of portraits of figures they will recognize from the website. As you view them, point out a few of the objects used to add meaning to the portrait. For example, for Obama he uses Statue of Liberty models for the eyes.

Not all of Hanoch Piven’s art features particular people, sometimes he just creates.  See other pieces here: http://www.pivenworld.com/hanoch-piven-illustrations/art-for-kids/11

Today, you’re going to create your own Piven-style art! To get started, the first thing is to identify who you’d like to portray and come up with 4-5 attributes of the person, so you can include them in the portrait.  For example, if you picked Moses, you might note that he spoke to a burning bush, he had a speech impediment, he held the 10 commandments tablets, he split the red sea, and he lived in the desert!

When you have your list, think about ways you could represent some of these ideas on your picture. For example, you could use fire or a bush to represent the burning bush. You could color his robe a speckled tan color to look like desert.

Encourage the kids to help each other with their brainstorming. You can bring back the idea of “זוּג – zug – pair” from week 13 and encourage them to work in partners.

Students will work at a variety of paces, so it is recommended that you pause once you feel like everyone has picked a person and started brainstorming attributes. You will take  more work time later on to create the actual portraits – and suggestions for what to do with those students who create quickly.

Provide a second block of time for students to work on their portraits. Encourage students to include any objects they can find – and to draw or cut out pictures of items that wouldn’t work to include directly (like a banana!).

Some ideas for students who complete their work more quickly than the rest:

  • Create explanation cards for each portrait, interviewing other students to learn about the symbolism they included. 
  • Work together to create another image for an imagined character.

 

Can You Escape?

Ready for an online escape room adventure? Your family can work together (or as individuals) to complete challenges and win prizes.  

Here’s how it works:

  1. Register at www.shalomlearning.org
  2. Escape a different room each week by uncovering clues and completing activities
  3. Guess the location of the artifact

We will reward your $20 registration with a $20 Amazon Gift Card when you escape all the rooms! In addition, you can win the $100 grand prize if you’re the first to locate the missing artifact.

The adventure begins January, 21, 2019.

Spaces are limited so sign up now: www.shalomlearning.org

Watch this video to see what it looks like:

ShalomLearning Escape Room Intro from ShalomLearning.

Hakarat Hatov

Our students in grades 3-7 are starting their fifth unit, Hakarat Hatov which is translated as gratitude; recognition of the good; appreciation.

Having an attitude of gratitude may not be a natural state for all of us. Developing a sense of appreciation is a learned behavior – a habit of noticing everything from the gift of life to physical things. We can begin to develop this practice through direct instruction, storytelling, modeled behavior, and experiences that reinforce the habit of Hakarat Hatov.

Judaism refers to the Biblical creation story as a confirmation that the entire world really belongs to God. We are but caretakers of all we possess, including our bodies and souls. That understanding should free us from jealousy and avarice and should empower us to share what we have with those in need and encourage us to use our resources to continue the creation.

Conversation Starters:

How do blessings show gratitude? Make up your own blessing for something in your family.

Gratitude is a good stress reliever. Next time you or your child feel stressed, recall three things you are thankful for.