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Hot Off the Press!
Our very own, Cortney Stark Cope, Director of Admissions, is featured in the Chicago Parent's article on "How to Pick the Perfect School for your Family." As Cortney states, "A good school with good teachers will take the needs of each individual and individualize their learning." At CJDS, we take our cue from the students — and are particularly attentive to student individuality. The question, “What is best for the student?” is at the core of all decisions.
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Science Teacher Hannah Lynch teaching Grade 6

Thinking outside the box is a concept Grade 6 Science Teacher/Lower School Science Specialist, Morah Hannah Lynch, has never shied away from. As a result, incorporating this concept into her teaching style comes naturally. This is Hannah's first year at CJDS. She said she feels extremely grateful to teach in an environment that offers her space to explore fully with students while encouraging them to take risks. Hannah likes to approach science with children similar to how a scientist would. She teaches them to search through inquiry by figuring out ways to investigate while discovering answers along the way...

Read More about New Science Specialist, Morah Hannah Lynch, Enhances CJDS Science Curriculum
Grade 5 students build innovative sukkahs

Grade 5 Judaic Studies students combined ancient Rabbinic teachings with modern maker space tools in our sukkah design challenge! After studying the mishnayot (Rabbinic teachings) about what specifications make a kosher sukkah, students got into groups and were challenged with sukkah design questions:

  • How can we build an environmentally-friendly, handicap accessible sukkah?
  • How do you build an especially warm sukkah conducive to the Chicago climate?
Read More about Grade 5 Integrates Sukkah Specifications with Innovative Design Tools
Our Physical Education program has never been more exciting!

This year, CJDS hired two full-time faculty members, Morim Eric Lindau and Justin Drexler, to develop and run a top shelf Physical Education Program. Combined, Moreh Eric and Justin have over 35 years of teaching and coaching experience and have implemented new programs and philosophies, resulting in school-wide enthusiasm for physical education.

Success comes in many forms and definitions. To keep it simple, Eric and Justin define success in P.E. as “one in which a child has tried new sports/activities, enjoyed them, and is enthusiastic about participating in the future.” As they focus on new skills with the students, they will continue to emphasize the value of good sportsmanship, aspects of fitness, and healthy lifestyle choices and habits.

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Morah Alex Treyger, Director of Technology and Digital Learning, guides students to create robots of their own imagination.

Have you heard? The Mobile Makerspace carts have arrived at CJDS and have started facilitating workshops inside the classrooms! These mobile carts provide materials and resources that foster learning through inquiry. Students from JK to Grade 8 have been immersed in tinkering and playing around with new, interesting, engaging materials that allow for questions like, "How does this work?" "What can I make with this?" "How do these things go together?" Through these questions, students are able to form their own knowledge by creating and interacting with physical objects.

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Grade 3 students proudly show their families highlights from the Chicago unit.

Our Grade 3 students demonstrated their remarkable Torah reading skills and knowledge at a Kabbalat Torah ceremony. Students were challenged this year to contemplate their responsibilities, which led them to an in-depth study of the 10 commandments. They stood under a stunning chuppah, symbolic of the day Jews at Sinai received the Torah, which our Rabbis teach us represents a wedding in many ways. It's only the beginning of their journey as Torah scholars, and our hope is that they continue to go from chayil to chayil - strength to strength!  

Read More about Grade Three Kabbalat Torah and Chicago Fair Culmination
Grade Four Musical Guest Steve Trosin

Grade Four welcomed musical guest Steve Trosin as part of the Trip Across America Unit. In addition to having his Master's in Elementary Education, Steve is a professional musician, a singer/songwriter, as well as one of the directors of the Jackson (Michigan) Symphony Orchestra. Steve shared with students some of his knowledge about American folk musicians and how songwriting relates to poetry and short story writing. Grade Three also attended since they've gained musical knowledge from their Chicago Unit, and a few Grade Four students recalled the songs they learned from the year before and even sang them in front of everyone! Students also wrote an intro to an original song about Yellowstone in connection to a point of interest along their Trip Across America. Thank you to Steve for a presentation that drew meaningful connections to American music.

Kindergarten Simulates a Flight to Israel!

In preparation for Yom HaAtzmaut, Kindergarten provoked a study of Israel with a visit from Grade Eight students who shared stories about their class trip to Israel this spring. The Kindergartners were so excited to create their own "trip to Israel" that they formed a "student planning committee" to organize all the details of their trip. The trip began with a simulated flight to Israel that included preparing their own passports, security checks, in-flight snacks passed out by smiling flight attendants, and reciting several brachot. The El Al airplane was designed by a "student building committee" comprised of structural engineers and flown by many talented pilots.

After arriving in Israel, the students went through customs, examined the Israeli flag, and then used the inspiration of the colors blue and white to create a variety of art pieces. They also created travel bags, passports, and a map of Israel displaying photos of their families. Their journey continues as they travel to different parts of Israel before flying home next Friday!

Grade Two Culmination: Cool Countries

Grade Two students presented their Cool Countries Unit to students from other grades. This impressive unit integrates learning through several mediums, including research, writing, geography, technology, and art. The students/experts(!) were proud to display and explain their hard work to peers through a unit that underscores CJDS's mission to "strive for learning to be authentic and meaningful and to inspire a passion for lifelong learning." Kol hakavod, Grade Two!

Grade Eight Skypes with Author Yossi Klein Halevi

Grade 8 students had the unique opportunity to Skype with author of the book, Yossi Klein Halevi. Students engaged in a lively discussion about Yossi's writing process and asked thoughtful questions that they had prepared from their discussions over the course of the week. After years spent learning about the faiths of his neighbors, he explained his intention for this book was to teach his neighbors who he is as a Jew. In closing, Yossi encouraged the students to recognize the extraordinary moment in Jewish history we are in, because it follows significant dreams and nightmares that occurred in the 20th century. "What does it mean for us to live in this time?" Yossi asked. "It makes our generation so unique in Jewish history, but we have to figure out what is it we are carrying."

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TEDx CJDS Choosing to Participate Conference by Grade Five

Current events and news from around the world can be overwhelming to navigate. People often wonder how they can help with the enormous job of bringing about a more humane, just, and compassionate world as well as a more democratic society. Grade 5 students showcased their learning in our Choosing to Participate conference. Students chose a topic that ignited a spark within them to further empower fellow community members through their TED talks. 

Our keynote speaker Rabbi Ari Hart presented his own TED Talk as well, emphasizing the critical importance of speaking out and taking action at critical times, such as the fundamentally Jewish value of inspiring change and making an impact in the world through helping refugees around the world and in our own city.

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Grade 6 Mathematicians Analyze Wage Gap Statistics

Inspired by a Grade 8 Humanities unit on feminism, a class of Grade 6 students chose to explore the topic for themselves this week. They were intrigued by a disparity in wage gap statistics that remained on the board from a Grade 8 class and immediately began analyzing the data. They formulated and researched questions relating to gender, educational, or economic inequity and then presented the results through tables, graphs, and box and whisker plots highlighting Mean Absolute Deviation. Kol Hakavod (good job) to these Grade 6 students for exploring this connection between math content and real-world issues!

Grade 3 CJDS Medical School Graduation

On Tuesday, Grade 3 students graduated from CJDS School of Medicine following a unit that highlighted how science, technology, reading, writing, music, Judaic Studies, and Hebrew integrate organically in the classroom. The “medical students” conducted hands-on scientific experiments and informational text research about the major systems within the human body. They presented their research through digital presentations, rapped about the circulatory system, and performed a song about the other major body systems. The students also displayed their knowledge of nutrition and the food groups through the play, Dr. Guf Li, performed completely in Hebrew, and recited the blessings and prayers for healing. Mazal Tov to the graduates!

Publishing Party!

After traveling through the writing process from start to finish, our Grades 1 and 2 students celebrated the completion of their small moment stories with a publishing party. Students shared their stories with friends and enjoyed cookies and cider to recognize this special moment.

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Middle School Science Night!

On Wednesday evening, Grades 5-8 families participated in our biennial Science Night.  Students and parents engaged in the same design process middle school science students use during their engineering units. Students and parents identified goals, came up with strategies, tested and retested to ultimately find a solution for a problem. Groups worked together to build devices to launch and return a ping pong ball back and forth over a paper net without touching the ground. The goal was to send the ping pong ball back and forth, just like a volleyball game! The devices need to be built from the approved list of materials, which includes things like pencils, rubber bands, paper, tape, and disposable cups.  This challenge came from the 2019 Fluor Engineering Challenge.  

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Expanding our P.E program with Yoga taught by CJDS Alumni Parent and Yoga Instructor, Mara Zimmerman.

Physical Education is essential for facilitating student development in health-related fitness, physical competence, and cognitive understanding, for maintaining a positive attitude regarding physical activity, and for developing a lifelong practice of positive sportsmanship.

Read More about Namaste!
SpaceIL Takes Off! Grade Four's Space Study Continues

Beresheet is the first Israeli spacecraft to land on the moon. The initiative was started by SpaceIL in response to the Google Lunar X Prize competition. Even though the Google competition ended without a winner, Israel continued on and a historic launch took off last night! Israel will only be the fourth country in the world to land on the moon (projected to be in mid-April).  

SpaceIL’s vision is to inspire the next generation in Israel and around the world to think differently about science, engineering, technology, and math. We can say that it has already inspired Grade 4! Students have been using SpaceIL workbooks, learning the science behind the space launch, and learning Hebrew words to describe this launch.

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The Science of Frog and Toad!

One of the important Grade One science standards is exploring how we can use attributes from the natural world to solve human problems.

Grade One students learned about the characteristics and life cycle of a frog. We then discussed the differences between humans and frogs, particularly focusing in on a frog's webbed feet. First, we hypothesized and discussed why frogs have webbed feet and how that helps them live in their environment. Then, as part of our experiential learning, we covered our hand with a Ziploc bag and put it in a tub of water to feel for ourselves what it is like having webbed feet. 

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Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science!

CJDS offers a dynamic science curriculum that focuses on encouraging students’ curiosity, creativity, and interest. Through hands-on experiences, students use the process of scientific inquiry to learn new skills and gain an understanding of key scientific concepts. The love of science continues beyond CJDS as one of our alumna sent their science experiment to the NASA International Space Station!

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Reggio Emilia Approach in Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten

Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten teachers are on a journey of studying and embracing the Reggio Emilia approach to learning. At the core of this approach, Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten children are honored as we embrace the knowledge and wonder that children bring to the learning experience. The environment inspires their exploration, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving as they build a deeper understanding of the world around them. As a Jewish school, Judaism serves as the lens in which we educate our children. Key elements of a Reggio-inspired classroom include...

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Grade One Scientists Explore the Great Barrier Reef!

Grade One students immersed themselves in the study of the Great Barrier Reef and the marine world! This inquiry-based unit teaches students how to ask good questions, how to do research about the world around them, and how to use their voices to make the world a better place.

Connecting to the Grade One theme of Tikun Olam, repairing the world, students learned the importance of taking care of our world through song, research, and prayers for our oceans and the beauty of nature. They were introduced to the geographical setting and the marine life that inhabits the reef, and they used their knowledge to build their own Great Barrier Reef in the classroom. The students applied for a job in an underwater sea lab, played the role of scientists studying various parts of the marine world, and then prepared to present their research to others both orally and through the written word. Students also created artistic representations of objects and life found underwater, both with their General Studies teachers and with their Art teachers.

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Building a New Life in America!

Our Grade Two immigrants arrived at CJDS's "Ellis Island" on Wednesday! This unit was an extension of the Voyage of the Mayflower. As with that unit, through the reading of different books and the wonderful stories from their families, the students discovered: difficulty of deciding to leave one’s country and move to a totally new country; the different reasons why people make/made this decision; and the difficulty of adapting to a new country. The class discussed the connection to their grade level theme of “kavod,” respect, and explored the question of what part of these immigration stories show respect to oneself? To others?

Essential Questions during this unit were:

  • Why do people immigrate?
  • How do we use the process of immigration to make sense of and learn about the world around us?
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Rams Home Court Advantage!

The CJDS Rams basketball team kicked off their season this past Monday. It's already off to a great start! It was a milestone moment in CJDS history as we hosted our very first HOME game in our New Campus Gym! The CJDS Scoreboard was dedicated by the 2018 Grade 8 Graduating class, and the first winning points on the board were to one and only... CJDS Rams! JV and Varsity both played on Monday afternoon against Lincoln White and again on Wednesday against Audubon. It was wonderful to see so many CJDS Rams fans on the sidelines, from parents to grandparents, fellow students and more.

Fifth Bus added to CJDS Transportation!

CJDS transports your children to new educational heights. Our busing can get them there!

The fifth CJDS bus was added to our bus routes this week! We are so happy to accommodate 67% of our student body by offering this transportation service from the city to the suburbs. #CJDSBusTransportation

Grade Eight leading Mishpacha!

Mishpachot (families) is a beloved tradition at CJDS. Every Friday afternoon, students in Kindergarten through Grade Eight eat lunch and celebrate Shabbat together. We believe significant learning occurs when students have the opportunity to interact with other students, both younger and older.

On the Friday before the break, Grade Eight students led their own mishpacha groups in a presentation on kindness and friendship. They read books and led a discussion with the other students.

#CJDSCommunity #SocialEmotionalLearning #Mishpachot

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Why Code? Collaboration. Creativity. Critical Thinking.

You can't scroll through social media without coming across an ad for a coding class or an article about coding with children, especially in December during Computer Science Education Week or as popularly known as #HourofCode. There is a good reason for that! Coding is not just another language or something that techie people do. When students code, they are collaborating with their peers and gaining critical, computation, and creative thinking skills. Coding plants the seeds for everything from problem-solving to ethical responsibility. Starting at an early age, students gain a deeper understanding of the logic and advanced thinking behind the programming. Here are examples from a few of the grade levels:

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Mitzvah Moment: Grade 5 Delivers Donations to Care for Real and Raises Money for Make A Wish Foundation

CJDS believes in the importance of Rising Up and Aiming Higher, thinking beyond ourselves to make the world a better place.

With the help of our Grade 5 students, CJDS held our second annual Thanksgiving Holiday Drive, supporting two organizations: Make-A-Wish Foundation and Care for Real.

Good News! CJDS is extending the deadline for the Make-A-Wish Foundation donations. The mission of Make-A-Wish International is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

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Grade Four Lights Candles at JUF

It's been a tradition for Chicago Jewish Day School students to light the Hanukkah candles at the Jewish United Fund. This year, our Grade Four students were invited to light the 2nd night with elected officials and community leaders. Our students shined by sharing their Hanukkah joy with the Chicago community. Tune in here to watch the video of them lighting the candles and their Hanukkah sing-a-long.

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Record-Breaking Parent Committee Event: Hanukkah Celebration!

Over 300 people in our CJDS community joined together to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah! Hosted by our Parent Committee, the evening was filled with delicious food, crafts, games, like Flip the Latke, Pin the Candle on the Hanukiyah and a Hanukkah-themed Photobooth! We lit the first candle together on our 6-ft LEGO Hanukiyah, which was built by our very own students in their mishpachot, multi-grade families. Our sing-a-long was led by the talented Cantor Sheera Ben-David of Temple Sholom and CJDS Parent of Baxter Miller, Grade 2.

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Grade Three Maccabees!

This week in Hebrew/Judaic Studies, our Grade Three students started preparing to become Maccabees. They learned about the story of the Maccabees, pretended to be Greek, in case a Greek soldier came by, experimented with olive oil, and began to decorate their battle shields. The classroom has become ancient Judea, and they are ready to fight to keep our Jewish identities!

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Here Ye! Here Ye! Grade 5 Medieval Times

Our Grade 5 students culminated their Medieval Times unit with a beautiful performance of dancing, singing and playing instruments. Through the integration of art, music, language arts, social studies, and Judaic Studies, each student picked a research topic that took place during the Medieval Times, including but not limited to castles, medicine, feudalism, sicknesses and cures, Joan of Arc and more! They presented their projects with physical renderings, a poster, a thesis essay, a story in Jewish Studies about the Spanish Inquisition and a timeline linking the Medieval period to the Spanish Inquisition. All of the projects and papers were created in school, so it was a beautiful presentation and wonderful surprise for the parents. 

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Grade 8 Science and Engineering: Robotics

Grade 8 students continued their space investigation using Lego Mindstorms Robotics. Similar to NASA engineers, our students programmed the rovers to complete specific tasks remotely, as if it were on the surface of a planet, like Mars. They used computational and critical thinking skills to code the rover using a laptop, test their code using the rover, and then go back to the original code and revise it to successfully complete a mission. Students collaborated in teams and if you were to walk in, it looked like a NASA control room!

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Grade Two Sets Sail on the Mayflower!

In our Mayflower unit, students study the history of the Pilgrims and Strangers on their journey to the New World. We researched and learned the historical events leading up to the voyage. Every student took on the role of an actual passenger who was aboard the Mayflower. Students embodied their roles and spent a week on our classroom Mayflower simulating the journey. Before they boarded the ship, they recited the Traveler's Prayer to have a safe journey to the New World. On the ship, they experienced water contamination, a storm, and the birth of a baby! As part of the unit, we integrate non-fiction reading and writing journal entries. We also use technology to create a comic strip showing daily life and family structures aboard the Mayflower. Our Hebrew/Judaic studies teachers make the connection between the  parasha Lech Lecha when Avraham left his home to journey to a new land. 

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Integrating Math and Technology in Kindergarten

Integration is a central component of Chicago Jewish Day School's curriculum. Integrated learning is when children broadly explore knowledge across various subjects as they relate to a certain theme. Kindergarten students are using the app, Seesaw, to document and share the learning they do in class with each other. Through technology, students can enhance their understanding of basic addition with the opportunity to visually demonstrate and explain their thinking to their peers. This activity not only improves students' understanding of math and technology, but also empowers them to apply critical and creative thinking skills that elevate their learning. This holistic approach reflects the interactive nature of the real world and promotes lifelong learning.

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Walk for Water in JUF News!

Hot off the press! CJDS Grade 7 students featured in the JUF News for their Walk for Water initiative. Thank you to CJDS Parent, Paul Wieder  for writing the article and joining our Grade 7 students on their walk!

Chicago Jewish Day School students ‘Walk for Water’

"How does it feel to walk three miles-lugging a jug of water?

Seventh graders at Chicago Jewish Day School (CJDS) wanted to know. They had learned that, in South Sudan, villagers often must walk more than three miles, sometimes several times a day, just to get clean water-leaving little time for education.

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Grade One Math Centers

This week, Grade One students started Math Centers. Both classes are coming together twice a week to participate in rotating learning centers. Students will be doing various independent, partner, small-group, and teacher-led learning activities. These centers offer opportunities for supporting developing skills, reviewing previously introduced concepts, and challenging students as appropriate. 

Our mathematics program is a research-based and field-tested curriculum that focuses on developing children’s understandings and skills in ways that produce life-long mathematical power.

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Middle School Explores Innovation!

Last Friday, the middle school students had the opportunity to experience part of the innovation process. Using the 125th Anniversary of the World's Fair in Chicago as the launchpad and looking at innovation over the years both here and in Israel, students worked in multi-age groups to brainstorm problems they encounter with functionality throughout their day and then come up with innovative solutions. Problems identified ranged from not enough storage space in lockers to not being able to keep track of kippot to wanting more independence in their school day. Some of the innovation ideas sketched out included a kippah dispensing machine for our hallways and student ID cards that would help facilitate attendance, carpool, and entrance into inner locked doors. The Beit Midrash was full of energy and enthusiasm as students worked through the innovation process. Morah Alex will be continuing to make time available for further exploration and opportunities to take these initial ideas further during designated recess times.

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Mitzvah Moment with Grade 5 Families

Last weekend, the Grade 5 room parents organized a class outing, not only to bond as a class community but also to make a difference in our world. Grade 5 students and their families volunteered at Cradles to Crayons, an organization that provides children living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive -- at home, at school, and at play. Thank you to our CJDS families for always weaving values of Tikun Olam and promoting justice, peace, compassion, and respect in our world.

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Kindergarten Water Experiments

Kindergarten has shown interest in investigating the qualities of water. They have been experimenting with what materials hold water well, what happens when they mix colors into the water, and what happens to materials that sit in water overnight. Students have also been interested in how to use water to power their ongoing project, the “shrinking machine.” 

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Grade Two Science: Sink or Float

Grade Two students have been experimenting around the factors that affect buoyancy. Over the past couple of weeks, they have:

  • Experimented with objects of the same shape and material but of different sizes, in order to discover whether size is a factor that affects buoyancy
  • Examined the effect of bubbles on the buoyancy of an object submerged in carbonated water
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Digital Citizenship Week

Across the nation, schools are engaging in learning and making a commitment to being digital citizens. Digital citizenship is appropriate and responsible behavior regarding technology use. Digital citizens think critically about what they see online and learn to make their own smart and safe choices online and in life.

At CJDS this week, we engaged in conversations on what our rights and responsibilities are to the world of technology. Students' responses were:

  • We have a right to be safe online.
  • We have a right not to be cyberbullied, and we should report if you see cyberbullying to an adult.
  • We have a right to our privacy.
  • We should take care of our devices.
  • We should be mindful of what we post online.
  • We should find a healthy balance regarding the amount of screen time we use each day.
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Grade One Violin Class

This year at CJDS, Grade One students are partaking in a 10-week musical enrichment study of the violin. This program is running concurrently with the students' music curriculum and introducing the students to the basic elements of playing the violin. Elana Hiller, a former CJDS teacher and Suzuki violin teacher, is partnering with our music teacher, Rachel Jaffe, to work on developing skills in musicianship and instrument fluency.

This is just the beginning of what we hope will grow into a thriving string/band program at CJDS. Students will have an evening concert in December to showcase their newly learned violin skills.

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It's a RUNderful Life!

CJDS Cross Country season has officially begun! The team, composed of Grades 4-8 students, has already participated in two races: Oui 5K and the Lane Tech Invitational. The runners learn and embrace the importance of staying active, encouraging their teammates, self-discipline and personally striving to reach their goals! 

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Everything S'more Fun in Grade 1!

This week in the Grade One classrooms, they read Bailey Goes Camping by Kevin Henkes. Students reenacted the book by participating in all of the same activities that Bailey does on his "campout." The students dressed "down" by wearing pajamas and brought sleeping bags or blankets to fully participate in the camping experience. Just like Bailey's "campout," the students used their imaginations to simulate the sequence of Bailey's adventure: "roast" marshmallows, "eat" hot dogs, and make s'mores. They went swimming, fishing, on a bear hunt (for pictures of bears), lived in a tent, listened to ghost stories and fell asleep under the stars. It was a wonderful experience for all and a great opportunity to really bring the book to life!

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Grade 6 Overnight at Pushing the Envelope Farm

Grade 6 students had a fantastic time at Pushing the Envelope Farm this week, using the time to truly bond as a community! 

We don't know how it is possible, but with each passing year, the farm trip seems to get better and better! This year, they learned and interacted with chickens, pickled vegetables and planted micro-plants. They made their own lunches from the harvested vegetables and donated the produce from the farm to the Illinois Food Depository.

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Sukkah Building in Kindergarten

We embrace the knowledge and wonder that children bring to the learning experience. Using the Reggio Emilia inspired approach, the environment inspires their exploration, creativity, critical-thinking and problem-solving as they build a deeper understanding of the world around them. Through materials provocation, Kindergarten students were invited to engage in an exploration of sukkah building! The students used recycled materials and classroom art supplies to create their own versions of a sukkah. Many included elements such as fruit, tables, an open roof, and a lulav and etrog.

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New Mishpachot (Family) Names!

Mishpacha is a beloved tradition at CJDS. Mishpacha means family in Hebrew, and our mishpacha program gives students a family at school! On Fridays, students gather in multi-age groups to eat lunch and celebrate Shabbat together. You might find older students reading to younger students, students drawing, coloring together or doing holiday-based projects together, students playing fun community-building games, students braiding challah dough or students working on tzedakah projects.

This year our mishpachot will be named after famous Israeli landmarks or people. Students will spend time in mishpachot learning about the person or landmark for whom their mishpacha is named and will do projects around that person or landmark. This is just another way for us to help foster a love for Israel and Israeli culture.

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Faculty and Staff Professional Development Near, Far and Abroad!

One of the many reasons that makes CJDS remarkable is our outstanding, one-of-a-kind faculty and staff. They are kind, innovative, and always encouraging our students to push themselves to the next level in their education. In their discretionary time, they continue to be role models to our students by volunteering at the animal shelter and nursing homes, being a Make a Wish Wish Granter and generally demonstrating their leadership in our Jewish and Chicago community.

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Ya'aleh v'Yavo, Rise Up and Aim Higher

Ya'ale v'Yavo are two words that come from a special prayer that we include on Rosh Chodesh (the first day of the Jewish month), the High Holidays, and the pilgrimage holidays (Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot). The prayer sets out multiple steps one would need to ready oneself to be judged favorably by God. It is interesting to note that there are eight verbs in this prayer; eight separate steps one needs to take to succeed. The prayer is sending the message that showing up is only the first step - that we need to keep climbing that proverbial ladder to achieve our goals. Our students will explore this idea through holiday celebrations, guest speakers, trips, and in classroom meetings throughout the year.

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CJDS Faculty at Constructing Modern Knowledge at MIT!
Our educators inventing the future at the Constructing Modern Knowledge Conference at MIT. It's a minds-on institute for educators committed to creativity, collaboration and computing. They are engaging in intensive computer-rich project development with peers and a world-class faculty. Our CJDS faculty are saying, "This conference is terrific, mind-blowing and challenging in a good way. It's wonderful to learn more about integrating art and technology and creativity and embracing play."--all values we embrace at Chicago Jewish Day School.
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Junior Kindergarten and Grade 8 Exploring Non-Living and Living Objects
Junior Kindergarten students have been exploring nonliving and living objects. They began their investigation outside of the new campus by looking at the different objects around them. They discovered what's alive and what's not and the criteria of why things are alive. The following week, they examined flowers and labeled the different parts. They used their critical thinking skills to discuss how they grow and take in nutrients to stay alive.
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Lag B'Omer Celebration!
Lag B'Omer is the name given to the 33rd day in the counting of the Omer, the 49-day period between the holidays of Passover and Shavuot. Around the world, Lag B'Omer has primarily become a children"s and family holiday. It is customary to hold family and school picnics on this day. Some communities give children "bows" and "arrows" in memory of the students of Shimon bar Yochai. Schools in Israel are let out for the day. At night, the skylines are lit up by huge bonfires signifying the light of Torah that survived and grew from the Roman occupation.
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Kindergarten Animal Shelter!
For the past few weeks, the Kindergarten students have been making discoveries about all different kinds of animals. The students’ curiosities were sparked by a trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo, where they were able to observe animals in their natural habitats and generate intriguing questions that provoked further learning. From there, students decided they were interested in uncovering more about how we can take care of animals and what zookeepers do to keep animals healthy, happy, and safe. 
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#KidsToday--Middle School Arts Project
Within every generation, progress is spurred by external factors far beyond individual actors. Often it’s the youth who are quickest to adapt to new practices and beliefs creating tension between themselves and the adults in their lives. One of the main motifs of Bye Bye Birdie is this idea of the generation gap. Although we see it countless times throughout the show, perhaps the most fascinating thing is that we see this very same struggle today. While the arguments and battles may differ, the theme remains the same: how do we adapt to new ways of thinking while holding on to what we hold dear? Over the course of this production, students examined this timeless argument through an integrative research-based project, as they sought to answer the question, What are we fighting for, and why?” 
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Discover Jewish Day Schools Highlights Morah Jackie Moss-Blumenfeld!
"Our teachers and school staff care deeply about the school, the children with whom they work, and Jewish education. They understand and embrace the school’s mission, adopting and supporting the principles we value as a school community. Because we believe that students are inspired by adults who appreciate learning and who pursue their own emotional, intellectual, and religious growth, the school encourages and provides ongoing educational opportunities for teachers, parents and all community members." -CJDS Mission and Vision
Yasher Koach to Morah Jackie Moss-Blumenfeld (Grade 1 Hebrew and Judaic Studies Teacher) who was featured in the joint communication from Discover Jewish Day School and Spertus Institute showcasing Jewish educators who are helping to build a foundation of Jewish learning for a new generation.
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CJDS in JUF News: "Chicago Jewish Day School makes "Exodus" to New Campus"
CJDS was featured in the JUF News, April edition! Thank you to JUF News writer and CJDS Parent, Paul Wieder for writing our story!
"Chicago Jewish Day School has made its long-anticipated move to a new campus in Chicago's Irving Park neighborhood, a permanent home that includes state-of-the-art classrooms, central worship and learning spaces, and extensive athletic and recreational facilities designed to enhance the school's commitment to academic excellence.
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CJDS Participates in National Student Walkout
Nothing exemplified our relationship with our Edgewater neighborhood more than the 17-minute walkout. Initiated by our middle school students, the walkout demonstrated their concern, and ours, for school safety. The March called on our leaders to figure out how to keep our schools safe and stop gun violence. We remembered the fallen victims from  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as their names were read in a moment of silence. 
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Google Expeditions!
Field trips to virtually anywhere! Bringing 3D imagery to the classroom, Kindergarten through Grade Eight students had the opportunity to explore Google Expeditions. Each grade chose an expedition, from visiting outer space, going inside a cell to see DNA, touring the Colosseum and more! By exploring the virtual-reality expedition, students were able to learn new facts, ask more questions and collaborate together to discover the endless possibilities!
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Grade 6 Observes Ancient Egypt Artifacts
The Nile River was a source of water and life for the Ancient Egyptians. Students examined a scarab beetle, papyrus paper and other objects to identify common themes of life along the Nile and learned how to operate a model of a shaduf, an ancient water-lifting device still in use today. Using these secondary-source artifacts and their text study of the ancient Egyptians, students crafted an evidence-based essay on the impact the Nile had on the culture and economy of the ancient Egyptians- paragraphs of which can be seen below!
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Fourth Year Participating in Poetry Pals
Grade 4 students traveled to the Mecca Center in Willowbrook to join with children from Queen of All Saints (QAS)and College Preparatory School of America (CPSA) through their Poetry Pals program. Poetry Pals is a Chicago non-profit youth arts organization that uses creative expression to promote understanding, cooperation and peace in our multi-faith society. The program brings together Grade 4 classes from diverse faith communities around the city to foster partnership, expression and friendship through poetry, spoken word, rhythm, music and art. 
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Hot Off the Press!
Our very own, Cortney Stark Cope, Director of Admissions, is featured in the Chicago Parent's article on "How to Pick the Perfect School for your Family." As Cortney states, "A good school with good teachers will take the needs of each individual and individualize their learning." At CJDS, we take our cue from the students — and are particularly attentive to student individuality. The question, “What is best for the student?” is at the core of all decisions.
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Creation and Formation of Rain
Junior Kindergarten students have been studying Beresheet, the story of creation. During Morah Alex's class on Friday, students had so much fun exploring and modeling the creation/formation of rain (second day of Beresheet). The cups with the water (Mayiim) represented the atmosphere, and shaving cream represented the clouds (Ananiim). Students used syringes and pipettes (fine motor skills) to add colored water to the cloud. After the colored water traveled through the clouds, students observed the colorful droplets traveling down, simulating the process of rainfall (Geshem). The students experimented with different colors to observe how colors can blend together.
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It "Wheel-y" Works in Grade 3!
Grade 3 engineers created their own waterwheels this week! In their water and climate unit, students are learning about how waterwheels were used in the past and how they have innovated over the years to harness and produce energy. Using only a few objects, students were challenged with creating their own waterwheels and answering the essential question: what is needed to make the waterwheel system function well? After their experiment, they created a chart of what went well and what was challenging in creating their water wheels.
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Sink or Float?
Grade 2 has been experimenting around the factors that affect buoyancy. They learned that the material and shape of an object affect the object’s buoyancy, while its size does not. They also learned that items will float in bubbly and salty water and the position of the item on the water affects the item’s buoyancy. Last week, the students either made or brought in an object to check its buoyancy. They tested the students’ buoyant items to see how much “cargo” each boat could hold. Afterwards, they reflected in writing the following questions: why they chose that item? Did it float? What factors affected the buoyancy of their item?
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Investigating Hurricane Harvey
Grade 8 students have been investigating Hurricane Harvey in Science class. After watching a video about the hurricane, the students came up with a lot of questions, which they grouped to address the science behind how hurricanes form, the behavior of water once it hits the ground and the geological variable that impacted the flooding and water draining afterward. They even put on their Jewish lens to question God and natural disasters (thank you to Rabbi David Wolkenfeld for helping lead that discussion!).
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Our middle school participated in a disability awareness program the other week and it was a hit! Grade Seven students, Jordy Heinrich and Yael Handelman, along with Morah Lindsey, Morah Sue and the entire middle school faculty and staff, organized two days for our middle school to learn about different disabilities. They learned the importance of focusing one peoples abilities rather than their disabilities. Our students stepped up and said Hineni. We are so proud of our entire middle school! Special shout out to our guests who joined us on those days:
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Hineni Spotlight: Giving Thanks
Through school experiences, our students gain creative-thinking and critical-thinking skills and develop a passion for lifelong learning. They also appreciate their teachers, their education, and the resources that are available inside their classrooms.
This week's Hineni moment goes out to Moreh Henry"s Grade 8 Judaic Studies class and in particular, Eli! 
Eli and his classmates have been using Rabbi Yitzhak Frank's dictionary and Gemara card for their studies and have been persistent on thanking him for creating this helpful resource. And they did just that. Read the email chain of Eli and Rabbi Frank...
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Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

CJDS in the JUF News

Check out the Noted and Quoted section in the October JUF News to see an article about our Grade Six students answering the call of Hineni. Below is the article:

Students at Chicago Jewish Day School (CJDS) are using the Book of Ruth as the basis for their schoolwork... and to learn about the issue of hunger in society. They will learn about the history of farming in ancient society, the science and environmental impact of farming today, and even the math involved in planting a garden. They also will hear from a representative of the Chicago Food Depository, visit Pushing the Envelope Farm, volunteer at The Ark, go on a food-waste tour of Mariano"s supermarket --and, like Ruth herself, glean at the community garden at Temple KAM Isaiah Israel. Pictured: Chicago Jewish Day Schools" Grade 6 students planted, weeded, and harvested organic vegetables at the Pushing the Envelope Farm, a community farm and education center that explores Jewish connection to the land.

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CJDS Rams Champions!

After a long seasons consisting of 6:30 AM practices and multiple games a week, the hard work and dedication paid off as the Boys Junior Varsity Volleyball team brought its first trophy and championship to the Chicago Jewish Day School community. After losing three consecutive years to one of our biggest rivals Near North Montessori, the team was finally able to overcome this tough and talented school by working together, trusting each other, encouraging one another, and lifting each other up when things became difficult.

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Junior Kindergarten Integrated Hands-On Learning
Every day, our Junior Kindergarteners delve into hands-on learning.
Each hands-on learning class is thematically connected to the unit of the week. In the fall, students were introduced to building skills like hammering nails (golf tees) into pumpkins. During their building unit in the winter, the students used levels to build a leveled and balanced structure and built a bird feeder for the Bayit. In the spring, when they were learning about living and nonliving things, students filled the bird feeders with food as living creatures need food for survival...
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Kindergarten Off to "Israel!"

Where in the world is the CJDS Kindergarten class?! 

Kindergarten has officially launched their Israel unit! They begun their unit by discussing what they already knew about Israel and what they want to learn more about Israel. They looked at the Israel map and located some of the cities in Israel.

To kick off their unit, the students took a simulated flight to Israel! Before heading to the airport, the teachers prepared them for their overseas trip by making passports, travel bags, luggage tags and packing lists. They arrived to the "CJDS International Airport" yesterday morning where they presented their passports, paid for the tickets, went through security, and boarded the aircraft of El Al Airlines. They watched an informational safety video in Hebrew and off they went to Israel!

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Yom HaShoah-Holocaust Remembrance Day
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Pushing the Envelope Farm Field Trip
Our Grade Five and Six students ventured to Pushing the Envelope Farm this week! Pushing the Envelope Farm is a community farm and education center in Chicagoland's Fox Valley. They explore Jewish connection to the land, and they also provide hands-on educational experiences.
In the fall, our Grade Six students camped out at the farm and had an opportunity to plant, weed, and harvest organic vegetables, mill their own flour to make hummus and pita with a bike-propelled blender, chase chickens, set up tents, roast (kosher!) hot dogs, laugh, debate, and make real-world connections to their school-related coursework.
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Grade Three Kabbalat Torah
Our Grade 3 students kicked off the end-of-the-year culminations this past Tuesday with their Kabbalat Torah ceremony. The students have been studying and practicing the prayers during their morning tefillah service and held a ceremony for their families and friends to culminate their Grade Three year at CJDS. With their parents, they came under the chuppah and each of them read from the Torah.
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Grade 6 Mathematicians Analyze

Wage Gap Statistics


Inspired by a Grade 8 Humanities unit on feminism, a class of Grade 6 students chose to explore the topic for themselves this week. They were intrigued by a disparity in wage gap statistics that remained on the board from a Grade 8 class and immediately began analyzing the data. They formulated and researched questions relating to gender, educational, or economic inequity and then presented the results through tables, graphs, and box and whisker plots highlighting Mean Absolute Deviation. Kol Hakavod (good job) to these Grade 6 students for exploring this connection between math content and real-world issues!

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