Chicago Jewish Day School
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Inside the Classroom Blog

CJDS Faculty at Constructing Modern Knowledge at MIT!

Posted On: 7/12/2018 3:15 PM
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.
For their projects, Morah Moriah made a circuit and made LED lights light up through copper tape on paper. Morot Kate and Debbie built a robot from a kit. They used a program called Makeblock that is a variation of the coding program called Scratch. They used code to make the robot move forward and backwards.
These teachers are new to robotics and technology industry. They made a lot of mistakes but perserved through them in order to accomplish their goals. They are happy they jumped into this new challenge and took a risk. At CJDS, we encourage our students to take risks and be resilient and so incredibly proud of our students for embracing these qualities as well. 

Grade 5 Volunteering at Special Olympics

Posted On: 5/24/2018 10:56 AM
Grade 5 students volunteered at the Special Olympics last week! This year in Grade 5, our students are participating in the Nora Project, which teaches empathy by sparking friendships between students and their peers with disabilities.
Here's a reflection from a few of the Grade 5 students:
One highlight from yesterday was the games we played with the people. I found it very fascinating how every person did each game in a different and unique way and always got the task done and were proud of it.  This day impacted my life by seeing just how many things these people with disabilities can accomplish. They always managed to complete the task and make it work no matter what condition they were in.  One thing I will take away from this experience is how the special Olympics work and how many talents all of the contestants have.  This trip showed what the Nora friends can really do.
One of the highlights from yesterday was seeing Michael so happy with his silver medal and his big smile. This field trip enabled us to connect and meet more people like our Nora friends and see some of our Nora friends playing games just like us. This field trip made it even more clear in my mind how important it is to include people, and that is what the Nora Project is all about.
It made me feel great that so many people are given an opportunity to compete when they often can't do things other people can. I will take away a sense of amazement at what these people can do despite restricting conditions. It connects with our Nora Project because that was also an opportunity to notice this.
That day impacted my life because it made me realize that there is no difference between me and them, we are all humans who are wired differently.  What I will take away is all the friendship and love that there was in the Special Olympics. 

Kindergarten "Flies" to Israel!

Posted On: 5/24/2018 10:54 AM
This week our students embarked on a Kindergarten trip to Israel! In this experiential unit, our students reenacted a flight on El Al Airlines to Tel Aviv, and then they traveled all over the country to experience our homeland.  
Students began the trip with a visit to the Ben Gurion Museum and a Tel Aviv cafe. From there, they hiked north to the Golan Heights where they played in the Galil. Students learned what it is like to work on a kibbutz, and they cooked and sampled delicious Israeli cuisine as a class.  
The next stop on the trip itinerary was the Bahai Gardens in Haifa. They planted their own gardens full of vegetables and flowers and explored how to care for different plants. The last stop on the trip was Jerusalem, where students built their own Kotel. They wrote special notes to put in the Wall, and also visited a special Jerusalem shuk where they used shekels to buy Israeli treats and toys. They also explored the archeology of Israel with a study of buried ancient artifacts and what they can tell them about life long ago.  Our students ended their trip with a flight home to Chicago and wrote their own travel journals as a souvenir of their trip. We love Israel!

Junior Kindergarten and Grade 8 Exploring Non-Living and Living Objects

Posted On: 5/15/2018 2:31 PM
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.
Hands-on exploration and inquiry doesn't stop in Junior Kindergarten. Leading into a unit on growth and reproduction, Grade 8 students practiced their dissection skills to learn more about seeds and flowering plants. Through the process, students observed that flowers are specialized for pollination to occur, and seeds are produced sexually to pass on traits for another generation. 

Lag B'Omer Celebration!

Posted On: 5/7/2018 2:10 PM
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.
At CJDS, Lag B'Omer is our Field Day! Our CJDS students and faculty went to Horner Park for an afternoon full of activities, games, and our annual Walk-A-Thon. Our Grade 8 students host a Walk-A-Thon each year to raise money for the next year's Israel trip. It's a wonderful tradition where our Grade 8 students have an opportunity to give back to CJDS. Some of the games were potato sack races, dodgeball, kickball, and capture the flag! It was a fantastic day!!

Kindergarten Animal Shelter!

Posted On: 5/7/2018 2:05 PM
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. 
We discussed what animals need to survive and explored how to best structure and organize different kinds of animal enclosures to keep animals safe and happy. We built our own aquariums and zoos in class using varying materials, and together decided to pursue the idea of building a class animal shelter in connection with the mitzvah of tzar ba’alei chayim (kindness to animals). 
We visited PAWS Chicago to learn more about how animals end up in shelters, how they are taken care of in shelters, and how the adoption process works. This experience inspired us to turn our own classroom animal shelter into a school fundraiser for PAWS.  Each student was responsible for intaking stuffed animals into our shelter, which included naming and drawing each animal and imagining each one’s unique backstory and likes/dislikes. When the time came for adoption day, each kindergartener was responsible for leading their JK-Grade 5 peers through the adoption process. All adopters completed a class-written checklist of responsibilities for caring for animals. The adopters then signed the adoption paper certifying they will be dedicated pet owners. Finally, the Kindergartners and pet adopters recited the Shehecheyanu, commemorating this special, momentous occasion.
Together, the Kindergarten class raised over $210 dollars for PAWS Chicago. Thank you to all our adopters who helped us reach our goal of helping animals!

#KidsToday--Middle School Arts Project

Posted On: 5/7/2018 11:31 AM
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?” 
We specifically encouraged students to keep the faces free of any features to reflect the universality of these struggles and experiences. We recognize this gives the dolls a bit of an unfinished look, which is fitting, since many, if not all of these battles are still being fought today. This work is unfinished.
Look for the following elements in every generation: A body dressed in era appropriate garb, heads filled with slang from the time, hearts filled with causes that matter to the generation, and a body surrounded by counter-forces working against and propelling change. We need young voices, as they are often our greatest voice of reason.
As you see throughout the pictures, we hope you recognize that within the dissonance lies the truth-- there’s more that unites us than divides us. 

Discover Jewish Day Schools Highlights Morah Jackie Moss-Blumenfeld!

Posted On: 5/7/2018 11:25 AM
"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.
Jackie says, "I am a great believer in Jewish education and I’m seeing how increasingly more important it is, especially in America. The value of tradition and continuity is extremely important to me and I love passing that passion for Judaism on to the next generation."
We are so incredibly grateful to have Morah Jackie and the entire CJDS faculty and staff who believe in Jewish education and strive to promote life-long learning.

CJDS in JUF News: "Chicago Jewish Day School makes 'Exodus' to New Campus"

Posted On: 5/7/2018 11:22 AM
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.

The multi-denominational, progressive Jewish day school's new campus spans 2.6 acres of buildings and playlots, encompassing most of the city block on California between Waveland and Grace. It boasts high-tech gear in every classroom and spaces big enough for the whole school to come together to pray and play..."

State of Israel Knesset Visits CJDS

Posted On: 5/7/2018 11:18 AM
It was a huge honor to host seven members of the Knesset, the national legislature of the State of Israel! Their excitement was palpable as they discovered our multi-denominational and progressive approach that educates our students to navigate both the Jewish world and beyond with respect and integrity.
Seven of our middle school students met with Knesset members to share their experiences, challenges, and successes at CJDS. Through the course of this dialogue, our students said they were grateful for the diversity at CJDS, especially around Jewish text and practice. One student said, "I have friends that go to denominational schools, and I can verbalize what is important and meaningful to me much easier because I am constantly challenged to answer that question in our diverse community." Another student said she was grateful that she got to learn about and from Jews of other denominations from her classmates and "not read about them in a book." When asked if they ever felt uncomfortable or pushed out of their comfort zones, the students said that the tension has taught them "how to advocate for themselves and remain respectful of what their peers need as well."
The chevrei (members) Knesset told our students they were so inspired that they want to create a 'CJDS' in Israel!
Thank you to the following Knesset members for visiting CJDS:
  • Deputy Minister of Defense, Member of Knesset Eli Ben Dahan (Jewish Home)
  • Member of Knesset David Bitan (Likud), Co-Chair, Knesset Lobby for Strengthening the Jewish People
  • Member of Knesset Na’ava Boker (Likud), Deputy Speaker of the Knesset
  • Member of Knesset Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid), Deputy Speaker of the Knesset
  • Member of Knesset Avraham Neguise (Likud), Chair, Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee
  • Member of Knesset Amir Ohana (Likud)
  • Member of Knesset Colonel (Res) Omer Bar Lev (Zionist Camp)
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