You are here
Alexis Soffler Andrea Hernandez Hadas Heyman Jessie Nathans Kim Sherk 

Professional Blogging: Our Reflections

Over the past five-ish months, a small cohort of teachers and administrators have been coached by Andrea Hernandez from EdJewCon to grow as reflective practitioners through the vehicle of blogging. As we are thinking about how to share our learning with other staff to change the purpose of blogging here at CESJDS, we took some time to reflect on our learning and outline it in presentation form to share with the community. Please reach out to us with questions, comments, and inspiration for additional blog posts. What would you like…

Read More
Alexis Soffler Andrea Hernandez Hadas Heyman Jessie Nathans Kim Sherk 

Looking Through a Lens: Visual Bingo

We started with a blank visual bingo template (thanks Darren Kuropatwa for sharing). We brainstormed keywords, using the 5 characteristics from The Adaptable Mind (curiosity, creativity, initiative, multi-disciplinary thinking and empathy) as broad headings. Armed with our bingo boards, we set off to discover and photograph interpretations of our keywords. Afterwards, we reflected on the process as well as our individual products and discussed different applications of this type of activity. Jessie’s collage: Alexis’s Collage: Kim’s Collage: Hadas’s Collages (she made two): Andrea’s Collage:  

Read More
Kim Sherk 

Having the Courage to Make Mistakes

While spending time in Mrs. Siegel’s 4th grade class this morning, I was fortunate to witness a discussion about our Middah of the Month, courage. Students were asked to find and share quotes about courage. This discussion of courage began with a student sharing a quote by Walt Disney: “All our dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” He went on to explain that if we don’t have courage to try new things we will never learn how to achieve our dreams. This was followed by…

Read More
Kim Sherk 

STREAM: Cross Curricular Integration

Every time Alexis Soffler brings a STEM project my way, I immediately ask, “So where’s the reading and the writing?” The integration of literacy skills into STEM is a critical piece of making a robust STEM curriculum sustainable. Building background knowledge or framing a challenge though a piece of literature or nonfiction article allows students to make a connection with a project that is deep and meaningful. Being able to reflect on the process, and write or speak about the learning, struggles, mistakes, and final accomplishment gives students a vehicle for…

Read More
Kim Sherk 

The Day After the Election

Many of us woke up this morning wondering and worrying about how to address the outcome of the election with our students. We began thinking about how to make this a teachable moment and not dwell on the politics. Today was an opportunity for us to teach the ideas of civil discourse, grace, dealing with disappointment, and sharing excitement in a way that does not hurt the feelings of others. Our head of school, Rabbi Mitch Malkus,  shared this article with our staff this morning: The Day After. In this article, Lauryn Mascareñaz discussed…

Read More
Kim Sherk Uncategorized 

Why We Teach!

After a really long day, or week, of teaching sometimes we wonder if what we are doing matters at all. Here are some reminders that I found as I was walking through our halls last week: On the wall in a 1st grade classroom I went into… the more you read the more you know the more you know the better you feel the more you read the more you get the smarts so read read read Kira told me that this is how she thinks about reading and how she…

Read More
Kim Sherk Uncategorized 

GRIT – What is it really?

The concept of Grit is viscerally appealing even before we fully understand what it means. Unfortunately, such a superficial understanding impedes our ability to truly evaluate whether we, or our students, actually possess grit.  This summer I decided to go back to school…again. This time I am working on an Ed.D. in Teacher Leadership. I’ve always been a pretty good student, good grades without too much effort. I worked hard, but never really broke a sweat over any given class to get a good grade. I knew that doctoral classwork…

Read More
Kim Sherk Uncategorized 

Stability and Change in 4th Grade – Part 2 – Application to Literature

Once again, I had the pleasure of discussing the 4th Grade Crosscutting Concept of Stability and Change with our 4th graders. After defining stability and change: A fire pit – Stability: The ashes will always go up. Change: You can always put water on a fire. The Sun – Stability: The sun will always be very hot. Change: It gets bigger and bigger until there is a solar flare. These reflections were written with no teaching about the topics. Students used their background knowledge about the topics in order to…

Read More
Kim Sherk Uncategorized 

Stability and Change in 4th Grade

Change is a huge part of our lives. Thankfully, stability is as well. Last week I had the exciting opportunity to explore this opportunity with one of our 4th grade classes. Here’s some background information: Last year we introduced the NGSS Crosscutting Concepts into our curriculum. Over the summer, we spent lots of time finding ways to introduce this thread throughout each of our grade levels. Each grade level team chose the crosscutting concept that integrated best with their grade-level curriculum. 4th grade chose stability and change. So, we started by…

Read More
Kim Sherk 

Literacy Moves at the Speed of Technology

By some strange coincidence today, the idea that literacy is (and has always been) driven by the speed of technology emerged multiple times and in multiple conversations with colleagues. Historically, only the very richest and most important members of society could read. Today we take it for granted that the majority of adults can read and consume material at an extremely high rate of speed, comprehension, and synthesis. Students in today’s classrooms not only need to be able to read books and instructions on the practice sheets given to them by…

Read More