The Ulam was filled with students, but it was silent. Everyone was sitting on the floor. The 2nd through 8th grade students and teachers were altogether, some leaning on the wall, others on each other. No one moved, but everyone was busy and deeply engaged. For 33 minutes and 37 seconds this morning the Schechter Manhattan community was reading.
Of course we read every day at Schechter Manhattan, but each new year we also take time for a community reading event. We read together for the number of seconds of the new year- this year being 2017 seconds. In addition to the independent reading that students in the 2nd through 8th grades did today, the students in Gan and 1 also participated in classroom reading activities that included silent independent reading and teachers reading aloud. Our annual reading event highlights the value of reading in our lives. Reading together sends our students the powerful message that they are a part of a community of readers. They look around and see peers and adults reading a variety of books of all sorts. I took a random sampling of the books students were reading- Bella (grade 8) was reading I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. Ike (grade 3) had Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice by Jude Watson. Tal (grade 6) read Fish In a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt. Arielle (grade 4) had Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling. David (grade 2) seemed engrossed in The Volcano of Fire by Geronimo Stilton, as he barely looked up at me when I asked what he was reading. I was reading too. I am in the middle of Lies My Teacher Told Me, James W. Loewen’s critical analysis of American History textbooks (very interesting read for any non-fiction readers out there).
Students also experience the feeling of being immersed in reading, so that even though there are many people in the room, we each get lost in our own reading. I was impressed this morning, as I am year after year, with how focused and quiet the room full of children was while we read. We also send a symbolical message by adding a second to the program each year, that we commit to read just a little more this year than last.
Students report really enjoying this group reading activity. Asher (grade 8) said that he “likes being able to spend some time with a book.” Maya (grade 6) told me, “I love reading. I zoned everybody out.” And Nina (grade 4) told me, “I wish I had even more time to read.”
At Schechter Manhattan We aspire for our students to love reading. We want them to view reading as both the central skill for academic achievement, and also an enriching part of our lives both in and out of school. Celebrating reading instills in our students the value of reading- to expand our minds, explore new ideas, travel to fantastic places, spur our imaginations, and connect us to other people. This shabbat, I encourage you to find your own 33 minutes and 37 seconds (or more) to curl up with a book.
Each week we will feature the written work of our students. We hope that you will stop by every week and see what they are writing and thinking about.
Our Gan students wrote a “Vacation Update” all about what they did during winter break.
“I WENT TO The HOTEL ET HADA SUEMEN POL. The HoTEL WS FON.” (I went to the hotel. It had a swimming pool. The hotel was fun).
“I WET to SAUHT CRLINA ANb NRHCRLINA.” (I went to South Carolina and North Carolina).
“I WAT to MRALT ANb I GT A BED WAF A THARM.” (I went to Maryland and I got a bead with a charm).
Kitah Bet reflected on why God created the seas and the land before creating the fish, trees, animals, and people.
God creatd seas and the land before fish, trees, animals, and people because they wold not be abol to stand and Drink water.
God created seas and the land before creating fish, trees, animals, and people because people need food, land and lite to see.
God created seas and the land before creating fish trees animals and people becaus they whud not have a plase to stand on.
God created seas and the land before creating fish, trees, animals, and people because. God created the seas because yhe fish cood not live with no water. Because where will the trees Grow. Where wood the animals live.
God created seas and the land before creating fish, trees, animals and people because if God created people first there would be no food to eat and no land to stand on.
God created seas and the land before creating fish, trees, animals, and people because…The fish would die and the people would die.
Kitah Dalet has been working on writing personal narratives that include descriptive language and dialogue. They have completed their first drafts of these small moments.
The hardwood floor webbed the apartment as we ran laughing down the green-turquoise crisp painted hall.
Pictures of Yadin and Natan followed our every move. I was about to have a sleepover with my two best friends. We were red faced, smiling, laughing open mouthed, and so loud we could break eardrums. The smell
of fresh paint filled my nose and I was laughing like a hyena.
We ran into the full of joy bedroom dwelling of Yadin and Natan. Yelling at us to “Pick a bed and start to go to sleep…” And trying to be funny: “…Maggots!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Was Yadin’s dad I felt a little weirdly more relaxed as I harmoniously picked a mellow all over sleeping bag. I was about to start a long delightful journey of sleep when Rafi said “What book do you want?” I was thinking “What?” When I remembered that this was a sleepover and I didn’t have to go to sleep right away.
Pleased, I looked at the books lining the shelves which were in full stock. I looked with the peepers I called eyes and decided on one contented individual a classic in my eyes, an all time favorite: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever. I blissfully read until I was stopped by a fiery demanding voice “Go to sleep now it’s almost midnight!” I was dumbstruck by Yadin’s dad’s booming scream. Dumbfounded I put down my book. Meanwhile Yadin and Rafi’s protests filled the air when his dad finally left. I was beat I surrendered. Restfully I pulled my blanket up smelling dust and peaceful air. Rafi and Yadin’s words surrounded me but were soon locked out of my quiet state, as I placidly closed my restful eyes thinking of tomorrow. Thinking of what a great day we had. I Thought of how I would be dragged out of there tomorrow by my mom. Though somehow I felt quiescently unbothered by it all. With that in my head I pleasantly nodded of to sleep, tomorrow a new day to come.
I stepped up to the plate with 1 out and we had the score tied at 1 to 1 against the hardest team in the league, the Giants.The pitcher pitched the ball to me and I hit the ball solidly over the first baseman’s head. I ran past first base and second base and halfway to third base but I went back to second base because the outfielder threw the ball to third base. But the basemen missed the ball. So I ran to third. The next batter named Dylan Baster got up to bat and swung the bat just as the ball came and he hit the ball to the outfield I can still hear the sound of the ball as it went to the outfield, the ball almost went over the wall but the outfielder jumped and caught the ball and fell. I tagged up and we won I still remember that day.
TRIXIE AND ME
SCREEEEECH!!!! The car slid to a stop in front of an old beige house. We were getting a new dog because our other one died.I was anxious. We went inside. I saw one dog when I was told there was a whole litter.She was the smallest in the litter they said. She was jumpy,energetic and joyful. She had blond hair,and sparkly brown eyes. Her mom kept jumping on me like somebody throwing a ball in my direction.Only. Apples is what they called the dog we were going to get. But my family just called her Trixie like our other dog. We saw it fit her right. At 12:00 we got lunch at the nearest town. We came back and they said “You passed!” I said “What did we pass?” “The test! For the dog. She’s yours now!” They went in the other room with my parents to talk. I was enthusiastic. Me and my brother waited. We could hear some words from their conversation. We took her home. It looked like she had been here all her life.I felt joyful. Now she lives in my house enjoying her life.
Capture the flag
The wind was blowing hard against my body as I was running through the puddles, splashing water all around. All the other kids were running as well and looked like wild chickens. This was capture the flag.
Me and my friends walked up to lair field ready to play hard.While we were walking we were jumping up and down in excitment. The couselors picked teams and then everyone was talking about stratgey. My friend said, “You go left, I go right, and you stay in the middle.” Me and my friends were ready to crush the other team.
Rain was falling from the sky in small droplets. playing capture the flag we were sodden.After we played cature the flag I said “I’m not wet enough” and my friends through me on the ground and started spalshing me.Then the group head got a hose to spray us!We all wanted to play another game of capture the flag but the counslers did not let us.Me and friends went back to the bunks saying who got the most valuble player of the game.I think my friend Noah Shafernick got the most valuble player of the game.