Wow, what a wonderful, wet and nature-filled week! We began our very wet week with a beautiful Explorers Havdalah service. Since it was dark and raining outside, it felt extra warm and cozy inside. It also made the flame from the Havdalah candle feel extra bright and our shadows even that much bigger and more visible.
Throughout our week, we continued our amazing and thoughtful discussions on the holiday of Tu BiShvat. We read the book, “The Littlest Tree,” a story in which a tiny tree wants to be a part of the new synagogue being built in town, but the larger trees are telling him he is too small to be an important part. At the end of the story, all the big trees become a part of the synagogue walls, bimah and floor and the littlest tree becomes the most important part, the wooden rollers of the Torah! While reading the story, we had a small Torah in front of us, to be able to see the rollers at the end. We continued to discuss all of the amazing things that we use trees for, here at our school, at home and in our communities. We talked about how we can say thank you for all of the things that they give to us. Right away one friend said, by giving the tree water, and another said we can give the tree hugs and kisses! On Thursday, Rabbi Sari’s story explained how we can give a tree a blessing as a special present.
We read many books and sang many songs about trees and the holiday of Tu BiShvat. At the Art Center the children painted leaves and saw the beautiful prints that the leaves can make. While doing so, we were able to observe the details of a leaf. The children also had the opportunity to create their own silly faces on the side of a pot, planted grass seeds and we are now waiting patiently for our silly hair/grass to grow! One morning, the children helped to pick grapes off of their stems and during circle time we discussed what might happen if we put our grapes into the oven; might they change in any way, will they rise like our challah? The children hypothesized about our grapes and were excited to see the change! We had to wait all day long, as the grapes needed to be in the oven for a very long time. Finally, the next day, during circle time, we saw that our grapes had turned into delicious squishy raisins! The children also observed that the purple grapes turned darker and the green grapes turned a dark yellow. And finally at snack time, we had the joy of tasting our raisins . . . and they were delicious!
We also introduced the children to our other upcoming holiday of Martin Luther King Day. We read the book, “Happy Birthday Martin Luther King,” and discussed his life and how he helped others. We talked about the importance of treating everyone fairly, in our class community and in our world and how we can make sure to do so.
Throughout the rest of our week we had a wonderful time building our very own obstacle course again within our classroom for the days we could not play outside and spending time singing tree songs and playing wooden instruments with Andrew, our music teacher. On Thursday, we made a delicious orange cake, filled with our own freshly squeezed orange juice with oranges straight from the trees. We also continued our wonderful discussions about how we can help within our families, especially when there is a new baby at home! We want to give a huge Mazel Tov to Josiah and his family on the birth of his new baby brother. Everyone is at home and doing well.
We ended our week by celebrating a beautiful Shabbat together as a Room 13 community. The children baked challah in the shape of trees in celebration for our upcoming holiday of Tu BiShvat. We celebrated together with a classroom celebration as well as an Explorer Shabbat service in the Sanctuary. It was a beautiful way to end such a great first week to our new year!
Hannah and Chen
*Please remember to sign your child in and out, with a legible signature, EVERY day. If you have a high-lighted section, it means we need your signature or time in that space, as well as your normal spot for the day.
*Friday, Jan. 25 – Shabbat – 10:15 – Ashton and his family