Holy Makom @ Home!

Makom @ Home started off our new unit, Holy Me!, with a holiness scavenger hunt, finding objects in each of our homes that are holy to us. We found so many different colors of objects that we made a holiness rainbow!

rainbow background with photos of M@H kids holding objects of different colors over the matching background color

Our first text says that because God is holy, each of us is too. Knowing this, we thought about what is something special about us that makes us holy:

  • I say sorry.
  • I’m special in the family.
  • Something holy about all of us is we all do Makom@Home.

Our second text establishes the holiness of God’s non-human creations, especially trees! We illustrated what was created on each day of creation and reflected on why things were created in that order.

6 days of creation illustrated by M@H kids

Our text talked about God showing the first human around the Garden of Eden and saying, “See my works, how beautiful and praiseworthy they are. And everything that I created, I created it for you. Be careful not to spoil or destroy my world – for if you do, there will be nobody after you to repair it” (Torah Temimah on Ecclesiastes 7:13).

We shared ways we see the world being spoiled or destroyed:

  • Beavers cut down trees.
  • Woodpeckers break trees.
  • Floods, tornadoes, tsunami, wildfires, meteors
  • Climate change, pollution, racism, bullying, gun violence
  • Wasting trees
  • We need to protect the world, but we as humans haven’t been doing that. And it’s important. By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. We can’t live like this. We need to fight for our earth so the future generations can live how and so we don’t have to live in fear.

This last comment transitioned us right into considering our responsibility to take care of the world. We discussed where we see ourselves and others are protecting and restoring the world. Then we focused in closer and brainstormed ways kids can take more responsibility in Makom @ Home:

  • Choose a check-in
  • Choose/lead the call to Textsploration
  • Lead a tefilah
  • Call pages for tefilah
  • Chat when someone freezes while talking
  • Timekeeper
  • Bring a stuffed animal to even out teams when we play games
  • Write an icebreaker question for the next class (we have an opening question on our welcome screen each day).
  • Rule watcher – check in if we’re not following our brit
  • Co-host – mute people

Each kiddo got to pick a job. There was a lot of interest in being the Zoom co-host, which we used as an opportunity for collaborative problem-solving. Makom Community’s pedagogy of Jewish placemaking typically involves a lot of co-creating our classroom environment with our learners. On Zoom, with no physical classroom to set up, I’m always keeping my eye out for moments like this. I had some concerns about whether it really made sense to give a kid actual co-host privileges on Zoom, but I decided to hold off on that point. Instead, I started by sharing my observation that we are usually really good at keeping ourselves muted when appropriate. If someone is going to take on the role of co-host, I wanted to make sure there would actually be something for them to do! So we brainstormed a list of other tasks a co-host could do:

  • Help put people in breakout rooms or if the host gets kicked out they help
  • Chatting if someone needs help, like if they didn’t hear something or they need a quick reminder
  • Chat monitor – help if anything strange happens in the chat
  • Add silly faces in the chat as needed
  • Type in the chat if someone freezes, check in with them and type what they can’t hear

We decided that help with breakout rooms was not needed and divided up the remaining tasks, so everyone who wanted to be a co-host could do it. It’s amazing how we can come up with a solution that works for everyone when we put our heads together!

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