Top 10 Moments of 2023-24

Top 10 Moments of 2023-24

10. Journey out of Egypt Obstacle Course

To dive into our unit on Matan Torah, our Garinim (K and 1st grade) learners had their classroom transformed into an obstacle course that took them on a journey through the desert and acted out the story of Bnei Yisrael leaving Egypt. Bringing learners into the text allowed them to fully embody the learning and spurred deep questions such as “Why are we dancing when all the Egyptians drowned in the sea?” and “Why is everyone acting like Moshe is the only leader of Bnei YisraelMiriam is a leader too!”

9. Retreat Round Robin

At our Family Retreat in March, we spent Saturday afternoon cycling through activities such as Makom Trivia and a mini talent competition that allowed grownups and kids to connect within their own families and with friends old and new.

8. Anafim Torah Services

Anafim (5th-7th Grade) learners had the opportunity to lead two Torah services for parents and families throughout the year. These moments showcased their ownership of prayers and their relationship with the Torah as a ritual object. The first Torah Service at the Ethical Society created space for the learners to get familiar with the experience of leading a service. The second service at the Family Retreat enabled them to truly embody the leadership roles of reading Torah and reciting prayers for their community.

7. Field Trip Visits

Our learners were able to explore different Jewish perspectives through field trips and visits from guest speakers such as Linda Coppleson, a Soferet– a scribe of Torah and other Jewish documents, and Moshe Nwafor a former Makom educator who shared his experiences as a congregant and community leader in his home Synagogue Tikvat Israel in Abuja Nigeria. We also visited local synagogues to learn about their practices. Our learners asked these visitors and the congregations we visited such amazing, insightful questions and got to see firsthand the many different ways one can be Jewish. You can read more about Linda Coppleson’s visit here.

6. Celebrating The Aleph Bet Wall

Shorashim (1st and 2nd Grade) learners worked on mastering the Aleph Bet. One way they measured their progress was by putting a stamp on our Aleph Bet poster next to letters that they could write and identify. Midway through the year, learners noticed that there was a stamp next to every single letter in the Aleph Bet, and learners were so proud of their collective accomplishment that the class erupted in cheers.

5. Collaborative Torah Cover

To embody the learning of our curriculum unit on the Power of Communication and the story of the first public Torah reading from the book of Nehemiah, a group of learners collaboratively designed and created a new Torah cover for Makom. With the help of educators, each learner chose a Jewish text that they felt connected to and wanted to share with others to visually represent on a square of fabric. Their work reflected on 21 different quotes of text from Makom curricula going back three years. After unpacking their text and planning how they wanted to visually represent it, learners used fabric, felt, paints, markers, and embroidery to create their designs, which were then quilted together into a piece of fabric that tells the story of learning that has happened at Makom over the years. Read more here.

4. Kitchen Brit

This year, we decided that in addition to each classroom agreeing upon a brit (two-way promise), there should be a collective brit that represents the promises all of Makom makes to one another. Two learners, from each kvutzah (age cohort group), who showed particular interest in the brit building process were selected to participate. As a collective, they worked together to select some items from each of their classroom brits to bring into our communal brit. You can read more here.

3. Creative Tefilah: Prayer, Music, and Movement moments

Every Thursday, Nitzanim (3rd and 4th grade) learners experienced Tefilah in an out of the box way, including a leadership Tefilah where learners got to choose which Tefilot they would like to lead and make choices about how that Tefilot would be sung. Inviting learners into the planning process for Tefilah has given them more agency over their Tefilah experience, and they take so much pride in leading Tefilot and requesting melodies. Read more here

2. Party Penguin: Makom’s Mascot

As our sites merged, a stuffed animal penguin dubbed “Party Penguin” by learners, was brought to the Lab School from our South Philly site and provided comfort to our learners who were new to Sansom Street. Party Penguin was quickly embraced by everyone as a sort of mascot and representation of the sites merging together. The Nitzinim (3rd and 4th grade) cohort paid tribute to him in many ways throughout the year, from individual artworks to making him the subject of their Brit mural.

1. Learning on the Walk

The Makom afternoon begins when educators pick learners up from their schools and travel anywhere from  three blocks to up to a mile. One way we helped learners transition from their school day into their time at Makom is by sharing a daily check in question with them when we pick them up from school, and giving them the duration of their journey to think about their answer which they share with their class upon their arrival. Favorite check in questions included- “If you could only take one thing with you to the desert, what would it be?” and “If your life was a book, what would the title be?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *