Category: Learning this Week

Creating Community Through Cohort-Based LearningCreating Community Through Cohort-Based Learning

At Makom Community, ‘community’ permeates every aspect of what we do. From Family Shabbat to learner showcases to School’s Out Camp, we structure lessons, learning experiences, and multi-modal activities with our collective, rather than the individual, in mind. Cohort-based learning is the foundation of our approach to Jewish Enrichment. Although we prioritize student-led instruction, we take it upon ourselves to…

Pesach: An Experiential HolidayPesach: An Experiential Holiday

We hope you all had a sweet Pesach and enjoyed some time contemplating and answering the myriad of Pesach-related questions your kiddos came up with. One of my favorites was: “Do we have to eat matzah just because Bnei Yisrael’s (the Jewish people’s) bread didn’t rise while they were leaving Egypt? Why can’t we just know about the story and…

Omer: Counting Up at MakomOmer: Counting Up at Makom

On any given day, our kids do a lot of counting! Kids count down until they have to transition from one activity to the next or until it is time to clean up from a day of learning. When do you notice you or your family counting down time?  Starting on the second night of Passover, we’re presented with a…

Torah: A Tool for EmpowermentTorah: A Tool for Empowerment

There is a teaching philosophy that I come across fairly often: be the teacher you needed when you were younger. As Anafim (5th-7th grade) educator, I’ve found myself immensely privileged to continuously have conversations with these kids and impart knowledge that would have been invaluable to me as a learner in their place. Nothing solidified this more for me than…

Connecting to Tefilah in New WaysConnecting to Tefilah in New Ways

Every Thursday, the Nitzanim crew has their own Tefilah: Prayer, Music, and Movement, allowing them to connect as a Kvutzah in a different way than on the other days when they share the time with Anafim. When I started leading this group in Tefilah, I noticed a few things. Learners were getting very curious about prayer – what does it…

Imagining the Heavens with GarinimImagining the Heavens with Garinim

In the final week of Jewish Enrichment before Winter Break, Garinim (PreK-1st grade) took a closer look at the text of Nehemiah which recounts the first time Torah was ever read in public. The kids began the unit by dissecting the importance of Bnei Yisrael being able to hear and understand the Torah for the first time in community with…

Cross-Age Teaching & LearningCross-Age Teaching & Learning

At Makom, we know that learning extends beyond the kvutzah (age cohort group), and much of our programming, such as Family Shabbat and our Showcases, are dedicated to just this. We aim to enable our learners to teach their families the rituals and values they experience at Makom so that they can choose what they want to bring to their…

Reflecting on RestReflecting on Rest

A few weeks ago, we delved into an excitingly familiar text for the Nitzanim (3rd-4th graders): the creation of Shabbat (Genesis 2:1-3). This is the same text we sing at the beginning of Friday night kiddush (blessing over wine/grape juice), which many Nitzanim kiddos are working on in Tefilah mastery. At this moment in the text, God stops creating the…

Building New TraditionsBuilding New Traditions

In this unit, our learners have been exploring all aspects of creation. After many exciting weeks of diving into the creation story through discussion, building, and art, we arrived at the study of Shabbat- God’s time to rest. To begin our discussion of Shabbat, our class worked together to build a fort out of the chairs and pillows that we…

Betzelem GarinimBetzelem Garinim

The Garinim (PreK-1st grade) entered week 4 of Textploration at Makom with an eager mind. We’ve been tackling the text of Bereshit 1, exploring the diversity of what God created on days one through six. God separated light from darkness, sea from land, created plants and fruits, sun and moon, the stars, and of course, the animals – but what…

August Camp Highlights!August Camp Highlights!

Curious about what you can expect from Makom Community’s School’s Out Camp? This blog takes a quick look at the joy, playfulness, and community building that characterize Makom Community camp days. What are ways that we can make sure our tent includes everybody in our community? At the start of Tefilah: Prayer, Music, and Movement, during Mah Tovu, campers made…

Joy in Bloom at our 2023 Summer ConferenceJoy in Bloom at our 2023 Summer Conference

Makom Community’s 2023 Summer Conference,  entitled Jewish Placemaking: Planning for Joy, sought to explore joy through the principles of Jewish Placemaking. After two very full days of schmoozing, learning, teaching, and playing, it is safe to say that the over thirty educators who attended the conference were reminded of the joy of radical approaches to education and inspired to integrate…

Top 10 Moments of 2022-23

Now that summer is here, we wanted to take this opportunity to share our favorite moments from this past year with you. Which one is your favorite? 10. The Anafim (4th-7th grade) kiddos led the Torah service at our Family Sukkot Retreat in October. Their thought-provoking questions demonstrated how at Makom we learn from each other and from challenging the Jewish…

A Year of Learning & BuildingA Year of Learning & Building

“And let them make me a sanctuary, so I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8)”.     Almost a year ago, Beverly, Gaby, and I reflected on what text we would bring to our learners for our third unit, which would also be the unit that wrapped up our school year. We ultimately decided on the big idea of “Being in…

Poetic TextplorationPoetic Textploration

I chose to structure my Shavuot tikkun (text study session) through the lens of poetry because I love how poetry challenges the way we perceive things. Take Dickinson for example. Emily Dickinson wrote that “Hope is the thing with feathers”. I know that I for one didn’t think of hope as a bird, as an emotion that can take flight,…

Many Minds, Many InsightsMany Minds, Many Insights

As the year comes to an end, I have been looking back on what the Anafim learners have taught me this year. The Anafim, of course, all have their unique interests and personalities. From them, I have learned about fashion, popular culture, chemistry, and other fascinating topics. Nothing I have done with the Anafim this year illustrates just how much…

Music, Community, and the MishkanMusic, Community, and the Mishkan

The Garnim kiddos (Pre-K and Kindergarten), explored text surrounding the building of the mishkan in a musical context. The kids understood the story of building the mishkan as one where many parts came together to build one whole structure. The text of Exodus has helped us understand how every member of Bnei Yisrael contributed to the building of the mishkan…

The Building Blocks of CommunityThe Building Blocks of Community

In my Winter Break Camp blog, I wrote that there are “three ingredients vital to creating a sense of joy and belonging: connection, immersion, and agency”. In this piece I unpacked one way I used expansive choices to encourage agency and self-efficacy in Winter Break campers.  Now, how does one foster agency in a program when we cannot offer such…

What’s the Big Idea?What’s the Big Idea?

It is no secret that at Makom Community, we like to do things big, loudly, and with a lot of excitement. One cause for such fanfare? The starting of a new unit- a theme that we will spend the next several weeks exploring through the texts we study and, for Nitzanim (2nd-4th graders), our project-based-learning (PBL) projects.  Nitzanim at both…

Seeing Ourselves in Our StoriesSeeing Ourselves in Our Stories

This past month at Makom Community, we have been dedicating a lot of time to learning about and reading Megillat Esther. Megillat Esther is the text that tells us the story of Purim; a story that many of you may be familiar with. In it, King Achashverosh, the king of Persia, sends his wife away for disobeying him and invites…

Adar: When Kids Inspire JoyAdar: When Kids Inspire Joy

During the Hebrew month of Adar, the month where Purim falls, we’re commanded to increase our joy. As a Jew and an educator, I’ve always struggled with this commandment. Maybe it is that I’ve outgrown my love of dressing up in costume, so Purim doesn’t have the same glitz and glam that it once did. Still, as a Jewish educator,…

Pharoah’s Fate: An Anafim DebatePharoah’s Fate: An Anafim Debate

“I am more confused than I was before we started talking about this.” These words from an Anafim (4th-7th graders) learner brought a huge smile to my face. We were engaged in a debate about whether Pharaoh could be judged guilty of not letting Bnei Yisrael (the Children of Israel) go free from their bondage in Egypt. The three learners…

Count on Me: Trust in ShorashimCount on Me: Trust in Shorashim

As we deepen our understanding of praise in this unit, the Shorashim (1st-2nd grade) have come to know that trust is a foundational principle of giving and receiving praise. To explore this idea, we practiced trust with those in our own classroom through a blindfolded group exercise. Through this experience, we realized just how complex and fragile trust is, even…