Happy Thanksgiving!

Good afternoon Tzeeporim families and friends!

We enjoyed a short, but sweet week preparing for Thanksgiving together and getting to perform our Thanksgiving songs for our families.

We finished working on our “Fall Leaf” mixed media art. We added photographs of ourselves and glued on fall leaves to complete our Art Work.

We had fun coloring Thanksgiving themed pictures.

We enjoyed learning about Wampanoags in our Weekly Reader. The Wampanoag were native people who lived in the northeast for thousands of years before the European settlers colonized the area around Plymouth. Last week, we learned about the Pilgrims, but this week we were able to compare and contrast what we learned with the new information we discovered about the Wampanoag people. We learned they lived in a dwelling called a wetu (pronounced “we” “too”), and we were excited to add the words wetu and Wampanoag to our Letter W list we started last week. We had fun learning about what we might find inside of a wetu and we played a digital game about it online.

We prepared our fruit turkeys and fruit salad for the Thanksgiving Feast! Thank you to all of our wonderful families for contributing fruit to the salad. We know it was enjoyed by all at the feast and that everyone appreciated it!

We culminated our week together with a festive Thanksgiving Program. We put on our turkey costumes and got ready to strut out turkey tail feathers.

We got on the bimah and sang our Thanksgiving songs. We did a great job performing!

We feel thankful each, and every day that we get to spend time with our students and watch them learn and grow. We wish all of our friends and families a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Todah rabah,

Ms. Alicia and Ms. Carolyn

Feast for 10

Good afternoon Tzeeporim families and friends!

Last week, we began preparing for Thanksgiving by engaging in many Thanksgiving related activities and reading books that centered on a Thanksgiving theme.

During Story Time, we enjoyed reading Feast for 10 and One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims. Both books taught us different things about Thanksgiving, but they also reinforced counting up to ten, our Number of the Week. We added vocabulary words to our Word Wall, which helps us to identify initial letters and phonemes. Our vocabulary words this week were fall, feast, food, and turkey.

We practiced our Thanksgiving songs many times! We also began creating our costumes for the Thanksgiving Program. We are going to be turkeys! We worked diligently creating turkey feathers using a variety of materials, including watercolor, glitter, tissue paper, and gel paint.

Our Letter of the Week was W. We turned our W into a grey worm, because grey was also our Color of the Week.

Our friends who stay in the afternoon had fun reading the book sixteen runaway pumpkins and adding orange tissue paper to the orange pumpkins the painted recently.

We played in Learning Centers as well, engaging in conversations with both teachers and our peers. We continue to practice using kind words with one another, problem solving, and taking turns when we work together. These are some of the most challenging skills we practice in prekindergarten, but certainly the most valuable!

We ventured outside during Science to take a look at the beautiful trees in Beth Shalom Park. We were excited to extend our understanding of collecting materials and sorting them into piles during a “Tree Scavenger Hunt”. We looked for bark, leaves, pine needles, sticks, and pine cones. Later, we worked in pairs to measure the circumference of trees. After we measured, Ms. Heather did a mathematical calculation based on the circumference to determine the age of the trees. One of the trees was 75 yeas old!

Together with Tzeeporim 1, we gathered together to enjoy a special PJ Library Story Time with Ms. Whitney.

We met our VPK Buddies from the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School this week as well. It was SO exciting! We completed a questionnaire together, so we could see what we had in common. Then, we all learned a new song with our Head of Schools, Mrs. Scharf-Anderson. We will be performing the song together during our Hanukkah Program in December.

Our class mascot, Pete the Cat, returned to school after a fun trip to New York City with one of our classmates! He had the best time visiting Central Park, and even going to a dentist’s office! He can’t wait for his next adventure!

During Music with Ms. Emily, we took some time to practice for our Thanksgiving program, and then, we got to enjoy some rhythm and movement activities. We especially love the song “We Are the Dinosaurs!” and had fun stomping around with beautiful scarves.

On Friday, we enjoyed a special Mystery Reader when our friend’s Dad stopped by to read two stories with us.

We welcomed Shabbat together with our Tzeeporim and Parparim friends. Our ema and aba did a wonderful job representing our class!

We culminated our week together with Show and Tell. All students were asked to bring in something from home that represents a food they enjoy for Thanksgiving. Our friends were very creative! Some drew their own pictures of food they like to eat. Some friends found play food from their play kitchens at home. Still other friends cut out images of food from newspapers and magazines. All friends had the opportunity to tell us about their favorite Thanksgiving food, even if they did not bring something tangible to show the class.

We are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving at school this coming week with our families and friends!


Ms. Alicia and Ms. Carolyn





Leaf Man

Good evening Tzeeporim families and friends!

Last week, our Letter of the Week was C and our color of the week was black. We turned our letter C into a black cat with pointy triangle ears, whiskers, a triangle nose, and circular eyes.

Our theme this week centered on leaves. During Storytime, we read several books that related to leaves. The first book was The Big Leaf Pile in which Clifford the Big Red Dog was the main character. We learned about the importance of being a good friend and telling our friends the truth. We also explored two Lois Ehlert books about leaves. The first was Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf and the second was Leaf Man.

We absolutely loved the picture book Leaf Man because the illustrator used leaves to create images. For example, one page showed the image of a turtle made out of leaves and another page showed a real leaf man created using a Sugar Maple leaf and acorns. As an Art & Photography activity, our friends made their own leaf man collages and even photographed their own creations with the iPad. They were able to use pine needles, pine cones, acorns, and leaves that they had collected on our nature walk last week and combine them with mini pumpkins to create their own art. We were falling head over heals in love with their creations!

As open ended activity at Art Center, many of our friends did leaf tracing and leaf rubbings to create their own leaf inspired art. We loved that they colored their leaves some of their favorite colors and that no two leaves looked the same!

During Recess, the students were inspired by the leaf piles in the story The Big Leaf Pile. Many of our friends decided to work together, just like the characters in the story to make their own leaf piles. It was exciting to see them reenacting the story without any teacher prompting and demonstrating how to work together!

Our Weekly Reader this week was about Veteran’s Day. We read the digital version of the magazine together as a class, watched a short video clip about veterans, and then played some really cool pattern building games. As a culminating activity, we worked individually and in small groups to answer some questions about a map. We all did a fantastic job following directions and using our own sense of direction!

We spent a great deal of time interacting and communicating with others in our Learning Centers.

In Gardening, we learned how seeds travel. Ms. Heather read a book to us called The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. We learned that sometimes seeds travel in the wind, and other times animals and humans pick up seeds on their clothing and transport them to new locations. We experimented with transporting seeds by creating wind by blowing through straws. We put socks our our hands to mimic people walking through the grass. We also created our own biodegradable planters out of toilet paper rolls.

In Jewish Studies, we learned about Yosef (Joseph) the son of Yaakov and Rivka. We learned about his coat of many colors! We began preparing for Thanksgiving. We practiced standing on the bimah and singing our songs.

In Music, we played with shaky eggs, did the ABCs with bells in our hands, and participated in a lot of engaging rhythmic activities with our rhythm sticks. The best part was tapping along to the rhythm of a song from the movie “Moana”.

We culminated our week with a fun Mystery Reader! Our Mystery Reader Mommy read some really cute books to us. Our favorite was one about Peppa Pig. We were all giggling together!

We enjoyed an all school Shabbat with all of our preschool friends, and had a wonderful ema and aba to represent our class. Our ema and aba even had some special guests, and we are so grateful they were able to join us!

We began thinking about the week ahead during Show and Tell. In anticipation of Thanksgiving, we brought in things from home that we are thankful for. We are thankful for toys, purple pandas, baby doll, trucks, turkeys, baseball, siblings, moms, dads, and glow sticks.

We had a great week last week learning about leaves! We can’t wait for the upcoming week when we will focus our attention on preparing for Thanksgiving, and the many things we have to be thankful for at school and home.

Todah rabah,

Ms. Alicia and Ms. Carolyn

Camping Conversations

Good afternoon Tzeeporim families and friends,

Last week, we took time to enjoy the fall season. We spent a little extra time on the playground and out in nature to immerse ourselves in the cool breeze and the changing leaves on the trees.

Our book of the week during Storytime was Bailey Goes Camping by Kevin Henkes. It was the story about bunny named Bailey who is a little bit sad because his brother and sister get to go camping, but he is too little to go. We talked about many of the things we have to wait to do until we are bigger, like drive cars and have sleepovers with friends.

In the story, Bailey has a pretend camp out in his house with a real tent and he gets to roast marshmallows over the stove. We added several vocabulary words to our Word Wall related to camping, including camping, tent, marshmallow, hot dog, and stars. A star was also our shape of the week!

After reading, we completed a Math activity to increase our math concept vocabulary. We determined which of our friends would like to go camping inside like Bailey and which of our friends would prefer to camp outside, like Bailey’s siblings.  We used terms like more than and less than.

As an Emergent Writing activity, we made lists of items we would bring with us on a camping trip. We added items like flashlights, sleeping bags, and firewood to our lists. We had fun using a flashlight to help us sing our ABC Song too! We turned off the lights to make the room feel like a campsite at night, and then our Song Leader shone the light on each letter as we sang our song.

We took a lovely Nature Walk outside to collect items for our Sensory Table. We collected acorns, leaves, pine cones, and as many brown leaves as we could. We tried to leave the green leaves on the trees to allow them to continue to grow, although truth be told, some of our friends could not resist adding a little green to our collection.

Our Color of the Week was orange, so we had fun painting bright orange pumpkins on the easel in Art Center. We can’t wait to finish working on them next week!

Our Letter of the Week was M. We made a mighty magnificent list of M words including names like Max and Mommy, and words like Monday, muffin, and magnet. We had a marvelous time turning our Ms into mice with little ears, noses, whiskers, and small googly eyes. We traced the letter M and we even turned our snack into the letter M!

In Jewish Studies, we learned that Avraham and Sarah had a son named, Yitzhak and that he married Rivka! We learned that all of these things happened in the book of Beresheet (Genesis in English).

In Gardening, we found out that birds can have a challenging time foraging for food during Winter. Although we are still in Fall, we decided to help the birds in advance by making home made bird feeders out of pine cones. Ms. Heather helped us to spread shortening all over our pine cones and then roll them around in seeds to give the birds something to eat.

In Music, we combined classes with Tzeeporim 1 to learn a new song for a special end of the year program. Ms. Emily assigned each of us a letter of the alphabet, and we started learning a very special new song together. We had a very bustling and busy Music class this week!

In Science, Ms. Heather taught us about simple machines. Did you know the word machine starts with the letter M? So cool! She set up several pulley stations around the room, and we took turns learning how to use the pulleys and identifying how they help us to lift heavy things and transport objects from place to place. We practiced taking turns and had a wonderful time exploring!

We created, explored, and built in Learning Centers as well.

We enjoyed a special Mystery Reader when our friend Mrs. Helen joined us to read two stories about fall. We enjoyed talking to her about squirrels, acorns, and the colors of beautiful fall leaves. At the end, she even gave each of us our own beautiful red, orange, and yellow leaves to take home. It was a special visit!

The ema and aba for our class did a wonderful job on the bimah during Shabbat. Our ema enjoyed sitting with her special visitors, her grandparents! Our aba, knew all of the answers to Morah Rachel and Morah Miriam’s questions about the Torah portion for the week- he was really listening in Jewish Studies and we were so impressed by his knowledge! Our ema and aba helped to lead kiddush as well!

We culminated our week with an excited Show and Tell. Most of our friends brought in cool leaves from home that they found or that their parents helped them to find. Some were small, and others, like a banana leaf, were humongous!

Last week was a marvelous week together learning about camping, we can’t wait for the upcoming week when we get to explore leaves together and continue to enjoy the fall season.

Todah rabah,

Ms. Alicia and Ms. Carolyn




Mouse Paint

Good morning Tzeeporim families and friends!

This week in Tzeeporim, we explored the letter A, the number 7, and hearts. We tapped into our inner artists and explored primary and secondary colors.

We traced the letter A, and then we turned the letter A into an alligator for our ABC books. We made the letter A with our snacks too!

We traced the number 7 and added 7 stickers to a sticker jar. We even used linking cubes to make the number 7.

We spent time in Learning Centers building, writing, creating, and imagining.

We enjoyed when Ms. Whitney from PJ Library Jacksonville stopped by to read us a story!

We used our gross motor skills outside during Recess. Playing outside with our friends also gives us good practice being cooperative and learning to take turns.

Our Curriculum centered on the text Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh, and it provided so many great artistic experiences with color after exploring RAINBOWS last week.

After reading the book Mouse Paint, we learned how to mix our own secondary colors from primary colors. We took turns mixing our colors and completed a math equation with the colors. We followed the sequence of events in the text to create our equations. For example, RED + YELLOW = ORANGE, BLUE + YELLOW = GREEN, and RED + BLUE = PURPLE  

As a Sensory Activity, we mixed primary colored paint in plastic bags to see how colors combined with our fingers. We were able to finger paint without making a mess! We drew shapes in the paint and event practiced forming letters.

We painted with primary colors at the Art Easel. It was fun to paint on a vertical incline and to see how the paint mixed on the paper. Some of us had paintings with bright, vibrant colors! Some of us even discovered that we can create brown or grey paint by combining all of the primary colors. It was an exciting discovery.

At Art Center, we spent two days making “Mouse Paint” art. We covered our entire canvas panels with paint by mixing our primary paint colors directly on the canvas to create secondary colors. When they were dry, we peeled off the painter’s tape to reveal three white ovals. We turned the ovals into mice by adding ears, noses, tails, and eyes.

As an Emergent Writing activity, we wrote about our favorite colors in our journals. We created illustrations only using our favorite color.

During Storytime, we also read the book Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh. The book was about three mice who were trying to hide from a cat, so they used shapes to trick the cat. We extended our understanding of shapes and colors by creating shape collages using construction paper and glue.

In Science Center, we used different colored magnetic shapes to create houses and rocket ships.

At the Math and Manipulatives Center, we explored colors and shapes. We sorted colored bears into piles. We also used tangram puzzles to create different images using shapes like triangles, squares diamonds, hexagons, and trapezoids.

In Jewish Studies, we studied parsha Lech-Lecha, and learned that lech means “go”.  We found out that Avram would not pray to idols when he was young because he believed in one G-d. We learned that Avram was the first Jewish person, and that Sarai was his wife.  We discovered that HaShem changed their names to Avraham and Sarah, and told them they would have as many descendants as there are stars in the sky. We had fun pretending to be Avraham and Sarah during a role play activity!

In Gardening, we analyzed the results from our plant experiment from the previous week. We concluded that plants need soil, water, AND sunlight to grow! This week, we learned about bugs that are good for the garden called “beneficials”, and those that are bad called “baddies”.  We each got to make bug superhero or villain masks, and then ventured out in the garden on a bug scavenger hunt. We found lots of caterpillars!

In Science, we learned about magnetism. We learned about North and South poles of a magnet. We discovered that magnets with the same charge repel and that magnets with opposite charges attract. Using special magnetic wands, we tested many objects to see if they were magnetic, such as paperclips, keys, clothespins, and spoons. Then, we were able to play with magnets at different sensory tables. It was great!

On Friday, we wrapped up our week with so many fun activities. We watched the book When Pigasso Met Mootisse by Nina Laden on Storyline Online. The story a was about two rival artists (with similar painting styles to Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse) who learn to appreciate each other’s work. We learned that while all of us may have different ideas and express our creativity in different ways, all of us make important contributions in our classroom, just like Pigasso and Mootisse!

We enjoyed a fantastic Mystery Reader as well. She read two great books to us, and our favorite one was definitely Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin. It was so silly!

We welcomed Shabbat with our Parparim and Tzeeporim friends. We had a wonderful ema and aba. Morah Rachel and Morah  Miriam dressed up as Avraham and Sarah, and showed us hachnasat orchim (hospitality) by welcoming us to their tent and giving us something to eat! We even enjoyed celebrating our ema’s birthday along with her mom and little brother. We sang Yom Huledet Sameach to her and devoured delicious cupcakes during Kiddush.

We concluded our week together by doing Show and Tell. This week, our friends brought in an item from home that was their favorite color.

Now that the weather is cooling down, we can’t wait to come back next week and learn about CAMPING! It is going to be so much fun!

Todah rabah,

Ms. Alicia and Ms. Carolyn


Noah’s Ark

Shabbat Shalom Tzeeporim families and friends!

We spent the week immersed in a thematic flood of all things “Noah’s Ark”. We learned about animals, boats, buoyancy, and even rainbows.

We commenced by introducing our Letter of the Week, which was letter “L”. We traced the letter L, we dot painted the letter L, and we even turned the letter L into a LION for our ABC books. We practiced holding our writing (and painting) utensils correctly to increase our fine motor abilities and enhance our pencil grasp.

Our Color of the Week was purple, and we enjoyed painting purple compositions using both purple matte and glitter paint. We painted on a vertical incline which helps our development in so many ways. While we are painting vertically we are improving our hand-eye and bilateral coordination. We enhanced our fine motor skills using purple play-dough, and we increased our print awareness by using purple ink pads and alphabet stamps to stamp names and create words.

During Storytime, we read books about Parsha Noah. Among our favorites were Noah’s Bed by James Coplestone and Jim Coplestone, Fox Walked Alone by Barbara Reid, and Why Dogs Have Wet Noses by Kenneth C. Steven and Øyvind Torseter. We continue to develop our preliteracy skills by identifying the title of the book, locating the spine of the book, distinguishing between the front and back of the book, and finding the title page of the book.

During Snack, we created our own edible arks using bananas, soy butter, and animal crackers. We all built our arks in different ways to hold our animals.

We learned about RAINBOWS as well. We learned “The Rainbow Song” by Rick Recht, and that the word rainbow in Hebrew is keshet. We designed our own rainbow bead necklaces. Some of us added beads at random to make beautiful necklaces, and some of us created patterns with our beads.

We performed a Science Experiment that required us to be VERY patient because it took two days to complete. On the first day of our experiment, we lined up seven cups. We filled four of them with water, connected them with paper towels, and then added red food coloring to the first and last cups, yellow to the third cup, and blue food coloring to the fifth cup. We made predictions about what would happen when we looked at the cups the following day. Some of us thought the colors might mix, some of us thought all of the cups would have brown water, and some of us even thought the cups might EXPLODE (because sometimes that DOES happen during a science experiment!) We were excited to return to school the next day and see that the water had traveled through the absorbent paper towels and mixed in the cups without water. We were left with a beautiful RAINBOW!

We enjoyed playing in our Learning Centers this week as well. We integrated our new knowledge about boats, animals, and rainbows into our play. For example, we drew animals in Writing Center, explored floating and sinking at the Sensory Table, and put animal figurines on boats in Block Center.

During Recess, we had fun using our gross motor skills and some of us even continued to integrate our new knowledge into outside play. We pretended the playground equipment was an ark. We drew boats and arks on the ground using sidewalk chalk.

In Jewish Studies, we learned that Parsha Noah, is the second parsha in the Torah, after Beresheet (“In the beginning”). We learned that Noah built an ark, and that HaShem made it rain for 40 days and 40 nights. We discussed that a rainbow is a promise from HaShem not to flood the whole earth again. We made a delicious edible ark, and ate it for dessert at lunch one day.

In Music, we practiced the rhyming song we did last week. We are becoming so skilled at using “rests” when we play our instruments!  We talked about the different moods of music and the reason why they put different songs in movies to help us feel a certain way. We listened to the “Kakamora” song from “Moana” and talked about how it made us feel excited and nervous.

In the Discovery Studio, Ms. Heather extended our understanding of arks, and boats in general, by teaching us about floating and sinking. We each constructed our own boat using aluminum foil and then we tested the boat in the water to see if it would float or sink!

To extend our understanding of floating and sinking, we bought in items from home that we thought would float. During Show and Tell, our friends shared what item they brought and then tested it in water to see if it would float. Our friends did a fantastic job selecting items that would float!

We had fun celebrating our friend’s Birthday by eating in the classroom and enjoying all of the delicious things her mom brought in.

We enjoyed a special Mystery Reader mommy who read so many fantastic books to us! We loved the book What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada- it really got us thinking!

We culminated the week by welcoming Shabbat in the chapel with our friends, family members, and even Noah was there to help lead our service. Our ema and aba did a wonderful job, and we enjoyed a wonderful kiddush together back in the preschool.

We had so much fun this week learning together! We can’t wait to join together again next week when we get to explore concepts of COLOR and learn about primary and secondary colors! It is going to be a colorful and creative week for us!

Shabbat Shalom,

Ms. Alicia and Ms. Carolyn




Torah, Torah, Torah!

Boker tov Tzeeporim families and friends!

We kicked, or rather hopped, our week off with a fantastic Sukkah Hop. We are grateful to our parent drivers and our hosts for chaperoning us and making sure we all enjoyed a truly memorable experience.  We enjoyed participating in the mitzvah of sitting in the sukkah together with our VPK friends!

We started off visiting our Head of School’s sukkah. There, we learned about the lulav and the etrog. Her sukkah was decorated with rings, paintings, and hamsas. Mrs. Scharf-Anderson showed us the pitom of the etrog, and we learned that the etrog is not considered kosher if it falls off. We enjoyed sitting and eating a candy apple lollipop treat together.

Next, we visited our friend’s grandparents’ sukkah. It was covered in beautiful lattice and had a fantastic tree growing in the middle. We learned that even if a sukkah is shaded by a tree, it still needs a schach, or roof covering. The sukkah was decorated with a beautiful painting of the ushpizin, or guests, who visit the sukkah throughout Sukkot. We learned that the ushpizin are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, and David. We enjoyed delicious yogurt and berry parfaits in the sukkah.

Our last stop on the Sukkah Hop was visiting the sukkah of our Hazzan. He welcomed all of us into his shady sukkah that was decorated with pretty plastic fruit and colorful lights. He even had a fan for his sukkah to keep things cool in the heat and humidity. We listened to the story The Very Crowded Sukkah, and enjoyed some delicious cake together.

We were busy on Tuesday preparing for Simchat Torah. We worked diligently to craft our felt Simchat Torah flags to use for Simchat Torah celebrations. Some of our friends even brought them to shul on Thursday night and Friday to celebrate! We talked about the fact that each felt flag was the shape of a rectangle, which is our shape of the week. We adorned each flag with a Torah, and placed a crown in the center of each Torah. We also added purple jewels to the handles of the Torah because the Torah is like a jewel to us.

We have our minds on MITZVOT (good deeds), and are so grateful to the friends who brought non-perishable goods to donate to victims of Hurricane Irma. We talked about the fact that many people are still recovering from the hurricane and are still without basic necessities, like food. We each carried one canned good or box and helped make an entire bag full of food to donate to those in need.

We enjoyed a SNACKTIVITY in the Goldman Sukkah together. We each took two pretzel rods and organic fruit roll ups, and rolled the roll ups to make our very own edible Torahs. They were sweet, just like the words of Torah are to our ears and our hearts. We enjoyed Storytime in the sukkah as well. We read Sammy Spider’s First Simchat Torah by Sylvia Rouss.

In Music with Ms. Emily, we continued to learn about rhythm. She taught us a new song that we will be learning together for the next several months. We have to really use our brain power to tap the rhythm and sing at the same time. We even learned about taking rests when we play music. We learned that a rest is when we don’t make any sound with our instruments. We also did a fun movement activity with scarves to “The Silly Pizza Song“. It was SO much fun!

In Gardening with Ms. Heather, we learned about plants. We talked about the things that plants need, like sun, water, and soil. Ms. Heather showed us three of the same plants and helped us to get started on a long-term experiment. One plant we hid from sunlight by putting a bucket over it. One plant will not receive water. One plant will remain planted in the soil to receive sunlight and water. We made our hypothesis. We all think the planted plant that receives sunlight and water will grow best. We can’t wait to find out if we are right.

We brainstormed a list of qualities for living and nonliving things. Then, we played a game with Ms. Heather to see if we could determine whether certain things were living or nonliving. We knew that trains were nonliving, and that plants are living, but some things, like rocks, were hard to determine. We had to really think about it! As a culminating activity, Ms. Heather gave us magnifying glasses to explore the garden beds. We were looking for clues to determine what animal might be munching on all of the veggies! We think it might be a squirrel!

We talked about how the sofer (scribe) who writes the Torah uses a special writing tool like a reed or a feather quill. We learned that it usually takes three years to write an entire Torah! As an Art activity, we used faux feather quills to paint designs and write our names.

We did our Weekly Reader entitled “School Rules” as a way to bridge our understanding of rules we follow in school with the commandments G-d gave us in the Torah. We discussed how rules and commandments give us a guide for making positive choices in our lives, both inside of the classroom and outside of the classroom.

We enjoyed an in-school Simchat Torah celebration with all of our Tzeeporim friends. We waved our flags, sang, and danced. It was a lively and fun celebration! Since we scroll the Torah back to the beginning on Simchat Torah, we also listened to an engaging rendition of Parsha Beresheet, which tells us about the six days of creation. We learned that HaShem rested on the seventh day, and that is why we observe Shabbat!

We had a truly festive and celebratory week. We hope our friends and families enjoyed a Chag Sameach! We’re looking forward to seeing all of our friends back at school this week when we get to explore Parsha Noah, learn about animals, rainbows, and buoyancy!

Todah rabah,

Ms. Alicia and Ms. Carolyn

Shake Your Lulav and Your Etrog!

Chag Sukkot Sameach Tzeeporim families and friends!

We were completely engrossed in nature and creativity last week as we prepared for the holiday of Sukkot.

Our Letter of the Week was letter E. We compiled a list of E words, including etrog, egg, eight, and names like Emily, Erika, and Eli. Using construction paper, we made a letter “E” hatch out of an egg as a page for our ABC book.

We enjoyed time playing in Learning Centers. We had conversations with our friends and conversations with our teachers to broaden our understanding of various concepts and promote positive social interactions.

Our theme of the week was Sukkot and we spent time preparing for the holiday through stories, songs, crafts, and a STEM experience. Our color of the week was GREEN, and it was fun to make a lulav with  green branches to pair with the laced etrog we created the week prior.

We began creating decorations for the synagogue sukkah. We used watercolors to paint apples to hang.

We worked collaboratively to made a sukkah collage using pictures of ourselves, and pictures of fruit and vegetables.

We made individual sukkah collages as well. Each student made their own version with a picture of themselves standing inside a sukkah holding both a lulav and an etrog.

Our number of the week was 5, and we spent time learning about the five senses with our Weekly Reader entitled “Exploring Autumn Leaves”. We learned that we can see the different colors, we can hear the crunching sound of the leaves beneath our feet, and we can feel their bumpy texture. We also learned that the leaves from different trees change color differently in the Autumn. For example, a leaf from one tree might turn red, but a leaf from a different tree might turn orange or even yellow.

We went on a Leaf Scavenger Hunt outside. We each collected pine cones, acorns, and fallen leaves that had begun to change colors. Inside the gazebo, we used our fall leaves to do some leaf rubbings. We could really see the veins of the leaves on the paper!

In Gardening with Ms. Heather, we glued butterfly flower garden seeds to Magen David (Star of David) construction paper cut outs. Ms. Heather sent them home with us with a message to plant our flower seeds to celebrate the start of the new year. We hope our seeds grow as much as we do this year! We also painted garden markers to help us identify some of the things that we see in the garden.

In Jewish Studies, Morah Rachel and Morah Miriam talked to us about building a sukkah. We learned that a sukkah has at least three sides and branches on the roof to enable to us to see the stars as night. The covering is called a schach. In Florida, a lot of sukkot use palm branches for their schach. We enjoyed putting up our decorations in the sukkah and hope our synagogue friends enjoy looking at our creations.

After visiting the synagogue sukkah, we watched “The LEGO Sukkot Movie” which was a brief stop motion animation about Sukkot from the website BimBam. (We think the grown-ups we know would enjoy it too.) Then, we worked either individually or in groups to create our own sukkot using materials like LEGOS, Magna-tiles, and wooden blocks. We added construction paper palm branches to the top of them to make sure they were as authentic as possible!

Morah Rachel and Morah Miriam put out a pretend sukkah for us to enjoy. We practiced fulfilling the mitzvah of sitting (or dwelling) in the sukkah.

We had fun last week, but we are looking forward to the upcoming week when we are able to celebrate Sukkot together as a class and prepare for Simchat Torah!


Ms. Alicia and Ms. Carolyn



Yom Kippur, Kindness & Kugel

Good morning Tzeeporim families and friends!

We hope our Tzeeporim families had a meaningful fast yesterday. We had a busy and productive week learning so many new things. Our letter of the week was “B”. We made a bountiful list of B words such as baby, big, butterfly, branches, blocks, baseball, basketball, and Batman, among many others. We dot painted the letter B as a way to understand letter formation and to develop some of the muscles in our hands.

We created a new page for letter B for our ABC books. We painted the letter B yellow, added black stripes, four wings, antennae, and a stinger to transform our B into a BEE.

Our Weekly Reader this week was titled “Choosing Kindness”. This was the perfect topic to explore as we prepared for Yom Kippur. We talked about saying sorry to our friends and the importance of forgiveness. We talked about nice things we can do for our friends like helping them to clean up toys, comforting them if they are feeling sad, or making get well cards for them when they are sick. Some of our friends really took the notion of making get well cards to heart and made get well cards for one of our friends who was not feeling well.

During Storytime, we read several books that gave us greater understanding of Yom Kippur, saying sorry, and showing forgiveness. We read  Sammy Spider’s First Yom Kippur by Sylvia Rouss, Sam and Charlie (and Sam Too!) by Leslie Kimmelman, and Red, Blue, and Yellow Yarn: A Tale of Forgiveness by Miriam R. Kosman.

The book Red, Blue, and Yellow Yarn gave us the opportunity to engage in a lot of yarn inspired activities. As a prereading activity, we used our senses to look at and touch items made with yarn like sweaters, hats, mittens, blankets, and scarves. At our Sensory Table Center, the bin was overflowing with a plethora of yarn in a variety of textures and colors.

At Art Center, we used yarn and fabric to weave on both small and large looms.

We even used yellow yarn to begin lacing our etrogim for Sukkot.

We enjoyed a nature walk through Beth Shalom Park on our synagogue campus. We collected sticks to use on a Sukkot project for next week. We compared and contrasted the sticks we collected. Some were thin, some were thick. Some were long, and some were short. On the way, we saw two benches and were so excited since the word bench starts with the letter B, our letter of the week. We took a blissful break on the benches before heading back to our classroom.

We read the book Talia and the Very Yum Kippur by Linda Elovitz Marshall. It was about a little girl named Talia preparing for the Yom Kippur break fast with her grandmother. In the book, Talia makes a kugel with her grandmother, so we decided to use the recipe in the book to make a kugel is well. It was delicious!

In Jewish Studies, Morah Rachel and Morah Miriam broadened our understanding of Yom Kippur. We acted out some scenes together of friends not getting along. We practiced saying Slicha (sorry in Hebrew), and forgiving one another. We read the story of Jonah who tried to hide from HaShem, and was swallowed by a humongous fish. Jonah prayed and fasted for three days to show HaShem he was sorry and then HaShem forgave him.

In Gardening with Ms. Heather, we used the square foot gardening method to begin planting our salsa garden. We were pretty excited to use squares to garden since they were our shape of the week. We worked together to create a garden plan or map, then we used the map to help us plant the different vegetables. We planted tomatoes, green peppers, herbs, and carrots.

In Music, we continued to work on rhythm with Ms. Emily. We had fun tapping the beats to a song from Moana using rhythm sticks. We  used bells to practice the beat in a fun alphabet song.

In Science, Ms. Heather taught us about three types of bridges, Beam Bridges, Arch Bridges, and Truss Bridges. All of the types of bridges are formed of different geometric shapes. We learned that some shapes are stronger than others. First, Ms. Heather showed us a video clip about bridges. Then, she did an experiment to test the strength of the different types of bridges. Next, we were able to work in pairs to build our own bridges. As a culminating activity, we played the game London Bridge is Falling Down.

In Block Center, we continued to construct bridges. We learned to make very strong ones using wooden blocks.

On Friday, we wrapped up the week with a special Mystery Reader. She brought books about being kind to others, which tied in so nicely with our themes this week as we prepared for Yom Kippur.

For Show and Tell, we shared items that started with our letter of the week, letter B. We shared Batman, butterflies, balls, bats, and so many other exciting things.

We welcomed Shabbat with our Parparim and Tzeeporim friends. We had a wonderful ema and aba. It was our ema’s birthday, and we all sang Yom Huledet Sameach (Happy Birthday in Hebrew) to her during our Shabbat celebration.

We are looking forward to the upcoming week when we get to learn about Sukkot and begin decorating the synagogue sukkah together.

Todah rabah,

Ms. Alicia and Ms. Carolyn


L’Shanah Tovah Umetukah!

L’Shanah Tovah Tzeeporim Families and Friends!

Last week, we had a fabulous time learning about and preparing for Rosh Hashanah, the New Year. We talked about symbols for the holiday, such as a tapuach (apple), a rimon (pomegranate), a shofar (ram’s horn), and d’vash (honey). We made shana tova cards for our families and did lots of learning activities that centered on the symbols and themes of the holy day.

Our Letter of the Week was “T”. We made a terrific list of T words including words like tiger, today, Tuesday, and tomorrow.  We practiced tracing and writing the letter “T”.

We turned the letter T into an apple tree using green tissue paper and red paint. We wrote the word tree on our page and can’t wait to add it to our ABC books.

We learned about Rosh Hashanah during Story Time by reading books such as Sammy Spider’s First Rosh Hashanah and Apples and Honey. During Rosh Hashanah, we dip our apples in honey. We learned how honey is made by reading books about bees, such as Buzz, Bees!

Our vocabulary words were apple, honey, pomegranate, and shofar. We added the words to our Word Wall. We loved listening to our friend blow the shofar he brought from home.

We did a “Tapuach Taste Testing” for three different types of apples. We tried Macintosh, Gala, and Granny Smith apples. We each chose our favorite apple, colored it in, and added it to a bar graph. We determined that the Granny Smith was liked by the most friends in our class.

We played with honey scented playdough.  We used the dough to create our own “round challah”.

We did a Science Experiment together to test our hypothesis about whether or not apples float. We each made a prediction about whether we thought the apple would float or sink. We tested our prediction by putting an apple in a container of water and watching to see if it floated or not. As an Emergent Writing activity, we wrote about the results of our experiment in our journals.

In Jewish Studies, we continued to learn about Rosh Hashanah. Morah Miriam told us a story about an apple tree that wanted to be covered in stars. It was so happy at the end of the story when it learned that each apple on its branches had a star inside of it.

We also practiced doing Tashlich at the pond. We each took a little piece of bread and threw the bread into the pond, using it as a symbol for something we did in the past year that was not kind or thoughtful. We thought about the ways we can be kind to others and make the world a better place in the new year.

In Music, we did a movement activity where we stepped across the room in the same rhythm as the beat of Ms. Emily’s drums. We used our rhythm sticks to tap the beat to a song from the movie “Moana”.

In Gardening, Ms. Heather extended our understanding of the Water Cycle. We talked about run-off and worked together to make “Pollution Soup”.

We used water droppers to mimic rain clouds, and practiced creating rain.

We were so happy we were able to spend time outside on the playground with our VPK friends.

We had fun celebrating our friend’s 5th birthday. We enjoyed eating in our classroom and getting to have a sweet treat!

We hope you are already enjoying a sweet new year! We are looking forward to the upcoming week when we have the opportunity to learn about Yom Kippur and begin preparing our decorations for Sukkot.

Todah rabah,

Ms. Alicia and Ms. Carolyn