Kehillah Klips – MAY 5/15/2019
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On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Arie Crown Hebrew Day School had a special program for the 3rd -8th grades. They spent the morning with Mrs. Naomi Jacobson, a Holocaust survivor, and proud great -grandmother. The students watched a video of Mrs. Jacobson recounting her story of being born in peaceful and beautiful times, then the horrors she endured during the Holocaust, and finally, meriting to build a beautiful family in America afterwards. The children then got to hear directly from her, asking her questions about her experiences. Representatives of each class lit candles in memory of the martyrs, the Kedoshim. An 8th grade student led the group in the recitation of Tehillim, and everyone chimed in singing the classic Ani Maamin (“I believe”).
A Jewish education is so much more than just the books.
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At Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov, Mrs. Berger worked hard teaching fractions and the practical application in everyday life. The following assignment was the culmination of their unit on fractions and a highlight of the year for the students.
Using six recipes of their choice, the girls had to do mathematical computations such as doubling, tripling and halving the recipes. Each student created a unique cookbook with these recipes. Extra points were awarded for creativity and execution.
The girls were very excited about the project and used both their artistic talents as well as math knowledge in creation of their cookbooks. The final products were outstanding both in their originality and accuracy!
And bottom line—girls have gained a new appreciation for the math they learned this year.
A 10-year-old girl has won the hearts of people across the internet by writing a reverse poem about dyslexia. The poem is being praised not only for its unique format, but also for the positive message it sends other kids.
The poem serves to empower children with learning challenges and dismantle the belief that they are stupid or failures. Take a look and discover for yourself…
I am stupid
Nobody would ever say
I have a hatred for words
I was meant to be great
That is wrong
I am a failure
Nobody would ever convince me to think that
I can make it in life.
(Now read upwards)
I can make it in life
Nobody would ever convince me to think that
I am a failure
That is wrong
I was meant to be great
I have a hatred for words
Nobody would ever say
I am stupid.
Simply titled “Dyslexia,” the poem captures two perspectives.
When read from top to bottom, the poem describes the negative thoughts and feelings that children with dyslexia – and other learning challenges – may feel.
However, when read from the bottom upwards, the poem’s tone transforms and becomes so empowering that the teacher of the student who wrote it felt compelled to share it so others could gain from it.
The lesson of the poem is clear – there are two ways a child with a learning challenge can perceive themselves. And that perception makes a world of difference. When children do not define and limit themselves by their challenges, they’re able to realize their potential and rise to greatness.
It’s our job as parents and educators to help ensure that all children and especially those with learning challenges view themselves through a positive, empowering lens, with an “I can” mindset. We must build our children’s self-esteem and encourage them to believe in themselves. That will set them up for success in every arena of life.
How to accomplish that?
- When we offer emotional support, listen and validate the children’s feelings. That will motivate them to grow and reach higher both academically and in all areas.
- Point out their successes – small and large – so they can see their progress and be motivated to keep pushing.
- And point out that all people have challenges and that making mistakes is part of the growth process and is good!When they start understanding and accepting who they are and believe in the process, they learn to stop fearing learning…and that’s where the magic happens.
Stay tuned for information about ET Learning Connection’s upcoming series on reading: “Ready Set Connect.” Is your child getting the right help? Link your child to success with ET Learning Connections.Esther Tarkieltaub, LBS1 Educational Specialist and Advocate works on empowering her clients to enhance their academic ability, strengthen their social skills and build their self-esteem. ET Learning Connections is dedicated to advocating for each client’s unique needs to ensure they have the tools, support and self-confidence necessary to thrive. Contact Esther Tarkieltaub LBS1 at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-807-1083 to schedule a complimentary consultation.
How Do I Motivate My Child To Learn? Chaya Z. 5/8/2018
How Do I Motivate My Child To Learn?
Chaya Zlatopolsky MA, LBSI
I hear this question more often than any other. “How do I motivate my child to learn?” Motivating a child can seem like a daunting task, but rather than seeing your child as a vessel needing to be filled, see them as a person reaching out toward what interests them. Help your child to develop a love for learning by encouraging him or her to take the lead.
- Discover what sparks your child’s curiosity
- Ask lots of questions
- Get on their eye level
- Make plenty of eye contact
- And smile, learning is fun!
Once you’ve identified what your child enjoys, use the information to anchor a lesson. For example, your 8-year-old daughter loves butterflies? Delight her with a trip to a nature center where she’ll see butterflies hovering over wild flowers. Together, take the time to observe and wonder. Ask open-ended questions and let your daughter share her perspective. Dramatically, point out something that you noticed and that sparked your curiosity. Alternatively, think out loud. “Wow, that Giant Swallowtail’s wings are enormous; it reminds me of a bird! Did you see? I am amazed how gracefully it glides despite its size.” The child is listening and absorbing while you are modeling enjoyment of the learning process. This ‘think aloud’ is her first introduction to thinking about her thoughts and it’s the first step towards metacognition, or what we refer to as ‘thinking about our thinking’.
Follow up with a trip to the library where you can choose books about different butterflies and research answers to some of the questions that intrigued you both earlier on.
How different is this approach from giving out stickers and prizes! You may think you motivated the child to learn, where in truth you diverted their attention and instead motivated the child to seek out prizes. The child may open a book to learn about butterflies, but incentives made it about earning a sticker, the focus became getting the prize.
Consider the following scenario, “Mom, I’m done studying for my Chumash quiz! Can I get a candy?!” How often does this happen, where our children look for external rewards when the real reward is right before them. The child’s preparedness for the quiz, and their gained knowledge will be their true reward. If you still want to give the child a piece of candy, let them get the candy separately and not as a reward. This is the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation – the need to know that drives all of us to learn versus the desire to receive an external reward. Ultimately, we want the child to be motivated by the learning process and by the desire to acquire knowledge.
Really, we do things for many reasons, and not just to satisfy our natural curiosity or to acquire a reward. There are many other factors which drive motivation. Motivation can be relationship driven: the child’s desire for you to like her, accept her, approve of her behavior, etc. She’ll do what she can to please you. Or perhaps it is fear and avoidance of punishment: the child will do what needs to be done just to keep out of trouble. Punishment or fear of disappointing a loved one would also fall under this category.
All of the above, however, would fall under extrinsic motivation, doing A to receive or B to avoid. Intrinsic motivation is the internal and personal drive motivated by the actual thing we are seeking.
Are there times when stickers and prizes are necessary? Of course! We all have moments when are our internal engine needs some extra fuel to fire it up. Our job is to not silence the intrinsic desire to learn and making learning all about the prize store.
Chaya Zlatopolsky MA, LBSI, is an award-winning licensed educator and certified Feuerstein mediator. She is the Director of Center for Learning Abilities and Founder of Play Thinks. You can contact her at (773) 937-7527 or email@example.com.
Our Most Valuable Resources – Resource Room 5/8/2018
Our Most Valuable Resources
by: Esther Tarkieltaub MA. Ed
Needless to say, our children are our most valuable resources. When a child has learning challenges, they often learn a different way or thrive best when learning in a different setting than the regular classroom for a period of time during the day. Visiting a resource room gives children with learning differences the ability to learn according to their unique needs and receive the individualized, differentiated instruction they require.
Several years ago, I took a student that I was tutoring for ice cream at an outdoor ice cream café. A former student who is now married, holds a prestigious job, and has a beautiful daughter approached me. Immediately I recognized the little boy I knew from years ago who had found comfort in the resource room at the age of five. “Mrs. Tarkieltaub, we love the gift you gave us for our wedding. We use it every Shabbat,” he said.
His wife joined us and asked, “Why is it that every time your name is mentioned [my husband] goes wild over you? What did you do for him?” I related to her in ear shot of my current student that when he was in kindergarten, his family was going through a challenging time. When he had difficulty focusing in his mainstream class and became disruptive, he was frequently permitted to visit the resource room to do some work, have quiet time and receive positive messages. “I made him feel safe,” I explained to his wife.
My little second grade student who had overheard the conversation chimed in: “You did the same for me.” I responded to him that I thought I taught him reading skills. “Yes, you did. But whenever I had problems with another student … you took care of it. You also made me feel safe.” His words reminded me how critical it is for children to have a safe, judgment-free space where they learn the tools they need to grow.
Resource rooms provide a safe haven where students can make mistakes safely and without fear of judgement; learn to their strengths; and make slow and steady progress. Students in these safe spaces often feel comfortable enough to show vulnerability and share their struggles. Resource room teachers have the ability to make a difference, help children build self-confidence, and empower students to understand their learning style so they can develop their strengths in all areas. For resource rooms to be effective, they require educators who can connect with each individual student, see their unique strengths and challenges, and facilitate their academic and emotional growth. Successful resource room teachers focus on every child’s strengths – what they can do – and celebrate every milestone with them.
Raising Our Children 3/6/2018
Raising Our Children
by: Esther Tarkieltaub MA.Ed
Raising our children is a unique bracha given to us by Hashem. No doubt, it is a tremendous responsibility that comes with very real challenges. But, we must never lose sight of the fact that the opportunity to raise children and help them realize their potential is one of Hashem’s most precious blessings
How do we express gratitude to Hashem for the gift of children? We need to make a conscious effort every day to connect with them, empower them to have a positive outlook, and – of course – shower them with love.
I’d like to share some simple suggestions on how to do so. The list of opportunities to express our love for our children is endless.
- Listen to your child, not only with your head, but with your heart.
- Praise effort, not just achievements.
- Smile at your child when you see him/her.
- Support your child in decisions that they are having trouble with by being present and sharing words of encouragement.
- Listen to your child’s advice and suggestions, and find ways to demonstrate that you value his/her input.
- Celebrate your child’s unique abilities, gifts and talents; encourage your child to use them; and help your child recognize that they come from Hashem.
- Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.
- Be available to your child when they need you.
- Create a home environment that is welcoming and positive.
- Offer and encourage forgiveness.
- Be your child’s biggest cheerleader.
- Provide structure but know when to be flexible.
- Create a notebook entitled “Let’s Celebrate Our Successes” and chart your child’s accomplishments large and small.
- Schedule a one-on-one date with your child and spend some quality time together. Make sure to let your other children know that they too will have a turn for one-on-one time. Your “date” can be as simple as engaging in something they enjoy or a walk to a special destination./li>
- Put a note under your child’s pillow or in their lunch box expressing your love and sharing something you admire or appreciate about them.
- Leave a simple yet special gift for your child in a surprise place.
- Have a family night on a Motzei Shabbos or Sunday with food and games that your children enjoy.
- Plan a family day trip and have fun doing something active together.
- Spend time reading with your child or doing another activity they enjoy, like going to the park together or baking something special for Shabbos.
- Give your child your full attention. Even if your time is limited, make sure they feel heard.
Most importantly, show your children your love by giving them the tools and room they need to grow. It’s all about connecting and letting them know that we respect their efforts and their unique qualities
Happiness, Blessings and Good – The Lesson of Shevat 2/5/2018
Creating Mindsets of Kindness
Happiness, Blessings and Good – The Lesson of Shevat
Contributed by: Esther Tarkieltaub LBS1, firstname.lastname@example.org
As we end the month of Shevat and look forward to Purim, I wanted to take a moment and share a beautiful thought I heard about the month of Shevat from Rabbi Efriam Twerski.
The month of Shevat is a special and important time to ensure that our homes reflect three fundamental qualities: The ש of שבט stands for שמחה – happiness and joy. We must strive to fill our homes with joy, creating a positive, tension-free environment that our spouses and children look forward to entering.
The ב in שבט represents ברכה – blessings. We have the opportunity to share our unique gifts and abilities; give blessings that uplift and inspire each other; and give of ourselves to others.
Finally, the letter ט in שבט stands for טוב – good. We must work on our belief and accept that whatever we have (or don’t have) is for the good. Every day, we need to make a conscious effort to be satisfied with whatever Hashem gives us and recognize that it is exactly what we need.
I would like to hone in on the letter ש of שבט as we are approaching the month of Adar, the month of Simcha. As parents and educators, we have a unique opportunity to bring happiness into our homes and classrooms. A supportive, positive, loving home or classroom environment permeates the hearts of our children and students.
In some instances, we need to change the way we raise and educate our children so that they can go on to live happier, more confident and ultimately more successful, well-balanced lives. One of our top priorities must be empowering our children to develop a positive, joyous mindset. If we plant the seeds for a positive outlook in our children today, those seeds will blossom into a joyful life of abundant opportunity.
Let’s explore the differences between an “abundant mindset” and a “lack mindset” by reviewing different ways children perceive the same reality. By identifying and becoming more mindful of the thinking patterns children fall into, we can teach them to embrace different outlooks and make empowering choices that bring them greater happiness and peace of mind.
Here are a few examples:
“Lack mindset”: I will never be able to get this. It’s not possible.
“Abundant mindset”: There is always opportunity for me to grow and learn. I’m doing just fine.
“Lack mindset”: Nobody likes me. People treat me badly.
“Abundant mindset”: I like myself. Because I like who I am, others treat me how I treat myself.
“Lack mindset”: I have to fight for my share.
“Abundant mindset”: There is plenty for everyone.
“Lack mindset”: I have to compete with others for attention.
“Abundant mindset”: I am in harmony with others.
“Lack mindset”: I have to prove myself to feel worthy.
“Abundant mindset”: I am worthy just the way I am.
“Lack mindset”: If I don’t get better grades, I will never be successful.
“Abundant mindset”: I have unique talents and gifts. As I focus on those, they get stronger.
“Lack mindset”: I can’t do it so I won’t try.
“Abundant mindset”: How do I know I can’t do it if I don’t try? I may not be able to do it yet, but with effort I will get there. I’m just not there yet.
“Lack mindset”: I have to do what others expect of me or they won’t like me.
“Abundant mindset”: Other people like me for who I am. I am free to be myself as long as I am respectful to myself and others.
“Lack mindset”: I have to live in fear of others hurting me.
“Abundant mindset”: I am safe in this world. The caregivers in my world and Hashem are watching over me.
Children who are raised and educated with a lack mindset generally experience some form of fear, anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, confusion, anger, or depression as they navigate their daily life. When children are raised with an abundant mindset, on the other hand, they have a more positive, healthy outlook. When they experience challenges and hardships, they maintain self-confidence and peace of mind, and seek productive solutions.
Ask yourself: What can I do today to nurture an abundant mindset in myself? And what practical steps can I take to instill this mindset in my children or students?
Educational Benefits of Chess 1/4/2018
Beyond the Game
When I was 5 or 6 years old, my Zeide began teaching me the art of playing chess. It became my favorite pastime. So engrossed was I in the game, that I didn’t realize that my Zeide was giving me a roadmap for life. Each lesson was jam-packed with a wide range of attributes such as concentration, memory, logic, critical thinking, problem solving and more.
First rule Zeide taught was, first engage with your eyes and brain and only later allow your hand to touch a piece. This meant having a solid plan in mind and evaluating all the possibilities before committing to a particular action. Second rule was to know there are choices to consider. Even if a possible move looked ideal, there were always other alternatives and one may be better, if I allowed myself time to explore more options. Third rule was keeping my hand on the piece until I was ready to commit. He would say, “We don’t always have an eraser to undo what we’ve done; be ready to live with and go forward in the path you have chosen.”
Sure it was fun to press the button on the chess clock, but at some point I began to watch the clock and weigh the minutes out carefully and judiciously. On the one hand, I needed the time to consider the consequences of my choices, but on the other hand, I couldn’t get carried away with limitless possibilities as it would mean I would lose by time out. How sad it would be to excel over my opponent in material, position, and strategy and yet lose because I ran out of time.
Zeide would invite me to switch sides and see his vantage point. In order to understand your opponent (or your friend,) you have to see how “the game” looks from his perspective. In later years, I often caught myself trying to “see” how the other person sees the world by stepping into his proverbial shoes or sitting on his side of the chess board.
For almost three decades I have been sharing and teaching life skills clothed in the game of chess. Children do not need to appreciate chess beyond its surface value. The furrowed brows and eyes glued to the board are enough to inform the casual observer they are learning skills. These skills include focus, sustained attention, weighing the possibilities, calculating the best move, observation, evaluating and understanding their opponent, socialization, sportsmanship and appreciation of others plus many more. The friendly handshake and exchanges of “good game” exemplify the values and skills we strive for our children to have in all walks of life through the many choices they will encounter and decisions they will need to make. Come play with us or play at home, but however you do it, choose to play, learn and watch your children grow.
Chaya Zlatapolsky MA, LBSI, is an award-winning licensed educator and certified Feuerstein mediator. She is the Director of Center for Learning Abilities and Founder of Play Thinks. You can contact her at (773) 937-7527 or Chayateaches@me.com.
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