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Many thanks to Schechter parents Ari and Erika Santiago for generously helping to beautify our playground with a new sign. Not only are Ari and Erika the proud parents of Emerson (Parparim) and Jack (age 4), but Ari is also a Schechter alum! Thanks to their generosity, the school and community will be brightened by this lovely sign.
In Humanities class, the Bogrim students (8th grade) have been studying enslavement in the United States. To honor the humanity of those who were forced to come, Mrs. Simon and Mr. Debicella collaborated, planning lessons around the importance of storytelling and the role of music in the lives of those who were enslaved. Mr. Debicella shared his expertise on ethnomusicology, explaining the importance of the call-and-response format and how this music was originally sung. Students described the recordings of slave songs as “sad” yet “empowering” and having a sense of “grittiness.” The students wrote a poem using the call-and-response format, which they will record over a song inspired by traditional West African melodies using the skills they developed in MusicTech class. This project also enhanced the 8th graders’ work with the Witness Stones Project of West Hartford, which remembers the men and women who were enslaved in town. For many of the people brought over during the Middle Passage, the west coast of Africa was their last sighting of their homeland.
Congratulations to the cast of Miss Nelson Is Missing! Directed by Bogrim student Lily with assistance from Music Teacher Chrissy Whalen, the students rose to the challenge of pandemic-era production and put on a phenomenal online show. The cast met every week online to rehearse their lines and practice unusual stage directions (instead of learning where to stand or when to enter and exit, they learned when to turn their cameras and microphones on and off). Cast members took on many additional jobs to bring the play to fruition, including costumes (Zelia and Eliana) and posters (Ellie, Shira, and Max). The rest of the cast included Habonim students Michaela and Tia and Gesher students Tali and Micah. Each and every cast member gave a tremendous performance, despite the new format. Kol hakavod!
Lily noted, “Being the student director of Miss Nelson Is Missing was a very rewarding experience. Though many people were hesitant about working on this year's play over zoom, I made sure to keep everyone engaged and work as hard as I could to make this play a success. Being a first time director over zoom was challenging at times, but the final result made it all worth it and I am so proud of how hard our cast worked and how amazing they did. Throughout this entire process, Miss Whalen and I wanted to make sure that we could give everyone the opportunity to participate in a play even if that meant we had to work extra hard.”
For the Early Childhood classes, artistic expression helps develop fine motor skills, imagination and creativity, an early appreciation of culture, and so much more. The EC team got creative when thinking about how to best display their students’ art work amidst Covid restrictions. Introducing: The EC Drive-Through Art Show! Art from all three classes was mounted and displayed outdoors on a beautiful Sunday morning so that families could view the exhibits safely from their cars. In keeping with Schechter’s core values of lev tov (good heart) and klal Yisrael (community), families also brought non-perishable foods to donate to the West Hartford Food Pantry.
The Dubonim class (EC2) looked at Pointillism with artists such as Georges Seurat. They also looked at Aboriginal Dot Art, then watched age-appropriate videos about each style of art. Through both group projects and individual art, students used a variety of mediums and colors to get different effects resembling dots. Some of Dubonim's favorite pieces were entitled “The Rainbow,” “Under the Sea” (inspired by films of sea creatures), and “Pointillism Inspired Puzzles.”
The Sh’kedim class (EC3-4) was inspired by artist Keith Haring, who is famous for producing colorful cartoons and creating chalk drawings on the subway walls in NYC and making people happy through his art. Since the Sh’kedim children love to spend their school days moving their bodies, Haring was the perfect artist to study since so many of his works capture bodies in motion...breakdancing, flipping and crawling! The class read the book, The Boy Who Just
Kept Drawing by Kay A. Haring and watched videos to gain inspiration for their own artistic process.
When thinking about what to highlight for their artist study, the T’marim teachers noticed that their students really enjoyed drawing themselves. They decided to focus on drawing self- portraits. They learned about artists such as Hanoch Piven, an Israeli artist who uses found objects to make portraits, and Pablo Picasso, who used vibrant colors and different shapes to make his art. The students created their portraits using different media including markers, found objects, collage material, paint, and photo selfies.