Imagine a school in which students learn and are challenged based on their learning styles and strengths, not just by what grade they are in. Schechter’s multi-age classrooms provide students with more one-on-one support from teachers, use curricula tailored to students’ specific needs, and foster more social connections. This year, Schechter is ramping up our multi-age program to encompass all academic subjects. Students are assessed before each unit to determine the skills they need to develop, then work in groups tailored to their own ability, readiness, and interest. Each multi-age class may have up to four groups at a time to best fit each child’s strengths. Students who need more support can work with others on introductory level skills, while students in need of a challenge can work on advanced skills and have a cohort to work with as well. By having our students in multi-age classrooms we have seen more active engagement, more small group work, more specific instruction tailored to small groups, students better prepared for high school, and students who are multiple years ahead of the state curriculum.
Apple STEM Challenge: a Sweet Science Activity
Parparim/Tsiporim (K-1) students were reaching for the sky during their Apple Tower STEM Challenge last week. Paired in multi-age partner groups, students were challenged to use toothpicks and apple pieces to build the tallest stand-alone tower possible. This engineering activity taught spatial awareness, problem solving, and social negotiation skills… and of course the apples were a great tie-in to the chagim!
Click HERE to see more photos of the Apple STEM Challenge
Math Mavericks in the Making
Rimonimstudents are energized by math centers! Kate Poltorak, the Rimonim General Studies teacher, creates these centers so that students practice the skills they are learning in fun, hands-on ways. Activities foster independence, teamwork, problem solving, and exploration. This reflects the benefits of a Schechter education: each student receives a personalized folder to work on new math skills at their level; they follow up in a variety of centers including small group instruction and games which reinforce their new skills and build their confidence.
Seeking Help from the Schechter Community
IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services) is putting together a group of volunteers in West Hartford to welcome a new Afghani family to the area. Schechter is looking forward to helping and supporting the group in this initiative. The group of supporters here in West Hartford is just beginning to form. If you are interested in hearing more about how you can support and help, please email Sarah Montag- firstname.lastname@example.org , who will connect you with the group leaders. For more information about IRIS, please click here.
Wrapping up the Chagim
Schechter students feel tremendous pride in their Jewish identity, absorbing the joys of the holidays through their activities. We had a busy, fun week celebrating Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah! Just a few of the learning moments included constructing (and eating) edible sukkahs in Parparim/Tsiporim (K-1) , making flags, dancing during RELISH hakafot , and Gesher ’s studies in the chumashabout Sukkot (grades 4-5).
Gesher’s close reading of the passage in the chumashled them to many understandings: 1) G-d wanted us to sit in the Sukkah for 7 days. 2) We should observe the holiday. 3) G-d wanted us to remember it. 4) The Torah tells us to celebrate Sukkot on the 15th of Tishrei. 5) The four species that are mentioned in the Torah are lulav (palm branch), hadas (myrtle), arava (willow), and etrog (citron).