May 26, 2024 |

Grade 6 Update – 9/18/16

Posted on September 19, 2016

Dear Grade 6-Kitah Vav-Parents,
Shalom! I am new to the teaching staff of Temple Israel, and very excited to start the school year with your students. The Grade Six curriculum supports preparation for Bar/Bar Mitzvah through its emphasis on Hebrew reading and prayer competence, beginning cantillation and prayer with Cantor Ken, study of the prophets and their message, holidays and values, engaging in creative Judaica activities in the arts, and, hopefully, activities/projects around our Haifa school Gr.6 partners. More about the Haifa partnership as we set it up.
At Temple Israel we employ some technology to support our students’ learning!  So, once your student feels he/she has mastered a prayer, they may call my Google Voice number:  617-410-8145 and read or sing the assigned prayer.  At the next class I’ll offer praise and feedback, and there will be an incentive chart giving credit for the accomplishment. 
I will also use a QR Code that will connect directly to the prayer being learned to model the singing.  That means that you will need a QR Code reader for your phone or your student’s phone or other device.  To download the reader go to the App Store and type “free QR Code reader/scanner.”  You will have several choices, but I went with the one that had 4+ stars (it was also the first one that came up). Some of the students were able to download the QR reader today.  Temple Israel has a new password to get onto WIFI: YayEsther, so if students want to bring a phone and download the QR Reader at T.I. that would be fine. Then they can access Cantor Ken reading or singing the current prayer that they need to master.
Another way to access recordings of Cantor Ken singing the prayers is to go to our website. takes you directly to the cantillation and prayers that we ask our b’nai mitzvah students to learn.  When all is up and running there will be a QR Code (it’s kind of a black and white symbol) on each page of our Tefilah (Prayer) 3-ring binder.  Read the code with your phone (or your student’s phone) and you will hear that one prayer that is on the page.  We hope that this will be an easier, more direct way of learning the assigned prayer.
There’s an old joke about a guy who has a ticket to a performance and is a bit lost in the 50’s blocks of Manhattan.  He stops a passing stranger and asks, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”  The unexpected answer is “Practice, practice, practice, my son!”    We want our kids to feel secure and at ease, so that they can shine on the day of their ceremony, and there is only one way to ensure that:  Practice! 
I will supply a monthly homework calendar (HW), and ask that students read as many times a week (4 is ideal) as they are able; ten minutes each time.  I ask that you (or another adult) listen to your student and sign the calendar on the days that you listened.  Ten minutes each practice at a minimum. Reading can happen anywhere including the car, or before bed.  Each practice session gets a sticker, and I will set up a reward system calculated at the end of each month. I have not given out this month’s calendar yet, but students were assigned to practice the “Mitzvot” prayer sheet used today. It has four blessings on it where the first ten words set us up for performing a particular mitzvah, such as putting on a tallit or lighting Hanukkah candles. The HW calendar will go home this Tuesday/Wednesday, and is kept in the 3-ring binder that was given out today.  That blue binder is our Tefila/prayer curriculum, and today I introduced the bracha for putting on a tallit. I gave the students other examples of that ten word mitzvah formula to practice reading at home. You can sign the sheet directly when you listen to your child read. Please put in the date as well, thanks.
Absences:  if you know that your student will be absent, please write to me at my email address:  After class I’ll write to you with the day’s assignment.  If you have my Comcast address, that works, too.
Communications:  I will send out a weekly review of our classroom activities for the previous Sunday and weekday class, “This week in Kitah Vav.  You can expect it on Sunday, or shortly thereafter.  Please do not hesitate to write to me with questions or concerns at any time.  
May we all be inscribed for a year of health, learning, and fulfillment.
Shanah tovah u’metukah.  שנה טובה ומתוקה

Rav Elana
Elaine Pollack
Google Voice:  617-410-8145 (Students call when they have mastered a prayer.)