Grade 4 Update 9.26
Posted on September 27, 2016
Hello Kitah Dalet/Grade 4 Parents,
I have met many of you already, but for those who I have not had the pleasure to meet yet let me introduce myself. My name is Sarah Korostoff and I am one of the 4th grade teachers this year! We have a busy year ahead of us and as I have given your students much information already, I wanted to update all the parents on what is going on in class!
A little about me! Before I joined your temple community, I was a youth director and 3rd-5th grade special education teacher at my synagogue back home in New Jersey. Yes, all of your kids have already asked: I am a Yankees and Jets fan! They have sworn to change that by the end of the year. When I am not teaching, I am a speech-language pathologist in Boston, working primarily with kids under the age of 3.
In class the past two weeks we have worked to create a B’rit, or a contract, of expected behaviors of the 4th graders. All of the ideas came from your students! I was blown away by their ideas for a successful year. They developed the acronym SHALOM –
We discussed what all of these words really look like, sound like and feel like in a classroom setting. This week they will receive this in writing and will be asked to sign it. Again, your amazing children gave all the ideas for this contract! Everyone will be held accountable for following this b’rit and behaving in ways that align with our 4th grade values.
On Sunday, your students were sent home with a green homework binder. If your child was absent or didn’t receive one, not to worry! They will get theirs when they come to school this week.
In the front of the binder is a calendar. This is their homework calendar, which will be given on the first day of the month. Students will have 10 minutes of homework every night. The homework will be practicing reading prayers that we are learning about in class. Each night your child does his/her homework, there is a spot for you to sign or initial that they have completed it. I have already had students ask me “is it okay if I don’t do my homework because of ____?” or they have told me how busy they already are with so many extracurricular activities. I told them that I am excited for their many responsibilities, however Hebrew school is also one of them. If they find time for sports/dance/scouts/etc., then I would hope they can find time for 10 minutes of Hebrew school homework a night. I hope to see everyone become a stronger reader by the end of the year. This will only happen if there is consistent practice at home!
Each night on the calendar you will see the letter “n” or “r” followed by a number. N stands for a new line of a prayer. It is my goal that the line will never truly be “new” because we would have reviewed it in class beforehand. R stands for reviewing lines that they have previously mastered. Mastering a line means that students can read the line fluently with little to no errors. I can’t stress this enough: I do not care about speed!!! Everyone reads English at various speeds so I understand the same is to be expected of reading Hebrew. I am more concerned about their accuracy and understanding the meaning of the prayers.
These homework binders will be used in class. It is important that your child brings the binder to Hebrew school every time we have class. There will not be extra binders in class.
Like I said, my goal is that we will review all prayers before students are given homework on it. If by some chance that can’t happen, I have provided extra resources to help out! This is a bit complicated at first, but I promise it’ll be great once you try it out!
1) Your child will need to use a device to download a free “qr reader.” Any device is fine (samsung, android, apple, etc.). Any free QR reader app is fine, I have no preference.
2) On your child’s prayer sheets you will see a black QR code to the side of a line. Open the QR reader and scan the black QR code. This will automatically bring up an audio file of Cantor Ken singing the line of the prayer.
Your child can use this recording to hear correct pronunciation of words, check the vowels, or even help with the tune. Using these codes are encouraged! If there are questions about this, please let me know!
In addition to practicing reading Hebrew to their parents, the students will have the opportunity to practice reading Hebrew to me! In an attempt to save time, I have set up a google voice number. This is a number that goes straight to a voicemail, and your child can call this number and leave a recording of themselves reading the assigned lines. I will then listen to these recordings, note any errors and provide feedback to them in class the next time I see them. This number is: (508) 318-8080
Snack – The kids will always be given a snack break! We will not have extra snacks in the classroom and sharing is not allowed due to allergies. Please make sure to pack a snack for your child.
Breaks – As a class we will be taking brain-breaks so that the kids are not overworked.
Toys – In class this week we will be making stress balls! I know many of the students enjoy having a fidget toy to help them learn. Once these are made they will live in the classroom. I ask that your son/daughter not bring extra toys to class. We have such a short amount of time together and having extra distractions makes it more difficult for the kids to focus.
Absences – If your child is going to be absent, please let me know or let Robin know so we are not waiting for them. They are still responsible for homework even on days that they have missed.
I know this was a long e-mail, but thank you for sticking with it! I look forward to getting to know you and your child even more as the year goes on! Should an issue arise, do not hesitate to contact me.