April 19, 2024 |

Grade 7/Gesher Class – Gesher is Amazing!

Posted on October 31, 2016

Gesher is amazing!
It is a pleasure to see many of our Gesher students at Thursday morning minyan.  Students have been opening the ark, carrying the Torah, leading Ashrei, and joining their parents for aliyot to the Torah and Hagbah/Gelilah.
It’s all about Sukkot:  On October 16th, Shimon Blacker taught Gesher and Kitah Vav (6th grade) students the art of Lulav assembly and our group assembled 70 lulavim for the Temple Israel community.  Our study of Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Sages) led to a creation of a sukkah decoration. We explored the first mishnain Pirkei Avot the gist of which is that each of us is a link in the chain of transmission of Torah from Sinai.  Then we thought about those things, ideas, people, experiences etc. that link each of us to Judaism, the Jewish people, the Torah, G-d… and wrote those things on colored foam strips.  Those strips were stapled together to form the Gesher class chain of personal connection and that chain is hanging in our synagogue sukkah.  Gesherstudents were inspired by the chain from last year’s class and motivated to make their chain even longer.
The Sukkot experience continued on October 23rdwhen Gesher students joined me in my sukkah and participated in the mitzvah of leshev (residing) in the sukkah by eating snacks and enjoying each other’s company.  Since it was a cold day, we elected to return to TI for our Godly Play Creation activity.
Godly Play is a special methodology for teaching Torah that invites participants into the story through hearing and seeing the story and then engaging in “I wonder” discussions.  Students watched the presentation of the Godly Play Creation narrative in which Creation is told through a series of abstract cards portraying each day of Creation.  Students were then invited to create their own Creation cards, to learn to tell the story and to engage others in wondering.  On October 30, students used this methodology and their own Creation cards to share the story with our first grade students.  They were amazing!
Extending our project based learning, we are repurposing etrogim used for worship during Sukkot and transforming them into B’samim(spice sachets used for Havdalah) by inserting cloves into the fruit and then allowing it to dry around the cloves locking the spice into place. Our classroom is fragrant with both etrogim and cloves.
We look forward to learning about Noah, a righteous man in his generation and to beginning the Birkot haShachar arts project in mid-November (details to follow.)

HaMorah Margalit (aka Gretchen Marks Brandt)