Students in the fourth-grade had a chance to bring the tradition of the High Holidays into the Innovation Lab for a hands-on project.
When the fourth-grade students learned a Talmud story about forgiveness, they studied Maimonides’ steps of Teshuvah and reflected on how the shofar serves as a tool to wake us up to do Teshuvah.
But the learning didn’t stop there. Their teachers had a challenge for them: Make something (not a shofar) that will remind us throughout the year to reflect upon our words and actions and constantly improve. The students were asked to present what they made and explain their thinking, answering two questions as part of the process: How is what you created similar to the shofar and why? In what ways do they serve the same purpose?
“Students had to create a tool that would help them reflect and think about, what are the good things they are doing and what are the bad things they are doing,” shared Fourth-Grade Teacher Yael Gelfer. “The shofar is a tool to wake us up, to remind us to return to our best selves. So, we asked them, ‘What is the tool that you can create that will help you all year to do the right thing?’”
The results were creative and inspirational. Some students came up with the idea to make a bowl filled with water inside, which allowed them to see their reflections. “When they look at themselves they will see their reflection they will know whether they are doing something right or wrong,” shared Ms. Gelfer.
Ms. Gelfer added that another student made a wheel with a smiley face and a sad face on it. The faces are there to represent the idea that while you are moving the wheel, you have time to think about whether you did the right or wrong thing and you will stop in the right place.
Some of the students shared their takeaways from the project, saying that it allowed them to be creative. One student noted, “I loved this projected because I built something that now I see every day in my room and it reminds me how I should behave.” Another student shared, “It was cool because we got to go to the lab and use our imagination, and everyone’s work was so different.”
Sinai Akiba Academy is a private Jewish day school in Los Angeles, serving students in Early Childhood through Grade 8. We also offer a variety of parenting classes and programs for children through our Parenting Center.
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