News

2019

  • March

    Middle School Student Community Board Breaks Bread with KZV Armenian School Students

    On Tuesday, March 12, our middle school student community board (SCB) members joined students from our Brotherhood Way neighbor, KZV Armenian School, at their campus to have lunch together. This relationship came about following last month’s sad news of Armenian schools in Los Angeles being vandalized; our students shared a message of solidarity with the KZV community and asked that Brandeis fly an Armenian flag on our campus...
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  • February

    Director of Lower School Jenny Rinn Wins Distinguished Service Award

    Director of Lower School Jenny Rinn was recently named a Distinguished Service Award winner from the California Association for the Gifted. The award is given out to one member of each GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) region who goes above and beyond in contributing to the interests of gifted and talented children...
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  • Sixth Graders Learn That DNA Holds the Code

    Sixth graders are engaged in a science unit on DNA, and are building "snorks"—made-up characters with lots of interesting traits—to help them prepare for their collaborative DNA project. “We are learning about DNA and how it holds the code to build our traits,” explains teacher Lindsay Mackintosh. “Each snork has a different genetic code which, in turn, codes for different traits. Once students are able to decipher the code, they are able to build their unique snorks.” Students decoded traits including hairy or hairless, round head or square head...
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  • Seventh Graders Participate in Empowering Workshop with We Schools

    As part of a We Schools nationwide tour, seventh graders had the opportunity to hear a keynote address and participate in a morning-long workshop focused on the ways youth can get involved and transform the world through active global citizenship. “We are so fortunate we got to be part of this tour!” exclaims teacher Jody Bloom. The keynote address, by We Schools representatives Matthew and Cass, discussed the importance of telling stories and how stories can help people gain empathy...
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  • A BIG Idea: Success of Lit Circles Leads to Program Expansion

    Lit circles, launched in the 2017–18 school year thanks to a Brandeis Innovation Grant (BIG), have proven so successful that the BIG program has funded its expansion this year to second grade. “Success with third grade lit circles led to the desire to expand the program to second grade,” explains grantee Lori Galante...
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  • A BIG Idea: SPIRE Decoders Improve Fluency for Students in Double Dose Reading Program

    Learning specialist Anna Rentz (née Levy) applied for a 2018–19 Brandeis Innovation Grant (BIG) with hopes of purchasing SPIRE leveled reading books for students in the Double Dose reading program. SPIRE is a research-proven reading program for students who need additional support as they learn to read. “SPIRE texts are engaging and leveled appropriately for our students,” explains Ms. Rentz. “Kids absolutely love them!” The BIG program funded the purchase of six sets of 120 decodable readers...
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  • Social Studies Unit Reflects More Accurate Understanding of European Colonization

    Fourth graders are wrapping up presentations for their “European Colonizers” unit in social studies, “a title we use in our ongoing effort to de-emphasize a Eurocentric historical approach, which privileges and romanticizes European experience during their conquest of the so-called 'New World,’” explains resident teacher Torin Coffino. “We wanted students to recognize how the idea of exploration and discovery works to erase the people and nations that were here and thriving long before European contact.” Students were placed into groups and tasked with researching a European colonizer who came to California...
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  • Second Graders Demonstrate "Menschy-ness" at Tefillah and Community Celebration

    On Thursday morning, February 7, the second graders led a community celebration and tefillah for their families and the first graders. The program elaborated a social and emotional learning theme that integrates many aspects of the curriculum in the exploration of what it means to be a mensch—a Yiddish word whose connotation means “a person of integrity and honor.” For the past several months, in both general and Judaic studies, the second graders have identified the qualities requisite to becoming heroes, sheroes, and mensches...
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  • Sixth Graders Volunteer Time in Golden Gate Park Clean-up

    While rain prevented sixth graders from participating in a clean-up in Golden Gate Park during the week of Tu B’Shvat, the trip was merely postponed to today, and our students still had the opportunity to contribute to caring for the environment. “Tu B’Shvat offers a perfect opportunity to connect traditional Jewish practices of tree planting and caring for forested land with caring for the environment,” said teacher Jody Bloom. This is the ninth year sixth graders have participated in this park clean-up field trip...
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  • Girls' Varsity Basketball Wins BAIAL Championship

    On Wednesday, February 6, our girls' varsity basketball team took on the #1-seeded Burke’s team in the BAIAL league championship game. In front of a large Brandeis crowd of parents, students, alumni, alumni parents, faculty, and staff, our Brandeis Lions defeated Burke’s 35–20 to take home the trophy, avenging their one loss from regular season play. This is the first BAIAL girls' varsity basketball championship for Brandeis....
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  • January

    Around the World in 80 Minutes—It's GeoBee Time Again!

    Over 130 students in fourth through eighth grade participated on Monday in the first rounds of the GeoBee, a National Geographic Society contest designed to encourage teaching and learning about geography. Teachers administered the oral quiz to the contestants, who were divided into small groups of 8 to 12 students from each grade level. Brandeis has sent GeoBee finalists to Sacramento several times, one of whom won the state championship and then competed in the national finals in Washington, D.C...
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  • First Grade-level Tefillah of School Year Led by Eighth Graders Sets Tone for Younger Students

    Today, the eighth grade class led their final tefillah service for the entire student body. In a new tradition, the eighth grade tefillah is the first grade-level tefillah of the year, “so they're setting the tone and setting an example for the younger students,” says Judaic studies teacher Jennifer Baumer. Poised and confident, eighth graders led the morning prayers by introducing each one and reflecting on their years at Brandeis by sharing special memories....
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  • Woodworking and Fabrication Elective Challenges Students to Make Wooden Spoons

    The first project of the second semester woodworking and fabrication elective tasks middle schoolers with creating their own usable wooden spoons, modeled after the sjöld tradition in Sweden and the work of British woodworker EJ Osborne. “The goal of this project is two-fold,” says Director of Technology and elective teacher Nicholas Cole-Farrell. “In addition to learning technique and familiarizing themselves with our tools, students are completing the circle of being both producers and consumers of a functional item crafted with their own hands...
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  • Eighth Graders Tackle Big Questions in Reading Night

    The eighth grade class just began reading the Elie Wiesel memoir Night. The book Night helps students tackle two of the big through lines in eighth grade: “How do we see the truth of our lives?” and “How do we walk a mile in someone else’s shoes?” Says language arts teacher Ashley Bitton, “We not only look at Night in an historical context, but also from the perspective of how a writer like Wiesel constructs the truth of his life so we can better understand our own truths and become better writers ourselves...
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  • Seventh Grade Experiential Education Focuses on Leadership, Tzedek

    Our seventh graders embarked last week for their three-day, two-night outdoor education trip at Redwood Glen Retreat Center in Pescadero. This experiential education trip focused on the themes of leadership and tzedek (justice), two themes that permeate the seventh grade curriculum. Students collaborated in group challenges; hiked through the woods; spent time discussing different types of leadership and the choices they can make around tzedakah; and participated in a tefillah walk through the woods, “in which we would walk together, and then pause and look at nature quietly...
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  • Middle School Students Act, Dance, and Sing in Fame Jr.

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  • The Day the Crayons Quit Inspires Fourth Graders for Showcase Night

    Fourth graders are being tasked with helping music teacher Kimberly Lostetter write the showcase night performance for second through fourth graders, which will include singing and dancing. As inspiration, the class is using the book The Day the Crayons Quit and rewriting the letters from each crayon in the context of the Seven Ways We Learn and Work Together at Brandeis. The story of The Day the Crayons Quit includes letters from different colored crayons that feel their owner is either overusing or underusing their color. “The book provides a great framework for discussing the seven ways, and ultimately will help the fourth graders create a musical performance with the seven ways at its core...
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  • Eighth Graders Create Rollercoasters Using Only Paper and Tape

    The last past several weeks, eighth graders have been engaged in a science unit on physics. As the culmination to the physics unit, students were challenged to create rollercoasters using only paper and tape that a marble could travel through. “Students have been learning about forces, motion, and potential and kinetic energy,” explains teacher Sarah Freilich. “This project applies all of that knowledge.” Working in groups, students have been creating these marble rollercoasters with a set of criteria in mind...
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  • Alumnus Edan Mor ’14 Returns to Brandeis to Work with Middle School Musicians

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  • Mindfulness and Yoga Activities Encourage Academic and Social-emotional Skills in Kindergarteners

    In kindergarten, mind-body movement exercises, including mindfulness and yoga, are integrated throughout the day to increase students’ capacity to listen, coordinate movement to instructions, and increase strength and flexibility. “We also hope that this bolsters their concentration, as well as encourage calmness,” explains resident teacher Elizabeth Bowers...
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