News

2017

  • June

    Congratulations to the Class of 2017!

    Today's graduation and aliyah was both a joyful and a tear-filled celebration. The Class of 2017 was addressed by Head of School Dr. Dan Glass, Director of Middle School Dr. Sivan Tarle, Board Chair Russell Cohen, and Rabbi Danny Gottlieb of Congregation Beth Israel Judea. Middle school math teacher and advisor Ali Frank (the class's chosen faculty speaker) reflected on the qualities of this graduating class...
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  • First-ever Community Shabbat Dinner Feeds a Hunger for More Connection

    On Friday, June 9, 200 members of our families and faculty school community gathered in the gym for the first-ever Kabbalat Shabbat evening celebrated by The Brandeis School of San Francisco. “The evening was enjoyed by all,” said Director of Jewish Learning Debby Artz-Mor, “and has inspired us to plan for more frequent low-key community Shabbat dinners at school, for a variety of class groupings...
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  • First Graders Complete Changemaker Projects

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  • First Graders' Proudly Present The Three Nanny Goat Opera

    Last Friday, Barbara Eisenhauer’s first grade class performed in front of family, friends, and teachers The Three Nanny Goat Opera. The story of The Three Nanny Goat Opera follows three goats who want to travel to the other side of the bridge for new grass to eat and must come face-to-face with trolls who live under the bridge. This was the culminating activity of the class’s three-month opera study...
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  • Milestone Years Celebrated at Faculty/Staff Dinner

    On Monday, faculty and staff joined together to celebrate the year and honor those faculty and staff members who have completed milestone years. Mazel tov to David Jefferies (36 years), Jonathan Ferris (18 years), Ali Frank (10 years), and Sandra Menachem (10 years)!
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  • Kindergarteners Celebrate a Successful First Year

     On Friday, June 9, our kindergarten students regaled their proud families with a performance of songs in both Hebrew and English. Kindergarten teachers spoke of the work the students completed this year and the meaning of this celebration; said teacher Elana Lahav...
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  • With Poise and Maturity, Eighth Grade Class Leads Last Tefillah of School Year

    Two weeks ago the eighth graders led their first grade "buddies" down the aisle of Beth Israel Judea to conduct their first community tefillah. Today, the first graders again walked the same aisle hand in hand with the eighth graders, who were about to lead the assembled Brandeis community in tefillah for the last time. Poised and confident, the class of 2017 opened the tefillah by sharing the theme for the morning: journeys...
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  • Annual Board, Community, and Parent Association Volunteer Celebration Wraps Up 2016-17 School Year

    Throughout the year, volunteers make it matter by sharing their time and resources with The Brandeis School of San Francisco in ways that support our students and make a positive impact on the school. Our community came together on Tuesday night at Foreign Cinema for the Annual Board, Community, and Parent Association Volunteer Celebration to acknowledge and celebrate the many volunteers who have helped throughout the year...
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  • Made with Code Day Excites Students about Technology and Coding

    On Monday, Brandeis hosted our 3rd annual Made with Code Day, “which encourages students to be more curious about learning computer science,” says Leo Stern, technology integration specialist. “The STEM program at Brandeis continues to go through a major upgrade and now all of our students are taught computer science with the aid of the programs Code.org and Scratch, and by working with robots.” Made with Code Day is part of Google’s annual employee community service program GoogleServe...
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  • Sixth Graders Explore Geometery on the San Francisco Bay

    The sixth graders in Paul Rogers' math classes are currently finishing up the year studying geometry—literally meaning "earth measure"—and, as Mr. Rogers says, “What better way than to actually get out on the earth do some measuring!” Students traveled last Friday to the Hyde Street Pier and hopped aboard the scow schooner Alma to sail in the San Francisco Bay...
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  • First Annual Track and Field Day Builds Community through Competition and Fun

    The 1st annual Brandeis Track and Field Day took place on Friday, May 26. The entire school community convened at Parkside Square & Bob Cheney Park for a morning of fun games, sports, and activities. Students in kindergarten through eighth grade participated in a series of age-appropriate stations, everything from banana tag, bean bag relay race, and limbo for the younger students to the 100-yard dash, tug of war, and the one-mile run for the older students...
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  • May

    Athletics Banquet Caps Strong Year

    Brandeis athletics celebrated another highly successful year, as athletes, parents, and coaches gathered last night to honor and commend the accomplishments of our Brandeis athletes...
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  • First Graders Lead a Joyful School-wide Tefillah

    At the close of each school year at Brandeis comes a "Shehecheyanu moment"—when the first graders lead tefillah for the first time and receive their siddurim (hand-decorated prayer books) from their parents. This special tefillah is attended by kindergarten through eighth grade students, along with first grade parents and their guests. Students—who one at a time spoke in front of the community—demonstrated strong public speaking and presentation skills, skills that will continue to be honed throughout their years at Brandeis...
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  • Second Graders Work in Groups to Study Biomes Around the World

    Second grade students are currently engaged in a science unit about biomes: large, naturally-occurring communities of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat (for example, forest or tundra). “This topic allows our students to integrate their learning about plants, animals, food chains, adaptations, climate and weather, and geography,” explains teacher Rachel Klein...
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  • Successful Showing for The Brandeis School of San Francisco at Maker Faire

    This past weekend, Brandeis participated in the Bay Area Maker Faire—“part science fair, part county fair, and part something new,” as described on their website. Maker Faire is a gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, engineers, artists, and students and we were there showing off our work from the CREATE+BUILD spaces...
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  • Girls' 5B Basketball Wins Tournament Championship

    After finishing the regular season undefeated, the Brandeis girls' 5B Lions basketball team advanced to the tournament finals game, playing against a team they defeated by just 5 points earlier in the season. With tremendous team defense and ball movement, Brandeis defeated St. Anne by a final score of 20-9.
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  • Interesting Characters Bring Math and Genetics Together for Eighth Graders

    Math teacher Ali Frank's eighth grade students have created some interesting “couples” in their classroom: think Superman and the Queen of Hearts and Yoda and Jessica Rabbit. Applying what they’ve learned about polynomials to the world of genetics, students created polynomial Punnett squares of four genetically-linked characteristics and explored the math behind genetics...
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  • Tzedek Project Challenges Seventh Graders to Think Like Philanthropists

    At Tuesday morning’s Tzedek tefillah, the seventh grade announced the recipients of this year’s Tzedek Fund grants. Representatives from the recipient nonprofit organizations (NPOs) were on hand to receive the checks and thank the students. Representatives of NPOs—ranging from child abuse prevention to wildlife protection, to help for the homeless of San Francisco and the refugees around the world—were universal in their admiration for the students’ deep knowledge of their organizations, expressing their awe of the astute questions asked by the seventh graders who interviewed them...
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  • Middle School Students Participate in Annual Harvey Milk Memorial Tefillah

    In commemoration of Harvey Milk Day, on Monday morning middle school students and faculty participated in Brandeis's 4th annual Harvey Milk Memorial Tefillah. Gene Goldstein-Plesser of the Jewish LGBT organization Keshet joined and shared with our students Harvey Milk's impact on the LGBT community, and also discussed Milk's identities as both a gay man and a Jew...
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  • Students Share Amazing Work at Middle School Showcase

    On Monday, May 22, middle school students shared with their family and friends projects they have been working on all year. It was a fun night featuring food trucks and many visual and performing arts. The new mural on display in the media resource center, created by both the middle school mural elective and all students and faculty, was officially presented...
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  • Brandeis Sings National Anthem at AT&T Park

    It was all smiles yesterday as the Brandeis fourth grade and lower and middle school choruses joined together with Brandeis Marin to sing the national anthem before the Giants vs. Dodgers game at AT&T Park. Students applied the essential skills they have learned about preparation and discipline to confidently perform in front of the enormous crowd there to cheer on the Giants...
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  • Fifth Graders Shine at Grade-level Tefillah This Morning

    Celebrating the culmination of their lower school careers, the fifth grade led their families and third and fourth grades in beautiful tefillah (prayer) service this morning. The students introduced each prayer and shared their personal kavanah (intention) about the prayer. Led by Judaic studies teacher and guitarist Jonathan Ferris, the fifth graders led their families and peers in singing each of the prayers, some using familiar, traditional tunes, and others using new, modern tunes...
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  • Lower School Students Take the Lead on Mentee Give Back Day

    Throughout the year kindergarten through fourth grade students have been meeting regularly with their fifth-through-eighth-grade mentors as part of our new Brandeis Mentorship Program. Yesterday was "Mentee Give Back Day," in which the lower school mentees took the lead during their buddy time together. Some classes chose to play educational games with their mentors, others wrote poetry together, and others worked together on school projects (eighth graders worked with their fourth grade buddies on their bridge projects)...
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  • Sensory and Tactile Activities Help Kindergarteners Learn Aleph-bet

    Throughout the year in the Hebrew and Judaic studies classes, kindergarteners learn the aleph-bet. As part of their learning, each student creates an aleph-bet book, which includes a page dedicated to each letter and a Hebrew word that uses that letter (for example, the word ani—meaning "I"—represents the letter aleph, so each student drew a picture of him- or herself). “In addition, the students have many opportunities to explore the letters through a variety of sensory activities, such as building letters from Lego, using Play-Doh, and writing them in sand,” says teacher Irit Daly...
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  • The Eighth Grade Israel Trip—the Travelers Report Back to the Brandeis Community

    Since returning from their Israel trip, the eighth graders have been engaged in reflecting on and writing about the experience. Their writing will be published in a beautiful photo journal that each graduate receives, and will be on display during Middle School Showcase Night on Monday, May 22...
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  • U.S. History Curriculum Sets Up Eighth Graders for High School Success

    When the eighth graders begin high school, we can rest assured they will be prepared when it comes to knowing their U.S. history. This week students spent time parsing the Twentieth through Twenty-seventh Amendments of the U.S.; in groups, eighth graders worked to summarize the main points of each amendment...
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  • First Graders Master the Discipline of Haiku

    This week first graders have learned how to write a haiku, the last type of poem in their Writer’s Workshop poetry unit. “Haiku is a great form to use with first graders,” says teacher Nicole Schoentag, “because they learn about syllables in Fundations, our phonics program. Haiku allows students to use what they have learned about syllables in a more creative, abstract way..."
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  • Fifth Graders Explore Marine Ecology on Outdoor Education Trip

    Fifth graders traveled to NatureBridge in Sausalito at the end of last week for a challenging, rewarding, and fun outdoor education trip to culminate their year of learning. Students spent their time both outdoors and indoors engaging in hands-on experiences. They went on hikes, visited the Point Bonita Lighthouse, and explored the ecology in the area. For their indoor activities, fifth graders participated in a plankton lab where they looked at plankton through microscopes, and they got to hold mollusks from the indoor tide pool...
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  • Sixth Graders Explore North Bay on Outdoor Education Trip

    The outdoors became the classroom for the sixth grade class as they spent three days last week at Westminster Camp and Conference Center in Occidental. Surrounded by abundant wildlife and diverse habitat, students participated in activities designed to give them the opportunity to explore and gain an understanding of their connection to one another and the natural world. “We looked at the ecosystem in Dutch Bill Creek,” says teacher and trip chaperone Gin Saepharn...
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  • “Being a Mensch in the World”—a Powerful Theme for Second Graders’ Community Celebration

    This morning the second graders led a community celebration at Beth Israel Judea for their families and first through fourth grades. The program elaborated a social and emotional learning theme that integrated 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 students have identified the qualities requisite to becoming a mensch, both in historic times and in current daily life...
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  • Boys' Varsity Volleyball Advances to Championship

    If jet lag was an issue for any of the 8th grade players on the boys' varsity volleyball team, no one in the gym could tell. In the first round of the Bay Area Interscholastic Athletic League (BAIAL) playoffs, our #3-seeded Lions defeated #2-seeded San Francisco Day School "in an absolute thriller!" exclaims Athletics Director Corrie Mizusawa...
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  • Fourth Graders Catch Gold Fever at Camp Tawonga

    Fourth graders spent last Wednesday to Friday in a three-day simulation of the gold rush in "1855 Hangtown" (conveniently transplanted to Camp Tawonga), where they engaged in the everyday experiences of miners, merchants, teachers, and children of the 1850s...
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  • I-Search Share Faire Showcases Sixth Grade Research Projects

    Each year sixth graders undertake an ambitious language arts project called the "I-Search." Students choose a subject they're curious about, find experts to interview, and spend weeks on investigation. They then produce detailed research papers and visual or digital models, which they showcase at a "Share Faire," where guests roam the exhibits and the student researchers expatiate on their chosen topics...
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  • Seventh Graders Practice Vocabulary by Presenting to Peers

    Practicing their newly acquired vocabulary, seventh grade students in Spanish 1 stood up in front of their classmates yesterday and described the clothes they were wearing and how much the items cost. “This part of the curriculum focuses on llevar, to wear, and cuanto cuesta, how much,” explains teacher Julieta Zuniga...
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  • Third Graders Learn Important Lessons Using Hebrew Language

    Teacher Simi Hoze is always looking for opportunities to integrate the Hebrew language with other subject matters and with relevant topics for her third grade students. This week, the class is learning about friendships, including the vocabulary and verbs about friendships. The students have been learning how to talk about friendship in Hebrew and why it is important to create and sustain friendships. This lesson ties nicely into the Brandeis core value of chesed, kindness...
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  • Fifth Graders Creating Interactive Map of Israel

    Over the course of the year, the fifth grade has been learning about the Israelites, from leaving slavery until they are outside the land of Canaan. As the culmination of their learning, each class is creating a large interactive map of Israel, “more like an exhibit,” explains teacher Jonathan Ferris. Four 4 foot by 6 foot panels will be put together to create the base of the map; students are using the CREATE space to build the other elements of their map...
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  • Students Sing, Dance, and Cook in Celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut

    Blue and white abounded on Tuesday as we celebrated Yom HaAtzmaut—Israel’s Independence Day—with a wide variety of celebrations. The morning began with a schoolwide assembly, with 7th graders leading songs, Israel Consul General Andy David sharing about the organization Omer's Butterflies , and a video of our 8th graders celebrating Yom HaAtzmaut in Israel (click here to see video)...
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  • Kindergarteners' Plant Study Integrates Science, Literature, and Art

    Kindergarteners have embarked on a project integrating science, literature, and art in the study of sunflowers. In science, the students have been studying the life cycles of trees, plants, and flowers. They recently made a sunflower life cycle book. Yesterday the students used acrylics on canvas to paint sunflowers, exploring Impressionist painting techniques. Through reading Camille and the Sunflowers by Laurence Anholt, they learned about the life and paintings of the most famous sunflower painter of them all, Vincent van Gogh...
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  • Sixth Graders Bow, Receive Rewards as They Experience Chinese Philosophies Firsthand

    As part of their unit on ancient China, sixth graders are learning about three different religions and philosophies—Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism—that were essential to the development of stable government, which ultimately led to the formation of several empires including the Shang, Qi, and Han dynasties...
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  • April

    Artist Gustav Klimt Inspires Kindergarten Project

    Gustav Klimt is the inspiration behind the current kindergarten art project.. “We began the project by looking at pattern,” says teacher Cathy Withrington. “We discussed five of Gustav Klimt’s paintings and noticed his use of pattern and gold leaf, and that he liked painting portraits.” The kindergarteners then began their own project: drawing portraits of the class pet (stuffed animal), Lemon the Snake...
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  • Brandeis Hosts Directors of Israeli Community Centers

    Last year, Dr. Dan Glass participated in the Irving Rabin Community Building Mission to Israel, a pilot program of the Jewish Federation in partnership with Varda Rabin. On Thursday, April 20, Brandeis had the opportunity to host directors of Israeli community centers in a similar, albeit reverse model, of the trip that Dr. Glass took...
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  • Classroom Stations Bring Second Grade Study of Israel to Life

    Coinciding with the celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut on May 2, second graders are learning about Israel and the importance of the country to the history of the Jewish people. Students were introduced to Jewish history, in which they learned about the Jews living in Europe during World War II. They also learned about Theodor Herzl (considered to be the visionary of the State of the Israel and one of the founders of modern Zionism)...
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  • Sixth Graders Conclude Yearlong Environmental Study of Local Ecosystems

    Sixth grade science students have been preparing formal, scientific lab reports and posters to communicate the results of their yearlong study of seasonal changes in our diverse local ecosystems. The posters will be presented in scientific meeting format on May 22 at Showcase Night.
     
    For science teacher Lisa Hjelm, “The most exciting part of this project is that they are conducting environmental studies in the same ways that scientists do, collecting data over time to record and document the effects of climate change...
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  • Congratulations to the Class of 2017!

    Congratulations to the Brandeis students in the class of 2017, who have been accepted into and will be attending the following high schools (listed alphabetically)...
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  • Sixth Grade Hebrew Students Visit San Francisco Zoo

    Students in sixth grade Hebrew visited the San Francisco Zoo just before Passover break. “The purpose of this trip was to provide students with a different learning experience,” explains teacher Mira Peretz. Students were tasked with identifying animals in Hebrew and then selecting animals from three animal classes..
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  • Student-created Mural Installed in Media Resource Center

    Over the Passover break, teacher David Starfas and facilities assistant Aaron McCullogh installed a beautiful student-created mural on the wall in the media resource center (MRC). Since the beginning of the school year, middle school students in Mr. Starfas’s mural elective have been working to create this mural of the San Francisco skyline...
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  • Second and Seventh Graders Buddy Up to Celebrate Passover at Urban Adamah

    Each year as part of their curriculum, both second and seventh graders visit Urban Adamah, an educational farm and community center. Because the second and seventh graders have been buddied up as mentors and mentees through our Mentor Program, the trip was “reformulated so that the students could visit Urban Adamah together in a way that allowed for so many amazing outcomes,” explains Jody Bloom, seventh grade Judaic studies teacher...
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  • Math Stations Challenge Fifth Graders

     In fifth grade, Friday is math challenge day, when students participate in various station activities all related to a central goal. Just before Passover break, fifth graders engaged in stations with a goal of learning more about area, perimeter, and surface area. “This differentiated math approach helps students develop mathematical habits of mind,” explains teacher Sarah Nguyen...
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  • Using Paper Chromatography, Eighth Graders Rescue Boris the Hamster

    In recent lab sessions eighth graders have learned about paper chromatography—how to separate out the pigments from different types of dyes. The students were faced with a problem and a clue: beloved class pet Boris (a Russian white dwarf hamster) was missing. A ransom note was left by the rushed perpetrator, who had spilled water on it, which caused the colors to bleed and revealed a unique dye pattern...
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  • First Graders Teach Brandeis Core Values through Performance of The Unusual Woodpeckers

    In front of a packed house in the beit midrash, first graders performed The Unusual Woodpeckers, a story the class collaboratively adapted from the play The Ugly Duckling. “Our students took ownership of every aspect of this play: the costumes, the music, the background, the props, and the script,” says teacher Nicole Schoentag...
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  • Fourth Grade Mathematicians Consider Every Conceivable Angle

    The fourth grade has been learning all about angles and lines in math. As part of the ongoing effort to help students make real-world connections to math and to make math more meaningful, students participated in an angle scavenger hunt. Said teacher Valerie Welsh, “It was great to hear exclamations like ‘It's an obtuse angle! See, it's more than 90 degrees!’” as she walked around the school...
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  • Kinship Project Brings Eighth Grade Families Together to Share Stories

    The eighth annual Kinship Project Evening took place last night, April 5, the culmination of a six-week 8th grade research and writing project that engages students in interviewing their parents and other relatives; gleaning details of family history and recording stories; and then producing a final paper that includes the interviews and a family album. For this annual story-telling evening...
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  • Second Grade Mandala Art Project Weaves Together Social Studies and Mindfulness

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  • Students Engage in Passover Activities in Preparation for the Upcoming Holiday

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  • Seventh Grade-Led Car Wash Raises Money for Tzedek Fund

    On Thursday, March 30 during parent-teacher conferences, seventh grade students hosted a waterless car wash in the parking lot to raise money for their Tzedek Fund. “This was a student-driven project that was carried out with the help of parents and Brandeis support staff,” explains teacher Allison Stine. “On the day of the car wash, the students really took charge and did all of the work organizing the event and washing cars.” In total, the seventh grade class raised $781! This money will be part of the Tzedek Fund...
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  • March

    First Graders Bring 21st Century Flavor to Ancient Story of Passover

    Blending the ancient story of Passover and the twenty-first century technology of iPads, first graders spent time this week retelling the story of Passover. “Telling the story is the most important part of the Passover holiday,” explains teacher Sandra Menachem. In collaboration with Leo Stern, technology integration specialist, first graders used the app Explain Everything to produce an animated slideshow of the story...
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  • Speaker Inspires Students to Take Action

    On Tuesday Laura DeDominicis, of the U.S.-based nonprofit organization Nurturing Minds, came to speak with fourth through eighth grade students about one of Nurturing Mind's main benefactors, the SEGA Girls School in Tanzania. The SEGA Girls School is a residential secondary school for Tanzanian girls who are otherwise unable to attend school due to extreme poverty. Middle school teacher Ali Frank spearheaded the effort to bring this talk to Brandeis...
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  • Eighth Graders Fill Seder Sacks for Seniors in Need

    Some old stories don't grow "old"—they become tradition. For eighteen years Brandeis eighth graders have participated in a service project at Jewish Family and Children's Services in their holiday outreach program. Our students prepared over 900 "seder sacks," to be delivered to homebound Jews in time for Passover...
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  • Shakespeare a Hit in Seventh Grade Language Arts

    Seventh graders are immersed in a language arts unit on the famous William Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet. “This is my students’ first exposure to Shakespeare,” explains teacher Isaac Jacobs-Gomes. “It provides a great chance to dig into some difficult language and to practice literary analysis...
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  • Brandeis Welcomes Grandparents and Special Friends to Campus

    On Friday, March 24, Brandeis welcomed over 250 grandparents and special friends to campus for our annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day. The day was filled with intergenerational learning, Shabbat celebrations, and student performances. Students in the lower school chorus, middle school a capella group, and first grade were among the performers for the lunchtime gathering...
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  • Fitness Stations Get Kindergarteners Climbing, Rolling, and Scooting

    A few months ago kindergarteners were introduced to fitness stations in P.E. “They get to climb, throw, roll, scoot, jump, and hurdle over a variety of different obstacles,” says teacher Patrick Alcasabas (who goes by Coach Pat with his students). “It’s a great way to keep the students moving and to have them practice using their bodies in a variety of ways..."
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  • Fourth Graders Observe Flowers and Butterflies at Conservatory of Flowers

    Fourth grade artists traveled to the Conservatory of Flowers last week to explore the work of American artist Georgia O’Keefe, who is best known for her large close-up studies of flowers and plants. “The fourth grade art curriculum focuses on the intersection of science and art,” explains art teacher Cathy Withrington. This field trip also helped the fourth graders hone their observational drawing...
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  • In Our Own Backyards: Third Graders Learn about Local Wildlife

    With a touch of feathers, fur, and scales, third graders learned this week about the astounding animals that live right here in our own neighborhoods. This presentation, from WildCare’s Nature Van (located in San Rafael), provided the students with an overview of our state’s wonderfully diverse wildlife...
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  • Second Graders Prepare, Roll, and Eat Their Own Sushi Rolls

    During their 6-week study of Japan, second graders explore the culture, history, geography, and language of the Asian country. At the beginning of the unit students also get the opportunity to share what they want to learn about Japan. “Their questions and thoughts lead the direction of the curriculum design of this inquiry-based unit,” says teacher Rachel Klein...
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  • Renowned Cancer Researcher Speaks to Middle School Students

    The Lunch and Learn program for middle school students launched last semester, to much success. So far, students have had the opportunity to learn about virtual reality, writing and publishing a children’s book, and about the history of San Francisco’s water supply. This week, Dr. Wendell Lim, director of the UCSF Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology and professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology...
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  • World-champion Poets Duke It Out in Eighth Grade Poetry Wars

    Today was the final contest in the annual eighth grade language arts event known as Poetry Wars. Each student finds a poem to champion; once three weekly champions have been crowned, the three then compete for the class championship. This year's selection includes poems by Maya Angelou, Thomas Lux, Charles Simic, (15-year-old) Royce Mann, James Tate, and William Wordsworth...
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  • Brandeis Celebrates Purim!

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  • Sixth Graders Lead Conversations about Constructive Conflict

    As part of the sixth grade Rodef Shalom Judaic studies curriculum, the sixth graders spent the week engaged in conversations with lower school students about constructive conflict, as this week is the Jewish Week of Constructive Conflict. To prepare, the class first learned about the history of the 9th of Adar...
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  • First Grade Learns about Strong Women as Part of Women's History Month

    For part of Women’s History Month, first graders learned about and celebrated the most important women in their lives and in the world. “This month is a time to reflect on the extraordinary accomplishments of women and honor their role in shaping the course of our nation’s history,” says teacher Barbara Eisenhauer...
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  • Pi Day Encourages a Love of Math

    "Mathletes" around the world celebrate Pi Day to encourage a love of math learning. Our Brandeis mathletes took part in Pi Day festivities on Tuesday, with middle schoolers visiting lower school classes and leading the students in a few Pi Day-related activities...
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  • Third Grade Visits Local Synagogues

    Our third graders are immersed in a Judaic studies unit about synagogues. They have explored the features and purposes of a synagogue and have created their own 3-D models. As part of this unit, students visited two local synagogues this week: Temple Emanu-El and Magain David Sephardic Congregation...
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  • Fourth Graders Share Health Expertise

    Fourth graders completed their health unit in science by hosting a fair and sharing their knowledge with parents and lower school peers. “The Health Fair is a great opportunity for students to direct their learning based on personal interest and connections to a health topic,” explains teacher Kate Callan. This year, students selected to research topics including sleep disorders, amnesia, yoga, and color blindness...
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  • Kindergarteners Learn “Strong Readers Make Strong Writers”

    As part of the Reader’s Workshop curriculum in kindergarten, students engage in partner reading, in which they work with another to read books and act as a captivated audience for their peers. “This week the students were learning that ‘strong readers make strong writers,’” explains teacher Samantha Silvestri. To serve as inspiration for the students, Ms. Rhodes read a book written by her own son when he was in first grade...
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  • Sixth Graders Acquire a Sense of Proportion—through Math

    In what math teacher Paul Rogers calls the “Comic Blow-up Project,” sixth graders are currently focused on ratios, proportions, and scale, using grids and measuring tools to create comic enlargements on a scale of 1:3.5. Mr. Rogers has the students work in groups of 2 or 3 on this project “because I want them to learn the value of teamwork...
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  • Fifth Grade Wraps Up Artist Project

    For the past several weeks, fifth graders have been engaged in the Artist Project, a Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop project in which students select an artist of interest to them and then conduct research about the artist’s personal and professional lives. “This is probably the most challenging unit in fifth grade in regards to personal time management,” explains teacher Eitam Kohen, as students complete a research paper, a slideshow presentation, and an art project...
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  • Fourth Graders Share Research as Part of "Jews Around the World" Event

    Fourth graders took parents and students on a trip around the world yesterday, sharing fun facts, presentation books, and food from Jewish communities all over the world. "I created this project because I realized that we live in a very specific Jewish community here in the Bay Area," says Judaic studies teacher Sharona Israeli-Roth. Each student in the class selected a Jewish community—either an existing community or a historic community...
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  • Architecture Students Use Design Thinking to Tackle Issue of Homelessness

    Students in the "Architectural Approach to Homelessness" elective are working in teams and using design-thinking strategies to come up with a solution to the issue of homelessness. They began this spring semester elective by researching and learning about homelessness and current proposed solutions...
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  • Third Graders Experiment with Video Editing and Movie-making to Reflect on Their Year's Challenges and Triumphs

    Third graders have been working diligently on a creative and reflective movie-making project. By reflecting on their accomplishments and challenges throughout the school year, the students developed content to use in making a movie to be shared. Aided by iPads and green screens, the students were able to make their reflections come to life in new and interesting settings...
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  • February

    First Graders Celebrate Dental Health Month

    A visit to the dentist is usually not a child's idea of fun—unless it's a class field trip. To celebrate Dental Health Month, first graders visited the dental office of Dr. John Schulz (alumni parent and husband of teacher Barbara Eisenhauer) and John Romero’s dental lab, located in the Stonestown Medical Dental Building...
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  • Middle School Students Take In Cal Basketball Game

    Middle school students participating in the spring basketball elective got to take in an exciting game at UC Berkeley last week, as they traveled to Haas Pavilion to see Cal take on the #6-ranked Oregon Ducks. “In an effort to increase their understanding of the sport,” says Coach Corrie Mizusawa, elective teacher, “I thought it would be a great idea for my students to be ‘students of the game.’ They were able to watch a high-level collegiate game and attempt to learn the intricacies of the sport...
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  • Boys' Fifth Grade Basketball Takes Home CYO Championship

    Congratulations to the boys' fifth grade basketball team on an outstanding finish to their season. With the #2 seed heading into playoffs, they defeated undefeated International in overtime in the championship game with a final score of 46-44...
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  • Fourth Graders Turn Into ER Doctors; Learn to Diagnose Health Ailments

    Fourth graders are currently engaged in their health unit in science. “The students started the year exploring electricity and magnetism,” says teacher David Starfas. “They were then introduced to the concept of circuits and systems. Using this background knowledge of electrical systems, we moved into studying the systems of the body.” As they prepare for their Health Fair on Thursday, March 2, fourth graders welcomed special guest...
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  • Kindergarteners Recognize the Aleph Bet

    Learning Hebrew letter recognition is an important part of the kindergarten curriculum. Students have been engaged in a number of stations focused on reinforcing letter recognition. “When I teach letters, I try to include other disciplines, including art, music, Judaic studies, and math, in order to make the learning more relevant to my students..
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  • Second Grade Scientists Study Balance and Motion—and Coin a New Term: Torquenado!

    Science learning in second grade is currently centered on balance, motion, and the scientific underpinnings of spinning. Second graders spent time Wednesday designing their own tops, creating designs they thought would look interesting once spun. Through their experiments in creating tops out of a shaft and disks, the class learned about force (a push or pull), friction (a force that opposes motions), and torque (a twisting force)...
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  • Sixth Graders Are Pursuers of Light

    This morning the sixth graders led a community gathering titled “Pursuers of Light” for their families and middle school students. “This was an opportunity for our community to gather to learn about and celebrate our sixth graders, our pursuers of light,” says teacher Jody Bloom. The morning focused on the sixth grade Judaic studies curriculum, Rodef Shalom, and one by one the students had the chance to share their learning with the community...
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  • Living Arts Playback Ensemble Provides Powerful Workshop for Eighth Graders

    Armand Volkas, artistic director of the Living Arts Playback Ensemble, actors from Living Arts Playback Ensemble, and members of the Jewish German dialogue group met our eighth grade students today as the finale to their Holocaust unit in Judaic studies. This workshop, “Healing the Wounds of History,” was made possible through the Brandeis Innovation Grant program. “Armand has developed innovative programs using expressive arts for social change, intercultural conflict, reconciliation, and intercultural communication...
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  • Second Graders Learn That the Golden Rule Goes Hand in Hand with Friendship

    Friendship is an important and relevant topic for second graders. Each day, students find themselves looking for a caring friend, a loving, supportive, kind, compassionate and trustworthy person to be part of their life...
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  • Seventh Graders Get Hands-on in San Francisco Community

    As part of the Brandeis Tzedek Program, seventh graders participate in four days of service learning. This year the seventh graders are taking part in the Tenderloin Walking Tour, serving lunch at Glide Memorial, and volunteering at Family Crossroads and Urban Adamah. Last week, students spent the morning participating in both the Tenderloin Walking Tour and at Glide Memorial...
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  • Congratulations to Our Boys' Varsity Basketball Team!

    Congratulations to the boys' varsity basketball team on winning the CYO championship in outstanding fashion. They defeated St. Peter's 53–18. Says Corrie Mizusawa, boys' basketball coach and athletics director, "Our boys did a tremendous job of constantly improving every single day. They are hard- working, extremely coachable, and each of the players played a role in our undefeated season." Go, Lions!
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  • Kindergarteners Celebrate 100th Day of School

    Wednesday marked the 100th day of the 2016–17 school year. Kindergarteners spent the week leading up to this day, and then the morning of, celebrating together. Prior to the 100th day, students collected 100 items of their choosing: cards, Swedish fish, paper clips, and legos, to name a few...
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  • Sixth Grade Engineers Design Earthquake-proof Buildings

    Sixth graders channeled their inner engineers to create buildings that could withstand the power and shaking of an earthquake. “Students took on this design challenge by incorporating what they learned about structures,” says teacher Lisa Hjelm. “February is also national engineering month, so this project was a great connection.” Using minimal materials, students created earthquake-proof buildings that could hold up to 400 grams...
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  • Fifth Grade Participates in Olympics Unit in P.E.

    The summer Olympics may have concluded last August, but Brandeis fifth graders are picking up where the Olympics left off, competing in several Olympic sports in their P.E. classes. After selecting the countries they would like to represent—the USA, Canada, Colombia, England, Sweden, and Brazil, to name a few—teams of students are participating in basketball, soccer, handbook, track and field, and floorball...
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  • Eighth Graders Take to the Courtroom to Debate

    One of the eighth grade writing program’s main goals includes writing logical, persuasive arguments. To practice crafting cogent arguments, 8th graders engaged in a courtroom debate surrounding “The Case of the Speluncean Explorers,” a fictitious case published in Harvard Law Review in 1949. “I have found that students perform better when the situations they are writing about lie far from the reality of their daily lives,” explains teacher Jennifer Baumer...
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  • First Grade Begins Opera Unit with The Magic Flute

    Last week first graders began a four-week study of opera, kicked off by a workshop led by Sing a Story with the San Francisco Opera Guild. After a singing lesson and the musical telling of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Kristen (the visiting teaching artist) unveiled a “magic bag” full of props and costumes and led the children in performing the opera in the classroom...
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  • Fourth Graders Share Tu B’Shvat Learning with Families

    This morning, fourth graders proudly shared their Tu B’Shvat learning with their families in a packed Beth Israel Judea sanctuary. In the spirit of innovation and exploration, we are piloting grade-level community gatherings—instead of grade-level tefillot—this year for second, fourth, and sixth grades. As one fourth grader explained at the beginning of the celebration, “You might be wondering why we are doing it this way. Well, we wanted you to see something you haven’t seen before.” 
    Weaving in Jewish values and text, pairs and small groups of students shared learning about nature and trees...
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  • Girls' Varsity Basketball Makes Strong Playoffs Appearance

    This week, our varsity girls' basketball game competed in two tough BAIAL playoff games, facing off in the first round against Hamlin and against Burke's in the championship. Monday's game against Hamlin was a thriller, with the teams exchanging baskets for much of the evening. Brandeis was able to pull away with the victory, winning 29-25. The win catapulted the team to the championship game last night—the first girls’ varsity basketball championship game Brandeis had competed in...
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  • Guest Speaker from ING Addresses Seventh Graders

    Seventh grade social studies students enjoyed a special presentation and Q&A session with Ameena Jandali, an American Muslim speaker representing Islamic Networks Group (ING). The class has been studying Islamic civilization and the foundation and tenets of the religion. "ING is an impressive organization that looks to counter discrimination through education," says social studies teacher Allison Stine...
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  • Middle School Students Take On 30-day Challenge

    Middle school students in P.E. are beginning to take on the 30-day challenge, a challenge in which each student selects a physical challenge, a hobby, or another task that they will strive to accomplish every day for 30 days. “Students are being challenged to take 30 days and invest themselves in something and then track their progress and see how far they can get in 30 days...
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  • Dance Moves Help Seventh Graders Understand Slope

    Seventh graders have begun exploring the slope of linear equations. They started off by discussing what slope means in the context of the real world—the steepness of a mountain, the rise over run of a staircase, for example—then gained visual and kinesthetic understanding of how the variables move on a graph by creating dance moves...
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  • First Graders Become Changemakers

    First graders have been taking inspiration from Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Ruby Bridges, changemakers who saw a problem in their community and had the courage to take action to make a change. After learning about these historical figures and tying this idea to the Brandeis core values of integrity, kindness, and service, students realized that changemakers do all of these things together. “The first graders began by writing about changes they would like to make at our school or in San Francisco...
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  • Middle School Students Learn Hebrew at the Speed of Light

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  • Peopleologie Workshop Introduces Second Graders to Japanese Culture

    As a kick-off to their social studies unit about Japan, 2nd graders participated in a workshop by Linda Janklow of Peopleologie—a humanities program that hosts workshops that promote cultural literacy, celebrate community, and build connections to the world. Ms. Janklow began the workshop, “Shibori-Fabric Dyeing from Silkworm to Kimono,” by introducing students to the art of Shibori and Japanese culture and traditions...
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  • Seventh Grade Experiential Education Focuses on Leadership, Tzedek

    Our seventh graders embarked last week for their 3-day, 2-night outdoor education trip. 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...
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  • January

    Kindergarteners Are Experts on the Solar System—and Beyond!

    Kindergarteners are preparing this week to perform a verse play, Let’s Go Visit the Solar System, for their families tomorrow morning. “This is the final part of our science unit on the solar system,” explains teacher Jacqui Smith. “Acting and performing allow the students to build their confidence and work on their speech and public speaking...
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  • Lower School Students Combine the Science of Light and Shadow with Storytelling

    In the CREATE space, students in kindergarten through fifth grades have been engaged in activities related to the year-long theme of light and color. Their ongoing study of light has logically led to light's opposite, shadow. The current unit combines the science of light and shadow with the artistry of light design and storytelling...
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  • Middle School Elective Explores 2D Animation

    In the 2D animation middle school elective that concluded last week, students experimented with how to make pictures and objects move across a two-dimensional screen. “We explored the history and process of animation using stop motion, drawing, iMovie, music, and collage to tell visual stories,” explains teacher David Starfas. The first lessons of the class tasked students with making thaumatropes and flip books; then students progressed to exploring stop motion animation and learning how to use technology to create animated gifs...
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  • Powerful Learning for the Eighth Grade as Part of Holocaust Unit

    As part of their Shoah (Holocaust) unit, our eighth grade students had the powerful opportunity to bear witness to the stories of a Holocaust survivor firsthand. Leon, born in Romania in 1931, told his story, intertwining illustrations of his experience into his talk and sharing excerpts from his book, Black Days and Nights. “I think that Leon’s story helps bring to life the lessons we have been studying in class,” explains Judaic studies teacher Rabbi Camille Angel...
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  • Around the World in 80 Minutes—It's GeoBee Time Again!

    Over 140 students in fourth through eighth grade participated yesterday 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 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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  • Popular Israeli Story Teaches Kindergarteners about the Power of Teamwork

    Students in kindergarten white are reading and learning about the popular Israeli story “Eliezer Va’hagezer” (“Eliezer and the Carrot”) by Levin Kipnis. The story teaches students not only the power of teamwork—a man finds an enormous carrot growing in his garden and needs the help of many characters to pull it out of the ground—but also many new Hebrew vocabulary words. “When learning this story, the students have an opportunity to hear Hebrew spoken by native Israelis, since we watch a cartoon of the story spoken only in Hebrew...
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  • Field Trip to Google Emphasizes Importance of Math for Middle School Students

    Each year, the middle school elective "Advanced Topics in Mathematics" explores math from a real-world perspective, rather than through the pages of a textbook. This semester, the class of 28 students elected to study statistics, game theory, and virtual reality programming. The culminating experience of the elective is a trip down to the Google headquarters in Mountain View...
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  • Number Talks Create Community of Intellectual Curiosity

    Last Friday, Director of Lower School Jenny Rinn guest-taught in second grade, giving a number talk to the students. “Number talks are meant to offer all students access to the curriculum by offering multiple entry points and a high ceiling,” explains Ms. Rinn. “There are questions embedded in the number talk that all students in the class can answer, and there are some questions that provide enrichment opportunities for those students who need more...
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  • Seventh Graders Explore the Mechanics of Photosynthesis

    Seventh graders are learning the process of photosynthesis, while practicing and honing science skills such as creating and viewing microscope slides. They began with a review of the famous photosynthesis experiment by Van Helmont (a seventeenth-century Flemish chemist), who deduced that a plant’s mass must come from water, and in asking pertinent questions, discovered that in fact the mass of a plant comes from the air (the carbon molecules in CO2) and the water together—not from the soil, as most people think...
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  • Shalom Bayit Workshop Teaches Middle School Students the Importance of Healthy Relationships

    Over the past few years, Brandeis has hosted Zephira Derblich-Milea, youth program coordinator for Shalom Bayit—an organization that promotes healthy homes and families—to work with middle school students about age-appropriate relationships. This week Ms. Derblich-Milea led our sixth and seventh grade students (eighth graders will participate in the spring) in the workshop Love Shouldn’t Hurt, a Jewish-values based curriculum that teaches students to advocate for themselves in different types of relationships...
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  • Creativity Elective Students Produce Musical from Start to Finish

    Every year in the Creativity Elective (formerly known as ADMB: Art, Music, Drama, & Band), students in sixth grade select their area of focus and work as a class to create a musical from start to finish. Students write their own script and music, build their own sets, and perform every part in the final production...
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  • Fourth Graders Learn Impact of Explorers on Native California

    The through line in fourth grade social studies is California. Each year “we start learning about the first Californians and the Gold Rush, and end our year learning about modern-day California government,” explains teacher Abby Stanford. This week, fourth graders completed a unit on California explorers...
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  • Sixth Graders "Wrap Up" Their Unit on Ancient Egypt by Mummifying Chickens

    Sixth graders wrapped up their social studies unit on ancient Egyptians, putting the work of the ancient priests into practice by mummifying chicken carcasses! In this unit about ancient Egypt, students have learned about the geography of the Nile; researched ancient Egyptian monuments (such as the Great Pyramid at Giza) and the pharaohs who commissioned them; and studied the societal roles of government officials, scribes, artisans, peasants, and priests...
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  • Eighth Graders Analyze Life before World War II as Part of European Jewish Life Photo Project

    Lining one of the walls of the main building and another in the middle school building are displays of the recently completed eighth grade pre-World War II European Jewish Life Photo Project. Through this project, which is part of a three-month-long Holocaust unit in Judaic studies, eighth graders analyzed photos of European Jews prior to World War II and compared them to photographs from their own lives...
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  • Fifth Graders Cook Up Musical Rhythms

    Just before winter break, fifth graders participated in a lobby “informance” (informal performance), the culminating experience of their semester-long “cooking up rhythms” unit. After reviewing rhythmic and melodic patterns, students began the unit by learning a chocolate-cookie-dough-themed rap and worked to identify where the stress beats and rests occurred...
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  • First Graders Learn about the Heart from a Brandeis Alumni Father-son Team

    For the ninth straight year, cardiologist Dr. John MacGregor and son Jacob (class of 2016) visited Ms. Barbara Eisenhauer’s first grade class for a lesson about the heart. Dr. MacGregor and Jacob began the morning providing the first graders with an overview of the heart. The highlight of the presentation was when the students were given the opportunity to examine, touch, and even hold three hearts...
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  • Hanukkah Assembly Showcases Music Program

    On Friday afternoon before winter break, students and parents gathered for an all-school Hanukkah assembly, which featured beautiful performances by the lower school band; middle school band; lower school chorus; middle school singing group, The Trebles; and sixth grade chorus...
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  • New Morning Program at Brandeis Has Community Moving and Shaking

    Just after Thanksgiving, a new morning program was launched at Brandeis, introducing yoga and fitness to our community. “The morning program at Brandeis allows our students to start their day with exercise which, according to research, improves students’ classroom performance,” says Dean of Student Life Sharona Israeli-Roth...
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  • Seventh Graders Important Historical Developments to Current Events

    Because of the various connections between history and current events, seventh graders in Ms. Allison Stine’s social studies class watch CNN10 (formerly CNN Student News), a 10-minute show “that identifies stories of international significance and then describes why the stories are newsworthy, who’s being affected, and how the events fit into a complex global society.” This week, students are learning about important political developments in England during the 12th and 13th centuries, including the seal of the Magna Carta...
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