Religious School and Prozdor Curriculum Overview

Religious School and Prozdor Curriculum Overview

Congregation Beth Shalom Religious School

To cultivate a lifelong love of learning and living Jewish Values

Curriculum Overview 5778

A note on our community: Our religious school aims to develop a community among religious school students and their families. We support students in building friendships in many ways including offering organized games during recess times, grouping students in a variety of ways for partner and group learning activities, organizing grade level and neighborhood based Shabbat dinners or social activities and providing opportunities for students in different grades to learn with and from each other.  We hope that parents will take part in our community as well by celebrating our learning with us by participating in special religious school events with their child or children.  Teachers make an effort to get to know each child, their interests and their learning styles and to plan learning activities that build on this knowledge.  This helps children see themselves as valued members of the community and encourages them to engage more actively in their learning.

Strands of Study Explained

*As you read through this document, you will notice that the following strands of study are found in each grade.

Units: Each grade has 1-2 units that focus on one important topic within Jewish education. These units are built to provide students with opportunities for experiential and project-based learning. Additionally, special events in each grade directly connect to the core units of study in that particular grade.

Mitzvah: Each grade level has one Mitvah or a group of related Mitzvot that connects to the learning in that grade.  The students will study in depth about that Mitzvot and have a variety of opportunities to practice their Mitzvah in the community.

Hebrew: Starting in Kitah Gimmel, students are split into small Hebrew groups based on their ability.  Our Hebrew program focuses on reading skills, learning key vocabulary and grammatical concepts, gaining a familiarity with tunes for the prayers studied, and being able to explain the general meaning of each prayer studied.

Tefillah: Students participate in Religious School tefillah each day they attend class at CBS. Tefillah is age-appropriate and includes opportunities for students to show off their knowledge by leading prayers.

Torah: In each grade different pieces of the Biblical text are studied in depth.  We expected that at the end of each Torah unit that students will be able to retell the Biblical stories studied and explain one or more reasons why we study that particular text.

Holidays: Each grade level focuses on 1-2 key Jewish holidays that relate thematically to other topics of study covered that year. This gives our students the opportunity to study holidays in a deep and meaningful way.

 

Halutzim

Shabbat Unit: Students will explore different ways of celebrating Shabbat, braid challah, and sing Shabbat songs and blessings.

Hebrew: Students will know that Hebrew is a language that is important to the Jewish people.

Tefillah: Students will be introduced to the key concepts of the following Tefillot: HaMotzi, blessing for Hannukah candles, blessing over matza, and blessings for Shabbat.

Torah: Students will be introduced to the following: creation, Shabbat, Betzelem Elohim, Garden of Eden, and Noah. They will also be introduced to what the Torah is and have opportunities to look at the Torah and touch it.

  • Mitzvah:Tzedakah– The Halutzim students collect money for Tzedakah throughout the year. At the end of the year they will decide as a class how they would like to use the money (ex. Take a trip to the grocery store and buy food for the JFS food bank).

Special event: Class mock Shabbat Dinner where students help lead the Shabbat blessings *November 19th

Holidays: Halutzim students engage with each holiday that comes up throughout the Jewish year. One of the ways they engage with holidays is practicing blessings for the given holiday.

Gan

Biblical Figures Unit: Students will be able to retell key stories from Breishit, share ideas about what we can learn from Breishit, and create a museum of Biblical figures including Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, and Jacob. Students will think about the question “where do I come from” and create their own family tree.

Hebrew: Students will be able to recite or sing the aleph bet and identify some Hebrew letters and their sounds.

Tefillah: Students will be exposed to the key concepts of the following Tefillot: blessings for food, blessings for Shabbat and holiday candles, blessing over matza, and Modeh Ani.

Torah: See Biblical Figures Unit

  • Mitzvah: Students will be introduced to the mitzvah Hachnassat Orchim and explore different times this mitzvah is performed in the Bible. Kindergarteners will practice this mitzvah by welcoming parents and students to religious school and synagogue events.

Special event: Biblical figures museum where each student dresses up as a Biblical figure and tells about their character’s life from the perspective of that character.  Parents and other religious school classes will be invited to attend this event. *March 11th

Kitah Aleph

Israel Unit: Students will be introduced to why Israel is special to the Jewish people and to people of other religions. They will be able to name key cities and sites in Israel and identify the Israel flag.

Hebrew: Students will be able to identify more than half of the Hebrew letters and their sounds

Tefillah: Students will be able to recite and explain the key concepts of the following Tefillot: blessings for Holidays and Shalom Aleichem. They will also discuss why we pray to God.

Torah: Students will be able to name the books of the Torah and be exposed to the difference between a Chummash and a Torah scroll. Students will study the Tower of Babel as well as Bible stories relating to Bikur Cholim including: when Abraham is visited by a guest after his Brit Milah and when Moses prayers for the healing of his sister, Miriam.

  • Mitzvah: Bikur Cholim– 1st graders will speak with different people in the community who have gone through illness or injury. As a class they will practice the mitzvah by visiting sick community members throughout the year and by designing a system to cheer up sick or injured classmates.

Special events: Kitah Aleph students will work with older religious school students to plan a religious school celebration of Israel.  *April 22nd They will also visit sick community members as a class throughout the year.

Kitah Bet

Midrash Unit: Students will explore different examples of Midrash including those related to Abraham smashing the idols, and Jacob’s ladder. Students will be able to explain what a Midrash is and create their own Midrashim.

  • Mitzvah: Talmud Torah. Students will be able to explain the mitzvah of Talmud Torah and they will practice this mitzvah as a class.

Hebrew: Students will be able to identify all Hebrew letters, vowels, and their sounds and decode one-syllable words

Tefillah: Students will be able to recite and explain the key concepts of the following Tefillot: Kiddush, Shema, Shalom Rav, Oseh Shalom

Torah: Students will be exposed to Biblical stories that correspond with the Midrashim studied in the Midrash  unit. These include Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, and Jacob’s dream.

Holidays: 2nd grade students will participate in an in depth study of Simhat Torah and Shavuot. They will be able to explain what these two holidays have to do with the Torah and learn about the importance of rereading the Torah each year so that we can discover something new each time.

Special event: Students will create their own Midrashim and invite their families into the classroom for an author celebration *February 4th

Kitah Gimmel

Historical Events and Figures Unit: students will be able to name 5-10 key Jewish figures and historical events chosen based on student interest. They will be exposed to why these figures and events are important to Jewish history.

Shabbat and Jewish Time Unit: students will be able to explain the difference between kodesh and chol, explain the flow of Shabbat starting with preparing for Shabbat through Havdallah, tend a Havdallah garden, and be exposed to the lunar calendar.

  • Mitzvah: Mitzvot related to Shabbat and Jewish time- Students will participate in a project that provides people in the Jewish community with the ritual objects they need to celebrate Shabbat.

Hebrew: Students will be able to decode Hebrew words. Students will be able to recognize and translate key Hebrew words and phrases found in Tefillot

Tefillah (Kitah Gimmel- Kitah Hey): Students will be able to read or chant and explain the key concepts of the following Tefillot: Barchu, Ma’ariv Aravim/Yotzer Or, V’ahavta, Mi Chamocha, Avot V’Imahot, G’vurot, Kedushah, Ein Kamocha/Av Harahamim, Ki Mitziyon, V’zot Hatorah/Etz Hayyim Hi, Aleinu, Ashrei, Birchat Hamazon, pieces of Kabbalat Shabbat.

Torah: Students will be introduced to the biblical figure Joseph and the Bible stories involving him and his family.

Holidays: Third grade students will focus on the holidays of Purim and Rosh Chodesh. They will be able to explain mitzvot related to Purim and be able to explain how the lunar calendar and Rosh Chodesh are related.

Special events: Students will work with a partner to research one key Jewish figure or historical event assigned based on interest. They will choose from a variety of project options and choose one way to present their learning.  The 3rd grade class will have a special Sunday morning that begins with the students leading Havdallah, followed by them presenting their projects on Jewish figures and historical events, and concludes with a bit of family education. *January 7th

Kitah Dalet and Hey

What’s Jewish about Gardening? Students will be able to explain a textual reference about tikkun olam, get the feeling of involvement in the CBS garden by planting and weeding, know the correct brachot for the items growing in the garden, gain familiarity with the laws of harvesting, and be able to answer the question, “why do we have a giving garden.”

Israel: Students will be introduced to the richness and diversity of religion and culture that make up the country of Israel. They will explore the different groups of people (Jewish and non-Jewish) that live in Israel and learn about some amazing things about Israel as well as some of the challenges this young country faces.

Hebrew: Students will be able to decode Hebrew words. Students will be able to recognize and translate key Hebrew words and phrases found in Tefillot.

Tefillah (Kitah Gimmel- Kitah Hey): Students will be able to read or chant and explain the key concepts of the following Tefillot: Barchu, Ma’ariv Aravim/Yotzer Or, V’ahavta, Mi Chamocha, Avot V’Imahot, G’vurot, Kedushah, Ein Kamocha/Av Harahamim, Ki Mitziyon, V’zot Hatorah/Etz Hayyim Hi, Aleinu, Ashrei, Birchat Hamazon, pieces of Kabbalat Shabbat.

Torah: Students will be exposed to the following Bible stories: Moses narrative, Exodus, and receiving the Torah. The class will focus on slavery and freedom as well as leadership.

  • Mitzvah: Kashrut- Students will explore Judaism’s rules and traditions about food and eating. They will also explore the mitzvot related to the garden, asking why do we leave the corners of our fields and more.

Special events: Students will help design the religious school celebration of Israel with the first grade students.  *April 22nd

Prozdor

Mitzvot: Students will be able to explain different mitzvot, describe how they are performed, and divide them into categories. As a cohort they will design a project in which they perform various mitzvot  as a group throughout the year.

Hebrew: All Tuesday Prozdor students will participate in a Hebrew and text study course. To meet the diverse background, interests, and learning styles of our students, Hebrew is taught in small groups divided by level and learning style. This year students will explore texts from the Mishna that relate to payer and they will also take an in depth look at the lesser known brachot in the Amidah.

Family History/CBS Story: 7th grade students have the opportunity to participate in this unique history class. Students have the choice between looking into their own genealogy and exploring their family history or exploring the family history of an adult member of the CBS community.  Whichever option they decide, they will share their findings through the creation of podcasts known as “CBS Stories.”

Electives: Students will be able to choose between elective based on their own interests.  Offerings change each semester and may include: cooking in Hebrew, Israeli art and artists, text studies, Holocaust, comparative religions, and more.

Tefillah: Students explore the questions of: who is God, what is the point of prayer, and what makes our Tefillot conservative. 6th grade students and their parents participate in a Tefillah course aimed at deepening their knowledge about the meaning and origins of different parts of our liturgy and they will also experience how to daven in the sanctuary. Through their synagogue skills courses they learn to chant Torah and the blessings before and after the Torah reading, and how to lead the Shabbat morning Kiddush. Students may also choose to learn to chant Haftorah and recite the blessings before and after the Haftorah reading.  Students may work towards leading various Shabbat services. Additionally, students spend time in the sanctuary each Shabbat morning so that they gain practice participating in Tefillah, observe the basic structure of Shabbat morning services, and familiarize themselves with what they will be expected to lead at their bar/bat mitzvah.

Torah: 6th grade students study the weekly Parasha with a peer chavruta during Partners and Parasha. They become familiar with different commentaries and participate in a conversation about the Parasha and commentaries with their peers and adults in the community. They also express their own opinions as they relate.  7th grade students explore a different ethical dilemma each week.  They practice looking at the dilemma through a Jewish lens and debating different positions on an issue.

Israel: In 7th grade our students read Israeli current events and hear different narratives around Israel in this course led by our shinshinit.  At the end of the study they are ready to answer “why should we be connected to Israel,” in their own unique ways.

Conservative Judaism: 6th grade students explore the theology, history, and practices of the conservative movement. They think about why they are a conservative Jew and why be a conservative Jew.  They also learn what separates the conservative movement from other Jewish movements and are introduced to how to read and navigate a teshuva. 

Special events: Following each semester of Prozdor parents will be invited to attend celebrations of learning where they are invited to learn from their children. These will occur on: November 7th, January 30th, and May 15th.

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