Biweekly e-newsletter of Community Day School
8 February 2018
23 Sh’vat 5778
In this issue:
Candle Lighting Times:
Light Shabbat candles - 5:30 p.m.
Shabbat ends - 6:39 p.m.
New on the calendar:
The Olympic Winter Games officially got underway today in PyeongChang ... and at CDS with an Olympics Spirit Day!
Head of School Message
By Avi Baran Munro, Ed.M.
Sometimes you just have to love a broken record (if you’re too young to know what means, Google it!).
Here’s what hit my inbox this week:
I suspect that I am beginning to sound like a broken record, but I cannot tell you how impressed we all are with your students! The 6th graders just left Charles Morris, where they’d been working on a Purim mask project. Five minutes before the kids arrived, we had a total power failure, which makes life a bit stressful especially in a nursing facility. The kids, however, were cool. They jumped in to help, set the tables, escorted the residents and had a wonderful, productive, and engaging session. It was awesome! Our staff is constantly impressed with the caliber of the classes, their commitment to the program, and their willingness to get involved. Things were going so well that we barely noticed the lights coming back on!
Kol Hakavod to Mr. Dalfen and the other staff who come along. We all look forward to continuing this partnership for a long time to come!!
Thanks for hearing me out, yet again!!
Director of Resident & Community Services (and full disclosure: a proud CDS grandmother)
I just want to share how extraordinary today's visit was. Firstly, when we arrived, the residence had a power failure, and they had not had enough time and manpower to set up the auditorium. Our kids, with little direction, set up chairs, got markers, etc. Then, once the residents began to come down, our kids eagerly met them, took them to the various tables, and began to interact and engage the residents in a way I truly had not seen before. Before long, more residents than I had ever seen were in the auditorium, and our kids were busy helping them make their Purim masks (as well as making their own), but more importantly were talking to the residents in an animated and truly interesting fashion that was remarkable. Sharyn Rubin was almost moved to tears, and pointed out one resident who she said loved to talk, but was hampered by extremely poor hearing. Two students leaned as close as possible to her and engaged her in an animated conversation. Mrs. Rubin said she had not seen that woman so happy and engaged in quite some time. This was repeated at every table I visited. There was genuine sadness on the students and residents' faces when the hour came to an end, and we had to leave and not participate in the next activity, the Bingo game.
Just wanted to share my feelings of pride.
Director of Middle School Jewish Life and Learning
Better Together Coordinator
These kids are amazing. Mrs. Williams shared some photos with me which I tweeted. I couldn't be more impressed or more proud that our kids sprang into action, displayed empathy, spread cheer, and made memories that will last a long time. Thank you to you and Becky for going and thanks for making my day with this email!
Head of Intermediate School and Middle School
This is our third year of our “Better Together” partnership with the Jewish Association on Aging. The program starts earlier in the school year with a carefully crafted curriculum including the study of various Jewish texts on aging, together with simulations that enable students to experience impaired sight, hearing, or mobility. Then, the studies come to life in these shared experiences with seniors.
“Better Together” is a Legacy Heritage Fund program that supported our launch of this heart-healing experience, with the goal of it becoming a permanent component of the Community Day School experience. Thanks to Allan Dalfen, and in partnership with Pittsburgh's Jewish Association on Aging, Better Together is exceeding our expectations in terms of outcomes for our students and our community's seniors.
And it’s one more example of how CDS is imbuing its students with a sense of social responsibility to contribute to humanity and the world, as they also express and celebrate their own true selves. I, too, couldn’t be more impressed or more proud.
Up Ahead At CDS
Chag Tu B’Shevat Sameach!
By the 3-Year-Old Team (Sarah Glascom Morris, Alison Seaman, and Oriyah Sandefur)
CDS 3-year-olds ignited their sense of wonder—and their senses—in their exploration of Tu B’Shevat
By Jessica Pindzola, Pre-K teacher
In our Reggio-Emilia inspired Pre-K, the students are given freedom and time to explore their interests and develop their ideas in their own ways. Through IGNITE, the students are able to brainstorm, solve problems, explore, create, and reflect on their ideas.
IGNITE is a school-wide experiential learning program; students in all grades participate in meaningful projects to learn about a topic from multiple perspectives. IGNITE is similar in the Pre-K. “We are doing our own project,” Konnor explained. “Everyone talks about what they’re interested in,” Anna added.
We began by visiting Ms. Phillipps in the library so each student could find a library book on their topic of interest. “She helped me find a big book about fashion in the library,” Josie said. Looking through these books leads to questions and helps guide the students in their journey.
The next step in the process is using their interests to spark further exploration as they ask questions and discuss their ideas. David Hawkins says, “It [is] necessary to become familiar first by using directly what you have learned in order to acquire further learning and knowledge.” We are only just beginning and we are excited to see where their projects lead!
We can’t wait to see where the Pre-K IGNITE journey of wonder and discovery leads!
Pittsburgh Parks Visits Kindergarten
By Tzippy Mazer, Head of Lower School and Hebrew and Jewish Studies
The celebration of our Earth for Tu B’Shevat continued when the magical Ms. Lydia, a naturalist educator from Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, visited Morah Michal’s kindergarten classes and brought dirt from the park, shovels, magnifying glasses, and boxes. Even on one of the coldest days of the year, the children had the opportunity to dig and explore in the dirt. They found rocks, leaves, and yes, lots of worms, grubs, and centipedes. Our young pedologists (soil scientists) learned how forces of nature and animals help create the dirt, which is necessary to sustain life. On this week of Tu B’Shevat, the students also learned about the strong connection between soil and the trees. A good―and plenty messy―time was had by all!
These Kindergarten pedologists weren’t afraid to get their hands in the dirt in search of creepy-crawlies
Tu B’Shevat Hikes
By Tzippy Mazer Head of Lower School and Hebrew and Jewish Studies
Last week, CDS students deepened their understanding of trees and their appreciation for our environment as "Shomrei Adamah" (keepers of the Earth). They went on winter tree ID hikes in Frick Park led by Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy naturalist educator Michael Cornell, CDS sustainability coordinator Molly Muffet, Jewish educator Jackie Braslawsce, and Green Team volunteers Debbie Moltz, Jessica Neiss, and Michal Shalev Binnun. Many groups stopped to sing joyous rounds of "Happy birthday to the trees" in Hebrew and English. Back at school, together with art educator Arianna Voight-Cherna, students reflected on their experience in nature and made personal commitments to take steps to safeguard our planet that they inscribed on recycled paper leaves. Be sure to stop by the CDS Annex 1st floor to see the tree they built from these leaves in a school-wide art project. The celebration continued the next day with Tu B'Shevat seders, as CDS students sampled the Seven Species of Israel.
Even cold couldn’t stop these intrepid winter explorers
A Robotics Renaissance
By Eve Arden, K-5 Science Teacher, and Emily Wittenstein, Learning Innovation Coach
This semester, Arts and Bots has filled 5th Grade students with excitement and joy as they cultivate their creativity and computational thinking in the design and construction of their own robots.
For our first lesson, students met with roboticist and software engineer Nikolaus Wittenstein from Argo AI, a self-driving car company in Pittsburgh, and they asked questions about his profession and the real-world challenges of working with robots. The following lesson introduced students to the Hummingbird robotics kits developed by Pittsburgh-based Birdbrain Technologies. The 5th graders will use the Hummingbird technology to design and create their own robots from electronic components and craft materials. The students also learned how to program with Snap!, an online blocks and browser-based educational graphical programming language to write the code that will program their robots.
After this foundation was laid, each group was challenged to build and program a real, imaginary, or extinct animal robot according to specific design specs as shown in the photographs below. This hour-long building session was met with huge success, as students were able to ideate, prototype, create, test, revise, and present their animal robots. Students will now begin the planning, designing, building, and programming of their final projects.
Stay tuned for more updates from Arts and Bots … and we are excited to invite families to school on the morning of May 15, when we will present our final robots to the entire CDS community—save the date!
The STEAM-based Arts and Bots curriculum is fostering creativity, curiosity, and problem-solving skills in our 5th Grade students, as they hone their design and programming skills to build their own robots
5th Grade Going Green
By Tzippy Mazer, Head of Lower School and Hebrew and Jewish Studies
In connection with Tu B’Shevat, the students in Ronit Schulman’s 5th Grade Hebrew class have been learning about our Jewish obligation to protect the Earth, recycling, being more green, and in general being a responsible citizen of the world.
To bring these concepts to life, the students worked on a fun “upcycling project,” where they transformed old T-shirts headed to the landfill into tote bags, more fashionable shirts, pillows, bracelets, and scarves. Through creativity and exploration, the discarded items were given a renewed beauty and use.
In addition, local artist Judy Spahr and Carole Wolsh of the Squirrel Hill Litter Patrol came to judge mugs recently designed by the 5th Grade as part of an environmentally themed contest. Each student was challenged to design a mug with the theme of saving the Earth. After a long process of deliberation, three 1st place winners―Aviv D., Rebecca Y., and Hannah A.―were selected, and they will be honored at the Squirrel Hill Clean Up on April 22. Prizes will be awarded on the corner of Forbes and Murray at noon. Judy Spahr and Carole Wolsh were impressed by the creativity and process of thought that went into the students’ work. We are very proud of our entire 5th Grade for a job well done!
5th Grade is working to protect the Earth .... one mug and one T-shirt at a time!
IS Thespians At Work
By Elke Cedarholm, Drama Club Advisor
Intermediate School Drama Club has been working diligently to prepare for our one-act plays. With so much interest in the club, we have separated the actors into two productions.
The first play is the classic Peter Pan, and students in this play are bringing to life the characters you know and love including Wendy, Peter, John, Michael, and of course, Captain Hook and Tinker Bell! The second play is based on a Buddhist legend and is called How Violence is Ended. Students in this play are working to bring a beautiful message to the stage.
In both plays, narrators and actors are working to learn how their voices entrance the audience and weave a narrative for the listeners. The narrators are learning how to work together to make these powerful stories. We have also worked to identify the heart of each tale. As we understand the moral of each story, we are better able to bring a sense of purpose to the stage. Currently, students are working to practice their lines with their voices, modulating their pitch, and even experimenting with accents and dialects. Soon we will move into blocking the play and getting movement involved.
Everyone in the club has been working hard! Each student will also act as “stage crew" for the other play when it is being performed. This helps us value teamwork, communication, and dedication, all of which are important lifelong skills. We hope that you will enjoy the shows as much as we are!
Intermediate School Drama Club is bringing to stage one-act versions of Peter Pan and a Buddhist legend
Science Fair Success!
By Mark Minkus, Head of Intermediate School and Middle School
At 4:59 p.m., on Thursday, February 1, 30 CDS students started a countdown. You would have thought that it was New Year’s Eve in Times Square instead of the hallway outside the Ulam K’lalee. Such was the anticipation and enthusiasm to see the winners of this year’s Middle School Science Fair. At exactly 5 p.m., I jumped out of the way, and the students and parents poured into the room. Some students were thrilled and some were disappointed, but it was a valuable learning experience for everyone. The students all worked incredibly hard, and we are so proud of what they created on their path of scientific discovery.
The students that earned a ribbon for 1st, 2nd, 3rd Place or Honorable Mention (see list below) will be going on to the Covestro Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair on March 23. PRSEF is held at Heinz Field, and our CDS winners keep winning more and more awards at regionals each year.
I want to thank Middle School science teacher Kyle Ison for many months of hard work leading up to the Science Fair. Kyle’s work ethic, patience, and determination were on display in the quality of all of the student projects. Since late September, students have been receiving help from Ms. Ison during recess, Science Fair Head Start Exploratory, Science Fair Help Exploratory, in class, and before and after school. It was an unbelievable amount of work and it really paid off. Thank you and congratulations Ms. Ison!
Even though another CDS Science Fair is behind us, Regionals are still ahead. Also, many of the 5th-7th graders have already begun to think about next year’s project. Congratulations again to all of our winners, and good luck at PRSEF. We are proud of you!
Literary Speed Dating
By Cara Shuckett, Middle School Language Arts
Years ago, my then 97-year-old grandfather asked me if I had ever heard of speed dating. He had read all about it in his local Jewish paper and couldn’t wait to find out if I had ever tried it. Last week in Language Arts class, the 7th graders played their own modified version of speed dating. Instead of looking for a date, they were looking for a new friend. But here is the catch—each student showed up to celebrate the publishing of their literary essays dressed as the characters they wrote about. We had Perry from Fallen Angels, Sticky from Ball Don’t Lie, and Jessica from The Running Dream, to name a few.
For the past few months, the 7th Grade has been immersed in the genre of realistic fiction. Students wrote realistic fiction pieces, they learned how to read realistic fiction novels by exploring characterization, setting, and theme, and finally, for the past five weeks, they wrote literary essays. Little did they know that when they showed up dressed in costumes last week, they would also have to become their character. Students spent three minutes at different tables answering questions, such as: If you could go back and change something about your past, what would it be? Where do you see yourself in five years? Who is your hero? Finally, at the end of the celebration, their literary character selves had to choose two other characters to befriend. I am proud to report back, that they all chose their matches wisely.
I never did make it to a speed dating event. However, watching my 7th graders engage deeply with the characters they read and wrote about was so much better.
These 7th graders had to “speed date” to find fast friendships for the characters in their literary essays
David vs. Goliath
By David Thyberg, Assistant Athletic Director
The bitter chill in the air can make these winter months feel like an eternity sometimes. New Year cheer slowly dissipates into February blues, with no sunny warmth in sight. Thankfully, the schedule feels more lively for our basketball coaches and student athletes with a full slate of activities to keep us all busy. We all look forward to game days and exciting action on the court. And now it’s time for the biggest game of the year: the annual end-of-season CDS 8th Grade Student vs. Faculty showdown!
It’s a classic matchup of David vs. Goliath. Our wily old teachers will do their best to use their size advantage, but the students possess youthful energy and sharp wits of their own. It’s been a good streak for the faculty of late, winning four of the last five years. Will this be the year the stone from David’s sling topples the Mighty Giant? We shall see. Come find out for yourself at the big game tomorrow, Friday, February 9, in the Ulam Sport. Pregame at 1 p.m. and tip off around 1:25 p.m.
The Little Lions Cheer Team will be out in full force to lead the whole school in spirited support of both teachers and students. This one may go down to the wire...Who will you be rooting for!? Let’s Go Lions!
Some favorite photo memories from last year’s Big Game!
Mishloach Manot: Over The Rainbow
Alumni Profile: David Reznick
Get Business Tax Credits & Help CDS!
Every year, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh helps us get vital tuition assistance money through Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC). We are partnering with the Jewish Federation to identify companies willing to participate in this program and we need your help.
For more information about how to benefit from the EITC program, visit comday.org/giving/eitc.
Kol Hakavod to …
Kol Hakavod for taking the time each Monday afternoon to teach yoga to the staff. The class is fun, relaxing, and helps us both mentally and physically. I look forward to our class each week.
The Facing History and Ourselves team
Every year after MLK Day I walk away with something new I have learned, something that I have learned to do and am doing well and something I need to change to make the world a better place. Thanks for making that change in me happen every year.
Mr. Hoover is a real mensch/gentleman. He is the best supervisor I ever had. He is a good listener and tries to solves my issues with passion. He is committed to his job.
He stayed and showed me how to change my flat tire after work today.
Iton is the Hebrew word for newspaper. Since ours is electronic, we call it an E-ton!
Community Day School
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