May 28

Maccabiah Games – June 5, 2020!

Our incredible Knesset members, and devoted faculty Maccabiah Committee, have been working tirelessly to plan a fun, engaging, family virtual Maccabiah Games day!

I will be sharing the teams in homeroom, but wanted to share some information with all of you.

The schedule for the day will look as follows:

9:00-9:30 AM- Opening Ceremonies
9:30-10:00 AM- Team Meetings
10:00-10:30 AM- Snack
10:30-12:00 PM- GooseChase Missions
12:00-1:00 PM- Lunch
1:00-2:00 PM- GooseChase Missions
2:00-3:00 PM- Closing Ceremonies

As you can see, there are two time periods for GooseChase Missions. GooseChase is a digital scavenger hunt app, where missions are listed and participants are challenged to complete them by uploading video, image or text responses. We want this to be a family event, where parents & siblings can all participate in the fun GooseChase missions together during the GooseChase times. However, we understand this may not be possible for all, and students can still participate on their own, or with their siblings. We recommend you download the app ahead of time – you can create an account or play as a guest.

Please help us reach our fundraising goal of $15, 000, which will be matched this year by a generous donor! You can make donations by visiting this link:, and are encouraged to share it with family and friends as well.

Each team’s Google Meet links and GooseChase game codes will all be shared closer to the date. Once students find out their teams, they are also encouraged to wear their team colour on Friday June 5.

It is sure to be an amazing day!

May 13

A Virtual Math Quiz – May 19

I’ve gone back and forth in my mind about this one. In my Twitterverse, different educators are saying different things about assessment during this time of remote learning. As Dr. Mitzmacher mentioned in his last Weekly Parent Update email, we are in the process of discussing what report cards will look like for us at OJCS. After reading the different opinions online, and beginning to have conversations with my colleagues, here is where (I think) I have landed.

We began learning from home 9 weeks ago. We have been in “class” together for 7 weeks (we were on Passover break for 2 weeks) We have been learning A LOT during those 7 weeks. Have we gone a bit slower than we would have if we were in school? Yes. Have I been doing my best to check in with everyone to get a sense of what each child understands and where they may still need support? Yes. Would I be giving a cumulative assessment if we were still in school and had done all the work we’ve done? Yes. So why not at least try to do something for students to show what they know?

I can’t pretend we’re in school and that everything is the same, so there will have to be certain adjustments made to this assessment. I’m researching and brainstorming with my colleagues on how this can look so that the assessment is personalized and fair, and delivered in a way that meets the needs of all students in our class. We’ll try it out, and like everything else, we’ll learn from how it goes.

Our quiz will be on two-digit by two-digit multiplication, long division (3 digit divided by 1 digit) and checking your quotient with multiplication. Here are some videos reviewing the various strategies. Students can use whichever strategy they are most comfortable with. 

There are some things you can do to make the reviewing and studying portion of this experience a little more engaging and fun (even if the students won’t agree) that will also take you away from the screen:

  1. Make an obstacle course with different ‘pit stops’. At each stop, students need to solve a multiplication or division problem before they’re allowed to move on to the next obstacle.
  2. Take chalk outside and solve equations on the sidewalk. Leave a few for your neighbours and then check their work to see if they’re correct!
  3. Challenge yourself to make real-world word problems that use multiplication and division. Write them down, record them, or call up a friend and see if they can solve them.
  4. Knowing our multiplication facts will undoubtedly help with this assessment. Take a skipping rope and practice your facts (try not to just skip count *pun intended* but say the whole fact equation out loud. For example: “three times five is fifteen”) If skipping isn’t your thing, take a basketball and dribble, or a tennis racket and bounce against the wall.

If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments! The best ideas come from collaboration. After all, we learn better together.

And if you would still like some paper and pencil examples to practice, there are many to choose from here. 


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May 12

Grandparents Day – My Coronavirus Time Capsule Reflection

Yesterday was new, exciting, frustrating, exhausting, special and priceless.

Morah Ruthie, Mr. Pollowin, Mme. Jones and I worked with the students to create trilingual books for their grandparents and special friends, using, where they were able to add text, upload pictures, record sounds and create beautiful ebooks to share.

At around 9:30, slowly but surely, the grandparents started to join our Meet, and we were able to welcome them, and even played a game together! It was so special to have guests from all over the world.


The morning didn’t go off without its hiccups, though. In order to protect our students, people outside of OJCS (anyone without an email address) aren’t allowed to join our Meets without being given access by the teacher. I thought I had created a work-around by creating individual meeting rooms for each student, and directly inviting their grandparents as guests ahead of time. I was wrong. Bitmoji Image

When everyone broke off into their own rooms, there was a lot of frustration and confusion about how to join together. For this I apologize!

BUT some great things happened anyway. One of our main goals, both when learning in school and at home, is to help students become resilient, resourceful, independent problem solvers. Many students came to me and asked for support, others called their grandparents on FaceTime and shared that way, while others even set up elaborate computer/laptop/iPhone viewing contraptions. All in all, I hope everyone was able to see their book; from those who I heard from, they highly enjoyed them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Here is a tutorial on how to share your ebook with your family members. If anyone has any tips or suggestions for Android users, please let us know in the comments!

Thank you to all who came and joined our class, and to all the parents and grandchildren who acted as tech support at home 🙂

May 8


Shalom Kitah Hey!!!

I hope you had fun with your Grandparents this morning.

We will continue with our Virtual Siddur.  If you have already completed with your group, Baruch She’amar, please start recording the Ashrei.

Don’t forget, to explain what the Ashrei is about in your recording.

Helpful links:

Ashrei Link

Looking forward to YOUR AWESOME videos.




May 4

Grandparents Day

As you likely know, Monday, May 11th is Grandparents Day, and it will look a little differently this year. Normally, grandparents and special friends come to school and participate in activities with the class. It is always such a fun morning, learning and sharing together. Students enjoy showing their family members where they learn and creating things together. This year, we obviously won’t be able to do it person. However, we see this almost as a gift! There are often students whose grandparents live far away or don’t have any family members who are able to join in person. With our new virtual format this year, we really hope everyone will have someone to share with!

We have an amazing activity planned and will be working on it all week, with the finishing touches happening together  on Grandparents Day. Therefore, if you have not already RSVP’d to Staci, please do so! All you need to do is send her an email with the guest’s email address and she will send along the invite. Her email address is:

Please let us (or your child) know if it will be a grandparent or another family member or special friend who will be joining, so that we can tailor our special surprise accordingly.



April 29

Coronavirus Virtual Time Capsule – Documenting History

There has been a lot of talk about how we are living through history these days. The things we document about our experiences learning and working from home will be read and analyzed by students and historians hundreds of years from now. Just as we learn about events and lives of people in the past, their journals, pictures and accounts help us better understand what life was like.

Many students have already taken the opportunity to write journals of their own, but last week we talked about the things we thought would be important to document and how.

Here’s a quick video of the collaborative brainstorm we did on Jamboards:

And our final image of all the suggestions:

Fortunately, we launched our student blogs this year, with this exact (well, almost exact) purpose in mind. We wanted to give students a platform where they could keep track of their thoughts, learning and experiences at this point in time. It will always live there, as a resource for them, and others, to look back at and learn from.

Taking all the suggestions from the students, and also being inspired by this post by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, I created the following image for students to use as inspiration for documenting their experiences. I hope this will bring some fun and smiles into what we know is a less than ideal time.


April 27

Women of Israel

Shalom Grade 5,

I hope you all had a wonderful Shabbat. I am proud of all of you for writing letters to Holocaust Survivors!  You are all modeling our North Stars: Being Responsible For One Another.

This week we will memorialize our Heros (Israeli Soldiers) on Tuesday and Celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut with the world on Wednesday.

Today, I would like all of you to watch this video about Women of Israel (Zionism). When you finish we will play a fun Kahoot about these amazing women.  Women of Zionism

Have a wonderful day.




April 22

Book Club – Home Edition!

peacefully readingAs you may or may not know, Ottawa is the 4th Canadian city I have lived in. And in each city, one of the first things I do is join a book club! In my opinion, there is little that is more enjoyable than sitting with friends, discussing a book. Knowing that I will be meeting with others to share my thoughts and opinions helps me focus in on different details and take notes on things I think are worth sharing.

Way back in January, we launched the first round of Book Clubs in our class. The feedback from students was just as I hoped it would be…THEY LOVED IT! As soon as we finished, many asked if we would be doing another round in term 3.

Well here we are, in term 3. However, things have changed a bit. Since we’re not in school and don’t have multiple copies of the same book to share, we are going to change things slightly and do an Any Book Book Club. For this term, students will get to choose any book they’d like to read. It could be a book they have at home that they’ve always wanted to read; it can be a book you order online that can be delivered in time (we will be having our first meeting on May 7, so there’s still some time to order); it can be an ebook that you download to your computer or tablet (the Ottawa Public Library has tons of ebooks and audiobooks that you can download for free! You can even get a temporary library card if you don’t already have one.)

The only rules are that it needs to be

  1. a book you’ve never read before, and
  2. a book that is both age and reading-level appropriate.

I have prepared individualized book lists with suggestions for each students’ reading levels that I will be sharing with them individually today. They do not need to choose a book from this list, but it’s a great resource in case you are looking for some suggestions. If students choose a book from home, I ask that they share the title with me to ensure it’s a good choice. Everyone needs to let me know what their book choice is by Monday, April 27th.

Each student will also get a copy of the slideshow below. They will be able to edit the slides directly to keep track of their work, and have the opportunity to collaborate with their peers in fun ways (I hope 😜)

Happy reading!