Here at the Levine Academy Weinreb Early Childhood Center (EC), all of our faculty and staff have one thing in common – we love children! We love teaching them, watching them learn and grow, seeing the world through their eyes and just being around them. Because of our love of children, we want what is best for each and every child in our care. To this end, I am excited to share with you news of an exciting new program that we have started in the ‘EC’.
In The Levine Loop
This week early childhood students honored Tu B’Shevat, the birthday of the trees, by looking at HOW trees are so important to life on Earth. They started with leafy celery stalks placed into red and into blue water. The children watched them turn red or blue. Then they looked at thin slices of the celery under the microscope, revealing that only the “tubes” absorbed the color.
What negative emotions are teaching us…
With the new surge in COVID cases, I find myself having flashbacks to last year and the beginning of the pandemic. With those flashbacks, come all the negative emotions associated with that time. I am anxious, holding my breath every time I feel a tickle in my throat, take a COVID test, or hear that someone tested positive. My brain is constantly questioning, “What will happen?” “Will school be closed again?” “Did I maybe unknowingly infect someone?” “Will my kids get to go on the 8th grade Israel trip?” These emotions are not comfortable. I feel myself in a heightened state of anxiety and exhausted by everything, all at the same time. But these negative emotions are important, and actually necessary for our survival.
We were proud to induct 27 Middle School students into the Levine Chapter of the NJHS (National Junior Honor Society).
Is Levine Academy one day school or two? While the question itself appears quizzical, the reality among many students is a pronounced disconnect between the secular and Judaic sides of the school. It’s as if one must take sides. Shall I see the world through the modern, western lenses presented to me in my science and language arts classes, or shall I see the world through the lenses of our ancient tradition, as per the teachings of our Judaic courses? And while no one should have to choose between the two, students make this very choice every single day, elevating the importance of one area of Levine’s education to the detriment (and often mental exclusion) of the other. And since our kids are products of Western culture, one can imagine that our students are generally going to be quicker to discount the value and legitimacy of Judaic studies before questioning the likes of Einstein and Shakespeare. What a terrible shame! Especially considering the fact that we send our children to Jewish day schools precisely because we want our children to get the best that the secular and Jewish worlds have to offer.
Dear Levine Parents, Grandparents, and Friends,
So many of my communications over the past twenty-plus months have likely caused tension, stress, and perhaps opposition—so that’s why I feel like beginning my Thanksgiving message on the lighter side.
How about these awesome thanks:
- Even though my MLB team (Astros) didn’t win the World Series this year, I am thankful that Max Fried became the first Jewish pitcher to win a decisive World Series game since the era of Sandy Koufax and Ken Holtzman.
- I’m thankful that our very own Levine students will be featured at the candle-lighting ceremony for superstar Nissim Black’s concert in Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas on Sunday, November 28, at 5:00pm!
- Here’s another sports highlight: How about Israel’s first and only Olympic surfer, Anat Lelior, who didn’t medal in Tokyo this summer but the Tel Aviv native was the highest ranking female surfer from Europe.
- How about our Levine students who shined before the ISAS Visiting Committee from November 8-10: The chair of the committee, who met with our Student Congress and Student Reps, said it was the highlight of his visit to Levine!
Those are all worthy thanks, but at the center of my thankful sentiments is our incredible Levine Community of parents, students, faculty, grandparents, our admin team and board, and the community at large. We have persevered on global issues and technological gains that were nowhere on anyone’s radar two years ago – we have done so triumphantly for our students.
Science is soaring at Levine! Our science/STEM program is venturing beyond the classroom walls and entering the extraordinary fields of botany, ecology, plant life, natural nutrients, and vegetables and herbs. Thanks to a fabulous gift made by the Haymann Family – we now have a fully-functioning greenhouse near the school's front façade. In addition to the new greenhouse, the Class of 2021 has donated to Levine as its Class Gift two raised garden beds to enhance the study of plant life.
Teaching young children about the magic and mysteries of the world around them has been an unexpected gift of never ending positive surprises. My professional experiences as a scientist, teacher of middle and high school students, and as the Chair of the Science Department at St. Mark's School of Texas provided a career that was personally rewarding and fulfilling.
Upon retiring, I met with the EC Director at Levine. She expressed her ideas and philosophical objectives for teaching science and discovery to our youngest students. We were extremely “like-minded” and completely aligned with teaching from experiential and immersive science based activities. The rest is the history of the last six years. My discovery of just how elastic, intelligent and joyful our young learners are inspires me to bring my best each day.
For a while now, ‘rigor’ has been a buzz word in the education community; ‘Our lessons must be more rigorous’, ‘We must increase the rigor of our assessments’, ‘Is this book rigorous enough for this grade level?’. These are comments that educators hear often at conferences, in faculty meetings and in conversations with colleagues. Yet, for many of us, the word has been ill-defined and uncertainty over the meaning of rigor has led to misconceptions that we must address in order to move forward. In her book How to Plan for Rigorous Instruction, (a book read over the summer by all faculty members) Robyn Jackson mentions myths about rigor that need to be dispelled.
· Rigor means more work
· Rigor means the work is harder
· Rigor is a matter of content
· Younger students cannot engage in rigorous learning
· Rigor is for the elite
Given what we have all been going through over the past seventeen months, I can share this: nothing seems more pleasurable in this field of education right now than observing the students going through their classroom routines at the outset of this new school year. To recount these routines here would sound dry and boring -- like how to begin a transition to recess; how to line up at the classroom door; how to signal to the teacher that you need to take a restroom break; how to transition from the lesson to independent reading time...
All children are capable of extraordinary things. There is no happiness gene or success gene. The potential for happiness and greatness lies in all children, and will mean different things to each person. We can't change that our children will face challenges in life but we can give them the skills so these challenges are never able to break them. We can build their resilience.
Resilience is being able to bounce back from stress, challenge, tragedy, trauma or adversity. When children are resilient, they are braver, more curious, more adaptable, and more able to extend their reach into the world. Resilience is something that can be nurtured in all of us and strengthened at any age.
Building children into healthy, thriving adults isn't about clearing adversity out of their way. A little bit of stress helps them to develop the skills they need to flourish. Research shows that in the context of a loving relationship with a caring adult, children have the opportunity to develop vital coping skills. This social support is associated with higher positive emotions, a sense of personal control and predictability, self-esteem, motivation, optimism, a resilience.
For eight months, I have been on countless Zoom calls. This is what I hear constantly from our community and civic leaders:
"Stay the course.
Don't let up.
This thing is real."
Here is how I contextualize those messages for our school ...
Resist the temptation to sign your child up for indoor sports.
Pause and think twice about unmasked get togethers, parties, and that multifamily cabin weekender.
Consider moving your tutoring sessions, coach's visits, piano teacher, etc. to virtual experiences.
This year marks the 3rd year of our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Initiative here at Levine Academy.
In 2018, we embarked on a journey to rollout new-to-campus K-8 aligned curriculum, developed at Rice University, focusing on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) has been collaborating with our Judaic Studies department and extended its partnership to encompass STEM offerings. Additional partnerships have contributed to our success: UTD, Frontiers of Flight, The Heard, the Perot Museum, and many others.
Here in the EC, our pre-kindergarteners can tell you that we have been at school for 50+ days. That's pretty impressive. In the face of a pandemic and dealing with social distancing and mask wearing, I'm thrilled that we are still open and welcoming our children and teachers back to school every day. We all talk about the "New Normal" and how challenging it is for us as adults to adapt. But here's the thing... for our littles, this IS their normal. For some of our really young children, this is all they know.
Now, here is the good news. YOUR CHILDREN ARE AND WILL BE FINE!
The upcoming election is generating a lot of discussion wherever you go, and here at Levine is no exception. We want our students to know that even when we disagree, we can still be kind, thoughtful, and respectful. With that in mind, the counseling team is being proactive and has adapted the 3rd-8th Grade curriculum to include topics such as how to communicate respectfully to each other, how to create a peaceful community when we have different points of view, and how to resolve conflicts with each other. We will also be talking about having what the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) refers to as a Brave Space. A Brave Space is, "a space where everyone feels that they can contribute, that they will be heard and they are willing to challenge and be challenged."
A healthy media diet balances activities (games, social media, TV), time, and choices (YouTube, Minecraft, Star Wars) with offline activities (sports, face-to-face conversations, daydreaming).
Many parents struggle with exactly what's ok for their children and families. Is a half-hour show okay but a full-length movie "bad"? How much gaming should you allow when your child also uses his computer for homework? And when does a passion for video games become problematic? The truth is, there is no magic formula. Just as every family differs in what they eat, when they eat, and what they like, a healthy media diet is different for every family. The key is making sure that the things that are important to your family are fairly balanced over the long term.
Every summer, the Levine teachers immerse themselves in a book study on a subject that is deemed important, based on current trends in education, or seen as a need within our school. This past summer we read All Learning is Social and Emotional by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher and Dominique Smith.
As we experience these Days of Awe in 5781, things feel unsettled -- we might say, to quote Hamlet, "Time is out of joint." When we approach the Day of Atonement next Monday and endure a day of fasting during this period of suffering that started six months ago, we might wonder, haven't we been through enough affliction this year?
As we embark on Rosh Hashanah, I want to focus on the amazing blessings that surround us as a Levine community family. March 13, 2020, we (and the world) began a tremendous journey -- I think we have all learned to focus more on our families and the remarkable blessings we have.
We are off to a great start here at Levine Academy in our Hebrew and Judaic Studies. One of the most exciting additions to this year's program is our 7th and 8th Grade Judaic Seminar. Our 7th and 8th Grade students were able to select one of four class options.
Welcome back!!! It feels amazing to be able to say that. The beginning of every school year has always been a time of excitement. Teachers are busy getting their classrooms ready, they are organizing new supplies, unwrapping new toys, and putting the finishing touches on their lesson plans for the new school year.
As we begin a new school year, we are delighted to welcome new families and new faculty to our Levine School Community. This will definitely be an unprecedented year, but we are all ready for the challenge, and together we will make it a great year for our students.
We are excited about the great things happening in STEM this year. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM is more than just a grouping of subject areas; it is a movement to develop the deep mathematical and scientific foundations students need to be competitive in the 21st-century workforce. It is estimated that 80% of the jobs created in the next decade will require some form of math and science skills. STEM develops a set of thinking, reasoning, collaborative teamwork, and creative skills that students can use in all areas of their lives. Our science teachers will be employing the Engineering Design Process and 5E+AI (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate +Acceleration and Intervention) instruction model. A big focus of our K-4 STEM program will be integrating STEM into the general studies curriculum. The STEM coordinator and general studies teachers are identifying areas of curriculum for integration this school year. All K-8 STEM teachers will be using the STEMscopes curriculum.
Conscious discipline vs. Punishment
Figuring out how to discipline our children can be one of the hardest parts of parenting. It is very easy to just react to what has happened without forethought or deliberation, but then later the question becomes, "Did I, as the adult, do the right thing?"
One of the most important mind shifts you can make as a parent is to be conscious and intentional in how you discipline your child instead of just being reactive. For me, the fundamental difference between conscious discipline and punishment is the outcome you want to achieve. Do you want the behavior to change? Or do you want retribution for the wrong behavior? If you just punish your child, it is likely that the behavior will occur again. If you want the behavior to change, you need the child to reflect on his/her actions, take personal responsibility, manage his/her emotions, and learn the missing skill.
As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says, "I believe faith is not certainty but the courage to live with uncertainty."
So much has changed on our campus in the past 5 months. Take our parking lot for instance: numbered gates, a longer carpool route with A LOT more traffic cones, a COVID-19 message on our marquee, temperature checking in the vehicle, and everyone wearing masks. Inside the school, we have teachers teaching and students learning. This Monday we welcomed our Early Childhood through First Grade students back to campus and things are going great.
Going great? Wait -- stop and back up for a second ...
Hi Levine community!
I am happy to be back with you, even virtually. I was thinking about what might be helpful for you all to hear as we begin the new school year. Like many of you, when school shut down this past March, I was hopeful that we would be back soon in the same way that we had left. I don't think at that point I could have wrapped my head around the idea that we would be beginning the new school year virtually as well, and when we are able to start in person, things will look very different than anything anyone could have imagined. Understandably, many of us are anxious and uncertain about what the future holds.
Levine 1st-8th Grade Librarian Maureen Reister partnered with a group of volunteers at The Legacy Willow Bend Retirement Community to provide protective face masks for their 400+ residents and staff. Five of her former Middle School Sewing Class students jumped at the opportunity to help.
Thank you Andrea A., Rachel M., Danielle L., Eliana C., and Addison M., for participating in this important and meaningful project, and also to Levine 6th-8th Grade Counselor Barbara Carr-Goodman for her assistance and encouragement.
Congratulations! You did it, I did it, we did it. We made it to the end of this very tough year! We did something that we had never done before. We had no blueprint, no warning label, no preparation, yet we survived and our children survived.
This past Tuesday, [CLICK HERE TO SEE/HEAR THE RECORDED WEBINAR] I had the opportunity to sit on a panel and listen to the wonderful advice of Dr. Deborah Gilboa, who calls herself "Dr. G". Dr. G spoke about parenting during uncertainty and social distancing. Her first question to the audience was, "25 years from now, how do you want to be able to describe your kids?" Most answers consisted of character traits. How we wanted our children to be, not what we wanted them to be. For example some answers were, "I want to be able to say he is a Mensch" or "I want my child to be a kind, caring adult, well adjusted, happy."
How do we answer our children’s questions in this difficult time?
Our children have many questions in this new and difficult time and we, as grownups, sometimes struggle with how to answer when the answers are unknown. So what do we do? Conscious Discipline has a guide to helping with these questions.
I recently read a post on FaceBook from a teacher that I really liked. In the post she tells parents not to stress about schoolwork. She says a teacher’s main goal is to get the children back on track. As parents our focus should be on our children's social/emotional well-being, without which the brain cannot learn. The teacher asks parents to share their calm, strength and laughter and reminds parents the child is exactly where they need to be. I loved this because it rings true for all of us in this very stressful situation.
As we get ready for Passover break, I can't help but think of the irony of celebrating a holiday that champions our freedom in a time when our freedom has been so curtailed by the coronavirus. We are all experiencing many losses, and we need to acknowledge them and even grieve for them. I have felt the stages of grief: denial, this is really happening; bargaining, if I can only make it to Passover break; sadness; anger; acceptance. And like any loss, this emotional cycle and can be experienced at any time.
I write a parent blurb for the EC Buzz every month, and this month, I was going to write about the conscious discipline skill of maintaining Composure. Conscious Discipline is an evidence based, trauma informed approach to social emotional learning. In this crazy time that we are all now living in, I think it is even more relevant and appropriate to talk about Composure.
Earlier this year the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) reached out to Head of School Tom Elieff to discuss an inspiring new program to empower and educate young women about technology, finance and the entrepreneurial mindsets.
What an exciting year for Ann & Nate Levine Academy's Athletic Department thus far!
While Levine Academy's science program has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards throughout its curriculum, we know that science success begins with our youngest students. We respond boldly to that challenge in our Science Discovery Center, where our Early Childhood students are getting a fantastic foundation in core concepts.
This is a transcript of the d’var torah delivered at Levine Academy’s Board Meeting on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 by two Levine Middle School students.
Avi- On behalf of both of us, I would like to thank the Board for all that they do and allowing us to come speak with you today.
The past few weeks we have been reading from Shemot, the second of five Books of the Torah. In these past weeks, we have seen Moshe grow from a newborn to an adult. This is a lot like the growth we are able to see in ourselves at Levine. We learned with Rabbi Litton and we searched for common themes between our growth process and Moshe’s.
Brenna- For instance, as a child Levine has protected me from the the bad in the world by outweighing it with the good. Moshe, in his early years was hidden by his mother and protected from the real world where he would have been killed. When he grew up, Moshe faced the real world with bravery ad courage, now that I am grown up, I am prepared to face the scary world of high school, with the same courage that Moshe has shown us.
The Middle School students' Toy Drive was a huge success this year! The initiative began with the coordination of our Levine MS Counselor Barbara Carr-Goodman, faculty, parents and students. Their mission was to live our values of Tzedakah; encouraging kindness and empathy for others in our community. This year’s toy drive benefited Family Gateway. Family Gateway is an organization in Dallas that provides housing, educational, and social services to families with children experiencing homelessness in Dallas County. They were incredibly appreciative of our efforts and welcome additional volunteerism in the future.
Each summer, our faculty reads a book and conducts a book study on a topic that we have identified as relevant to our work. Our reading this summer focused on learning more about how boys experience school, and how to teach so that they are successful academically, socially and emotionally. Gender plays a significant role in how children think, behave and learn. The Minds of Boys by Dr. Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens, is a practical approach to helping boys succeed in educational environments, extracurricular activities and daily life.
CONGRATULATIONS to Helene Berke our fabulous 7/8 STEM teacher. At the CAST Conference (Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching) in November, Helene was awarded the Innovations Award and a $5,000 grant by STAT (Science Teachers Association of Texas). She was one of four teachers in the state of Texas to receive this honor.
Friday, November 15, 2019
Today, we went on an exciting behind-the-scenes tour at NBC Studios! Afterwards, we went shopping and bought all kinds of souvenirs and merchandise. Ice skating at the Rockefeller Center was a fun experience as well! – Jenna F. and Lizzie N.
Sunday, November 11, 2019
To start off the outstanding trip we were warmly welcomed by the National Museum of American Jewish Military History. A former military pilot, Sheldon A. Goldberg discussed and shared his experience in combat. Some things he said truly stood out to us, the fact that he served for 30 years and is still here today to share his stories. As a class, we all participated in writing cards to injured military members and created bags with basic necessities for a normal life during their recovery. For lunch, Rabbi Litton brought in the best kosher pizza I have ever had. We also had the option to have fries, brownies, soda, and salad. After lunch we went to visit the Lincoln and Vietnam Memorials. It was meaningful to be surrounded by Veterans and fallen soldiers’ families. -Caroline W.
Do you ever get in the car at the end of a school day and ask your child, "What did you do at school today?" You will probably get the reply "I played today." This is a wonderful response! Play is an integral part of our academic curriculum in the Early Childhood. It ensures the cognitive and social emotional development of our students.
We are thrilled to report on our strong STEM-infused programming this year -- it's happening in science, in our new electives, throughout the curriculum, and for our robotics programs.
Dear Levine Families,
Last week, prior to Tuesday's Ribbon Cutting ceremony and Wednesday's Grand Opening, I had the privilege of attending a preview event at the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.
"The Museum is dedicated to teaching the history of the Holocaust and advancing Human rights to combat prejudice, hatred and indifference."
Dear Levine Community,
Welcome back Levine Academy families. It has been a wonderful start to the school year filled with laughter, excitement, and the forming of new lifelong friendships. We have an exciting year ahead of us!
Dear Levine Community,
As we embark on a new school year we are delighted to welcome new families and new faculty to our Levine School Community. We are excited and enthusiastic about the school year ahead and look forward to a great year of teaching and learning.
Dear Levine Community,
Greetings to all and a cheerful welcome to the 2019/2020 school year, plus a proud Mazel Tov to Schechter/Levine: This year we are celebrating 40 years since our founding!
There is a lot of history to celebrate -- from our remarkable beginnings at Shearith Israel, to a small schoolhouse on Starbuck Drive, and then to a sleepy corner campus at Hillcrest and Frankford which initially, in the 1980's, had just a few structures, including a private home and a church, as our places of teaching and learning. Amazingly, among our twelve original 8th Grade graduates in 1988, were our current teachers Jodi (Frysh) Norton and Colette (Jonas) Lipszyc; current parents Loren Jacobson and Michael Reiman; and Dan Lewin, son of our current teacher Beverley Lewin (now entering her 40th year of teaching at Schechter/Levine!).
Ann and Nate Levine Academy held its graduation ceremony last evening in Beit Aryeh. Head of School, Tom Elieff, officiated the event, which included a greeting from Neil Beckerman, on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. Principal Liz Lawlor introduced the graduates, and Levine Board President, Solomon Israel, accepted the Eighth Grade gift on behalf of the Levine community. Rabbi Ari Sunshine from Congregation Shearith Israel delivered the annual Me Dor L'Dor Recognition address, and Mr. E. followed with his Charge to the Graduates. School leaders and community Rabbis presented the diplomas, and Levine's Director of Jewish Life and Learning, Rabbi Jeremy Litton, led the audience in a closing song, Shir Lamaalot.
We know you join us in the pride we feel for what these young leaders accomplished in 2018-2019!
This year Student Congress raised over $6,400 for numerous charities and volunteered many hours giving back to others.
These young leaders volunteered their time to help sell and serve food at our Annual Parent Association Bazaar, distributed and helped with Spirit Wear sales, welcomed new families and returning friends; plus, advocated and produced (with the help of the P.A.) three new water fountains, and led the Yom Ha’Atzmaut parade.
In this week’s Torah portion Parshat Emor, we are at the moment in the midst of fulfilling one of the commands in this week’s Parsha - the counting of the Omer as the verse states:
“From the day after the Sabbath (the holiday of Shavuot), the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the L-RD”.
This week’s Torah portion Parshat Kedoshim begins with G‑d commanding the Jewish people to be kadosh (holy).
The obvious question is what is the meaning of the word holy? How can Shabbat be a holy day and a person is supposed to be holy?
Kindergarten through eighth grade students enjoy weekly art classes in a magnificent, spacious, and welcoming studio. As students pass through the door, they enter a world of endless possibility, unlimited variation, and joyful participation in learning. This is a place where confidence grows as students begin to envision new and exciting possibilities for themselves. The strategy of trial and error is applauded, mistakes and innovation are celebrated, and obstacles become opportunities.
As we head back to our new school life this week, we have an opportunity for a new start. Before break, it felt like we were thrown into a boat and told “row, this is your new reality.” This reality was true for parents, teachers, administrators and our kids. Public school had the benefit of spring break to get ready. We did not. And we survived. And our kids learned. Now we have some idea as to how to navigate “distance learning,” and Conscious Discipline offers some tips that may be helpful.
Every year, Levine Middle School students take experiential trips starting with Greene Family Camp in Fifth Grade to The Tour of Texas in Sixth to DC/NYC in Seventh and finally, Israel in Eighth.
In this week’s Torah portion Parshat Shemini, G‑d gives the Commandment of Kosher, explaining how to distinguish between kosher and non-kosher animals, fish, and birds.
Class of 2019: Final Days in Israel
Class of 2019: Week Two in Israel
Class of 2019: Week One in Israel
In early childhood at Levine Academy is instilling the morals of being a mensch. Along with our emphasis on social-emotional learning, academic innovation, and mindfulness, our youngest Levine students are learning the vital characteristics of the Levine Academy's core middot; Caring, Responsibility, Integrity, Respect, Holiness, Citizenship, and Justice. With the support of our teachers and families, we witness these important attributes in our students each day.
This week Levine Academy brought students to one of Dallas’ premier cultural institutions—the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The cultural field trip is part of a school-wide effort to raise musical awareness among the younger elementary students in order to develop their love of music, expose them to an array of musical styles, and possibly ignite their interest in learning to play an instrument.
This week Kindergarten launched its Writers Workshop curriculum. As beginning readers, they will learn to read books using pictures and/or words. As beginning writers, they will learn to tell stories through illustrations. Before the students can begin telling a story, they must brainstorm an idea.
Mrs. Burck's Second graders received new classroom furnishings, provided by NorvaNivel. The transformation has brightened the learning and enlivened their environment, and the students love it!
Exploration, curiosity, and intrigue can be heard and seen in our Levine Academy Pre-K hallway. Our Alphabet Museum/Letter of the Week literacy curriculum teaches letter recognition and enhances phonetic awareness. This curriculum is designed to teach various learning styles: visual/special, auditory/musical, verbal/linguistic and physical/kinesthetic learners.
On Friday morning we woke up super early to go to the NBC Studio Tour. We got to see The Late Night Show and SNL sets. This was super cool. We bought awesome souvenirs at the NBC gift shop. After this amazing experience we went to the grand re-opening of FAO Schwartz at Rockefeller Center. All of us were interviewed by various news reporters. Click HERE to see the news clip!
After waking up early in the morning we got to the airport and got on our plane. After a fun flight, and meeting new people, we made it to DC. When we arrived in DC we hopped on our bus and headed to Great Falls Park for a delicious picnic lunch and some sports. We had an amazing hike, with beautiful views. Then we went to the hotel, got situated and unpacked. We went for a fun dinner and finally saw the White House! -Brenna & Andrea
As teachers, we have listened to parents' concerns and frustrations about how their children are learning math these days. Parents want to help their children but are "baffled" by the material. They talk about their own math instruction and how they fluently and efficiently solved math problems using "procedural knowledge"-a set of steps, actions or procedures.
The wettest fall on record couldn't stop 24 fifth-graders and their six chaperones from embarking on an unforgettable 300-mile adventure from Dallas to Bruceville to participate in confidence building and group challenges that would help create a learning community in the classroom. After stopping briefly for morning tefillot (prayers) at a roadside rest stop, we arrived at Greene Family Camp to head straight to the camps ropes course high elements. Each student challenged themselves with these activities.
Wednesday, October 17th
Last night we went our separate ways joining family for dinner, exploring the food options in Tel Aviv with new friends from the Schultz Fellows group and attending a Hapoel Jerusalem Basketball game (I will leave it to you to guess who did which activity). This morning we reunited and drove to Ariel Sharon Park, which prior to 1998 was where 24 municipalities dumped their trash. The park is just outside of Tel Aviv and was supported by Sharon when he was Prime Minister of Israel. The park is elevated with breath taking views, and has plans to extend.
Each week the Levine Academy ECC 2's, 3's, and Pre-K classes are greeted with a sense of wonder by our Science and Discovery Specialist, Stephanie Barta. By introducing science as a regular part of our students' sked, it reinforces the current research and knowledge on childhood brain development and life-long learning patterns. A good, active science program helps children "play" with important ideas. Finding their voices, their points-of-view, children discover that asking questions is fundamental to problem-solving. It is astonishing to see how creative and deep our ECC children's critical thinking is. It is important to stress to these young learners that there is often more than one right answer to a question. It is also important to provide as much individual, hands-on, opportunity for exploration.
Friday, October 12, 2018
What an eye opening day we had in preparation for Shabbat. This morning's focus was diverse narratives and we heard a few different stories as we continue to sort through the journey of our Israel Experience. We spent some time hearing about diverse personal narratives. At our first stop we spent time with some members of a program called ‘Shorashim’ (Roots) (https://www.friendsofroots.net/) next to the Gush Etzion Junction.
We are so grateful to be part of the Schultz Family Israel Educational Leadership Fellowship made possible by the Schultz Family Foundation and the Center for Jewish Education of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas we traveled to Israel Monday afternoon for a 10 day trip and are thrilled to share some of our adventures with you.
Every year, Levine Middle School students take experiential trips starting with Greene Family Camp in Fifth Grade to The Tour of Texas in Sixth to DC/NYC in Seventh and finally, Israel in Eighth.
Students in Mr. Itskovich's (Mr. I's) math class have been experiencing a transformation. In fact, we could call it a new theorem: planes and geometric figures of bright colorful objects allow for greater focus and energy.
On Wednesday morning this week, Levine Academy students were able to witness and participate in Anshai Torah's Project 613, the writing of a Torah Scroll in honor of Wende Weinberg of blessed memory. Rabbi Zerach Greenfield, the Sofer (Scribe) who arrived from Israel just the day before, spoke to the K8 student body in Beit Aryeh and conducted a question and answer session with the students on the many fascinating laws surrounding the correct way to write the Torah.
Class of 2018: Third and Final Week in Israel
Class of 2018: Week Two in Israel
Class of 2018: Week One in Israel
Progressing Toward: The Brain-Compatible Classroom
Going Deeper with Reading and Writing-the New Normal at Levine
Levine's Math Program: Challenge for All: On-Level, Above Average, Advanced
Early literacy studies have undergone a profound transformation in recent years. Not long ago, early literacy was largely neglected. The assumption was that literacy learning begins around first grade, not before. Reading instruction was ignored during early childhood years. Academic skills used to be postponed until a child's natural maturation unfolds.
From the Tree of our Dreams to a spectacular Fifth Grade Tu B'Shvat Celebration at last Friday's Kehilla Kedosha Service, Levine was aflutter this past week with all things related to trees: tree sculptures, mosaics, mixed media, discovery stations, poetry, journaling, and much more.
Curricular Foundation in our PreK Program
Last Wednesday, our Eighth Graders joined Akiba Academy for a joint presentation from Sharsheret, a national non-profit organization that supports young Jewish women and their families in the face of breast cancer.
Last week, the Fifth Grade embarked on a two-day experience to Greene Family Camp to participate in confidence building and group challenges that helped create a close and cooperative learning community between students.
Last night we held our first Curriculum Night for this school year. The focus of this curriculum night was data and how we at Levine Academy are using data to drive instruction in our classrooms on a daily basis. Data Driven Instruction is a methodical approach to improving student learning throughout the year. The sequence of data-driven instruction includes data collection, data analysis, and action and is a key framework for school-wide support of all student success. Data analysis provides a snapshot of what students know, what they should know, and what can be done to meet their academic needs. With appropriate collection, analysis and interpretation of data, educators can make well informed decisions that positively affect student achievement.
At Levine, raising the level of student success is always uppermost on our minds.
How does Levine challenge its students in mathematics and prepare them for high school? This week we sat down with our Seventh and Eighth Grade Math teacher, Ms. Regie Neff, to discuss how she tries to encourage all her students to excel in the math arena. She strives to instill success wherever students are in their learning process.