Several teams representing Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston achieved Highest Honors in the recent WordMasters Challenge™—a national vocabulary competition involving nearly 150,000 students annually. The eighth grade team scored an impressive 188 points out of a possible 200 in the second of three meets this year, placing first in the nation. In addition, the sixth grade team (184 points) and the seventh grade team (189 points) each finished in fifth place nationwide.
Competing in the difficult Blue Division of the WordMasters Challenge™, sixth grader Jonah Nathanson, seventh graders Yael Fraiman, Jacob Joseph and Sabrina Strapp, and eighth graders Yael Margolis and Jacob Zalis each earned a perfect score of 20 on the challenge. Nationally, only 20 sixth graders, 31 seventh graders and 17 eighth graders achieved this result. Other students from Solomon Schecter Day School of Greater Boston who achieved outstanding results in the meet include sixth graders Lily Commander, Eitan Leshem and Eli Schwartz, seventh graders Shira Levy, Alex Lincoln and Eli Williams, and eighth graders Miles Leitner, Eli Rabson, Jessica Weinfeld and Kayla Weissman. The students were coached in preparation for the WordMasters Challenge™ by Lauren Hollop, Rachel Katz and Pat Rigley.
The WordMasters Challenge™ is an exercise in critical thinking that first encourages students to become familiar with a set of interesting new words (considerably harder than grade level), and then challenges them to use those words to complete analogies expressing various kinds of logical relationships. Working to solve the analogies helps students learn to think both analytically and metaphorically. Although most vocabulary enrichment and analogy-solving programs are designed for use by high school students, WordMasters Challenge™ materials have been specifically created for younger students in grades three through eight. They are particularly well suited for children who are motivated by the challenge of learning new words and enjoy the logical puzzles posed by analogies.
The WordMasters Challenge™ program is administered by a company based in Indianapolis, Indiana, which is dedicated to inspiring high achievement in American schools. Further information is available at the company’s website: http://www.wordmasterschallenge.com.
Our Grade 7 Spanish class learned about el Día de los muertos (Day of the Dead), a multi-day Mexican holiday that focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. As part of the lesson, they enjoyed el pan de muertos and Mexican hot chocolate!
Following the tragic events at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, Upper School students, faculty and parents wrote prayers currently on display in the Upper School front forum.
Fourth grade students are learning about data collection, graphing and data analysis and invited fifth-graders to participate in range of activities, such as jumping on one foot, hula-hooping and drinking water as part of this unit.
Submitted by Rabbi Rebecca Weinstein:
What is social inequity? How do we understand this concept? In our 6th grade Tanakh class, students played a modified version of Monopoly where players had an unequal distribution of wealth and privileges in order to simulate social inequity and better understand the concept. Some players started with twice as much money, while other players only started with half as much, some players went directly to jail if they rolled higher than a seven, other players got to move twice the amount they rolled! Following the game, we talked about how our experience playing Monopoly this way connected to social inequity and how we felt while playing the game. During our debrief, I brought up comments I heard students saying while playing the game such as, “Here let me donate some of my money to you. This is not fair!” to reflect on. By drawing upon their experiences playing Monopoly, students were better able to answer the questions: What is social inequity, how do we understand this concept, and begin to answer, how does our tradition require us to respond?
Ali Shwartz (Lower School Director of Support Services/School Psychologist) and Tally Gershfield (Counseling Intern) revealed the Lower School’s new Buddy Bench to Lower School students. The Buddy Bench is a place where students can sit to signal to others that they need a friend to play with during recess. Students are encouraged to pay attention to the buddy bench during recess. If someone is sitting on the bench, students know to approach them with an invitation to play. Special thank you to Steve Lechner (Lower Division Science) for building the buddy bench from scratch and our new students for lending their “hands” for the decorations!
Thank you to members of the Class of 2018 (currently in 9th grade) who last year designed and created beautiful new doors (including 3D leaves!) for the aron (ark) in our Beit Tefilah. The doors were installed this fall and are accompanied by a plaque with the signatures of the participating students. Middle School students gathered to recite a bracha (blessing) to acknowledge the significance of this moment. This project was part of a chug (elective) led by Head of School Rebecca Lurie in partnership with Ben Greenberg of the Ark Builders group through Temple Israel in Natick.
Students explored the concepts of kinetic and potential energy in their most recent lab on roller coasters!