February 8, 2018
23 Shevat 5778

Parashah Mishpatim

   Shabbat Candle Lighting 5:49 p.m.

Jennifer LeVine
Principal, K-8

This week's parsha, Mishpatim, focuses on laws and an additional 53 mitzvot (good deeds) addressed in the Torah. At Akiba, performing mitzvot is at the core of our mission: "As a Modern Orthodox school, Akiba Academy develops ethical and responsible members of the Jewish people and American society, knowledgeable about and committed to their Jewish heritage and the State of Israel."
Each month, lower school students are recognized for their dedication to performing specific mitzvot as part of our Mitzvah of the Month program. Throughout the school year, a different mitzvah and middah (value) is selected as the theme for the month, such as teshuvah (repentance), gemilut chesed (kindness), and tzedakah (charity). Students learn about it at morning and afternoon assemblies, it is integrated into their Judaic and general learning, and students are reminded of the mitzvah in the hallways and on the field. Most recently, students were acknowledged for the mitzvah of hachnassas orchim (welcoming guests). Next week, before Rosh Chodesh Adar, students will be recognized for their commitment to tefillah (prayer).
What better way to celebrate the mitzvah of prayer than by receiving your own siddur? Last week, our 1st grade students made our whole Akiba community proud as they received their very first siddur. The students have been so excited using it each morning when they come to school, as they know it is something that will stay with them forever - I know some of you still have your siddur from 1st grade!
Please join us next week, Feb. 13 at 9 a.m., in Pollman Hall as our 2nd grade students receive their very first Chumash (the first five books of the Torah), another momentous occasion in the commitment to our Jewish heritage and the study of Torah.

mazal tov 

Mazal tov to the entire Eber family on the celebration of Adam's bar mitzvah. 

Mazal tov to Reid and Aliza Stein and big sister Kira and big brother Eli on the birth of a baby girl. 



This week, students in grades 1, 3, 5 and 7 are taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), a nationally standardized achievement test for K-12 students that measures a student's progress in the areas of language arts and mathematics. So proud of these hard-working students!



Go Cougars! Wishing 5th/6th and 7/8th grade boys and girls basketball teams luck as they head into   playoffs next week. 

Got pics of our talented student athletes? Submit them to the Kol Akiba.  



As part of the Jewish New Teachers Project,  Orly Fass  and Dorit Schonbrunn (both pedagogical coordinators) bring tools, tricks and tips to Akiba that benefit our faculty and students.

Schonbrunn recently used a tool called "selective scripting" which acts as an objective, written "recording" of her interactions with students. Teachers find the process of reviewing this document together enlightening, giving them insight into their own teaching practices.

Fass, on the other hand, recently worked with new teacher Alejandra Guzman on concepts from a book called "Differentiation and the Brain," by Carol Ann Tomlinson and David Sousa. They are working on methods of differentiating the math curriculum so each of our students is appropriately challenged. 



In Mr. U's class, 1st graders derived the rhythm of a song, and wrote the rhythm independently on white boards. 

Students who actively engage with music and musical instruments have increased neural processing, according to a study by Northwestern University. 

"Our results support the importance of active experience and meaningful engagement with sound to stimulate changes in the brain," said Nina Kraus, director of Northwestern's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory.


Our b'not sherut worked on building Hebrew language skills in our students through a game about the changing seasons. At Akiba, students work on reading, writing and speaking Hebrew in ways that make acquiring a second language engaging.

Children who learn a second language can maintain attention despite outside stimuli better than children who know only one language, according to research from the Cornell University Language Acquisition Lab. That ability is  responsible for cognitive processes to achieve goals in the face of distraction and plays a key role in academic success, researchers at Cornell showed.



This is the hands-on learning approach our Chaverim (pre-K) students engage in to build literacy and mathematics skills.

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