January 26, 2018 - 10 Shevat 5778 - Beshalach
ES Highlights
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Pinat HaParasha
Report Cards
Faculty Meeting
Tu B'Shevat
Football Dress-Up
Welcoming Ms. Muschinske
Family Learning
Second Grade Principals' Coffee
Next Principals' Coffees
Geography Bee
STEM Update
Understanding Our Differences
Bracha Bee
Winter Concert
Screen Time
Cold Weather Reminder
Lost and Found
Social Time!
ECC/MS/US Newsletters
ES Calendar
Tuesday, Jan. 30
3:00 p.m. Dismissal
Wednesday, Jan. 31
Grade 3 Principals' Coffee 8:00-8:45 a.m. 

Friday, Feb. 2
2nd Grade Chagigat HaChumash
Wednesday, Feb. 7
Grade 4 Principals' Coffee 8:00-8:45 a.m. 

Sunday, Feb. 11
Family Learning

Tuesday, Feb. 13
3:00 p.m. Dismissal

Wednesday, Feb. 14
Grade 5 Principals' Coffee 8:00-8:45 a.m. 

Monday, Feb. 19- 
Friday, Feb. 23
February Vacation, 
No School

As always, please see the Kol Rambam Weekly for the all-school calendar, events and PTA notes.
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Dear Parents,

We had a great week at school!
Please read on for the latest Elementary School news and information about upcoming events. 
D'var Torah
by Rabbi David Saltzman
וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־הַיָּד הַגְּדֹלָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה ה' בְּמִצְרַיִם וַיִּירְאוּ הָעָם אֶת־ה' וַיַּאֲמִינוּ בַּה' וּבְמֹשֶׁה עַבְדּוֹ׃ אָז יָשִׁיר־מֹשֶׁה וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת...
And Israel saw the great hand which the Lord had used upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in Moses, His servant. Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord...

Immediately after the events in this week's parsha, the Jewish people sang the renowned and illustrious song called אז ישיר . What is it about these events which led to this sudden outburst of song and celebration? What happened now, rather than previously, which caused Bnei Yisrael to sing so spontaneously?

There is a progression of events listed in the pasuk which holds the secret to the answer.
וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת הַיָּד הַגְּדֹלָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה ה' בְּמִצְרַיִם
First Bnei Yisrael saw the great hand of G-d. They witnessed the greatest and most wondrous of miracles to date - the splitting of the Reed Sea.
וַיִּירְאוּ הָעָם אֶת ה'
When they perceived the magnitude of G-d's power, they feared Him. The Ohr HaChayim explains that this was not a fear of punishment or retribution. Rather, it was a fear born of being in awe of the overwhelming power that Hashem possesses, and the realization of one's own weakness. Because of these miracles, the Jewish people became aware of G-d's ultimate control of the world, His involvement in humanity, and His deep love for the Jewish people. They then feared G-d's tremendous strength and their own dependence on His mercy.
וַיַּאֲמִינוּ בּה' וּבְמשֶׁה עַבְדּוֹ
The definition of belief is when one comes to the realization that G-d directs all aspects of the world and is involved in each person's individual destiny. It is the logical outcome of being in awe of G-d's power. Therefore, it follows that after they were in awe, they then had an unadulterated belief in G-d.
אָז יָשִׁיר
A natural consequence of such deep belief is singing G-d's praises for all events which transpire in our lives. Once we recognize that everything that occurs is part of G-d's plan, we can't do anything but sing and thank Hashem for the experience. This is what happened to Bnei Yisrael at the Yam Suf. They spontaneously sang the praises of G-d as a natural reaction to the profound belief which took root in their hearts.
Over the last few weeks we have been learning about berachot. A beracha is our way of singing G-d's praises before we partake in an (eating) experience. When we say a beracha we are declaring our belief that everything that happened to this food - the farmer planting a seed, the rain, the growing, the harvesting, and the entire process - G-d made happen so I can eat and enjoy. A beracha is like a spontaneous song of gratitude to G-d, acknowledging His total control over the world and His caring for each individual.

Over the next few weeks we will continue to learn about berachot recited over food, which will culminate in a Berachot Bee for grades 2-3 and grades 4-5. We hope to develop a better understanding of berachot and to show more hakarat hatov to Hashem, who performs these miracles for us every day.
Click here to save or print the D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
by Rabbi Dov Huff 
We often think about the Midrash which details Nachshon's leap of faith into the Yam Suf, when everyone else was hesitant, as a symptom of the general lack of initiative on the part of Bnei Yisrael throughout the process of Yetziyat Mitzrayim. We think of their passivity as a sign of their inability to escape the slavery mindset which they had acquired over the course of their centuries of servitude.
The Rav has a different view on this. He says that the passive nature of the Jews during Yetziyat Mitzrayim was intentional. The message here was that the Jews had no hand in their own salvation. It was entirely executed by G-d and G-d alone. The Jews and the Egyptians were both spectators in events which would prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Hashem was the one true G-d.
From this perspective, we understand both the command at makat bechorot - "none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning" - and the one at kriyat Yam Suf - "Hashem will fight for you and you will remain silent." The message was not that they could not, but that they should not, act. All of this was in the spirit of "Ani Hu velo acher."
Pinat HaParasha
Please click here  to view the  Pinat  HaParasha for Parshat Beshalach. You are encouraged to print the document and use it as a source for discussion at the Shabbat table.
Report Cards Online Sunday Morning

Report cards for the first semester will be available online as of Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. Please login to My BackPack to access the report cards.

If you need assistance with your login or password, please email TechHelp@maimonides.org, or call them next week at 617-232-4452 x 421.

Faculty Meeting on Tuesday, 3:00 p.m. Dismissal

There will be a 3:00 p.m. dismissal for the Early Childhood Center and Elementary School on Tuesday, January 30th due to a faculty meeting. 

Grades K - 2  normally dismiss at 3:00 p.m. so there is no change to their schedule. 

For children in grades 3 - 5, please fill out a form to let us know if you will be picking up your child(ren) at 3:00 p.m. or if they will be staying at school (for bus recess, an after-school activity, or Mates) or taking the bus.  We need to hear from everyone, so please read below carefully and complete a form for each child by Monday, January 29th.  
  • The weekly Tuesday after-school groups will meet at their usual times, from 3:00 until 3:50 and 3:55 until 4:50.
  • The buses to Sharon will leave at 3:45. 
  • There will be Bus Recess until 3:45 for students who will be taking the bus, attending Mates, or whose parents are unable to pick them up until 3:45.
  • Mates at 3:45 is only available for those who are already signed up. 
Please contact the Elementary School office (617) 232-4452 x 300 (lfreeman@maimonides.org) if you have any questions or other pick-up details.
Wear Brown or Green for Tu B'Shevat
Next Wednesday is Tu B'Shevat! Students are asked to wear a brown or green shirt in honor of the day. This request is completely optional. 


Football Dress-Up Day

Again this year, next Friday, February 2, your children may leave the collared shirts at home and dress up in their favorite Patriots gear in preparation for Super Bowl 52. Jerseys, tee shirts, and hats (not shorts) will be permitted at school all day Friday to demonstrate support for the Pats.

If you are fans of another football team and would like to dress to show support for your team that will be watching the Super Bowl (unless you are wearing something from Philadelphia, like Ms. Benjamin), feel free to do so.

If/when the Pats make a comeback in the 4th quarter and win, students may wear their gear again on Monday, February 5 in order to celebrate. Good luck to the Patriots!

Welcoming Ms. Muschinske
We wish a mazal tov to Shifra Gerber, Elementary School Mathematics Support Specialist, and her husband Elliot on the birth of their son last Saturday night.

During her maternity leave, Shifra is being temporarily replaced by Victoria Muschinske. Victoria, who has recently relocated to the Boston area, received her Bachelors degree in psychology and her M.Ed. in special and elementary education from Rutgers University.  She has served as a teacher of students with disabilities at several elementary schools in New Jersey, where she developed and implemented individualized lessons in a variety of subjects, including mathematics. One of Vicky's strengths is her ability to work collaboratively with classroom teachers to create appropriate instruction to individual students with learning challenges, based on the general classroom curriculum.

Ms. Muschinske has already begun working with students this past week and has been able to transition smoothly into her new role.

Family Learning
On Sunday we had a nice showing of 2nd-5th graders who learned with their families about Tu BeShevat. Families learned about showing  hakarat hatov for all the benefits and enjoyment that we receive from trees. We also looked at the numerous times that trees are mentioned in the Chumash and their significance to the story. Participants also learned about the berachot said on smells from trees (fruit, leaves, spices etc.) and had the opportunity to make those berachot
We concluded with a Tree or False game on Kahoot and we voted for the PaTREEots to win against the Jaguars. We were correct!
The next Family Learning will be on  Sunday, February 10th, and the topic will be the mitzvot of Purim. See you then!  

Second Grade Principals' Coffee
Our second grade Principals' Coffee took place this past Wednesday morning with a large group of parents in attendance.  The principals were joined by Katie Hillman, Elementary School social worker, and both second grade lead teachers, Debbie Bassi and Raphaelle Brody.
Katie started the meeting by describing the social/emotional curriculum that we are using in Grade 2, which is based on Open Circle - a social and emotional learning program for grades K-5 aimed at developing skills for recognizing and managing emotions, empathy, positive relationships, and problem-solving, as well as developing a classroom community where students feel safe, cared for, and engaged in learning. Alison Brooks, Grade 2 Assistant, was trained in the program this summer and has been leading Open Circle lessons with the students each week.
The following are the grade 2 Units that are being covered this year:
  • Unit 1: Beginning together - lessons focus on the beginning-of-the-year community-building, rules of open circle, rules of the classroom, and non-verbal signals for the classroom
  • Unit 2: Managing ourselves - lessons focus on listening and calming skills, recognizing emotions and naming them, strategies for positive self-talk, and getting calm when upset 
  • Unit 3: Strengthening relationships - lessons focus on inclusion, compliments, cooperating, speaking up, and how to effectively share angry feelings
  • Unit 4: How to sort problems - knowing the difference between dangerous and destructive behaviors versus annoying behaviors, and how to handle teasing
  • Unit 5: Problem-solving - goes through the steps needed in order to solve a problem, calming down and identifying the problem and a goal, brainstorming solutions, trying out a solution, and evaluating if it worked
There are also 27 supplemental lessons that are optional.  These include topics such as making mistakes, friendship, creative thinking, talking to someone that can help, celebrating our strengths, and saying goodbye.  
We had a very open and collaborative conversation with parents, administrators, and teachers about the social and behavioral characteristics of our second grade class, and the strategies that have been utilized to maximize good interpersonal relationships and a positive classroom climate.  
In both Limudei Kodesh and General Studies, positive incentive programs are used which are effective the majority of the time. Parents are interested in reinforcing good school behavior at home.  They can do so by checking their child's Class Dojo points for General Studies and the colored behavior chart for Limudei Kodesh on a regular basis, complimenting their child when he/she does well, and setting up a reward system of their own if they wish. 

Next Round of Principals' Coffees
The next Principals' Coffee will be for Third Grade parents, and will take place  Wednesday, January 31, from 8:00-8:45 a.m. in the library on the third floor. Principals' coffees are taking place for parents of students at each grade level on mornings in January and February. The coffees are an opportunity for parents to talk with the principals, ask questions, give input, and learn more about different aspects of Maimonides students' life and learning at a particular grade level.

Come and meet other families from your child's class and ask the principals questions about the class, curriculum, or anything else!
Upcoming coffees:
4th grade - Wednesday, February 7
5th grade - Wednesday, February 14
Geography Bee
Before vacation more than 40 hopeful participants entered the first round of the annual Maimonides 4th - 8th Grade National Geographic  Geography Bee. Mr. Sam Tarlin, Master of Geographic Ceremonies, wrote 25 questions based on the questions provided by National Geographic. These questions were entered into Socrative and students used Chromebooks to answer true/false and multiple-choice questions.

The nine contestants with the highest score moved on to the second round, which took place this past Tuesday. The Elementary School was represented by 4th grader Akiva Huff and 5th graders Joseph Mandel and Jacob Epshteyn. Akiva made it to 4th place overall and is the Elementary School champion. 8th grader Avery Weinberg won the entire Bee and qualifies for the possibility to participate in the National Geography Bee.

Congratulations to all the contestants, and many thanks to Mr. Tarlin for all of his efforts.

STEM Update
About a month ago, as part of our new STEM initiative, the students in 3rd grade worked on their interpretations of the story of the three visitors who visit Avraham. They used ScratchJr to code their interpretations.  Check out the video we made to highlight all the great work they did.

Understanding Our Differences
On Tuesday, the 5th  grade learned about people with intellectual disabilities as part of our Understanding Our Differences program. First, we watched a video about the lives of children who are living with disabilities. Then we were split into three groups. We made posters with catchy slogans about not using the "R word," and not judging others by their appearances. Then we learned about people from pictures and connected the pictures to our own lives. Next we chose four cards with words that describe us, and then chose a fifth card with something that we want to work on or change about ourselves. Our neighbor chose a random word, and that was the card you were left with. Then, we were asked how we would feel about being labeled by this word. Finally, our guest speaker Esther told us about her life living with a disability.

In conclusion, we learned that everyone is different, and not to judge people by how they look. We are appreciative that we had this program.

Bracha Bee
This year we have been concentrating on learning how to show הכרת הטוב to Hashem. One way of showing hakarat hatov is through reciting ברכות. In keeping with that theme, we will have a school-wide Bracha Bee for grades 2-3 and 4-5.
Students in grades 2 - 5 are now learning about brachot. Students will continue to learn about this important topic from now until February vacation.
Students received lists of brachot to study, which will also be reviewed in class. Students should study the lists at home through Monday, January 29 . Click on the links below to download the packets:
The qualifying round will be on Monday, February 5, when all students will answer questions about ברכות on a Google form containing about 30 - 40 items and will need to identify the appropriate ברכה. There will also be some questions where they will need to fill in the missing words of ברכות. The top five scorers from each grade will move on to the school-wide Bracha Bee, which will take place before February vacation.
Here are some studying tips for the students:
1. Pace yourself over the next few weeks. Study two pages a week.
2. Have someone test you on the appropriate brachot for different foods.
3. Say the ברכות out loud to learn them by heart. Learn the meaning of the ברכות.
Good luck studying, and remember to say your ברכות before and after eating!
Winter Concert
The Maimonides music department presented their annual winter program this past Wednesday in the Brener Gym.  Groups included in the performance were the Middle School band, who performed the song "Seven Nation Army"; the second and third grade chorus, who performed "Can't Stop the Feeling"; and the forth and fifth grade chorus, who performed "One Call Away" and "Thunder," which included accompaniment by students on the drums.  The show closed out with a performance by the Elementary School band, who performed "Fanfare Heroica" and "Midnight Mission."  
Mr. Malkin sends a huge kol hakavod to the students on a job well done, and looks forward to seeing everyone at the spring concert on Wednesday, May 23rd!

Screen Time for Students
We know that many parents try to limit screen time for their children and would like better guidelines or alternative means for students to practice their skills.  
We have compiled the chart below with our recommendations and requirements for each grade. If your child does not do well with these programs and you would like alternative ways for them to work on their skills, please let the teachers know and they will be glad to make other suggestions and/or supply other materials.

Reflex Math
KeyboardingWithout Tears
or Typing Club
Ariot Cal or iTalAm
Dah Ber
20 minutes a week; possibly more for specific students.
2x week
15 Minutes
Recommended 15 minutes a week;
possibly more for specific students
Recommended 15 minutes a week
1 x week
15 minutes or more
Recommended 2x week
10-15 minutes;
possibly more for specific students
2x week
10-15 minutes
As assigned by teacher
Recommended for specific students
Required 3x week
15 minutes
between school & home
Required 2x week
15 minutes
 As assigned by teacher
Optional & Occasional
Recommended for specific students
3x week
15 minutes until completed  
Typing Club: Optional up to
3x week 15 minutes
As assigned by Teacher
Recommended for specific students
3-4x week
15-20 minutes until completed
As assigned by Teacher

Important Cold Weather Reminder
Although the cold New England winter weather has arrived, we continue to enjoy outdoor recess unless the temperature is below 20 degrees. Students should be reminded that they must bring warm winter coats, hats (or hoods), and gloves to school each day. They are required to bring these out to recess with them, but may take off layers as they warm up when playing outdoor recess games. When there is snow on the ground, students need to wear boots in order to walk on snowy areas and snow pants if they want to play in the snow. Students will not be permitted to stay indoors during recess.

Lost and Found - השבת אבידה
We are in the process of collecting items that have been sitting in the Lost and Found collection for several weeks and will be donating them shortly.  Please take a look at the photos below to see if anything looks familiar and retrieve it.  

We request again that you put your child's names on their items so that we can easily return them when found.  Most jackets and coats come with sewn-in labels which only require a marker to write your child's name.
Social Time!
There's so much going on here at Maimo! Be sure to check out our social media to get the inside scoop (with lots of great photos) on happenings at school.  
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram

See What's Happening in the Other Divisions
Lots of wonderful things are happening at Maimonides School!

If you'd like to take a peek at what's happening in the other divisions, click to visit the Early Childhood Center, Middle School, or Upper School newsletter pages.

If you would like to contact a specific school office, please use these emails:

!שבת שלום
Rabbi, Reena, and the Maimonides ES Faculty