Three-year-old Finn joins the Purple Room's Online class


Akiba Atmosphere Launches!

I wrote the other week about needing Shabbat more than ever, and this week I need it even more. This has been a challenging week for so many of us. I know the idea of relaxing seems  foreign  and, yet, I hope and pray all of us find a moment this Shabbat and weekend to count the blessings from this unusual week.

For me, many of the blessings I will be counting will be the Akiba teachers and staff. We have been overwhelmed by positive feedback on our efforts to make sure our students are connected and still learning. Thank you! I am generally impressed, as I know you are, with the Akiba educators. However, if you could have seen what I saw in the days leading up to the closure, through the launch of Akiba Atmosphere and the work that has gone into the learning this week, you would likely find yourself in tears of awe like I have had more than once. 

Thank you, Akiba teachers and staff! Thank you, parents for your support as we remain dedicated to continuing to make this work for your children and you as parents. Thank you, students, who have shown up every day, ready and willing to learn and grow. 

Thank you, Akiba-Schechter!

Some important updates: 

School Will Be Closed Through April 20:  As you may have heard yesterday, unfortunately the mandated closure for all schools will be through April 20, with classes hopefully resuming on the 21st. For us, this currently means we will have school remotely one more week than the original mandate and then have Passover break. We hope and pray this is the last extension of the closure. 

Updates to the Akiba Atmosphere Site:

New Corona Chesed Page (Under Support menu):  We have added a form for anyone who needs some assistance and for anyone who is able to provide some assistance. Please click here to use the form.  

New Parsha Page (under Non-Live Classes menu):  We have added a new Parsha page for the weekly Torah Portion. This week it is a video that links to a story for Kindergarten, a Parsha project for the grade school and a D'Var Torah podcast from me. Click here to access .

There are also some new resources and more coming to the Family Resources page, including a new fitness section! Thank you to Amanda Lorenz for sending them our way. Please click here to access.

Please enjoy this Kibitzer, which is unlike any in the history of Akiba. However, while learning is happening remotely, one thing remains true: We teach children, not subjects and will continue to be led by our values while school is in the Akiba Atmosphere. 
Shabbat Shalom!
Dr. Eliezer Jones
Head of School  
From the Preschool
The Blue Room went online!
Showing Up and Presenting Our Best Selves
by Carla Goldberg, Early Education Director
It's hard to believe that on March 9th we were dressed in costumes and celebrating Purim and now we have the new reality of practicing social distancing while fighting this virus and social isolation. It's unbelievable how quickly things have changed, and how quickly we have had to create a platform for online learning for our children. 

I am so proud of what Akiba has accomplished in such a short time, and so grateful to our teachers for working tirelessly to figure out what this can look like for our students. This is unchartered territory for all of us. We are learning with our students and families about what is working, what needs to be changed and what is possible. I am also grateful for all of the positive feedback that we have received from parents and students, and how appreciative everyone has been of our joint efforts.  

I would like to share with you some wonderful moments that I have seen happening on our Zoom sessions in the preschool and Kindergarten.  

On our orientation day the Kindergarten sang the "Mode Ani" prayer together, expressing how thankful they were for waking up, being healthy and having a joyous day. It literally brought tears to my eyes when I saw all of the children singing together. 

There was the moment when a child who just turned four gave the whole classroom a tutorial on how to use the space bar to unmute and then mute yourself again. When I shared this with his mother, she said, " Give that little guy some responsibility and autonomy, and he'll show up."  

I have definitely seen this over and over again: children showing up and bringing their best selves to these Zoom sessions. I am amazed to see them raising hands and waiting to participate, staying engaged and waiting for their turn, greeting each other with tremendous enthusiasm every time they start a new session. 

There have been tears too, when children expressed frustration about not liking this new way of school, but even that has changed in just the mere two days that we have been online together. On Thursday we did a parent/tot session and I had no idea what to expect. The first child who entered the Zoom session just looked and looked at me, and then pointed to the screen and broke out into a huge smile.  We had made a connection, he was socializing and he knew who I was and that I was happy to see him.  

Throughout this time that we spend together while we are physically separated, we must hold onto these moments when we know we are all making a difference in keeping our community and the world healthy while creating opportunities for our children to not feel alone.  

With best wishes for everyone to stay healthy and happy, Shabbat Shalom!
Let's Not Forget: We Had a Fun Purim Last Week!   
Purim in the Kindergarten
The Green Room kids shake their greggors.
Ms. Corona stalked our hallways!
Teachers had some fun, too!
Akiba Atmosphere - We've Taken School Online!     
Here's what online school looks like at the home of the Allenders for second grader Coco and Blue Room preschooler Martin.
Parents: Please email  us more pictures of your kids doing online school at home to . We want to use them in the yearbook!
Kindergartener Maria gets ready for class online.
Ms. Rodin's 1st/2nd grade Science class orientation on Tuesday
How Do You Teach Art Class Online?
by Dara Henning, Art Teacher

I have been fielding this question for a more than a week! Online is the one place I never expected to teach my art classes; I can easily list many places I would prefer to teach, all of which include being in the same space as my students. But here we are. 

On Thursday I had a wonderful online discussion with all the 7th and 8th graders about what they would like to do with their art class time while we are confined to our Zoom conference calls. Overwhelmingly they agreed that they wanted to continue to create the Drawing Wars game they started to work on back at school. Today they each contributed to a discussion of how we can play this game together online while allowing each student to have a chance to draw, judge, and compete. 

The 5th and 6th graders talked about the penguins at the Shedd Aquarium, who have had opportunities to wander around the public areas of the building as no human visitors have been around. We started to review drawing a room using 1-point perspective. Next class we will continue to draw rooms inside the aquarium with penguin visitors. Depending on how this goes, I'd love to share the drawings with the Aquarium. I only ask that each student show up to our Zoom classes on time with sharp pencils and a few sheets of blank paper, ready to make art and mostly spend time together.
Morah Dorit's first Hebrew class Wednesday morning.
Mrs. Brackman and her daughters did a virtual challah baking session with students Thursday evening.
Audio Library
We have a new addition to our audio library, courtesy of Mrs. Crook:
Who's in the Mirror? by Phoebe Erickson
Spotlight on...
Baking brownies with Moreh Maor

Vegan Brownie Recipe
courtesy of Maor Yehoshua Sandek, Hebrew Teacher 
Word had it at Akiba recently that Moreh Maor's Hebrew class baked amazing vegan brownies, and so we asked him to share the recipe. They are a delicious treat and great dessert for any meal. Baking brownies is always a great pastime, especially during these trying days of the COVID-19 Pandemic when we're stuck at home.

Furthermore, baking is a fun activity for kids to learn several skills, such as math (measuring), science (liquids/solids), fine motor (crack an egg!), and even social skills like taking turns or following directions.

8 Question for an 8th Grader
We continue our series of featuring an 8th grader in each issue of the Kibitzer. This time it is
Benny Lowenthal:

1. Since when have you been at Akiba? Since first grade and I highly recommend you making a contribution to this great school that helped me get this far.
2.  What neighborhood do you live in? I currently live in Skokie.
3.  What do you hope to accomplish in 8th grade? How is being an 8th grader different from your previous grades at Akiba? In 8th grade I hope to accomplish better handwriting and writing skills. 8th grade is different because in 8th grade the teachers expect us to be good role models. There is the opportunity to fund raise for the  Israel trip, which hopefully we can take this year.
4.  What is your favorite subject at Akiba and why? My favorite subject of all time is Science because I enjoy learning the content and doing all the labs and projects, but recently it has been humanities because I enjoy all the fun things we are doing in the class.  
5.  What do you think is special about Akiba? What do you particularly like and why? I think the fact that Akiba is smaller than other schools makes it special because I meet a lot of students through mixed grade classes and the buddy program. I like that Akiba is project-based learning because projects are easier, less stressful, fun and I feel it shows how well the students know the content versus tests. 
6.  If you have had your bat mitzvah or are preparing for it, what did you learn from it? I learned how important studying really is and how much it pays off.
7.  When you're not at school or doing homework, what do you like to do? When I have free time, I like to build things, mainly out of Lego, play video games, play sports outside and talk to friends. 
8.  What do you want to be when you grow up? When I grow up I want to be either an engineer, pro athlete or an architect.
Events small

Mazal tov Aryeh Kaufman (1st) and his family on the birth of his baby brother Avraham Mordechai, whose Bris was yesterday.

Preschool Summer Program
Sign Up is Open!


2020-21 School Calendar is Available!
View  here .

Dates to Remember
School has moved online and all events are cancelled until further notice.

Please keep an eye out for email notifications of special online events!

Monday, April 6 - Friday, April 17
Passover Break
No School

Please Send Picture of your Children Learning Online!
Parents: Please email us more pictures of your kids doing online school at home to We want to use them in the yearbook!

March 20, 2020  
Volume 16, Issue 14
Candle Lighting: 6:43 p.m.
Parasha: Vayakhel-Pekudei
Affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs and supported by the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund