Mr. Salk's 1st/2nd grade class has been exploring Lynx, an online programming environment that is related to Microworlds, a program they used in the classroom. Here are some designs that the students made during one-on-one Zoom sessions.

The Essence of our Children

This week's Torah (Bible) portion introduced the Sabbatical year when the land is given a Shabbat (a holy day of rest) in its seventh year and it does not get farmed. The reason for this commandment is to encourage an act of faith and to remind us that we are not alone, but rather G-d is always with us. I discuss this concept and share a story in this week's Akiba Atmosphere Parsha Story below. The thoughts shared expand the idea to help us understand that all we accomplish is with G-d's support and with the help of so many others like our friends, family and teachers. 

This week, as we undertook, once again what seemed like an impossible act, namely creating a virtual Color War (which was amazing!), the essence of our students shined as it does each year during this event. They were not and are never in competition with each other. They are there to support each other, cheer on their friends, even when they are on a different team or class. They are there for each other in Color War, in school, during this pandemic and always. May we all learn from our children's example now and forever that what matters most is how we support each other, not who wins or who loses.

Click on video below to watch the Parsha Story.

Shabbat Shalom!
Dr. Eliezer Jones
Head of School  
From the Day School
A few screen shots from our virtual Color War the Doodle Off and the Toilet Paper Roll Contest.. Click here for a short video of the Toilet Paper Roll Contest!
Color War on Akiba Atmosphere
by Miriam Kass, Principal

The day begins for Middle Schoolers in my Zoom Room for Announcements right after Davening. Seeing those faces gives the teachers the boost we need to face another day of teaching from home; we feel connected to one another and full of purpose. After the cringe worthy Dad Jokes, we open it up for student questions and comments. 

For the first six weeks of Akiba Atmosphere, not a day went by without a question about Color War, our traditional Lag B'Omer program:
If we're still out of school on Lag B'Omer, what will happen to Color War? It will still happen. Do you really think it's possible to have Color War on Zoom? Absolutely. 
How will we meet as a team to come up with cheers and songs? Not to worry; you'll find a way! 
How will you know which team we're on without the team shirts? There will be shirts, personally delivered to your homes. 

With each day, our commitment to having Color War grew stronger. And this past Tuesday, our staff and grade school students pulled off a fantastic Lag B'Omer celebration with the first (and hopefully last) Akiba Atmosphere Color War.

Decked out in their team shirts (brilliantly designed by Dr. Jones and delivered by Ms. Rodin, Ms. Kass, Ms. Spector and Mrs. Waitzman), our students participated in song contests and scavenger hunts, toilet paper mummy wraps, and sports trivia contests. They recorded over one hundred creative at-home challenges, and prepared videos of cheers, songs and special messages. And just as in other years, our 7th and 8th graders stepped up as the leaders of their teams, cheered on their younger teammates, and helped make the day even more fun than we all imagined possible. 
The video presentations included beautifully hand drawn signs, student written and performed songs, messages of gratitude to essential workers, and so much ruach (spirit). The friendly competition brought out the best in our students and staff and truly embodied the central theme of the holiday: the resilience of the Jewish spirit.

Shabbat Shalom!
Akiba Atmosphere    
Sarah (Purple Room) created this Lag B'Omer campfire scene with her baby sitter.

Natalie builds a fire, Dylan roasts a marshmallow, Autumn unloads her picnic basket during the Purple Room's campsite Zoom session. Inspired by Curious George Goes Camping , the Purple Room friends gathered many supplies to have a fun indoor Lag B'Omer.

Charlie (Blue Room) builds a camp fire for Lag B'Omer, replete with "marshmallow" for roasting.
Dara got to light the candles at preschool Shabbat and the Smous Family sent us this beautiful photo! Shabbat Shalom!
The Blue Room children have been rhyming: "Blue, blue, blue, I love blue! If you use glue, and you wear shoes, moo for blue! MOOOOOOOO!" They made blue flags and got their blue on.

One Child's Idea Results in a Communal Masterpiece Online
by Carla Goldberg, Early Childhood Director

Last week we were studying photos of flowers in our Zoom class of four-year-olds, each one of us drawing our own pictures of flowers for our mom for Mother's Day.
Something unexpected happened when I, the teacher, shared my whiteboard screen. 

Maddie's design created on Lynx during a one-on-one session with Mr. Salk.

Seeing My Students Is Uplifting Every Time
by Scott Salk, 1st/2nd Grade General Studies Teacher
In some ways, teaching online has been like a roller coaster. Although I'm terrified of roller coasters, this has not been terrifying. The staff at Akiba, especially Dr. Jones, has been incredibly supportive and helpful, so this brand-new experience always seemed doable. 
But it has been non-stop, filled with frustration but also with moments that are wonderful. Class meetings are not nearly as interactive as they were at school nor as I need them to be. But the one-on-one check-ins can be joyous, like when a student and I are working on a problem or a math puzzle or doing some research into inventions and information about the solar system. The one constant has been how genuinely uplifting it is for me to see my students. Every time. Even on a screen. 
Mr. Esse's 3rd grade math class

A Bit of Student Silliness Makes Math Class Fun
Mr. Esse's 3rd grade math class has been using Khan Academy to keep their skills sharp. While the students have enjoyed learning math in a different way, they have really enjoyed coming up with creative names and being a little silly with each other. One day, several students decided to spice things up a bit by wearing sunglasses to class. One student even wore two pairs of sunglasses! Although it was a little ridiculous, it was a nice way to change things up and everyone enjoyed a laugh. Wearing sunglasses are Daniel, Noah and Zeke. Also pictured are Ron Lev and Miriam.

Humanities Students Hold Virtual Teach-Ins on Civic Action
Almost three months ago, as part of their larger study of civic action, the Humanities students began an investigation into two significant social movements of the 20th century: the Civil Rights Movement with a focus on the 1950s and 1960s, and the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa. 
Each class took a different movement with the plan to teach each other. They began this work at their big table in room 208, building a huge timeline that is still hanging in the room today. Even though they had to stop learning physically together, students persisted. The opportunity to learn from each other is coming later than planned and differently from how they originally envisioned, but the work the students did is informative, enlightening, and impressive. 
They adopted the structure of holding virtual teach-Ins.  During the Vietnam War, in protest of the draft, professors at the University of Michigan organized the first teach-in. Instead of holding their normal classes, they held lectures and seminars designed to educate and influence students and administrators to protest the war. The teach-in strategy has been used many times since. While traditional teach-ins have a series of scholars speaking about a political or social justice issue based on their areas of expertise, others have found more creative ways to teach and engage, including speeches, music, art exhibits, etc. Because we are not physically together, we created a digital space for our teach-ins.
Each student was guided by a chosen question for civic engagement, which was their tool for analyzing social movements and civic action.  Please click the links below to explore and learn!

Mrs. Leonard's virtual classroom

Many people seem to be baking more than ever now that we are staying home. In Art class students looked at images of cakes by artist Wayne Thiebaud and then drew their own delicious three-dimensional-looking creations. Middle schoolers also added a poem about their quarantine cakes.

This week, the PTO dropped off the art work Akiba families made for frontline healthcare workers. Pictured are staff from the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, who are working directly with COVID patients.
Please Send Pictures of your Children Learning Online!
P arents: Please email us more pictures of your kids doing online school at home to We want to use them in the yearbook!

2020-21 School Calendar is Available!
View  here .

Dates to Remember
Monday, May 25
Memorial Day
No School
Friday, May 29
No School
Wednesday, June 3
Last Day of Preschool
Thursday, June 11
Graduation at 7PM on Zoom
More information soon to come 
Friday, June 12
Last Day of Day School

May 15, 2020  
Volume 16, Issue 17
Candle Lighting: 7:44 p.m.
Parasha: Behar-Bechukotai
Affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs and supported by the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund