Emily's Makerspace class with the Kindergarten meets once a week in the afternoon and has been working on ozobots. Here the kids are creating lines that interact so that the ozobots can move around.
Spreading the Light Differently this Year

How far does the light of Chanukah spread? This year we will find out. 

Chanukah is during our winter break this year, so we decided to utilize our Spread The Light event in a different way. First, instead of the usual and amazing black light event scheduled for December 15th, PTO will be running a fun family event. Details are forthcoming, so make sure you still keep the 15th free. Second, we will be moving the Spread The Light event to Martin Luther King Jr. Day and doing it differently. 

We will be Spreading The Light into the community to help others, launching our new Service Day. More details to follow, but the goal is to provide different service options throughout Chicagoland on January 20th for our students, families and staff to spread the light to those who can really use it.

On Chanukah, one Mitzvah is to light the Chanukah candles and place them by the window so others can see. We do this to publicize the miracle of Chanukah. This year we hope to also be like the lights of the Chanukiah and spread that light into the hearts and souls of those is need. I hope you will all join us!

Shabbat Shalom!
Dr. Eliezer Jones
Head of School  
From the Day School 
The Power of Strong Family-School Partnerships
by Miriam Kass, Principal
Much research (like this and this ) confirms what we've long observed here at Akiba-Schechter: 

When there is a strong partnership between schools and families, students benefit enormously. 

The past couple of weeks provided two terrific reminders of this truth. Last Thursday, our teachers and parents met to discuss each student's academic and personal growth at school. I had 42 conferences (Ms. Rotfeld and Rabbi M had more!), and each one provided me the opportunity to share observations, gain important insights, and brainstorm ways to best support and stretch individual students. I found the day to be invigorating. This week, numerous teachers reported that they noticed a significant post-conference-day bump (similar to the post-debate bump political candidates hope for) in their students' effort and academic work. As grueling as the 13-hour conference day is (something we may want to tweak in the future...), every teacher appreciates the importance of those conversations. Thank you to all parents who made the time to come to conference day!

On Tuesday evening, we hosted 36 parents and middle schoolers for a parent-child workshop about dealing with stress and anxiety. It was a powerful evening. Students shared how they experience stress and what sorts of meaningful support they seek from their parents, while parents discussed, among other things, how important and hard it is to listen to, and not always fix, their children's problems. Four families from Skokie, four from Hyde Park and five from the neighborhoods in between attended. And there were five 5th graders, four 6th graders, four 7th graders, and four 8th graders. The sharing and learning that occurred across the various divisions felt genuine and powerful to all. One parent of a 5th grader noted:

"The workshop provided a valuable opportunity for parents to learn what issues are important to their kids. It was interesting to learn that kids' worries were not necessarily what parents expected them to be. It hit home that kids are concerned about the health of our planet and our communities, and want a real connection with their parents, where they feel understood.  By the end of the evening, kids were opening up to parents, and families were sharing experiences with each other."

And in the days that followed, I noticed some of the students exchanging knowing smiles with one another and walking a bit taller in the hallways.

Director of Student Services Heather Waitzman, social worker Marnie Spiegel, health educator Sarah Casper, and I met over the summer to plan the five-part Parent Workshop Series  of which Tuesday's program was the first installment. Our overarching goal is to provide the space, time and support for parents as they navigate these tumultuous years without an instruction manual and with the expressed, deep desire to be approachable parents as adolescence and emerging adulthood arrives at home. Whether you attended Tuesday's program or not, please come to one or more of the next ones on December 17 (Internet Safety and Digital Drama), January 14 (on Friendships), March 17 (Beyond the Birds and the Bees) and May 12 (on being an Approachable Parent). 

Shabbat Shalom!  
In the Blue Room, the children have been working on making center pieces for the Thanksgiving Feast next week. Here Marie is working on one.
It's amazing what children will do with manipulatives put in front of them. The Blue Room kids used simple cuisenaire rods to write names. It's lovely to witness how children naturally create from their imaginations.

In the Purple Room, Aiden shows his musical enthusiasm playing percussion in the classroom band this week.
As part of our ongoing study of self-portraits, the Yellow Room children created amazing loose parts self-portraits. Stop by their classroom to see more of their beautiful work!
Day School      
Kitah Bet is practicing writing Hebrew script. They are also learning how to break words into syllables by counting the number of the vowels in each word. The students are working in teams, helping and correcting each other while enjoying the different activities.
Mr. Salk's 1st/2nd grade class has a "Guesstimator," namely a container that gets filled with objects, most recently with cubes. Then the students guess how many objects are in the container. Here Maddie and Yoka were chosen to count the cubes and found that there were 160. Ethan, who guessed 150, came the closest in "guesstimating."
A big thank you to the 8th graders who provided babysitting during parent-teacher conferences last week.

As part of a mini-Social Studies unit, Mr. Esse's 3rd/4th grade class has been learning about plate tectonics. In four groups the students studied the layers of the earth, volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. After reading a short packet on their topic, they created a poster board to help them teach the rest of the class about their topic, which they presented this week. Here Isaac, Miriam, Daniel and Nami taught the class about tsunamis.
In Morah Dorit's Hebrew class, two teams competed, each putting together the best, most creative, grammatically correct sentences with specific vocabulary.
In Ms. Rotfeld's Science class, the 7th and 8th grade are building and electrifying their dollhouses.
Classroom Spotlight
The Tooth-Puller by Jan Steen, 1651

An Exercise in Observation
by Thea Crook

I was eager to see if 3rd and 4th graders were able to look at a painting from the 17th century and notice some of the subtle details. In Mr. Esse's class, we projected "The Tooth-Puller," painted in 1651 by the Dutch artist Jan Steen, and asked the students to comment on what they noticed. They noted the colors used by the artist, mainly browns and reds, the painting's background and foreground, the expressions on people's faces. They did a wonderful job! Here's the list of details and questions we assembled:

background people
house in the distance
second house, church
hat on the ground
alcohol and money on the table
barrel with hole (Is it a trashcan?)
glass maker
person holding ring
tent with people inside (medical?)
bowl and mixture
smiling person
fall leaves
Are people waiting in line?

As we discussed the different facial expressions, students learned about nuance, namely the  subtle differences in or shades of meaning for which the Dutch school is famous. We also discussed how different the world in this painting is from ours, especially when going to the dentist. Why, for example, do you think this dentist working outside? (*see the answer below in the calendar section)
8 Questions for an 8th Grader
Ezra in New York City at The Vessel, an interactive artwork at Hudson Yards.

We continue our series of featuring one of our 8th graders in each issue of the Kibitzer. This time, it is  Ezra Erlebacher :
  1. Since when have you been at Akiba? I have been at Akiba since Kindergarten (2011). 
  2. What neighborhood do you live in? I live in Lincoln Park.
  3. What do you hope to accomplish in 8th grade? How is being an 8th grader different from your previous grades at Akiba? Being in 8th grade is different from the previous grades because the class trip to Israel is a really important part of our year.  Also, my classmates and I get to work together to raise money for the trip. One of the things that I hope to accomplish this year is to raise more money than the classes in the past.
  4. What is your favorite subject at Akiba and why? 
    My favorite subject is Humanities. I enjoy it because we have interesting discussions about current events, the books we read, and the topics we study. 
  5. What do you think is special about Akiba? What do you particularly like and why? 
    The teachers are one of the really special parts of Akiba. I like that they will always take the time to meet with me if I need help and help me better understand what we are studying.
  6. If you have had your bat mitzvah or are preparing for it, what did you learn from it? One of the things that I learned from my bar mitzvah was how to read Parshat Naso, which is the longest parsha of the year. I also learned that studying and preparation pays off.
  7. When you're not at school or doing homework, what do you like to do? I like playing baseball, basketball, and hanging out with my friends.  
  8. Do you have any idea yet of what you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a professional baseball or basketball player. If that doesn't work out, my backup plan is to be a civil engineer or an architect.
Art with Dara 
Wire sculptures by the 7th and 8th graders
The PTO's Dads' Night Out was this week! Friendships were formed and the Akiba community was strengthened.
Test Drive Kindergarten

Parent Workshop Series
Mazal Tov
Bar Mitzvah
...to Ronit Radutny (7th) and her family on her Bat Mitzvah this past weekend.

Seeking Shoe Donations!
The Chesed Club, under the guidance of Mrs. Crook, is thrilled to launch their 5780 Shoe Drive. Once again they are asking you to drop off shoes you are no longer using. They will be donated to the Chicago Center for Torah and Chesed, which welcomes all kinds of shoes in any size. 

*Tooth-pulling was considered entertainment! Thus announcements might have been made. In any case,  the dentist set up outside so people could gather around and watch.

Dates to Remember
Wednesday, November 27
Thanksgiving Feasts (Preschool & KDG)
8:30 - noon Thanksgiving Feasts 
12:00 p.m. Dismissal Preschool & KDG
3:30 p.m. Dismissal Grades 1-8, no after-school programming, no late bus
Thursday & Friday, November 28 & 29
Thanksgiving Break
No School
Tuesday, December 17
8:45 - 9:45 a.m.
Kindergarten classroom

Tuesday, December 17
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
@ Akiba-Schechter
Thursday, December 19
Chanukah Assemblies
9:00 a.m. Preschool & Kindergarten
10:00 a.m. Grade School

Monday, December 23 - Friday, January 3
Winter Break
No School

November 22, 2019  
Volume 16, Issue 7
Candle Lighting: 4:05 p.m.
Parasha: Chayei Sara
Affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs and supported by the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund