MJDS Home Page Banner
Celebrating our Bar Mitzvah Year
June 13th, 2014


In This Issue:


1.     Maximum Effort - continued!

2.     How Important is it to Have Dinner Together?

3.     Maximum Effort - A Shining Example

4.     What are they really learning in film class? By Valerie Weiss

5.     Film class, what do the students think?  

6.     The students own report cards ...

7.     Caf� Theatre

8.     End of Casa Celebration

9.     Supporting MJDS has never been easier!  

10.  Calendar Reminders


Maximum Effort - continued!


In our May 3oth Newsletter entitled Maximum Effort and What You Can Do At Home we told you about some of the things we learned at the recent CCMA Conference. Today we want to add to this by telling you about one of the most important things you can do at home to support your child and share with you a shining example of Maximum Effort. Please read on.



How Important is to Have Dinner Together?


At the CCMA Conference Dr. Wendy M. Craig, Ph.D. Queens University Dept. of Psychology discussed  the importance of relationships, and how they affect the overall health, well-being and academic performance of children.


Did you know that sitting down with your family for dinner, with no television or electronics, is a predictor of your child's emotional and physical health?  All it takes to build this resilience is 19 minutes, and the more times that you have family dinner each week, the less likely it is that your child will struggle with depression, substance abuse, and poor health.


Statistics indicate that the communication amongst family members, teachers and students, and peers, all play an important role in a child's overall health, well-being and academic success. As teachers, we were given concrete tools to help us facilitate healthy relationships in the classrooms, to help students feel accepted, and part of the group.  As parents we invite you to give your children the best gifts, your attention, rich conversations , playing games, going out for nature walks and... having dinner together. 


Maximum Effort - A Shining Example!

Learning the numbers through the stamp system

   One of the ways in which a child in Casa practises an exercise is to do the exact same activity over and over again. An Elementary child will give himself huge problems which by their very execution causes repetition and practise. When a child is nearing the end of his time in Casa we can often see this excitement for something big. 


    The stamps are an opportunity to add large numbers in the thousands with a carry-over, before the child is ready for that work in the abstract. Max was filling the width of the table and delighting in the fact that the big numbers he had chosen were almost falling over the edge. He then filled the length of the table and counted each category meticulously, exchanged for ten of a higher category with precision and did not stop until he had found the sum! 


    When we talk of maximum effort - this is what we mean. The child did not have to be cajoled or ordered, his urge for work came from within. His desire to do something meaningful did not require a reward - the reward is the work itself. It is for this reason we do not view work as objectionable and we hope this is something the children can take with them through their lives.




What Are They
Really Learning in Film Class?


The 2014 MJDS Middle School Film Class: A Film Teacher's Perspective: By: Valerie Weiss


Since January of this year, I have had the pleasure of working with the grade 6's and Middle School students at MJDS, teaching them about filmmaking. Making a film is an extremely complex and time-consuming process. So, this year we decided to expand the class from one to two terms so that the students would have more time to delve into each step in the filmmaking process. This included learning some film history, brainstorming to come up with ideas for a film, taking the ideas and creating a script, planning the shoot, gathering the props and costumes, scouting locations, shooting, editing...all the way through to completing the production.


But, there is so much more that happens in the filmmaking process. Along with learning valuable media literacy and technical skills, I believe that the students gained a lot of unexpected skills and experiences.







This year our class has been studying film, and making our own movie, with Valerie.  We have learned everything from film history, to how to brainstorm, to how to edit.  In the end we made a pretty awesome short film.


The process was fun and interesting, and it could also be very challenging, especially when we needed to take many different shots of the same thing.  It was a very long process.


The editing in particular was very time consuming and detailed.  We realized that just to edit 3 minutes could take up to two hours, or more.  We learned a lot about editing, such as, how to switch between different shots and time it properly, how to change the saturation of the video, and how to choose the right music for the scene.  We learned so many things in this class and we all really enjoyed the process.


We would like to thank Valerie very much for all of her help and hard work.


 The Student's Own Report Cards...


Usually the favourite part of the Shalhevet report card, parents have told me, is the students' own writings on their progress - both socially and academically. They are given outlines that include: Social, Language, Mathematics, Culture, Judaic Studies, French, Physical Education and Music. Then we talk about how the report card is a reflection of themselves and to refrain from mentioning other students or teachers. 


One of the things that we stress is that their brains have not fully grown yet; for this reason we ask that they do not declare themselves "bad" at anything. Instead it is better to identify the struggles they are having with a particular subject and how they might overcome them. Very often, the children will write about their most recent experiences. The report cards can often be funny... "Well I can read better than the class hedgehog." 


Once, a child who was in a rush with year-end-show rehearsals simply gave himself an A+ all the way down, reflecting the wider culture in which we live, but also a very positive self-image. I have to admit - they are my favourite part of the report cards too.


Casa Cafe Theatre 

This week both Kita Gefen and Kita Mazal showcased all of the French that they have learned throughout the year in the annual Caf� Theatre, and it was a pr

oud moment for everyone as they spoke their lines and brought the story of "Le petite chat" to life. 




It is always wonderful to see a different side of our students than we normally see, for example the quiet first year students belting out the lines with such confidence alongside the fluent performance of the second and third years, it truly is a perfect representation of our Montessori program. Congratulations and kol ha kavod to all of our students for their excellent efforts and thank you to Madame Marie Elena for all that you do.


 End of Casa Celebration


This week the Casa teachers said goodbye to our oldest group of students, during our End of Casa Celebration where they were presented with their final Casa projects. Many of these children started with us at the young ages of 2 � to 3 so will miss them but this is never a sad goodbye, because we know that they are on their way out of the first stage of development and heading into the next with confidence, independence, curiosity and a sense of community. After an entire year of experiencing the leadership role of a third or fourth year Casa student, offering guidance to others both academically and socially by presenting materials, modelling peer resolution, and helping in any way that they can, they have become an integral part of the Casa system, inspiring their younger classmates. They are now ready to adapt to a larger classroom environment where they will hone the skills they have developed, among them: initiative, the ability to process information, and the ability to persist in completing a task.


There are two main projects that are the exit point for our students who are moving up to the elementary. One is a personal time line that really brings into focus just how much these beloved students of ours have grown over the years; from new born babies, to chubby toddlers who watch your every move with such intensity, to tall and radiant 6 year olds who are ready to challenge you, as well as themselves. The concept of a time line is an important stepping stone into the elementary curriculum, as many of their great lessons will be taught through time line material.


The Casa Students of 2014




The other project is the Shabbat Box, which is like a moment frozen in time forever. MJDS is truly a Jewish Montessori school, because every part of every day is connected to Judaism and it is enjoyed as a part of everyday life. For years our students have experienced the beautiful Shabbat ceremony every Friday, learning the blessings and singing joyful songs to welcome Shabbat, helping to light the candles, drink the wine, and bless the challah. Now they have created their own pottery Kiddush cup and neirot holders. They went through the process of moulding and stamping, waiting for them to be fired, and then returning and painting their creations. They have also decorated their own challah cover with hand-sewn beads. Hours of dedication and concentration have gone into both of these projects and we know through our past graduates that they will be treasured for years to come.


As teachers, we value that the final projects are such a triumph for our students; the process in getting there is just as exciting. We will miss our students, and we hope that they will stop by and visit us every now and then.


 Supporting MJDS Has Never Been Easier


FUNDSCRIP:  Help us raise money throughout the year without actually donating money!


MJDS has continued its partnership with Fundscrip, an innovative program that lets you earn cash rebates for our school based on things you buy everyday like groceries, gas and other household items. Every month you spend hundreds of dollars for things like food, gas, clothing, pharmacy, restaurants, electronics, home renovations, department stores, and so on. All you have to do is pay for some or all of your purchases using GIFT CARDS bought at face value from FundScrip participating retailers and a percentage of every gift card purchased is contributed to our school's ongoing fundraising efforts. So instead of paying with cash or a debit card, you use a gift card that you purchased through our group. It costs you nothing extra but you just earned money for our school.




Please ensure that the Invitation Code, "S8TWJD" is entered in the right field.


Once you have completed the sign up process, you will be sent a confirmation email. Click the link in the confirmation email to complete your registration.  Now you are ready to log in, place orders and start supporting our school!  The list of all participating retailers and earning percentages for MJDS can be viewed by clicking here


Special June Promotions: (percentage of purchase sent to MJDS)

Indigo / Chapters - 7%

Cineplex Odeon - 5%

Boston Pizza - 7%


Have your gift card order mailed to you directly!  You can order your gift cards online any time and have them shipped to your address for $0.73 (includes taxes) that you pay for when you checkout your order.  There is a four (4) gift card limit in each order and a $500 maximum value of the cards, but no limit on the amount of orders that you can process.


Payment can be made by Electronic Funds Transfer (FREE), Interac Online (MJDS earning reduced by $0.85), Credit Card (MJDS earnings reduced by 1.99%), or Online Banking Bill Payment (FREE).


We encourage everyone to invite family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbours to participate in our Fundscrip gift card fundraiser as well!





Other ways to Support MJDS throughout the year!


Visit our Support MJDS page for more info or click on any of the items listed below to take you directly to the website.


OLIVER'S LABELS:  SENDING YOUR KID TO CAMP?  Order labels from Oliver's Labels, and keep your child's clothes out of the lost and found pile!  MJDS receives 20% of all orders purchased through the provided link.


ECHOAGE: MJDS is a registered charity with Echoage, an online birthday party service where kids get the gifts they want AND give to charity.  Guests are invited to contribute online and funds are split between a chosen gift(s) for the child, and a charitable donation to MJDS.  Echoage offers free online invitations, a RSVP manager, contribution tracker, thank you notes and secure gift and charity giving. 


WELL.ca:  Canada's online health and beauty store.  MJDS receives 5% of all orders purchased through the provided link.




Calendar Reminders


June 19th - 6:00 pm -  An Evening of Celebration:

  • Grade 8 Graduation
  • MJDS Bar Mitzvah, a Play With Music
  • Welcome to Casa  Children entering Lower Elementary

June 20th - 12:00 pm - Last Day of School - Noon


PICNIC in the park across the street afterwards. Bring your own food.



Visit our blog   Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our profile on LinkedIn   Find us on Pinterest  

MJDS Picasa Photo Album
  MJDS Google Calendar

Copyright � 2014. All Rights Reserved.