Temple Sinai Religious School K-7th Grade Curriculum

            2019-20 TEMPLE SINAI RELIGIOUS SCHOOL CURRICULUM                                      (KINDERGARTEN – 7TH GRADE)
 
GRADES K-2 Students begin their Jewish studies by attending school once a week for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The main objective at this level is to provide enjoyable learning experiences, which will create pleasurable associations and identification with Judaism. The emphasis is on customs and rituals in the Jewish home, as well as holiday observances in the synagogue.  The students also learn Jewish and Hebrew songs and dances.   The students also participate in a family Shabbat service and dinner once during the year and participate in a school supply drive and pack backpacks with the supplies for the children at School on Wheels (local charity that helps homeless children).  There is also a field trip to Ward’s Berry Farm to help us get ready for the holiday of Sukkot.
 
Kindergarten & First Grade: This is a combined class with a two- year curriculum.  Students in our K/1 class learn about the synagogue, its symbols and various ritual objects. Children take a trip to the Sanctuary and learn what we see and why we go there. The students also learn how we behave in a sanctuary and the choreography involved in praying (standing, sitting, bowing, etc.). They learn how to celebrate holidays with blessings and ceremonies.   Students are also introduced to Mitzvot.  Children are given a basic introduction to God and learn about Jewish values such as tzedakkah and the concept of a mitzvah. Family Education focuses on Shabbat and making your own Friday night ritual objects. Holiday celebrations focus on the symbols of each holiday. There is also an introduction to Hebrew with colorful pamphlets that teach the letter and make a connection through a Hebrew word. For example- gimmel=glida=ice cream (serve ice cream as a snack)
 
Grade Two:
 
Hebrew:  The children formally begin their Hebrew education by working with the book Ready, Set…Go Alef Bet! It is the only Hebrew primer with an integrated digital companion.  It prepares young students to decode by teaching all 32 letters and vowels.  This is part of the five-level Alef betQuest/Kol Yisrael series that takes students seamlessly from letter recognition through B’nai mitzvah prep. 
Judaic: The students will receive an introduction to all things Jewish through the Let’s Explore Being Jewish series. This is a set of 7 magazines that touch on such topics as Mitzvot, The Bible, Israel people and places, The Synagogue, Jewish symbols and Life Cycle.  It will answer such questions as: “Why is Israel important to the Jewish people?”, “Why must we be kind to animals?”, and “What happens at a Jewish wedding? How do we dress a Torah?”
The students will also be partaking in the Jewish Holiday Treasure Trail.  The students are invited to join Daniel and his Israeli cousin Rivkah along with the Prophet Elijah as they explore the Jewish holidays. We follow them as they travel through time and space, encountering people and places as old as the Bible and as new as Modern Israel.  At the ancient Temple, they witness the Hanukkah miracle of the oil. Right before Passover, they cross the Sea of Reeds with the children of Israel.  Readers are invited to go on-line and explore www.ElijahRocks.net for holiday games, activities and blessings to share with their family.
 
GRADES 3-6 Students in grades 3-6 attend school twice a week: 2 hours on Sunday morning, and 2 hours on a weekday afternoon. One hour of each day is spent on Judaica, and the other is spent on Hebrew. The curriculum also includes a prayer service of about 20 minutes each Sunday, and a music lesson of about 15 minutes on the weekday. SHABBAT- All grades participate once a year in a B’Simcha service that includes a potluck dinner in which they are the Shabbat helpers. They help lead the blessings at the dinner and then participate in the Shabbat service following dinner.
 
SOCIAL ACTION - Temple Sinai feels it is not only important to teach mitzvot, it is also important to do mitzvot. Therefore, the entire school is involved in a specific mitzvah project for their grade.  The Temple Sinai school and community also come together for a Mitzvah day in the spring, and twice a year at Gifts to Give in New Bedford, MA.
 
FIELD TRIPS – Each grade participates in a field trip that fits their curriculum. K-2 – Visits Ward’s Berry Farm in preparation for the holiday of Sukkot  3 – Visits the Franklin Park Zoo for a Biblical Animal Scavenger Hunt 4 – Visits Brookline for a scavenger hunt of all things Jewish on Harvard Street 5 – Visits Touro Synagogue in Newport, RI 6 – Visits Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters in Newton
 
In 3rd Grade
 
JUDAIC: The students are introduced to the Jewish concept of God and the importance of God to Judaism through the reading of various Bible Stories and doing crafts and activities to reinforce what is learned, including a Biblical Scavenger Hunt field trip to Franklin Park Zoo. (Holidays are reviewed through holiday-related stories and all- school activities). The students also receive an introduction to Israel.
 
Now in its 2nd Year: “The Explorers Bible, from Creation to the Exodus” Through this book, young students explore the Bible as Jews have done for centuries; by questioning and thoroughly looking at the text. The modern design holds the dignity of the Hebrew text, while engaging students with lush illustrations and more than 50 full color photos.
 
Great Israel Scavenger Hunt – This book takes Rivkah and her cousin Daniel across Israel on an adventure in search of special objects.  They are using a letter from their grandfather that gives clues for the “hunt”. 
 
3rd grade HEBREW: Students are expected to know their letters and vowels       (Although, we are skill-based and will place accordingly) Students formally begin Hebrew reading with the text book Alef Bet Quest. This is the first multi-media Hebrew primer that fully integrates text-based lessons with on-line learning through Behrmanhouse.com.  The students learn to decode Hebrew while it sends them on a guided digital adventure through Israel! Students learn Hebrew vowels and letters from key Jewish cultural words as well as everyday Hebrew words.  Students can practice with on-line video games that reinforce their skills.  You can see on-line demo at www.alefbetquest.com.  Students are introduced to writing Hebrew script this year, as well as basic prayers. Preparation for the Grade 3 Siyum Ha’Sefer Ceremony (receive their own prayer book) becomes a highlight of the year.
 
In 4th Grade 
 
4th Grade JUDAIC: Now in its 2nd Year: Make, Create, Celebrate!  Students will unlock the meaning of each holiday and its values through artistic projects and concepts. Not an Artist? No problem! These projects are about self-expression and ideas, they are designed for everyone. By the time they complete the holiday cycle, they will have a portfolio of work reflecting their Jewish Values.  Students also enjoy a field trip to Brookline for a scavenger hunt of all things Jewish on Harvard Street.
 
 
NEW THIS YEAR: The Explorer’s Bible 2, From Sinai to the Nation of Israel Students will explore, personalize, and wrestle with true-to-text translation. The text retains the structure and tone of the Hebrew while providing them with comprehensible and age-appropriate language. Students will have opportunities to participate in biblical dialogue and create their own Midrashim (story). Students will be able to make connections between text and core Jewish values to help personalize the Bible’s lessons.   The 4th grade will focus on making connections between Jewish Values and the Bible lessons learned, as well as the holiday cycle.
 
 
4th Grade HEBREW: A continued concentration on proper Hebrew reading is stressed throughout the year. Students begin Hebrew comprehension with a Hebrew prayer track of books called “Kol Yisrael " which includes an on-line learning center component to assist in the learning process. This series continues through the 6th grade year. Students learn to read and chant the Friday night Kiddush, Sh’ma, and V’ahavta prayers, as well as start learning Ashrei. Students continue practicing their Hebrew script writing.
 
In 5th Grade  
 
5th Grade JUDAIC: The theme is “The People of Israel / the Land of Israel”. Students learn about the historical development of modern Israel, its cities, lifestyles and the importance of Israel to the Jewish people. In addition, our students participate in the Boston-Haifa Connection program with our partner
school in Haifa, Israel. The program focuses on Jewish identity and creates a more personal connection between our students and those in Haifa. They exchange projects throughout the year and participate in a video conference regularly, as well as a pen pal e-mail program. Students also visit Touro Synagogue in Newport, RI in their 5th Grade year. 
 
How to Be A Good Friend -  This book helps guide the students to begin to think about Jewish values and how they relate to their daily lives.  They will be using material that will focus on being a good friend and getting answers to such questions as “How Can I Be a Good Friend?”, “How is Gossip Dangerous?”, and “What is peer pressure?”  
 
5th Grade HEBREW
: The students focus on the prayers of the Amidah, including the Avot V’imahot, G’vurot, and K’dushah. In addition, our students continue to increase their fluency in the Ashrei and how to sing Hatikvah. Students continue to build on vocabulary and script writing.
 
In 6th Grade 
 
6th Grade JUDAIC: The students begin the year with a two-part B’nai Mitzvah program. During this program the students receive their Torah portion, learn what it means to become a Bar/Bat Mitzvah and what’s next. The students this year will study as a group the Bible stories that are assigned to them in preparation for their D’var Torah. Students also look at how life cycle events are commemorated in Judaism, putting Bar/Bat Mitzvah in the continuum of birth, education, marriage, and remembrance.  In addition, 6th graders go on a field trip to Mayyim Hayyim Living waters, a liberal mikveh in Newton. 
 
Student’s will also be focusing on Making Mitzvot meaningful. 
 
6th Grade HEBREW:  Reading and chanting skills continue to be learned. Students study the Torah and Haftarah blessings, as well as the Kaddish. They polish all the prayers that have been learned in previous years.  They will complete the book Kol Yisrael 3 and move onto conversation if prayers are mastered.
 
NEW FOR 6th GRADE: Making T’Fillah Meaningful 
Students dig deeply into the meaning of prayers and explore questions like, “Why do we pray?”, “What meaning can prayer bring to our lives?”, and “How does prayer relate to our lives?” Individual 8-page prayer booklets explore specific Jewish prayers for themes of gratitude, love, kindness,
holiness, mindfulness, comfort, respect, family and community.  Students will be involved in discussions, games, role playing, and more. 
  
GRADE 7
In 7th grade, students meet once a week (Tuesday afternoon), but cover 2 Judaic subjects. The 7th Grade curriculum is made up of two courses. The first, entitled “Jewish History – The Modern Jewish Experience”, introduces students to the history, beliefs, and lifestyle of the Jews of Eastern Europe and its virtual destruction, anti-semitism, and the onset of the Holocaust.  They will also take a field trip to visit the Holocaust Education Center in RI.    The Rabbi will spend about 20 minutes each week doing a range of activities including minyan, tefillin wrapping, current events, “ask the Rabbi”, etc. 
 
The second course is entitled “Jewish Ethics”.  The students discuss a wide range of topics from current events to medical ethics as well as bullying, selfesteem, and making right choices.  This is an interactive component that makes the student think and decide where they might stand on some of today’s current issues.  A weekly communication is sent home so that dialogue can continue with their parents.
 
If you have any questions concerning the curriculum, please feel free to contact Beth Fine-Nelson, Education Director at [email protected] or by calling the school office at (781) 784-6081.