By Ms. Glassman
When it comes to preparing your children for the future, there are few better ways to do so than to help them learn to code! Coding helps students develop academic skills, builds qualities like perseverance and organization, and gain valuable 21st-century skills.
Coding Improves Academic Performance
- Math: Coding helps students visualize abstract concepts, lets them apply math to real-world situations and makes math fun and creative.
- Writing: Students who code understand the value of concision and planning, which results in better writing skills. Coding can also be used as a medium for storytelling.
- Creativity: Students learn through experimentation and strengthen their brains when they code, allowing them to embrace their creativity.
- Confidence: Parents and teachers enthusiastically report that they’ve noticed their kids’ confidence building as they learn to problem-solve through coding.
Coding Builds Soft Skills
- Focus and Organization: As they write more complicated code, students naturally develop a better focus and organization.
- Resilience: With coding come debugging, and there is no better way to build perseverance and resilience than working through challenges.
- Communication: Coding teaches logical communication, strengthening both verbal and written skills. Think about it: coding means learning a new language!
Coding Paves a Path to Success
- Empowerment: Students are empowered to make a difference when they code. We use coding as a platform to send messages of tolerance and kindness.
- Life Skills: Coding is a basic literacy skill in the digital age, and it’s important for kids to understand, and be able to innovate with the technology around them.
- Career Preparation: There is a high demand for workers in the tech industry. Mastering coding at an early age, allows students to excel in any field.
PS 1/2 (Ms. Maddie & Ms. Menbi, Ms. Heather & Ms. Jessica)
The toddlers have been learning about apples, honey, and Shofars to prepare for Rosh Hashanah. This week we are focusing on honey and the bees that make it. We have incorporated the parts of Rosh Hashanah into our fine motor, gross motor, and sensory play. Be sure to listen for us saying “shanah tovah” to our friends in the hallways.
PS 2/3-A (Ms. Bobbijean & Ms. Katelyn)
From apple art to apple orchards to apple math, it’s all things apples in preschool 2/3-A! The children loved figuring out how many apples tall they are. Measuring with non-standard units (like apples) helps the children understand relative lengths at a time when we aren’t quite ready to figure out direct comparisons yet. We understand a long line of apples better than we understand 3 feet and 2 inches, especially when 3 feet aren’t actual feet!
PS 2/3-B (Ms. Jessica & Ms. Emily)
For the month of September, each week has been broken down into a full detailed exploration of the following: Apples, Bees, Honey, and celebrations and traditions of Rosh Hashanah. Kitat Gar’een Bet has explored Rosh Hashanah with our senses, science, art, dramatic play, and more.
PS 3/4: (Ms. Toni & Ms. Olivia)
We have explored Rosh Hashanah by bowling with apples (gross motor), played with apple-spiced play dough (sensory and fine motor), and making Shana Tovah cards (literacy). Our dramatic play area has transformed into a honey store/beekeeper/hive (social-emotional) and we’ve enjoyed time with our flannel board stories, and of course, tons of songs. We have also counted with shofar blowing (math) and so much more!
Pre-K (Ms. Ryann & Ms. Tracy)
Pre-K has been busy using apples in many different ways during our celebration of Rosh Hashanah. We used 6 different types of apples to do a taste test, then we also cut them open for observing and recording in our science journals. We also used this as an opportunity to talk about healthy snacks. We encouraged families to send in apples and the children with apples add a paper apple to our classroom tree.
Upper school students visited AstroCamp this week in Clover, Va. AstroCamp is a unique STEM-based outdoor science program. The children spent 2 nights and 3 days at the camp which specializes in astronomy and physical science. Where better to learn about the universe than under a clear night sky! Classes included lights and lasers, rocketry, electricity and magnetism, and a sophisticated observational astronomy evening program, among many others.
Check out a short photo recap and check back for more pictures and videos!
Video: Using the Van de Graaf
Video: Students designed and created a crater lander that can protect a water balloon. Students were given a certain amount of “money” to spend on their lander. In this video, two students describe their project.
At B’nai Shalom we meet the kids where they are, in order to get them to where we want them to be.
This summer Carolyn Hawks, Lower & Upper School Division Head, and I attended a conference at the IDEA High School in Tenafly, NJ. While the emphasis of the conference was on Project Based Learning, my biggest take away from this conference was the idea of creative confidence. Creative confidence is transformative, it allows us to think, dream, make, and explore without limitation.
Over the past few years, we have truly embraced Project Based Learning (PBL) at B’nai Shalom. Teachers and students utilize the Fab Lab to create projects related to an area of study. Yet, projects don’t teach anything in and of itself. We embrace PBL because it allows kids to learn about themselves and their ability to create. It’s a self-discovery process. PBL is not about cranking out projects but about producing high quality, creative work.The driving forces that create high quality work are a student’s sense of belonging and engagement.
It’s important to know that creative confidence does not come naturally to all students and needs to be instilled. Teachers need to be empathetic to those students who do not yet have creative confidence. Teachers should model this for their students. We know that children are not motivated by being told to try harder and effort is not about trying harder. What actually drives people to work really hard at something is the notion that they will achieve success. At B’nai, we work to cultivate the belief that abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication. For example, when a child is showing a lack of effort, our teachers ask, “What is getting in the way of you participating today?”
B’nai teachers build trust by providing the necessary time and support for each student. They know their students’ individual learning styles and provide options to match those learning styles. We provide a safe learning environment where multiple iterations of work are not only allowed, but encouraged.
Process is celebrated in order to instill creative confidence. This includes the struggles, the mistakes, the risks that were taken, and the strategies that were used. We also celebrate the product. For students to put forth the required effort, they need to believe that their work really matters. Students at B’nai Shalom truly know they are valued, that they matter and their work matters, thus leading to creative confidence.
These are photos of the 1st grade class in the Fab Lab. The students are making cloth napkins for the lower and upper school children to help eliminate the amount of paper napkin waste.