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SJCS Perspectives

Welcome to the Seattle Jewish Community School Blog

Parents, alumni, volunteers and staff share their thoughts on what makes SJCS exceptional! 

Building Relationships That Drive Learning

December 4, 2017

SJCS is using the Responsive Classroom approach to teachings.  This past year, almost all of teachers and staff participated in the training. We have made Responsive Classroom the foundation of our learning community. Our commitment to Responsive Classroom comes from the shared belief that social curriculum is equal in significance to academic curriculum. The Northeast Foundation for Children promotes the Responsive Classroom’s fundamental principles and practices, and SJCS  follows the seven Guiding Principles: The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum. How children learn is as important as what they learn. The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social… Read More »

Government: A New Teaching Strategy for Developing Critical Thought

November 29, 2017

As we head further into 21st century educational standards, the way students study our state and federal government is changing. Less emphasis is put upon the memorization of facts while critical thinking, conceptual understanding, and a more inclusive look at all the people of history has become paramount to modern education. History is no longer only the history of wealthy men of European descent. In 4th grade, we study government from the ground up.  We kick-off with discussion of the essential structures of local, state and federal governments, the components and the branches of our government, and how people rule… Read More »

Connecting and Collaborating: The Responsibility of Digital Citizenship

November 1, 2017

In our ever-evolving world, kids have more access to technology than ever before. Because so many tasks, both in and out of school, involve technology and the internet, it is imperative that we help children navigate the onslaught of online content and digital tools which can be daunting for even the most tech-savvy adults. Often when parents or educators talk about introducing the digital world to young kids we are focused solely on safety – protecting children from the dangers of cyber-bullying, invasion of privacy, and even exploitation. At SJCS we asked ourselves “…how we can help students feel excited about… Read More »

Answering The Call

September 20, 2017

We celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, beginning tonight. Rosh Hashanah, and the subsequent ten Days of Awe that follow it are a time for renewal, reflection, and new beginnings.  This is a time to consider the possibilities for change, improvement, growth, and increased happiness that we can create for ourselves as human beings. What  distinctly marks Rosh Hashanah is the sound of the Shofar (the Ram’s horn that is blown on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur).  According  to the Talmud sages the sound of the shofar is a cry from us to God, shedding tears for our mistakes,… Read More »

Moving Forward Together

June 28, 2017

Congratulations and mazal tov to all you SJCS kids who are stepping up to new grades and stepping out to new schools. Tonight is the rare occasion when almost every parent in the school is in one place so I’d like to share a few important ideas with you. Speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees and for the school, the sole goal of our school is to contribute to the positive growth of your children. Every day our teaching team, Shoshi, and her staff come in to teach the very best we can to nurture your child’s intellect… Read More »

Learning From the Past, Shaping the Future

March 1, 2017

The SJCS library is center for exploration of diversity, from the genres we read, the authors we celebrate, to the in-class discussions that are inspired by the learning. This was quite evident this past February, when the library was transformed to reflect some of the best stories, writers, and change makers of the African-American community. From Harriet Tubman to Henry “Box” Brown, and from Arthur Ashe to Jackie Robinson, each grade-level, as was developmentally appropriate, learned about the challenges and celebrations of African-Americans. Stories of the Underground Railroad sparked conversations about the Civil War and slavery, topics most students knew… Read More »


February 23, 2017

When asked why I think parents should send their kids to SJCS these are the reasons that immediately occur to me. Innovative instruction – At SJCS, teachers have the freedom to innovate.  This can be a HUGE benefit to kids because if a teacher is excited about the curriculum and can change (tailor) this curriculum based on the needs of their students, students will absolutely benefit academically. An example of innovative instruction is being allowed to choose how we teach reading – not the standards, but how we teach the standards.  I attended the WaSLA reading conference and heard Donalyn… Read More »

Learning through Questioning

February 16, 2017

As the Jewish people are preparing to leave Egypt, they are given the imperative to “teach the story to their children.” But “How should they teach them?” our commentators asks. The answer? Through asking questions! SJCS Judaic Studies teachers haMorot Shoshana, Stefanie and Mihal shared this Torah portion with a blended group of K-2 grade students. This moment in Exodus which was the inspiration for an engaging exercise combining Judaic Studies, language development, and critical thinking skills. SJCS teachers know that teaching young people to ask questions is not only a foundation of our Jewish experience, but also an educational… Read More »

5th Grade Hebrew in Action!

February 12, 2017

Let’s Play Games!

February 12, 2017

Using games as an educational tool provides opportunities for deeper learning and engagement.  Listed here are some of the games we have been playing in our study of color vocabulary in Hebrew: The  purpose: Kids will learn to identify and name colors. Game 1:  I name a color in Hebrew and count to 5 slowly (in Hebrew of course).  The kids find an object in the room of the named color by the count of 5.  I say “beep” and all name the color aloud. Varitation: The class has 10 seconds to touch as many objects of the named color as… Read More »