BYQ Kids-to-Kids Connect Continues. Mrs. Esther Kirschbaum left to Israel with the intention of having the cards picked up and delivered as a personal favor from someone living in Eretz Yisrael. On her flight, Mrs. Hila Goldvicht volunteered to take the cards to S’derot and Ashdod. She was on her way to give chizuk and shiurim to the children. She was thrilled to take the notes and expressed her amazement at the beautiful cards and messages designed and written by the Bais Yaakov students.
Exciting Lessons with Hands-On Learning. At Bais Yaakov of Queens, different learning styles are addressed through different methods of instruction in both limudei kodesh and general studies. All educators know that while some students learn better in a formal setting, other students need visual aids, but the best practices in meaningful learning, greater depth and understanding, come from being involved in the learning. To incorporate all forms of learning in the classroom, beyond the auditory and visual modes, Mrs. Zehava Somerstein, the limudei kodesh principal, oversees the curriculum. She encouraged the fourth-grade girls in Navi class to create a diorama in conjunction with their learning of Sefer Yehoshua. After completing the story of Rachav and the spies, students explored the idea of the meaning of “a house built into the walls surrounding the city of Yericho,” and, with the creativity of their moros, created authentic replicas. They constructed scenes complete with the wall of the city and even a red string coming out the window!
In the seventh-grade Chumash classes, students were studying Bnei Yisrael’s fortieth year in the Midbar. To help visualize who lived in Eretz Yisrael before Am Yisrael moved in, the seventh-graders made Velcro maps depicting the area and nations residing there. The project helped all types of learners deepen their understanding of what it meant to make this move. Making Tanach even more meaningful is one of the many goals of Bais Yaakov of Queens.
Creating Authors. Writing has been an integral focus at BYQ since Mrs. Sarah Bergman, general-studies principal, introduced the special writing program more than 20 years ago. Bais Yaakov was the model school for the Reading and Writing Project introduced by Columbia University. Students as early as first grade are taught to write with passion and pageantry, with skill and craft, writing poetry and authoring books. The children are encouraged to live their lives between the lines and share. As students move along, creative writing is strengthened with their writing mentor, Mrs. Susie Garber, a noted author and literacy coach.
As girls move into junior high, the focus moves toward nonfiction, expository writing. This year, the devoted creative writers made an extraordinary request: Is there a way to continue with creative writing? Responding to their devotion, a Lunch and Learn was established. The club, for sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders, meets during one lunch period a week. There, creative writing is a combined, collaborative multi-grade group and a shared learning experience.
When you visit Bais Yaakov you notice the exquisite writing that decorates the halls. The children love the opportunity to express their feelings, wonder, and interpretations about the world around them. They feel respected that they are valued and their ideas and thoughts are applauded. We celebrate their endeavors.
The writing lunch club is open to grades 6–8 and meets every other week for a lunch writing time, writing up a storm.