Maimonides School: Middle School Matters
Oct. 9, 2015        Parashat Bereishit       19 Tishrei, 5776    

Maimonides School
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Sixth-Grade Learning Styles
Seventh-Grade English
Eighth-Grade Science
Taam China Lunch
Yom Chesed
Admissions Events
Cradles to Crayons
School Calendar
Absence Notifications
Handbook Online
Online Photo Galleries
Quick Links
Find Maimonides On:
Dear MS Families,    
We hope you all had a wonderful Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah! We are sad to see the holidays go, but we're looking forward to full weeks of learning with your children.

Please read on for a D'var Torah from Rabbi Dov Huff, a run-down on this week's activities, and notes for the upcoming weeks!
Shabbat Shalom,

Brian Cohen 
Associate Principal, Middle School       
D'var Torah
by Rabbi Dov Huff

The Torah presents two distinct narratives detailing the creation of man, one in perek alef of Bereishit and one in
perek bet. The repetition, and the discrepancies between the two, provide the platform for one of the Rav's great philosophical essays, The Lonely Man of Faith. The Rav sees the two narratives as two prototypes of humanity, the characteristics of which are not templates for two separate models of mankind but instead are coexisting paradoxically within each and every one of us. The vision of this complex person gives us insight not only into the type of people we must aspire to be in general, but also specifically into the philosophical foundations on which Maimonides School was built. And by extension, into the vision of the Manhig Hador - the leader of the generation - for the type of children and students we produce.
Perek Alef describes Adam I:
So G-d created man in His own image...and G-d blessed them and G-d said unto them be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the heaven, and over the beasts, and all over the earth
Adam I is the discoverer. He searches, explores, and encounters the world. His greatest tool is his intellect - the human mind, with which he confronts the complex world. His purpose is to subdue the world - to conquer it with knowledge - and to uncover its secrets and mysteries.
Adam I is also a creator. He is forged "in the image of G-d" - with an innate desire to create. He spreads his dominion over the earth by building, changing, innovating, manipulating. In the Rav's words, "Adam the first is overwhelmed by one quest, namely, to harness and dominate the elemental natural forces and to put them at his disposal."
Perek Bet describes Adam II:
And the eternal G-d formed the man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul... And the eternal G-d took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to serve it and to keep it
While Adam I explores, Adam II observes. Not with the intent of classifying, studying, identifying, and inventing, but with wonder and amazement. While Adam I asked How the cosmos work, Adam II asks Why were they created - and by Whom? Adam II is preoccupied with building a connection to He who breathed life into his soul.
Adam II is not seeking mastery of the world and its knowledge - he is seeking companionship with the divine. He is seeking a redeemed existence.
This construct of the Rav frames the first two perakim of our parsha not as a superficial description of the origin of man but as a deep insight into the dialectical nature of our very being. One that is appropriate, in many ways, to set the tone for the year at school as we now settle into our weekly routines and build the Rav's ideal of a "Covenantal Community."
Discussion for the Shabbos Table
  • When in your Maimonides weekly life do you have the most "Adam I" type experience?
  • When in your Maimonides weekly life do you have the most "Adam II" type experience?
  • What rules, policies, or practices of the school can you identify which may have roots in these ideas of the Rav?
  • How do your Adam I and Adam II aspects express themselves?
Sixth-Grade Learning Styles
This week, the sixth-grade classes took a survey to answer the question, "What kind of learner are you?"

The learning styles the students could be sorted into were visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning - that is, learning through visual information, through verbal explanation, or through manipulating objects and moving.
Sixth-grade students present
"How to cut down a tree" kinesthetically.

Once the students knew what kind of learners they were, they worked with other learners of the same type and were asked to present a lesson to the class based on their style of learning. Some  of the lessons they presented were how to cut down a tree, how to explain subtraction, and how to make a snowman.

Seventh-Grade English

As Mr. Fidler put it this week in his seventh-grade English class, "We're going to keep three balls in the air for a while; let's try not to drop any." 
  • Ball One: A thorough review of "The Hardest Grammar Quiz Ever," designed to see where the class is and where it needs to go. 
  • Ball Two: The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton's classic novel about gang life in mid-century Tulsa, Oklahoma, which brings into play fascinating questions about the price of loyalty. 
  • Ball Three: A detailed informational writing unit, building on concepts from 6th grade that lead to students Picking their topic, Organizing their notes, and Writing with important evidence and details.  POW!
Eighth-Grade Science
by Joan Bomfim

In eighth-grade science, we're taking a look at physics! For the last few days, we've been walking, running, skipping, and crawling our way through the courtyard to study velocity and acceleration.  As we move on through the year, we'll be looking at other ways physics impacts our daily lives. A highlight you might just hear about at home will be our study of the forces of exploding pumpkins in honor of the autumn!

Taam China Lunches Starting Monday!
The popular eighth-grade-run Taam China lunch program will begin on Monday, October 12! The eighth-graders are looking forward to providing lunches to the students who have ordered them. If you or your child do not remember the dates for which he or she ordered a lunch, a confirmation sheet can be provided at the Middle School office.
Yom Chesed Registration Now Open!

Yom Chesed - together we will make a difference
Registration is now open for Yom Chesed, our all-ages community service initiative, which will take place on Sunday, November 1 from 9:00 a.m - noon. Our Yom Chesed web page has a complete list of projects, as well as all the information on how to sign up. The registration deadline is Oct. 19. Projects are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  
The event will kick off at school with davening, breakfast, and a rally. Then groups will fan out to a wide range of chesed programs and activities, both here at school and throughout the greater community.
In preparation for one of our Yom Chesed projects, we will be collecting canned pumpkin (NOT pie filling) for a Thanksgiving-themed project for Family Table. Please deposit the canned pumpkin in the designated Family Table bins in the Brener and Saval buildings. We will appreciate receiving these donations by Monday, October 28th.  
Would you like to get involved? In addition to volunteering for Yom Chesed projects, you can help prior to the event with planning and coordinating activities. Please contact parent coordinators Risa Gewurz or Stephanie Mishkin, or Ellen Pulda in the development office, if you'd like to learn how you can help out.

Upcoming Admissions Events

Spread the Word

We would love your help in spreading the word about Maimonides School. It's as easy as sharing information about our admissions events with others!
Coming up on Sunday, October 18 is "Good Morning @ Maimo." This program will allow families to discover the joy and warmth of our Kindergarten and Early Childhood Center and will feature Shabbat-themed crafts and cooking. The event will take place in the Brener building from 9:15-10:45 a.m.
On Tuesday, October 27, we will offer an informational evening for K-12 prospective parents. This event will take place in Steg Library in the Brener building from 7:00-8:30 p.m. and will offer an overview of our K-12 program, with Q & A and a chance to speak with administrators and faculty as well as current students and parents.

Donations for Cradles to Crayons

In preparation for a Yom Chesed project on November 1, Cradles to Crayons donation bins have been placed in both Brener (on 1st floor outside main office) and Saval (in lunchroom) to collect items for this non-profit organization, which provides essentials to children in low-income and homeless situations.

Cradles to Crayons is looking for new and gently-used clothing, shoes, baby essentials, books, and toys. Click here for a detailed guideline for donations.

On Yom Chesed, families who have pre-registered for the Cradles to Crayons project will travel to the organization's headquarters to sort and pack items for needy children.

Calendar PDF Online

The 2015-16 academic calendar is available in PDF form for easy printing. Please click here to access it.


Absences and Tardy Notifications

We wish that none of our students ever felt ill -- we'd love to have 100% attendance every day -- but we know that germs don't always listen to our desires!

However, we do need to know where our students are.
If your child needs to miss a day of school,
or will be tardy or leave early, please be certain to inform Sharona Vedol in the Middle School office
by email:

Please note:
We will not be using the absence hotline this year!
All absence notifications must come in via email. 
We ask that you e-mail the office for safety reasons -- it allows for far more efficient accounting of student absences.

Parent and Student Handbooks Online
This year's Parent-Student Handbooks are all linked to the Maimo website and are password-protected.  

Username: maimoparents 
Password: horim

You can find the handbooks online in two places:

(1) All handbooks are linked to the "Getting Ready for School page.

(2) The handbooks are also linked to each division's section under the "For Parents and Students" menu: 

On behalf of the entire Middle School:
We'll see you next week for a full week of school!
Shabbat Shalom!

Brian Cohen

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