Thursday, April 02, 2020

בֹּאוּ שְׁעָרָיו, בְּתוֹדָה, Entering His gates with thankfulness

On January 24, SAR Academy had its first Gratitude Experiential Day! As the theme of the year emerges and students focus on gratitude in monthly lessons shared in their classes, consider various facets of gratitude and how it can be expressed and participate in a monthly call to action, faculty has noticed a shift in students’ awareness about expressing gratitude. To continue developing this, faculty built a day toward experientially immersing students in gratitude. Philosopher, psychologist, educational reformer, John Dewey said, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

Early Learning Center (ELC) students baked and delivered cookies to community helpers in the school and participated in an interactive gratitude-based musical experience with Carla Friend, the founder of Tkiya. First graders joined as well, along with participating in other activities. Workshops throughout the day included working with the art team—Adiella Shem Tov, Renata Cohen and Noel Gussen—to design gratitiles, Chagall-style, on acetate that will be assembled into stained glass panels; Discover and Design: A Mind-Body Challenge Toward Building Gratitude with the phys ed team, Jenny Horowitz, Ken Gleason, Merav Munk and Dana Vasil; Gratitude Attitude Live! recording session with Music Director David Glazer; Open Shaarav B’Todah STEM Style with STEM educators Ayelet Feinberg, Chaya Fine, Rivka Heisler, Cynthia Kollander, Talya Laufer and Chaim Sandler; meeting author/word collage artist Michael Albert to begin a gratitude word collage; and six-word memoirs with middle school teacher Becca Glassberg. Fifth graders and middle school students also heard author/journalist AJ Jacobs speak about his new book, “Thanks a Thousand,” about his year-long journey discovering who he needed to thank for his morning cup of coffee.

Each class from ELC through eighth grade, along with their teachers, were intent during the call to action, held in tents throughout the atrium. Students wrote notes of gratitude to the kitchen and maintenance staff and others in the community, in English or Hebrew. It was a reminder that much goes on behind the scenes to make things pleasant and good for their benefit. It was an opportunity to say thank you to those who do so much for them and to let them know they are seen and appreciated.

Throughout the day, students and faculty built meaningful experiences that will no doubt remain with students as a touchstone of how to align themselves in living gratefully.

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