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February: Shevat-Adar 2013 ISSUE 18

February is Literacy Month At Mazel Day School !!! It is a well-known fact that when there were no televisions or computers, reading was a primary leisure activity. People would spend hours reading books and travel to lands far away-in their minds. With time, many people have lost their skill and passion to read. This is unfortunate, as reading offers a productive approach to improving vocabulary and word power. Children who love reading have comparatively higher IQs. They are more creative and do better in school and college! Reading is said to significantly help in developing vocabulary, and reading aloud helps to build a strong emotional bond between parents and children. The children who start reading from an early age are observed to have good language skills, and they grasp the variances in phonics much better. Furthermore, reading helps in mental development and is known to stimulate the muscles of the eyes. Reading is an activity that involves greater levels of concentration and adds to the conversational skills of the reader. The benefits of reading are endless! Please join Mazel Parents Association and your child’s teachers in participating in Literacy Month this February! We have many exciting activities and events planned - all aimed at increasing your child’s love of reading! Mazel Parent Page Executive Committee Mazel Parent Association

Upcoming Events Feb 15 President’s Day Weekend - School Closed Feb 18 President’s Day- School Closed Feb 24 Purim Community Festival *please check page 9 for Literacy Month Events

In This Issue Family Fun: Weekend Picks


Parent Talk: Parent Interview


Humor: The Do’s and Don’ts of the Train Platform.


Book Selections of the Month


Teacher Talk: Teacher Interview


It Worked for Me: Crafts & Some Tricks


Parent’s Picks: Reading List For Kids & Parents


Help! Modern Parenting


Mazel Today: February Literacy Month


Pictures: Chanukah Celebrations


Mazel Tomorrow: Are Smart Boards A Smart Choice?


Thank You


PARENTING BOOK OF THE MONTH (CENTERFOLD): The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children, by Wendy Mogel In a world where material abundance abounds, parents want so badly to raise self-disciplined, appreciative, and resourceful children who are not spoiled by the plentitude around them. But how to accomplish this feat? The answer has eluded the best-intentioned mothers and fathers who overprotect, overindulge, and over schedule their children’s lives. Dr. Mogel helps parents learn how to turn their children’s worst traits into their greatest attributes. Starting with stories of everyday parenting problems and examining them through the lens of the Torah, the Talmud, and important Jewish teachings, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee shows parents how to teach children to honor their parents and to respect others, escape the danger of overvaluing children’s need for self-expression so that their kids don’t become “little attorneys,” accept that their children are both ordinary and unique, and treasure the power and holiness of the present moment. It is Mogel’s singular achievement that she makes these teachings relevant for any era and any household of any faith. A unique parenting book, designed for use both in the home and in parenting classes, with an on-line teaching guide to help facilitate its use, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee is both inspiring and effective in the day-to-day challenge of raising self-reliant children.

Family Fun WEEKEND PICKS The Museum of Mathematics • 11 East 26th St., Manhattan • $15 adults, $9 children over 2 • The newest addition to the NYC’s museum scene and the only museum of its kind in the nation, The Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) offers hours of stimulating play for school-age children, who can grasp basic mathematical concepts. The museum aims to get its visitors excited about math through engaging hands-on attractions, presenting math concepts in unexpected ways. The String Product, a sculpture with movable strings that shows the product of various multiplication problems, The Tracks of Gallileo, where you can race cars down different downhill angles, and the Mathenaseum sculpture studio, where kids can create virtual 3D designs and print them out on a 3D printer, are just some of its 30 interactive experiences.

Chocolate Works • 641 Amsterdam Ave at 91st St., Manhattan • • 212.799.3630 Chocolate Works sells an assortment of delicious handmade chocolate, truffles and specialty treats, all kosher under the supervision of Rabbi A. Marmorstein. However, the real treat they offer is the opportunity for kids to use chocolate as a creative medium at their educational and entertaining hour-long workshops. Children select a mold, fill it with chocolate, and decorate it to their own taste. Contact them directly for the workshop prices, schedule and spots availability.

Brooklyn Robot Foundry • 303 3rd Avenue (Between 1st Street and Carroll) • • 347.762.6840 This unique place offers robot-building drop-off classes for kids as young as 4 years old. The classes introduce children to mechanical engineering and electrical principles while boosting their ingenuity. Choose from their current selection of 8 classes, some of which involve building a robot from scratch (with or without soldering). The classes are not inexpensive (ranging from $60 to $90), but they include all materials and tools, as well as step-by-step guidance, and kids get to keep the robots they built. As a lower-cost option consider bringing your child for one of their open play sessions (currently on weekends’ mornings, but check on their website for any changes), which are offered for 5-to-9-year-olds at $15/hr. At open play kids build obstacle courses for robots, craft robots out of clay and found objects, create giant Lego structures, and enjoy various other activities (no robot to bring home though).

B y Elina Rokhkind The New Victory Theater

• 209 West 42nd St. between 7th and 8th Ave, Manhattan • Tickets $14-$38 • The New Victory Theater has been bringing “kids to the arts, and the arts to kids” since 1995. The show offerings for February are The Mark of Zorro for the 7+ crowd, and Grug (at the New 42nd Street Studios) for the 2 to 5 age group. The Mark of Zorro is a captivating fast-paced rendition of the classic adventure, complete with the swordplay. Grug is an inventive puppet performance about a cute haystack with creative problem-solving skills. Check the Theater website for show times and tickets.

Rusk’s Institute Glass Gardens • 400 East 34th St., Manhattan • Mo-Fr 8am-6pm, Su noon-6 pm • FREE These almost secret conservatory gardens tucked away at NYU Medical Center’s Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine are a welcome respite from winter cold, complete with koi pond, tropical birds, and a sand pit for kids. Designed for therapeutic purposes (and thus featuring wide stroller-friendly paths), they are also open to the public. Regrettably, the Gardens (and the entire Rusk Institute) are scheduled to be demolished in March 2013, so visit soon if you want to enjoy this beautiful conservatory before it’s gone.

Sundays at the Guggenheim • 400 East 34th St., Manhattan • Mo-Fr 8am-6pm, Su noon-6 pm • FREE

Little art-lovers enjoy special Sunday programming at the Guggenheim Museum. Every Sunday museum educators lead creative, interactive projects exploring exhibition highlights, geared for families with children from 3 to 10. Families with children from 5 to 14 can also drop in to their Studio Art Lab (also open from 1 to 4 pm) for a hands-on exploration of select ideas and techniques on display at Picasso’s Black and White exhibition and bring home their own drawn or painted black-and-white creation. In addition, consult the museum’s website for special family tours and workshops offered on an occasional basis.


Parent Talk PA RENT I NTE RVIE W Interview with Boris Mekinulov Boris Mekinulov was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and completed nursing college there before coming to the U.S. in 1991. He received his B.S. degree in Chemistry in Brooklyn College and proceeded to New York University School of Medicine. Choosing psychiatry as his specialty, he completed residency at Beth Israel Medical Center and has been working there ever since. Currently he works as the director of psychiatric emergency service there. Boris’s wife Alla is also a psychiatrist and a Mazel Day School Parents Association member. They have two daughters: Rose, currently in Mazel’s third grade and Diana who is attending daycare

By Alla Barsky Q. How did you initially discover Mazel Day School? A. My daughter Rose was attending Kingsbay Y swimming class with two boys who were attending Mazel Day School. So their father and I chatted while watching the kids swim and he mentioned Mazel to me. It sounded great and we decided to check it out. We were both very impressed with a lot of things – the small class sizes, the quality of teaching, and the obvious love the teachers felt for both their students and their work with them. The rest is history. Q. What do you think about it now? A. I think we made a great choice. The school is small which allows lots of individual attention for Rose. The school is co-ed and maintains an attractive philosophy in that they meet families “where they are” in terms of religious observance. The teachers are very involved, know the kids well and always keep lines of communications open. The school is also very strong academically; my wife and I are repeatedly impressed by how strong as we talk with friends, whose children attend public schools, even highly regarded ones. We are also very happy with the enrichment classes, including Art, Russian, and Music. They are of a quality that appears to be simply unmatched by any local public schools and seem to be at the level of the best citywide schools. Overall, it is a wonderful environment for our child.

Q. How did you decide on your profession? A. I was always fascinated by the human mind, both normal and abnormal and took many psychology classes in college (although my major was chemistry). By the time I entered medical school I already had a firm idea that I want to become a psychiatrist. Once I completed my psychiatry clerkship, I knew this was for me.


Q. Did you ever want to be anything else? A. Well, all my friends (with whom I am still very close) in college were computer programmers so I toyed with that idea a little but I didn’t think I has enough of a “math brain” to do it.

2. What ideas do you have for making reading a fun and exciting part of your family life?

Q. How do you balance working and spending time with family? A. I specifically chose my current job in psychiatric emergency room for that very reason. Although the job is very stressful and occasionally dangerous, I only have to work three 12-hour shifts a week. My wife works the same three days a week as well so always have 4-day weekends to spend together! Q. What do you like to do in your spare time? A. I like to travel or go for long drives. When I am at home, computer games take much of my time. My wife would probably have more to say about that! Q. What do you like to read? A. It is hard to pinpoint one favorite book or author. One of the things I do on the subway to kill time is to reread all the books I’ve read in Russian translation as a child in their original English. Right now, I am reading what is considered one of the first classic “detective” novels – Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone

What do you do? What do you think? 1. What are the ways in which you encourage your children to love reading books?

3. Do your children own their own books, or do you borrow from the library/ friends? 4. What challenges do you find yourself and your family facing in trying to encourage reading at home?   5. How much time do you personally spend reading each day/week? Is it job related, pleasure or both?  What do you read? Books/magazines/ newspaper/ electronic listings?    6. Is reading still important in the video/media age?  7. Do we need print if we have the internet/digital references? 8. Do children need to know their way around the library or do they need to be taught how to search the web?  9. Are children “over-connected” by having 24 hour access to internet, cell phones, text messaging or is this necessary to stay current?

Humor T H E DO ’ S A ND D O N ’ TS O F THE TRA I N PL ATFOR M . Okay, I know what most of you are thinking: Who cares about the train platform?  The real action is on the train.  Scrambling for a seat, pretending not to notice panhandlers, and of course the ever uncomfortable staring matches, these are the real spirit of the subway experience.  While to an amateur rider this might seem true, the real pros beginning with preparation, and preparation starts on the train platform. Pick your battles – Those of you who are even a least bit proficient in the train game will know the exact place on the platform where the train opens its doors.  Standing in this spot naturally puts you in prime rushing position inside the train and at an advantage of getting a seat.  Ahh if only life was that simple.  Obviously anybody who is anybody already knows where the doors will open and will dive through the doors at the same time as you eliminating any advantage you might have.  What to do? There is no easy or moral solution to this dilemma.  The only thing to do is to pick your battles and fight them dirty.  The smart thing to do is to stand next to a mother with several small kids.  Children, as you probably know from experience, are notoriously slow runners and a mother will likely not want to risk leaving any behind even for a chance of securing a seat.  Her lose is your gain as you hop over the little tykes and gallop through the train car to vacant seat. Safety first – Since the MTA is implementing widespread service cuts, one can no longer rely on a police officer to be there when a robber is sticking you up for money.  One solution is to follow the Transit Authority’s advice and travel in groups.  I can only assume the logic there is to play the odds since being part of a large group the chances of you being singled out for attack decreases with every additional

By Gennady Favel

group member.  In a group of five the odds of you getting jacked are 1/5, the math is easy enough Just Say “No”….to charity – You are standing on the platform throwing nickels at the rats on the track, when out of the corner of your eye you spot none other than Joe-Shopping-Cart pushing his worldly possession down the platform while harassing people for change.  As you think to yourself that some people always want something for nothing your mind races for a plan of action.  You try to dive behind one of the platform columns but find that a midget has already occupied that hiding spot and you are left out in the open and vulnerable.  The jig is up.  Joe spots you and your fistful of nickels and like a coin seeking missile he is heading right for you.  The key thing is not to panic.  As any magician will tell you the most important part of any coin trick is misdirection and preparation.  Slowly place the hand with the nickels into your coat pockets while the other hand reaches for your wallet.  Excited by the prospect of paper money Joe will all but forget about the nickels.  As he extends his hand you open your wallet revealing that there is nothing inside.  The whole thing goes off without a snag leaving you fifteen cents richer and old Joe in search of another sucker.

Book Selections of the Month

ByByIlona IlonaDektor Dektor


This book is an “oldie but goodie”. A collection of imaginative and outrageously funny poems and drawings is sure to capture a readers interest and inspire even the youngest poet. Children of all ages, will enjoy reading these well crafted poems that portray both ludicrous and poignant messages.


Teacher Talk T EACHER INTE RVIE W Interview with Morah Rikal Block Morah Rikal grew up in San Antonio, Texas where her father is the Chabad Rabbi. After completing High School she attended Beit Chana Teachers Seminary in Safed, Israel and received a teaching certificate from a Hebrewimmersion program there. She has three years of experience teaching Judaic Studies, both in her hometown, of San Antonio, Texas, and in Brooklyn. While teaching in Texas, Rikal also contributed her talents and enthusiasm to enhance the school spirit by organizing Judaic programs and developing curriculum. Morah Rikal is now a Mazel Day School teacher, teaching Judaic studies in Grades 3 and 4. As part of furthering her professional development, she has recently begun working on her Masters Degree in Education. Q. What originally drew you to teaching? A. As a child in San Antonio, I attended a Jewish Day School, much like Mazel and I loved it. My teachers as well as my parents who are both educators by profession and in character inspired in me a love of education. When I was in elementary school I dreamed of returning as a teacher when I would be a ‘grown-up’. When I started teaching I was actually able to fulfill my dream and teach in my old school for three years. I also had the good fortune of attending one of the pioneering classes of Tal Am when I was in first grade. I particularly remember my teacher, who combined learning and music and played the accordion to accompany the many Hebrew songs and jingles that we learned. I truly believe that this program formed a strong foundation for my knowledge and appreciation of the Hebrew language and I now enjoy implementing it in my classroom. Q. How did you find Mazel? A. When I was moving to New York from Texas and was looking for a teaching position. I saw an online ad for a Judaic Studies teacher at Mazel Day School, who is familiar with the Tal Am program. I was curious, as this seemed to be a perfect fit for me. I called Chani, came in for interview, saw the school, and immediately thought, “This is my school”. I found Mazel to be a very warm place, and I was impressed by how all the staff and administration care about the kids and how decisions are made based on what’s best for the children.

By Alla Barsky That is actually much less common than you would think! Having spent some time here, I feel that this school is like a family, where everyone supports each other. Q. What can you tell parents about the way Mazel Day School adjusted to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy? A. Well, from the very beginning, the attitude was, “How are we going to adapt and persevere?” The very first step was making clear to our children that Mazel is not limited to a building. The school is in us, the students and teachers; we can take it anywhere and continue learning. When we moved to the temporary location in Crown Heights, we did not even have books right away, since all our books and school supplies were destroyed. We didn’t even immediately have desks! And yet, there was a tremendous amount of learning that happened in Crown Heights. The subject of Hurricane Sandy itself was the focus of much of the learning; teachers discussed it with their students from various angles. Among other things, the lesson we tried to bring home was that things don’t matter as much as the life and safety of our loved ones. Q. What can you say about the new Mazel Day School location at Manhattan Beach Jewish Center? A. This location offers a lot of advantages over the old building. There is a lot more room and facilities are not as cramped as in the old building. Now that we are no longer in “crisis mode”, children are able to start settling down into new routines, which is very conducive to learning. Teachers are able to devote more energy to various kinds of professional development, as well as increasing the pace at which children learn. For example, in my classes, the children have begun compiling a collection of Hebrew root words, to which they can add new prefixes and suffixes. As they become familiar with more and more root words, the students are actually able to translate some of the verses in the Chumash on their own, without help! Q. How do you address the varying levels of Jewish religious observance in families of your students? A. The way I look at it is that everyone does the best they can. Our approach is to show our students the joy of Jewish observance, and show them what the experience can be like. After all, being Jewish is not something that depends on what you do. The approach to varying levels of observance at Mazel is, first and foremost, non-judgmental. Q. Do you have any advice for parents to help their children do well in school? A. Right now – I would say that it is extremely helpful to establish a routine, and maintain structure for the children. The children have been through many changes recently and they would benefit from having as much predictability in their lives as possible, whether it is by establishing a routine bedtime schedule, or by informing the children in advance of any planed changes in order to give them a chance to get used to them.


It Worked for Me CRAFTS & S OME TRICKS Heirloom Family Tree

Kitchen Tips and Tricks SOUP ALL WINTER During the season of stuffy noses, we’re constantly craving soup. Make a large batch of stock and freeze the leftovers in muffin tins. Some recipes require just a little stock, and the leftovers from a whole can won’t keep forever in the refrigerator. Freezing unused stock or a homemade batch in 1-cup muffin tins makes it easy to store in small amounts. Pop frozen portions out of tin; store them in resealable plastic bags labeled with the date (frozen stock keeps for about two months).

This project is a great way for kids to learn about previous generations. To create a beautiful heirloom family tree, just print out the templates. YOU’LL NEED: • Tree and label templates http://images. pdfs/2010Q4/msl_1110_familytrees_givingtree2.pdf • 30-by-40-inch watercolor paper, aceartsupplies. com • Craft knife • Cutting mat • Gold drawing ink • Fine-tip paintbrush (for glue, size 20) • Black fine-tip pen (for names, size 0, by Blick Master, • Paste HOW TO: Download tree and name tag templates. (The tags should be printed on artist’s paper; see Tools and Materials list, above.) Save tree template on a USB flash drive, and take to a copy center to print on a piece of watercolor paper. This poster fit a 22-by-30-inch frame, but you can print it on a single sheet of paper sized to fit your frame. Using craft knife, cut out name tags on mat. (Keep larger tags for recent names.) Paint edges with gold ink. When dry, write names and birth dates. Brush paste onto back of tags, and position on tree. (Use ruler to keep lines straight.

PEELING GINGER The next time you have a recipe that calls for fresh ginger, reach for a spoon. It removes the thin skin easily, even from the knotty areas. Hold the spoon, concave side facing you, and draw it toward you. Maneuver the spoon and ginger as necessary to get into all the crevices.

Crazy Beauty Tricks That Really Work OATMEAL Soothing and anti-inflammatory, oatmeal contains beta glucan, a soluble fiber that creates a thin, moisture-retaining film on the surface of the skin. Place a handful of whole oats in a clean washcloth and use a rubber band to secure it. Next, immerse it in a sinkful of warm water and squeeze the bag four or five times. Once the water is cloudy, splash it on your face and then air-dry. (If you must towel dry, pat as gently as possible.) AVOCADO OIL Avocado oil’s abundant fatty acids help balance skin’s moisture levels, and the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E protect skin from further damage. Combine equal parts avocado oil and evening-primrose oil (which supports collagen synthesis with its gamma linoleic acid) in a sealable bottle and shake to blend. Massage five or six drops into clean skin, and then cover your face with a warm washcloth for a minute to help the oils sink in.


Parent’s Picks By Anna Rakhlis WALNUTS


By Irina Rakhlis

Rich in oil, walnuts make for extragentle sloughing. Blend 1/4 cup shelled walnuts, 1/2 cup olive oil (for extra emollients), and a tablespoon of honey (to seal moisture into your skin) in a food processor set on a slow speed, creating a fine-particle scrub. Standing in the shower (if you’re scrubbing your feet) or over a sink (if it’s for your hands), work the mixture thoroughly over your skin for a couple of minutes. Rinse with warm water.

For my older daughter who is 10 years old , these are some of the books that I can recommend for kids her age:


• Mandy, Julie Andrews Edwards

The fruit acid loosens dead skin cells. Cut a fresh orange in half and squeeze the juice of one half into a bowl. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup olive oil and then blend into a moisture-rich scrub. Next, rub the exposed side of the other half of the orange over knees, elbows, heels, and any other dry spots. Last, rub in the sugar mixture to slough off dead skin. Rinse with warm water and pat skin dry.

• Scumble, Ingrid Law

MILK The lactic acid in milk serves as a gentle skin exfoliant, while its natural fat content acts as a body moisturizer. Add a gallon of whole milk to a tubful of warm water and soak. It’s a great alternative to sugar and salt scrubs, which may be too abrasive for people who suffer from eczema, psoriasis, or sensitive skin. If you prefer a fragranced bath, add 10 to 20 drops of an essential oil such as lavender.

• Little Women, Louisa M. Alcott • Wonderstruck, Selznick • Anne of the Green Gables, L.M. Montomery • Wildwood, Colin Meloy • Under Wildwood, Collin Meloy • The Wheel on the school, Meindert DeJong • The Phantom Tollbbooth, Norton Juster

• Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Robert C. O’brien • The View from Saturday, E.L. Konigsburg

Also below is my recommendations based on my 7 year old reading: • The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Basil, Willey Miller • The Enormous Crocodile, Ronald Dahl • Tikvah means Hope, Patricia Polacco • The Secret Shofar of Barcelona, Jacqueline Dember Greene • Emma’s Poem, Linda Glazer • Roxaboxen, Barbara Cooney • Miss Rumphius, Barbara Cooney • The Gardener, Sarah Stewart

By Irene Gabo For kids: • All books by Julia Donaldson. (They are all written in rhyme). such as Where is My Mother and The Grufallo. • Bob Books Set 1 and 2 on ipad or as a set for kids learning to read

EGGS Eggs’ high protein content helps improve hair’s resilience and luster. Whisk together 1 egg, 2 tablespoons coconut oil (rich in moisturizing fats), and 2 tablespoons sesame oil. Apply the mixture to dry hair and wrap a hot, moist towel around your head. Relax for five to 10 minutes. Without wetting hair first, work in a handful of shampoo, and then rinse and condition your hair.

For parents: • Read Aloud, Jim Trelease No household with children should be without a copy of The ReadAloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.—The Sacramento Bee

• Reading Magic, Mem Fox Two books for adults pay tribute to children’s books and to the artists and writers who create them. In Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever, bestselling picture book author Mem Fox extols the benefits of reading to preschoolers even newborns and gives suggestions for helping children learn to read by themselves. Line drawings by Judy Horacek inject some levity.— Publishers Weekly

Help! M O DERN PARE NTING Q: Do you have any tips as to how I can motivate my kids to read? I have a 4-year old and a 7-year old and I just can’t seem to get them interested. Chani: Getting our kids to”fall in love” with books can either come easy as pie or be an uphill battle – depending on the child. Some children naturally develop the skills and abilities that make literacy enjoyable, while for others “books are boring”. Good literacy skills are important not only because of how they impact our children’s learning and language, but even more so because of how they develop our children’s ability to think, to reflect and to empathize with others. Books enable us to think of ideas we hadn’t thought of before, to see situations from new perspectives and to understand another person’s point of view. It’s not coincidental that books are such an integral and in fact, sacred part of Jewish culture. Here are my top seven stress-free tips to help your child learn to enjoy reading: 1. Be a reading role-model: Children who grow up in homes where adults read for their own pleasure are more likely to be motivated to read as well. Think about how often your child sees you reading, and what types of texts they see you enjoy – magazines, newspapers, novels… Sharing interesting things you’ve read recently demonstrates to your child what it is that you take away from your reading experiences. 2. Be a good book matchmaker: We each have a particular “taste” when it comes to reading books. Usually, when a child is not motivated to read, it’s because they haven’t yet read a book that really caught their interest. Figuring out what types of books your child likes can be key in boosting their motivation. For example, some children prefer non-fiction books with interesting facts over fiction stories. Some children love to read books that tell about everyday life experiences that they can relate to, while others like fantasy books that capture their imagination. Sometimes there’s a particular subject that will catch your child’s attention. 3. Familiarize yourself with good children’s books: I will often read children’s books myself before offering them to a child. The joke in my house is: what kids’ book am I reading now? Becoming familiar with children’s books helps me in two ways: Firstly, I can better match a book to a child’s interests. Secondly, we often choose books based on a review we’ve read. This piques our interest and motivates us to read. Similarly, when I can tell a child what a particular book is about, and why I think it’s great, I find that this will often capture their attention. Online bookstores such as Borders or Barnes and Nobles have book lists of award-winning quality books divided by age groups.

By Chani Okonov 4. Offer variety: In your quest to find the “just right” book that will open up your child’s love for books, expose them to many different types of books, genres, and characters. To give yourself better access to a variety of books, get a library card and take out stacks and stacks of books (of course, thinking about your child’s interests). There will usually be something that your child will enjoy. 5. Read aloud until 120: A person is never too old to listen to a story read aloud, yet we often deny our elementary & teenage children this pleasure. Just because your child may already know how to read on their own, this does not mean that you should stop reading aloud to them. In fact, listening to text read aloud helps your child develop critical listening comprehension – a skill completely separate from written comprehension. So even if your child is not motivated to read independently, if you read to them aloud nightly, you are still developing their literacy. 6. Talk about reading: Book clubs are lots of fun because they give us the opportunity to share our thoughts about texts we’ve read. Talking about reading helps us develop our ideas and reflections. Some great conversation leads might be (depending on the age/maturity of your child): “My favorite part was when… What was yours?” or “I wonder why he did that… What do you think?” or “This book reminds me of when… What does it remind you of?” or “When we read this part, I got a picture in my head of what it looked like. I could almost see/smell/feel the…” 7. Make reading special: Reading should have positive associations for children. Sometimes, in our quest to “get our child to read” we place too much pressure on them, and they learn to hate reading instead. Make reading a cozy experience. Curl up on the couch with a book, and invite your child to cuddle up beside you with their own. Reading at bedtime is naturally a nurturing time. Books can also be made special when used as a special treat. For example, you can visit a book shop once in a while and allow your child to spend up to a certain dollar amount on books of his or her choice. On a final note, don’t feel the need to offer your child poor quality books that have cartoon or other commercial characters in an effort to get them reading. Your intent in giving your child books is much more than just to give them the opportunity to practice the mechanics of reading, but to develop good language and to open up their minds and hearts. Your creativity, thoughtfulness and dedication to finding a quality “just-right” book will pay off in the long run. Chani Okonov, Educational Director To comment on our Help! Column or propose a question for the next month, email us at


Mazel Today FEB RUARY L ITE RACY M O N T H Mazel Day School Annual Book Fair

finding vendors, getting the books, setting up, and for volunteering their time to manage the sale hours so that you can shop comfortably.


Looking forward to seeing everyone there, Chani Okonov Educational Director

Dear Mazel Parents, The children and teachers are very excited about this coming week’s Book Fair. There will be many Jewish and general titles of high quality for children - and even a few for parents - and even more titles coming in over the course of the week. You will be getting a note home today (which is also attached to this email) with the hours during which the fair will be open to parents. We intentionally chose hours that will accommodate parents’ schedules. Please stop by to shop and browse through books. Many of the titles are not available in standard book shops, so your time will be well worth it. Feel free to invite a friend, neighbor or relative to shop. In addition, each class will be visiting the fair with the teachers during school hours. This will give each child in the school the opportunity to look through books and to enjoy the experience of selecting a title for themselves. Owning their very own book is a wonderful experience for a child. For this reason your child’s teachers will be asking you to send in $10. If your child chooses a book that costs less, the change will be returned to you. For your convenience below are the details of the Book Sale: WHEN: February 3 - 14 HOURS: 4pm-6pm (except Fridays) WHERE: F.R.E.E. Shul, 2nd Flr. & Manhattan Beach Jewish Center 3rd Flr. P.S. Please take the time to extend a Thank You to the Parents Association members for coordinating this tremendous undertaking - from

Schedule Of Events “MAZEL’s Annual Book Fair” – on Sunday, February 3rd 4-6pm Mazel Parent Association will be hosting Mazel’s Annual Book Fair. The students will enjoy book readings, puppet show, arts and crafts, face painting and refreshments. Be sure to bring your kids to this fun-filled event and instill a love of reading in your child! “PARENT READ ALOUD” - parents will be able to sign up to visit their child’s class and read his/her favorite book to the class! (lower school) “FAVORITE BOOK BASH” - children will have the opportunity to read their favorite books to their class! (upper school) “MEET THE AUTHOR“- (week of 2/14) - children’s book Author Dina Rosenfeld will visit Mazel and share her passion for reading and writing books! “MAZEL BOOK SALE“ - (2/3-2/14) - Mazel will hold a week-long book sale featuring fantastic books for children of all ages that will make great additions to your home library! In addition to all this, the teachers of Mazel Day School have fun and exciting activities planned for the children - visiting the library, writing stories, and much, much more!!! To volunteer for Literacy Month, please email 9



Mazel Tomorrow AR E SMA RT BOAR DS A SM ART CH O ICE ? Take an hour to surf the internet, and you will quickly discover that the market is flooded with high tech systems and teaching/learning solutions that promise the ultimate classroom experience for both teachers and students.

By Ilona Dektor

are inspired to learn and explore. When a teacher writes his/her notes for a lecture or presentation on a Smart Board, the texts can be saved for later use. This means that if a student misses class, he/she can come back to copy them at any time, additionally, notes also can be made available online and accessed for review. The benefits of Smart Boards are great, and the possibilities are endless. Having this amazing system in Mazel Day School would facilitate a truly multifaceted, enriched, and unique learning experience. To learn more about Smart Boards, please visit

Perhaps, a cut above all the rest is the SMART Board interactive whiteboard system. This unique product offers the simplicity of a whiteboard with the power of a computer, the SMART Board interactive whiteboard lets you deliver dynamic lessons, write notes in digital ink and save your work – all with the simple touch of a finger. Students can use their fingers or a pen to write, draw and interact with content on the surface of the SMART Board interactive whiteboard, or multiple students working together can use the surface simultaneously. This means they can spend more time collaborating and less time waiting for their turn to work on the interactive surface. There are no special tools or menus required – students can simply walk up to the SMART Board interactive whiteboard and immediately begin working together. SMART products make it easy for teachers to bring the physical world into their classrooms and create lessons that are vibrant, interactive and easy to understand. The classroom becomes a place of inquiry, discovery and collaboration where students

The goal of MPA is to have a smart board in every classroom of elementary and junior high. The main campaign to raise money for smart boards will be on-line auction. Items that will be auctioned off will be everything from free classes for kids activities to gift certificates for restaurants, spas, and grocery stores. Participating in this auction is a win-win for businesses. To them it’s not only a way to help a non-for-profit and get a tax deduction, but also and most importantly, a way to advertise their business. The auction will be open on-line to a very large community and the business will have a chance to gain new customers. In the next month every parent will get a letter with next steps and more information. With the help of Mazel community we can bring technology into every classroom!


Thank You


Quality Russian-Jewish Private School

2901 - 2915 Brighton 6th St Brooklyn, NY 11235 Phone: 718-368-4490 E-mail: We’re on the web!

Thank You! A special note of appreciation to those parents who made gift donations to their child’s classroom in December and January:

the Kindergarten in honor of Emma’s birthday... Ashurov family for a set of interactive writing kits for Kindergarten in

Molokhser family for contributing a Shabbat play set to PreNursery 1... Roytbak family for giving a new color puzzle to PreNursery 1... Finker family for donating Magnatiles and a color sorting game to PreNursery 2 in honor of Daniella’s birthday... Simakhov family for gifting sensory alphabet games to Nursery 1 in honor of Inna’s birthday... Shafir family for purchasing a set of Clicks, block arches and a matching game for the PreK class in honor of Sammy’s birthday... Goldsteyn family for donating a number sorting set to Nursery 1 in honor of Tova Leah’s birthday... Yakubov family for lots of great new puzzles for PreK friends to enjoy in honor of Eli’s birthday... Gabo family for raising over $600 at Rachel’s birthday party to use for gifts for the Kindergarten class... Honore family for contributing new learning games to

honor of Elian’s birthday... Sky family for new math games for Kindergarten in honor of Sophie’s birthday... Permyak family for Hebrew sandpaper letters and other new ABC games for Kindergarten... Arama family for donating a set of biography books to the 2nd Grade classroom library in honor of Illan’s birthday... Ozeryanskiy family for gifting prizes for the 2nd Grade class... Levin family for new Middos books for the 2nd Grade. Whether you want to give a gift to your child’s class in honor of his/her birthday or just because... check out your class’s online wish list of carefully selected items that will be greatly appreciated and used by your child’s teachers. 12

Parent Page February 2013: Literacy Month  
Parent Page February 2013: Literacy Month  

It is a well-known fact that when there were no televisions or computers, reading was a primary leisure activity. People would spend hours r...