April 12

Grade 7: Pirkei Avot Playlist (Due: Friday, May 20)

We have spent the last few weeks analyzing the second chapter of Pirkei Avot. As we study these texts, it is important to think about personal connections that you can create. Additionally, I encourage you to take notes, look up unfamiliar terms, and experiment with decoding the Hebrew prior to jumping into the English.

Think about the following:

  • What lesson does this Mishnah teach me?
  • What personal connection can I relate to this text?
  • How can I use this information to make me a better person?

Pirkei Avot Playlist Assignment

This assignment asks students to read and analyze the verses in the second chapter of Pirkei Avot. After you have read and analyzed the text, students are asked to create a playlist of five songs. I have provided additional sources along with a link to the Illustrated Pirkei Avot (Cartoon) text in the links below.

Important Dates:

  • Read and select five verses by April 29, 2022 (let Mr. Wash know which verses you have selected)
  • Check-in #1 with Mr. Wash on Friday, May 6, 2022
  • Check-in #2 with Mr. Wash on Monday, May 16, 2022
  • Assignment due (posted on the blog) by Friday, May 20, 2022


Please click the links below to access the Google Docs for this assignment:

Pirkei Avot Playlist Instructions

Pirkei Avot Playlist Graphic Organizer

Pirkei Avot Playlist Rubric

Illustrated Pirkei Avot Ch. 2 (Cartoon Interpretation)

  • Create a playlist of 5 songs that are each related to a specific Pirkei Avot Chapter 2 verse
    1. You must choose 5 different verses; one for each song on your playlist. (There are 16 verses in Ch. 2)
    2. Decide how you will connect each verse to your song 
      1. Here are a few different ways you could create a connection:
          • The lesson/meaning
          • The way the song makes you feel 
          • The lyrics themselves
      2. You do not have to create your connection to the entire verse…your song may only connect to one part of that verse (which is okay!)
    3. Write 5-10 sentences explaining the connection between your song and the verse you choose
      1. Use these questions to guide your writing:
        1. What does the verse mean? What is the verse about?
        2. What is the song about?
        3. How does this song connect to the verse?
          • Remember that the connection does not mean the words are the same 


Day 1
  1. Read the instructions. If you have any questions, write them down and email Mr. Wash
  2. Spend 30 minutes reading and interpreting Verses 1-5
    1. Jot down any ideas, lessons, meanings that you could connect to in your Pirkei Avot Playlist Planner Doc next to each verse 
  3. Take a 10-minute break and listen to some of your favourite songs for inspiration
Day 2
  1. Spend 30 minutes reading and interpreting Verses 6-10
    1. Jot down any ideas, lessons, meanings that you could connect to in your Pirkei Avot Playlist Planner Doc next to each verse 
  2. Take a 10-minute break and listen to some of your favourite songs for inspiration
  3. Begin writing your explanations as you match a song to a particular verse
Day 3
  1. Spend 30 minutes reading and interpreting Verses 11-16
    1. Jot down any ideas, lessons, meanings that you could connect to in your Pirkei Avot Playlist Planner Doc next to each verse 
  2. Take a 10-minute break and listen to some of your favourite songs for inspiration
  3. Continue writing your explanations as you match a song to a particular verse
Day 4
  1. Spend 20 minutes reviewing your notes
  2. Focus your time and energy on creating your connections and developing your playlist


April 1

Grades 6-8: Mitzvah Trip #2 JFS Food Packaging

On Monday, April 4th, 2022 we will be creating Passover care packages for senior citizens. We will be partnering with Jewish Family Services (JFS) to help them create care packages for elderly members of our community. Many of these members of our community are isolated and are unable to celebrate the holiday with their family members. These care packages will allow them to celebrate the holiday.

Today students learned about the Jewish value:

Kibud Zekaynim

כבוד זקנים

Judaism teaches us that we must “honour our elders”. Paying respect to senior citizens is essential. It is important to learn from those who have come before us. We value the wisdom of past generations. We will be spending time analyzing and discussing this essential Jewish value. 

Mitzah Trip #2 Slideshow


March 16

Grade 7: Pirkei Avot Ch. 1 Personal Analysis

We have begun discussing and analyzing Ch.1 of Pirkei Avot. We will continue to break down this text as our cohort works on developing coherent interpretations and supporting their ideas. Students are being asked to review the 18 verses and select the two verses that they feel are most important. This activity requires students to synthesize information and create personal connections with historic Jewish texts.

Task Breakdown:

Step 1: Each student will read Pirkei Avot Chapter 1 individually

Step 2: Decide which two verses (lessons) you believe are most important

Step 3: Write two paragraphs (one per verse) explaining their importance and the lesson that you learned from contemplating these texts

  • What does the text say?
  • Why is this text important?
  • What lesson can we learn from this text?

Step 4: Share your Google Doc with Mr. Wash

March 8

Grade 7: Introduction to Pirkei Avot

This week the students will be diving into the first chapter of Pirkei Avot. We reviewed the benefits of annotating the text as we read. Additionally, students were encouraged to read and analyze both the Hebrew and English text. As we came across unfamiliar terms, students looked up words in an attempt to uncover their meaning and better understand each lesson. We discussed the value of developing our own interpretations of each text. Students are being asked to create connections between these texts and their own lives. Each student has received a source packet that contains the verses in both Hebrew and English. We have also been using The Illustrated Pirkei Avot as an additional resource. Our sessions thus far have led to fantastic questions and interpretations.

Assignment 1: Ch.1 Illustrated Pirkei Avot Analysis

Click here to access our classroom notes:

Pirkei Avot Google Slides

Pirkei Avot Ch. 1 (Hebrew and English)

The Illustrated Pirkei Avot Cartoons

Sefaria Pirkei Avot Explanations

January 30

Grade 7: Interpersonal Mitzvot Video Project

Students are being tasked with diving deeper into one of the mitzvot we have studied in class. This is a fantastic opportunity to head down to the Makerspace and use the green room for video recording.

Interpersonal Mitzvot Project (instructions, organizer, rubric)

Peer and Self Evaluation Form

 Each group will create a video presentation that explains:

  1. Where is the mitzvah and the connection to Judaism explained? (Torah? Mishnah?)
  2. The meaning/significance of the mitzvah 
    • What does the mitzvah mean?
    • Why is it important to Jewish life?
    • Can this mitzvah be interpreted/performed in more than one way?
  1. What have Jewish commentators said about your mitzvah? 
    • Utilize Sefaria to find various commentaries on your mitzvah
  1.   How does this mitzvah connect to your life and modern everyday situations? 
  2.   Why do you believe this mitzvah is important?



  • Research your mitzvah to uncover various interpretations and applications
  • Answer all of the questions above
  • Each person in your group must speak at least once in the video
  • This video will also include a skit/visual representation of the lesson learned
  • Minimum of three minutes long (maximum of eight minutes)


Due Dates:

Monday (2/7)-Group check-in #1

Wednesday (2/9)-Group graphic organizer complete

Monday (2/14)- Script complete

Wednesday (2/16)-Group check-in #2

Friday (3/4)- Final project submitted to Mr. Washerstein

January 25

Grades 6-8: International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Thursday, January 27th)

This week the middle school students will be focusing on the Holocaust. Although we typically commemorate the Holocaust on Yom HaShoah, we will also be participating in a variety of Holocaust-related discussions and learning opportunities this week. International Holocaust Remembrance Day was is commemorated on January 27th, as this the date that Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet Forces.

On Thursday, students will be taking a virtual tour of the Los Angeles Holocaust Museum. We will learn about the Holocaust and have the opportunity to view some of the exhibits via Zoom. 

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Additionally, students will be participating in the #WeRemember campaign in conjunction with the Jewish Federation of Ottawa.

I have put together a small slideshow with a variety of resources and videos that correspond with International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This is a live document that will be continually updated with resources, videos, and activities.

What Do We Remember on Holocaust Remembrance Day?

December 14

Grade 7: Mitzvah Project (Educating Our Community About Suicide and Depression)

Each year the Grade 7 class chooses a Mitzvah Project to work on. The purpose of this project is to incorporate our Jewish values and interpersonal mitzvot into our everyday lives. The Grade 7 class has decided to learn more about suicide and depression as the focus for their Mitzvah Project. They want to help those who are suffering from suicidal thoughts and families that have been impacted by suicide. They have been brainstorming a variety of activities and fundraisers that could help raise awareness and support those in need. We have reached out to a few organizations in Ottawa that we would like to partner with.

Creating an infographic

Why use an infographic?

  • Catches the interest of the viewer
  • Outlines many facts in a compact space
  • Conveys data quickly using images
  • Informs without lots of written information
  • Engages the viewer to think about the topic, because they must explore each part
  • Makes a complex issue easy to understand

Love, Christa. “What Is an Infographic?” TechnoKids Blog, 17 Feb. 2021, https://www.technokids.com/blog/technology-integration/what-is-an-infographic/. 



Students will work with one partner to research and create a Canva infographic to educate students and families about suicide and depression. The goal of these infographics should be to raise awareness regarding these topics. 

  • Please include facts and statistics (from reputable sources) to demonstrate the relevance and seriousness of this cause
  • Feel free to add phone numbers/hyperlink websites that someone in the Ottawa area could access if they need help
  • Choose appropriate images/color scheme for this infographic (nothing too flashy)


Here are some FAQs about suicide/depression that you might want to address:

  1. Who is at risk for suicide?
  2. What are the warning signs of suicide?
  3. What organizations exist in Ottawa to help support someone suffering from suicidal thoughts/depression?
  4. What should someone do if one of their friends or family members is in crisis?
  5. What should someone do if they see a suicidal post on social media?
Relevant organizations:




November 25

Grades 6-8: Hanukkah Guided Reading Assignment (Due: Friday 12/3)

The time to light the Hanukiah approaches! Over the course of the next few days, middle school students will dive deeper into some of the various traditions associated with Hanukkah. Students will read and analyze a few different texts and complete the corresponding comprehension questions.

Philadelphia Eagles Menorah

Please remember to answer the questions in complete sentences. 


Click the link below to access the assignment:

Hanukkah Guided Reading Assignment


November 24

Grades 6-8: The Festival of Lights is Near!

Next week launches the fun of (C)Han(n)uk(k)a(h)….no matter how you spell it!

We have a full week of celebrations, and can’t wait to participate in some with our whole community! Please take a look at the posters below to see how you can add to our festivities.


Thompson, Melissa. “You Say Chanukah, I Say Hanukkah.” OJCS Language Arts, Edublogs, 23 Nov. 2021, https://ojcsenglish.edublogs.org/2021/11/23/grades-6-8-you-say-chanukah-i-say-hanukkah/.

November 4

Grade 7: Lashon Hara Source Analysis (Due: Thursday, November 11th)

Today students will be discussing, analyzing, and determining the significance of the concept of Lashon Hara. As we dive deeper into our discussion of interpersonal mitzvot, students will be asked to create connections between these lessons and their own lives.

Lashon Hara Analysis

Students will also be practicing the following comprehension skills:

  • Previewing questions prior to reading
  • Highlighting keywords/phrases
  • Looking up unfamiliar vocabulary terms
  • Taking notes/jotting down ideas while reading (annotation)
  • Answering questions in complete sentences (referencing the text)