RELIGIOUS SCHOOL NEWS – SEPTEMBER 2020

New School Year Welcome Letter
To access the links to Religious School Google Classrooms, Click Here

Dear Parents,

Welcome to the new academic year at Temple Emanuel. We have worked hard to adapt our program so that it protects your child’s health and the health of our staff. There are few moral principles in Judaism that are more important than the command to guard your health – ונשמרתם מאוד את נפשתכם (Deuteronomy 4:15)

To achieve this imperative, the religious school will combine live (synchronous) online meetings and self-paced (asynchronous) home activities during the fall semester. After winter break, if circumstances permit, we will shift to a hybrid program of socially distanced, in-person classes alternating weekly with online classes.

Our top priority is building community
We recognize the challenges your family faces. With MCPS meeting online this semester, it might seem overwhelming that religious school on Sundays and Tuesday afternoons will also be online. Let me assure you that our highest priority is for your children to feel a sense of community. We want them to maintain ties with their Jewish friends and have fun.

To manage the digital experience, the Religious School has enrolled in G Suite for Education, which is Google’s array of educational tools. At the heart of G Suite is Google Classroom, a learning management system (LMS) that enables teachers to post activities and communicate with students and parents. Google classroom is intuitive and easy to navigate—in fact, your children might already be using it in public school or have used last spring.

How will my child be assigned to a Google Class?
Your child’s religious school teacher will send you a link to join a Google Classroom. Click on the link; if you have a Google account, you’ll automatically be enrolled in the classroom. If you do not have a Google account, you will be prompted to create one. You will also be given an opportunity to create a Gmail account. If you prefer to create the Google account using your current email address, you have that option. Simply click “Use my current email address instead.” After the system verifies your identity, you’ll be enrolled in the classroom.

Third through seventh grade students will receive separate invitations from their Sunday morning Judaics teacher and their midweek or Sunday afternoon Hebrew teacher. Upper school students will receive an invitation from their Upper School teacher. Class assignments are at the end of this email.

  • A video tutorial on how to join a class is available – click here.

Where do I find the Google Class on my child’s computer?
Once you’ve joined the Google Class, a class home page is automatically created for your child. There are two ways to access this home page:

  1. Chrome is the recommended Internet browser for Google Classroom. If you’re using Chrome, click the “waffle” icon – the nine squares in the upper right-hand corner of the page. A window will drop down with an array of Google Apps. (See the graphic below).

  Click on the Classroom icon (see the red arrow). A page will open displaying your Google Classroom(s). An example is below.

  1. If you do not use the Chrome browser, open an Internet tab and go to classroom.google.com to find your Google Classroom(s).

Where do classes meet online on Sundays and Tuesdays?
Classes will use Google Meet for live (synchronous) meetings. We’re working with Google to arrange for the Google Meet links to be visible on your child’s Google Classroom banner. (See below)  Until Google grants our request, however, classroom teachers will distribute links weekly through the Announcement feature in the Google Classroom.

Occasionally, the religious school will have a school-wide assembly. On those days, we will meet on Zoom, and a special link will be distributed to your children via the Announcement feature in their Google Classroom.

What technology will my child need to join the live online classes?
A laptop with the Chrome browser and a good Internet connection is best. If your child uses an iPad or other mobile tablet, click here for instructions on downloading the Google Classroom App.

In addition to having a device to access the Internet, students will benefit from having a few items at their side during the virtual classes.  Each classroom teacher (K-6th grades) has created a materials packet for their students to use during online classes. Materials will vary from grade to grade, but items might include a pencil, notebook, 3 X 5 cards, and/or markers/scissors. Parents are invited to pick-up their child’s materials packet from the synagogue lobby beginning Thursday, September 3rd and continuing through Friday, September 11th – (No pickups on Shabbat or Sunday.) Plan your visit between 9:30AM—11:30AM and 2:00PM—4:00PM. Packets will be labeled with your child’s name and organized by grade level.

What if we have technology problems on Sunday or Tuesday?
We have created a tech assistance team of teen madrichim. If your child has problems logging into their Google Meeting room on Sundays, text (or phone) the madrich/ah assigned to your child’s grade level:

GRADESTECH CONTACT ON SUNDAYS
K-1240-499-5184
2-3301-602-6108
4-5301-802-4821
6-7301-502-5484

Do not email the classroom teacher or the religious school office on Sundays if you have problems.
If you have technical problems on Tuesdays, please email Kathy Magenheim at kmagenheim@templeemanuelmd.org

How are you supplementing my child’s religious education during the COVID crisis?
Sunday online classes have been shortened. Kindergarten through second graders will meet for 45 minutes, and third through seventh graders will meet for 75 minutes. To supplement the Sunday morning program, each teacher will post weekly family enrichment activities in their Google Classroom. An email announcement will notify families when a new activity is uploaded. These activities will be engaging and fun and we encourage all students to participate.

Community Forum
To answer any last-minute questions about the religious school program, we’ve scheduled a community forum on Thursday, September 10th at 7:00pm. To register, click here. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions before the forum.

Religious School Calendar can be found here.

 

Shana tova tikatevu,
Rabbi Mark

Rabbi Mark H. Levine
Director of Congregational Learning