"When Kim Hays left TVT three years ago I wrote the following thank-you to be included in the program for the film festival he created. I stand by every word and want to add that his legacy is all the more enduring after his passing. He was a genius and a terrific friend. I missed him terribly when he left three years ago and all the more so with his premature passing. I often ask myself when approaching a lesson how Kim might have done it and if I come close to achieving that I know I’m on the right track. I have received phone calls and visits from stunned and mourning students from many years ago, and it is a testament to what a legendary teacher, filmmaker, and human being he was. I had a student say during a recent phone call that she never knew what a "twinkle-in-the-eye" meant until she met Kim. That twinkle, that spark of an idea, that enthusiasm is what life is all about and Kim had it, and shared it and taught it. Everyone who knew him loved him, and those who didn't get that chance missed something great. "
--Kevin Bachelder, Asst. Dir. of Innovation / US Music
In a recent Education Week Teacher article, author Starr Sackstein discusses praising efforts and work with comments such as: “I like this transition” or “I love this line in your essay.” Praise like this is well-intentioned and conveys warmth and approval, but Sackstein argues that it draws too much attention to what we feel rather than the content and it tends to make children reliant on our approval.
When we talk about “grit” and its power to propel achievement, our students, whose first language is not English, demonstrate the determination and drive to succeed daily. International students from France, Russia, Mexico, China, etc., attend their classes with vigor and the excitement to learn, even though English is not their first language.
Confidence is built with many small steps and a few courageous leaps. At TVT the Physical Education department is looking to make build each students confidence with each activity. Nothing shines a brighter light on the building of confidence among the student body more than our Rock Climbing unit.
The girl's middle school soccer team, coached by Mr. Adrian Rodriguez, improved a little every game and are looking forward to a better season next year in the Tri-way League. Shown in the picture are the girls after their game against Carden Hall.
On Wednesday, students studying the Vietnam War in Ms. Batley's class spent the afternoon touring Little Saigon (along with Ms. Quigley!) Students visited the largest Gao Dai temple outside of Vietnam, and were privileged to get a tour from members who took time to explain the faith and elements of the temple decoration.
TVT Lower School students made history last week! After all students in second through fifth grades competed for the top two spots in their homeroom classes to participate in the Spelling Bee, ten lucky contestants participated in two simultaneous competitions, one for second and third graders and another for fourth and fifth graders.
Auschwitz survivor Eva Schneider spoke to Ms. White’s Jewish Studies class on Monday, 4/1 about life during the Holocaust and after liberation. She customized her talk around the students, encouraging them to ask her specific questions about her experience. Schneider was just 11 years old in 1944 when she arrived at Auschwitz and was liberated from Mauthausen when she was 12. She and her parents survived hiding and the camps, which she attributed to timing, luck and having each other for support.
Helping your child find their sense of self is a critical part of developing an identity. As parents, we want to shield children from harm, but part of growing and developing strong, independent, confident children is the nurturing of each child’s sense of self. As a staff, we are reading The Price of Privilege to gain greater insight into how to support children in developing their sense of self.
On Sunday, March 31st, TVT held its first TEDx Conference. Nine students and three faculty presented TED talks on a variety of topics related to our theme “I Think Therefore I Can.” The event was a great success, the talks were very well received by the audience, and we hope to repeat the experience again next school year. Thank you to all in the community who supported the event.
For the past two weeks, Ms. Batley's Global Conflicts history class experienced in-depth learning about World War II. After extensive research in class, students were inspired by Dr. Cassie's gaming expertise to create role play, situational, and board games while in the US Design Studio.
We are so proud of our Absolutely Lions! They did a fantastic job during the battle of the book competition yesterday and came home with a second-place trophy, the first time in the history of Battle of the Books at TVT.
Please join me in congratulating our amazing fourth and fifth grade Battle of the Books (BOB) participants. Yesterday, they represented TVT incredibly well by winning second place in a regional competition. BOB students read twenty chapter books and had to know each book intimately—down to the last detail. We are so proud of you Lions!
On Wednesday night, students from the now infamous Costa Mesa Party met with a small TVT student team comprised of Beaue B. (9th grade), Hope H. (9th grade) and Noah L. (8th grade) to explore what Jewish law says about how we move on after we mess up.
Last Wednesday not only marked the first day of Spring but also the start of the Norooz, the Persian New Year. Third grade enjoyed exploring this cultural holiday by participating in many different events including painting eggs for the Haft-Seen table and jumping over "fires" to let go of anything from the past year.
TVT won big over St. Michael's Prep 17-2 on Tuesday.
They got on the board early when Jake T. drove in one when he singled. The team notched eight runs in the fifth inning. Max S., Cody G., Eli F., and Jared M. all moved runners across the plate with RBIs in the inning.
To get into the spirit of Purim, 3rd and 4th-grade Jewish Studies classes took a trip to the Makerspace this past week. After studying how Mordechai and Esther saved the Jewish people from the mean-spirited Haman, students picked their favorite character from the story and had the opportunity to engage with the character as “makers”.
Following recent local and international news of violence and intolerance, TVT students were inspired to organize a rally against hate! Facilitated by the ADL, the event featured student speakers and prominent voices from the community. Standing together and speaking up will ensure that TVT is no place for hate!
TVT defeated Fairmont Prep 12-7 in Tuesday's league game after being down 7-1. The game was tied 7-7 in the 8th inning when Max S. singled on a 1-1 count, scoring two runs.
Jacob G. got the win for TVT. He surrendered zero runs on two hits over six and two-thirds innings, striking out nine. TVT tallied 16 hits. Jake TM, Jacob G., Zane G., and Aidan F. each racked up multiple hits for TVT.
The Lions take on Fairmont Prep on 3/22 at 2:00 PM in another crucial league game.
Monday, March 18th | 6:30 - 7:30 PM | Upper School Student Union
Following the hate speech incident in Newport two weeks ago, an Upper School student group has been hard at work with ADL leadership and Rabbi Stuart Light planning a student-centered anti-hate rally. Please join us on Monday night, March 18th in the Upper School Student Union as we come together to learn more about the causes of hate speech and think about what we can do to make sure that hate speech is never normalized.
In February, Fourth Grade art students had a unique opportunity to learn the art and history of early California Impressionism and Plein Air Painting, through a collaboration with the nonprofit, the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA).
How does TVT respond to anti-semitism? Do we shy away from our identity? Or do we stay proud? Hevra, TVT's social action club, has an answer. Hevra has produced a video with students and teachers as a reaffirmation of our Jewish pride in the face of hate. Please watch and share!
Purim begins on Wednesday night. This is the best night of the year to go to a synagogue or temple or shul to hear the Megillah being read, to dress up and to eat Hamantashen. To take away all the barriers of school-night attendance, TVT has a late start for Purim day each year. This 8:45 late start also gives students who want to come in a bit early the opportunity to hear the ENTIRE Megillah read by Rabbi Light in the LS MPR at 8:00 AM.
On Friday, February 22nd, thirty-three 4th graders from our Lower School paid a visit to our 11th/12th grade AP Environmental Science class to learn about the environmental impact of gold mining in California. They were taught by our juniors and seniors, who also ran a tasty activity where the 4th graders had to dig for yellow jelly beans (gold) hidden within a cake (the earth).
Freshman Ethan S.'s poem, "The Voice," has won the 2nd place in Chapman University's 20th Annual Holocaust Arts and Writing Contest! This year's theme was Purposeful Telling: Through Memory to Action. His poem is based on Auschwitz survivor Paula Lebovics's testimony, courtesy of the USC Shoah Foundation. Ethan and Holocaust Studies teacher, Ms. Leslie White, will attend the awards ceremony at Chapman University on Friday, March 8th. Congratulations, Ethan!
I am your memories, Paula, a reflective recollection The surreal experience of a childhood that was stolen There is not a specific one that defines you, rather a collection You kept silent for so many years for fear of retribution But courage prevailed, you found the words to speak against the “final solution” That little girl’s voice that stood alone and proud Is now an orchestra, a deafening crowd We all sing out against hatred and oppression For if we don't seek love, it will be our nation's regression.
This week, Dr. McNellis’s 9th-grade college prep English classes dug deep into Romeo and Juliet by practicing stage design in the upper school Design Studio. Students worked together in groups to build models of sets for the famous balcony scene. They will be using their models to write detailed promptbooks, which will require them to think critically about the interactions between the (imaginary) actors, the space they’ve created, and Shakespeare’s text.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the senior Class of 2019 (well, almost all of it) performed William Shakespeare’s Hamlet for the TVT community. Working in groups, they had about 2 and a half weeks to cut the 5 acts of Othello down to about 15 minutes each; apply a concept to their act, like Cowboy Hamlet, Pirate Hamlet, or Gangster Hamlet, and then they needed actually to rehearse.
On Sunday, February 24, more than 100 students from across California, Arizona and even as far as Boston, MA visited TVT's campus for the 2019 Diamond Challenge entrepreneurship event. Students competed in Business Innovation and Social Innovation tracks.
In social studies, fourth-grade teachers, Gail Peddie, and Melissa Geoghegan, are using project-based learning as a way for students to acquire knowledge and skills. Students will be examining the effects of the Gold Rush on daily life in California. To assist them in choosing a topic that inspires them to learn more, the teachers took their students on “field trips” to the middle and high school to learn more about various subjects.
Author and Holocaust educator Michele Gold shared her unique family history with Ms. White’s 11th grade Jewish Studies classes on Thursday 2/21. Gold’s mother, the late Rita Berwald, survived the Holocaust through the Kindertransport, an organized rescue effort that brought thousands of Jewish children to safety in England from Nazi Germany in 1938-1940.
Our 5th graders love to read and especially in their book clubs. We just started our newest round of books - the genre is action, adventure, and survival. Some of the titles include Hatchet, Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Cay, and Julie of the Wolves.
While your family was enjoying the long weekend, teachers and staff spent the day learning and collaborating. We focused on social, emotional, and behavioral supports in the morning. Talking about how to best meet your child(ren)'s needs.
In the afternoon, we conducted a safety drill so that all of our staff is able to think on their feet and feel secure in what to do in case of an emergency.
When Shabbat ends this Saturday night, the fun will begin for our third graders! Third graders have been preparing all year for their Havdalah ceremony and now it's time for them to really shine. They will spend the first half hour teaching their parents all they need to know about the Jewish ritual of Havdalah.
This year, the faculty implemented a new policy in an effort to alleviate a lot of the stress placed on middle school students. They made it so that students could no longer see their cumulative grades except for a week before the end of each quarter. This received a significant amount of backlash from eighth-graders due to the increase of stress over not knowing their status in each class.
Kindness Week in the lower school culminated during Kabbalat Shabbat when four 4th grade students, Samson E., Bennett M., Gilah C., and Maya E. introduced Kindness Coupons to our community. Kindness coupons are a way for students to help others who are sad or having a hard day.
TVT Upper School will be taking part in our annual Lions’ Pride Day retreat on Monday and Tuesday, February 11 and 12. As in the past, this year students will return to Big Bear for fun in the snow. Almost every student attends this event, which is a highlight of the year. Students will have the opportunity to go tubing at Big Bear Snow Play, skiing or boarding at Snow Summit, and/or chilling out in town. Of course, the retreat wouldn’t be complete without a “blackout” dance on Monday night. Let it snow!
For the end of their Dynamic Earth unit, the 6th-grade earth science students partnered up to research an active volcano in the US and were tasked to recreate that specific volcano using all recycled materials that were donated by the TVT community.
This past Friday, January 25, TVT held its annual Geography Bee, participating in the 2019 National Geographic Bee. After our preliminary round, these ten contestants made it into the final round and competed so gracefully against each other. They each came in during their free time every week to join our study sessions and shared such extensive knowledge of geographical facts. They each were such a worldly group, and we are so proud of them! The 2019 champion, Devin N. (4th grade), will move on to take a qualifying test for the State Bee with the hopes of continuing through to the finals. We know that Devin will represent TVT in this competition with his enthusiasm and passion for Geography. Each of our finalists should feel so proud of their accomplishments. Kol Ha’kavod to all of them!
Last Friday night our 7th grade gathered together for the annual TVT 7th Grade Shabbaton led by Rabbis Stuart Light and Ali Lawton and guest story-teller Mark Lazzar. There were 25 hours of action-packed fun! Students made challah, created a play about the week’s Torah portion, swam at the JCC, participated in group bonding, led a Torah service, had a Nerf gun war, and concluded the event with a moving Havdalah service! Shabbaton goers ate cholent for the first time, created burritos and voted on their favorite ice creams.
When God came to the Israelites at Mount Sinai, each present heard revelation differently, according to their capacity. Just as the manna which God gave to the Israelites as food in the wilderness tasted differently to different people, so too were God's words heard by every person in the way that they could "hear" them. Diversity and Inclusion in the TVT classroom draw upon the Jewish truth that God's actions are most effective when they reach every person where that person "is" emotionally and spiritually.
The boy's middle school basketball team won their first round Tri-Way League playoff game against Calvary Santa Ana 42-41. Dustin M. was the high scorer with 17 points, David G. scored 12, Garrett D. scored 9, and Aaron S. rounded out the scoring with 2 points. The TVT boys will now travel to Pegasus to play Pegasus on Tuesday, February 5th at 3:30 pm in the semi-finals of the Tri-way League.
Our students are participating in Kids Heart Challenge over the next few weeks, and we are kicking off during PE this week. We’re excited to be JUMPING ROPE during PE, learning about how our hearts work, and raising the lifesaving donation to help others affected by heart diseases and stroke. Our nations #1 killer is heart disease, and we are excited to join the fight this year.
How do you engage eight-year-olds to help them understand the meaning of equal rights, segregation, and integration? One approach is through Project Based Learning (PBL) which integrates multiple curriculum areas with a hands-on approach.
They can name the objects around them in Hebrew and are even able to say short sentences!
Every day, first grade sings songs, plays games and participates in fun activities that have helped them learn many new words in Hebrew.
They got to know Sharona, a first-grade girl that adores the color red; she has a red backpack and all red school supplies. They also got to know Shachar, a boy who loves the color blue; he has a blue backpack and has in it a blue sharpener, a blue pencil, and a blue book, among other blue stuff. Our first graders also shared which color they love the most.
The Middle School Garage Band brought down the house on Thursday, December 13. Directed by Music Instructor, Alex Segal, they performed high-powered renditions of hit songs by Queen, Aerosmith, Stevie Wonder, and more! A tremendous time was enjoyed by all.
Last month, TVT’s Upper School Mock Trial Team won phenomenal victories in Round 3 and 4 of the Orange County Constitutional Rights Foundation’s 2018 High School Mock Trial Competition. The Mock Trial Team, led by co-captains Ephi L. and Leyla S., met several times per week since August in preparation for the competition.