Sixth-grade students at Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School (MILTON) recently authored and illustrated custom children’s books for their teacher Shifra Chelst’s baby, based on their learning in her Judaic Studies class. While each book is unique, they all focus on one topic: how Jews used to determine the start of each Hebrew month based on eyewitness sightings of the new moon. The books use details from the Mishna of Tractate Rosh Hashanah, which deals with this subject, and are written from the perspective of a person who sees the moon and has to go report it to the beit din (Jewish court).
The project integrated students’ learning across disciplines. The students applied design thinking principles throughout, considering the needs of their user (a baby): They made a board book rather than paperback; used simple words appropriate for young children in their storytelling; and included engaging pictures.
The sixth graders were thrilled when their teacher brought her baby, Hillel, to school and they got to read their books to him. He loved it, too!
By Ronit Greenstein
Ronit Greenstein is director of communication at MILTON.