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This Week in Upper School 9/17/2020

Thursday, September 17, 2020
 
A Logo in the (Print)Making
By Rhy Robinson
Sixth grade students have been designing their own personal brand logos! The process kicked off by discussing how images can say a lot without words. The students then made lists of ideas and objects that make up “who they are,” and “what defines them,” such as the love of a sport or joy in playing an instrument. They then explored how to use color and shape to build and communicate simplified, recognizable images of those identifiers. Next, each student embedded his or her initials into the design to create a custom brand logo! With designs in hand, students fabricated their design stampers (in mirror image) using linoleum block material. In the final step, students dipped their print blocks in fabric ink, then “editioned” their logo -- stamped multiple copies of the print image -- to craft one-of-a-kind, personalized T-shirts. That cool T-shirt you see at school may be an original design by one of our sixth-graders!
 
 
Planet Money Podcasts
By Brian Hemsworth
Our Future Business Leaders course is diving into business, finance, and economics fundamentals as students begin preparations for their entrepreneurial ventures and for their forthcoming DECA competition events. High school students were especially enthusiastic about listening to Planet Money podcasts -- so much so that they created their own summary versions of the episodes! Using Flipgrid, students recorded their “Econ 101” series as a fun and engaging way to “re-teach” many of the basic Economics principles they explored in Planet Money. From tackling Inelastic Demand and Asymmetric Information to describing “Markets and Pickles,” students not only demonstrated their own learning, but made it fun. Feel free to check them out! https://flipgrid.com/d70506e3 
 
 
A D’Var Torah for Rosh Hashanah
By Judah Hafter
 
The shofar is nothing more than a hollow shell, yet it transforms a fleeting breath into a powerful victory cry. When we make ourselves hollow, letting go of our egos and relinquishing the false sense of control, only then can we fully experience the spiritual essence that is inside of us. 
 
Oftentimes we take the simple things for granted. Most importantly, breathing. It just happens on its own, we don't have to consciously tell ourselves to breathe every 2 seconds. This past year, on the other hand, there has been a focus on breathing. This year will be remembered as the year of COVID-19 and masks that make us think about our breathing. This year will also be remembered as the year that we were forced to slow down from the regular, yet fast-paced motion of our daily lives and just breathe. And with every breath, we learned to humble ourselves, to take each day as it comes, and to live a little more in the present. 
 
On one hand, this year will be looked back on as times of hardship, loss, and suffering in some cases. But if you look for the silver lining, you quickly see that it was a year where we were snapped out of our repetitive daily living. Doing the same thing, day after day after day. It gave many of us the chance to learn to focus on what matters, get to know our families and ourselves a little bit better. It taught us how to truly breathe. 
 
On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, we are commanded to blow the shofar. It is unique, as it is a mitzvah where we use our breath to complete it. Ironically, the blowing of the shofar is commanded of us on the anniversary of when G-- “blew” man’s soul into his body. This gave mankind the divine “breath of life.” Breath is symbolic of the soul, as both words share a common Hebrew root. The word for soul, neshama, is almost identical to the Hebrew word neshima -- breathe. In fact, the two are connected by more than just their names: one can really become one with his or her soul through breathing and concentrating on the involuntary action. 
 
Blowing the shofar teaches us how to discover our soul. The shofar is nothing more than a hollow shell, yet it transforms a fleeting breath into a powerful victory cry. When we make ourselves hollow, letting go of our egos and relinquishing the false sense of control, only then can we fully experience the spiritual essence that is inside of us. As we look back on a year where we learned how to pay attention to our breath, when we saw the hollowness and fragility of our control, when the word “corona” became a household word, perhaps we can view the entire year as one great shofar blast, one great reminder of what it is to truly breathe.