“Create stacks of 5.” “What is your unit of measurement?” “Don’t forget a title for your graph!”
The Rashi School students, from as young as our Kindergarteners to our Grade 8 students, have been participating in a signature school initiative, the Rashi Tamchui Project.
The Tamchui Project
The Tamchui Project teaches and inspires Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, by honoring non-profit organizations. It introduces students to major social justice issues as well as different organizations that approach those issues. Students meet and learn from leaders of the organizations while the school community (faculty, staff, parents, students, and alumni) raise money for Tamchui (community collection pot).
Tamchui empowers our Middle School students to be leaders and teachers, collectively selecting the issues that are most meaningful to them, and then teaching those issues to the younger grades at Rashi.
This week was Allocation Week.
Students allocated chips representing the Tamchui donation pot to one of three buckets representing the issue areas chosen this year: cancer and cancer research, the impact of Covid 19 on the economic divide, and hate speech/racism. This year’s chosen organziations are: One Summit, The Rare Cancer Research Foundation, Beantown Baby Diaper Bank, Boston Bullpen Project, Bellen’s More Than Peach Project, and USC Shoah Foundation.
They also responded to thoughtful prompts about ways they can make a difference and what they’ve learned. Some of the prompts included:
- As Jews every morning we say the Morning Blessings to show we are thankful, as a kid I sometimes forget how fortunate I am that….
- Dear Middle School Students…You were great teachers because…
- Four best friends started the Boston Bullpen Project – They’ve helped over 1600 people anonymously – share something you’ve done to help someone when no one is looking.
- USC Shoah Foundation is focused on videotaping people who have been targets of racism and hate speech. Why is it important for us to listen to these stories?
Tamchui is an example of the way Rashi marries social justice and academics. For the five days of Allocation Week, a different group of Lower School students counted the groups of chips.
The chips were separated into three categories, one for each issue area. Students quickly worked to stack and count the chips, tallying where the day’s donations went. The activity was a way to build numeracy and teamwork.
Each day, several Lower School students got to make their way up to the third floor of Rashi, where our Middle School is housed. Once there, they had the special duty of handing off the tally of that day’s chip count to the Middle School math teachers. This is a special moment; our younger students get a ‘sneak peak’ of the Middle School teachers and hallways, and an opportunity to connect.
Middle School math classes used the chip data given to them by the younger students to create a graph that tells the story of Tamchui donations.
Their graphs included a scale, proper titles and needed to clearly represent the data. Groups chose different ways to do this: from bar charts to pie graphs, from using images to represent the issue areas to more basic shapes. One graph had each unit be worth 9 chips!
Each morning, the graphs are brought down to the sukkat shalom. Students practice interpretation of graphs and data as a part of their morning Tamchui chip donation.
For some, the distribution of chip donations impacts their decision-making process, like Charlotte:
While Allocation Week is wrapping up, the academic lessons and impact of Tamchui will stay with Rashi students.