How a Game of Dice Helped Us Make a Choice

How a Game of Dice Helped Us Make a Choice

When my husband and I were looking for a school for our older son, we took a number of school tours where we saw students sitting quietly in desks working alone, or listening to their teacher lecture.  And then we walked into Schechter Manhattan.

We were invited into a second or third grade math lesson. The teacher did a mini-lesson in front of the class, and then, within five minutes, the kids jumped up, grabbed dice, and began “playing dice” (but in reality, doing math), in groups. The students were animated and excitedly discussing amongst themselves what the correct answers might be.  Each group was required to choose a student delegate to go up to the board in the front of the room to occasionally register the group’s answers.

We watched as the children in these small groups worked out how to choose their representative. There was a friendly competition in play and the entire class couldn’t seem to get enough. The whole class was engaged, while the teachers were circulating amongst the students to clarify, weigh in, and generally get in on the excitement.

When my husband and I left that class, we knew we had witnessed true enthusiasm and deep engagement in learning. And we knew Schechter Manhattan was the school for our family.


Marilyn Ness is a documentary filmmaker with Big Mouth Productions and adjunct professor at Columbia’s School of the Arts. Her husband, Marc Sacher, is COO and CFO of a boutique consulting firm, Auriemma Consulting Group.  Their sons, Noah (grade 7) and Oliver (grade 5), have been proud members of the Schechter Manhattan community since kindergarten.

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