Engaging Our Learners and Ourselves
Click here to download complete issue.
Click on any title to download that article.
• PROJECT BASED LEARNING •
Implementing Project-Based Learning in Congregational Schools
Project-Based Learning can be successful with the right preparation and goals in mind. This article gives concrete examples of PBL, an overview of the challenges when implementing PBL in congregational schools, and how their community met those challenges.
This article offers concrete advice to help schools execute successful Project-Based Learning. By identifying a “problem” in the community, and then using PBL to solve it, the students are more likely to exhibit stronger motivation, and the results then benefit the community as well as the student.
JCDSRI’s PLC Takes on PBL
Jamie Faith Woods
A Professional Learning Community spent a year exploring Project-Based Learning. This article describes what they learned about the elements needed for successful PBL in a day school setting.
Project-Based Learning can encourage more active learning among students and influence a deeper understanding of the material.
The article discusses implementing Project-Based Learning during and after the Bnai Mitzvah year. Using PBL may encourage middle school students to be more engaged in the community and continue their education.
The Cultural Universals Museum
The article provides a description of successful cross-curriculum Project-Based Learning, ideal for a day school setting.
• PRAYER •
Textmapping the Siddur
Colin Elizabeth Pier-Silver
An example is provided of using text-mapping to teach the Shacharit service. This method of study increases students’ understanding of the structure of tefillah
Reinventing Religious School Tefillah
This author developed a curriculum that teaches students the fundamentals of prayer and encourages them to create their own service. By teaching traditional prayers and tunes, while also implementing a new framework, the educator hopes to bring students a more meaningful tefillah experience.
Moments of Meaning- A Personal Prayer Manifesto
In this poem, the author sets out a plan to make tefillah meaningful.
• SACRED COMMUNITY •
Creating a classroom brit with students at the beginning of the year can help foster a sense of community. A social contract of this type will remind students that God works in a partnership with humans, and demands that humans work in partnership with each other.
A Jewish Journey Exchange Program
A proposal is made for a Jewish Journey Exchange Program, specifically geared toward Bnai Mitzvah students of any age. This type of program would encourage connections across denominations and across the country.
A Chassid in Conservatory
Music can be used as a method of both teaching and connection, not only for children, but also for adults. Increasing our connection to music can contribute to the survival of Jewish tradition and values.
Service Learning Isn’t Doing Its Job
While service learning is an important component of Jewish education, educators should be sure to delve into the deeper questions behind a problem. Through exposure and study, students can make more of a difference in the lives of others.
Chunking Kindness: Breaking Down Chesed into Manageable Pieces
Alisa Danon Kaplan
Chunking, or breaking a task into manageable parts, helps students integrate new information and provides them with ways to strategize their approach to tasks. It also helps scaffold students into longer and more complex tasks of chesed, tzedakah, and tikkun olam.
• LEARNING FROM ISRAEL •
Humility and Hope in Israel Education
Hannah Tobin Cohen
By encouraging humility and empathy, educators can improve Israel education as well as Israel advocacy. How do we help educators feel knowledgeable about Israel, but still encourage questioning and curiosity.
Garin: A Youth Leadership Program
An article about the Garin youth leadership program, part of the Masorti Movement in Israel, offers suggestions about how a similar program could work in the U.S.
• ENGAGEMENT •
Creating a “Both…And” Culture in Jewish Education
Jewish education is primarily a religious endeavor, but connections can be made with Jews who self-identify as “secular” or “culturally Jewish” by implementing cultural educational opportunities.
Tikkun: Our Jewish Identity
Over centuries, Hebrew was the linguistic glue that guaranteed a sense of Jewish connectivity and heritage. Strengthening Hebrew fluency in Jewish education will reinforce those connections and also foster a connection to the modern state of Israel.
With the growing popularity and relative ease of genealogical research, a family history project can increase personal connections to Judaism. Information gathered in such a project often spurs interest in various aspects of Jewish history (Israel, immigration, language) and makes the student ask the question “why is my family Jewish?”
How to Re-Design the Field Trip to the Museum to Maximize Student Engagement and Reflection
Rebecca Shargel and Diane W. Zimmerman
Museum learning can be beneficial, both educationally and socially. This article gives suggestions for maximizing the impact of a museum field trip for Jewish students in day schools and supplementary schools.
Where’s the Proof?
Developing research-based strategies would be beneficial to the Jewish education community. When educational change is desired, strategies validated for specific communities may have more success in the long term.
Successful experiential learning incorporates time for reflection. This article includes examples of discussion topics and prompts that aid in that type of reflection, both individually and as a group.
Is That All There Is?
Outside of supplemental religious school, students often are very high achievers in music, dance, mathematics, etc… and have outlets to show that ability. They often do not have those types of opportunities at religious school, but Experiential Education can be an opportunity for higher-level creativity.
Culture, Continuity, and Jewish Education
Anthony (Mordechai-Tzvi) Russell
The article suggests an alternative to the conventional approach of creating a piecemeal Jewish “identity” in favor of developing a holistic, diverse, complex, and culturally relevant model of what it is (and has been) to be a Jew.
Continuity and Change: Women’s Voices and Talmud
When studying Jewish text, women often feel distanced from the material, due to the history of contempt for women and patriarchy in Judaism. By acknowledging historical context, and looking at how change has occurred both horizontally and vertically in Judaism, modern women can still find meaning in the text.