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Engaging Our Learners and Ourselves – Winter 2017

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PROJECT BASED LEARNING

Implementing Project-Based Learning in Congregational Schools
Ronit Ziv-Kreger

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. 

Wider Integration: The Often-Neglected Key to Project-Based Learning in Jewish Education
Rae Antonoff

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.

PBL: Moving the Responsibility for Learning to the Students
Tina Sobo

Project-Based Learning can encourage more active learning among students and influence a deeper understanding of the material.

Project Emtza: Introducing Project-Based Learning to Middle Schoolers
Jessica Downey

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
Jodi Freedman

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
Jay Rappaport

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
Eliana Light

In this poem, the author sets out a plan to make tefillah meaningful

SACRED COMMUNITY

To be in Brit with Each Other: Creating Classroom Covenants
P.J. Schwartz

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
Eliana Light

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 
Henny Kupferstein

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
Emilia Diamant

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
Tova Gannana

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
Katherine O’Brien

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
Malka Rappaport

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.

Making Jewish Education Personal: The Value of Family History Projects
Jeffrey Schrager

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?
Emily Rex

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.

Ten Practical Reflection Activities and Exercises for Jewish Experiential Learning
Richard D. Solomon

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?
Mike Rothbaum

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
Leah Wolff-Pellingra

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.

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