Featured Blog: Chinuch ENERGY! Do you remember when you learned how to use the internet? I don’t. Why not? If we can figure out the answer, we can create lessons that our students won’t remember having to learn as well. We don’t remember how we learned to use the internet because companies designed websites so the process would be painless.   Here is a blog post that has screenshots with comparisons of old and current websites. Take a look at a list of the most popular websites in 1998. The old websites that were harder to use disappeared or were changed to what we know today. In 1998,Read More →

Cross-posted from YU 2.0 It is a great priviledge to be a guest blogger on YU 2.0. It is a great community, and I look forward to the conversations that these guest blogs will bring. Innovation The theme on YU 2.0 Wednesdays is Innovation. When I think of innovation, I think of my grandmother who told me to reinvent myself every decade. She herself had learned to drive in her late 60s, volunteered on a kibbutz in her 70s, and became a hebrew tutor in her 80s. Innovating meant that her life was always fresh and fun and responsive to her needs and to theRead More →

The Problem – we are all ignorant How many times have you read a Jewish periodical that bemoans how little our students know  about the fundamentals of our faith? These articles will extol the virtues of kiruv programs that teach these ideals to our students in a workshop or two. They quote students who were astounded. “How come I never learned this before?,” the students ask. This problem has been on my mind for quite some time. When I started to teach 3rd grade, I decided to try teaching the basics of our faith on a 9 year old level. I began devoting 5-10 minutesRead More →

I am very excited about a recent innovation. Before the latest Chumash test, I sent a  letter to the parents to help them help their kids study. I got great feedback, the students felt successful when they came into the test and best yet – their scores went up – showing real learning had taken place! ************************************************************ ערב שבת,  פרשת שמות Dear Parents, This Wednesday, there will be a test on ________________________. Here are some ideas how to study for the test Test section How to study Checklist Translate phrases Review the פסוקים. Can I translate the Pesukim without the linear translation sheets?Which phrases doRead More →

This year, Baruch HaShem, I’ve been super busy teaching and learning with my class – but not updating the blog so I’d like to invite all my blog readers into my class. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful co teacher who makes the classroom so inviting. Much of the homey atmosphere is from her hard work Since it is December, I unfortunately don’t have the welcoming door decor that greeted the students for the first few months View from the front of the room   Side of the room Word Wall – This year yellow is שרשים, orange is Level 1 words andRead More →

I am teaching Pirkei Avos to a 3/4 mix of girls while the 3/4 boys learn Yuma. Thursdays is a double period with lunch in between. First two lesson: Intro: Think of different people in your life. Grandparents, teacher, come up with things they say. Draw a picture and put in speech bubble what they are saying in bubble. Draw someone famous – what is in their speech bubble? Explain connection to Pirkei Avos. Why write Pirkei Avos? Who are the Avos? Where do we learn about our 3 Avos? Why are those stories in Torah? What are Pirkei Avos? What does words mean? WhoRead More →

Well, tomorrow is the first day of school. The class room is all set up with a new tefillah bulletin board. I can’t imagine I’ll have a ton of time to post but in brief  – this year I’ll be teaching Pirkei Avos to a 3/4 Girls mix in addition to regular learning. Tomorrow’s lesson plan is . . . Drum roll please Welcome! Students fill “All About Me” בקר טוב Routine (on desk siddur and pencil ready for tefilla lesson) תפילה – outloud with chazzan per tefilla Putting away Supplies Practice getting into group tables from U חומש – With group come up with events,Read More →

I have been working on creating a visual reference for binyanim for the last few years. I was finally able to get it all into one page Binyanim Letter One Page Color(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();Read More →

School is starting in less than two weeks. When I began teaching third grade two years ago, I envisioned backpacks stuffed with crumbled up paper and homework never done. I found a third grade teacher who explained how to use a binder to teach organization and help students gain independence during homework. It has worked for the last two years, and I am excited to use the system again. Here is a write up I did the other year. **************** Goals: 1. Students will gain organizational skills 2. Students will be empowered to complete homework independently 3. Students will complete homework independently Materials needed: 1.Read More →

It’s only a few short weeks until the first day of school. Right now I’m buckling down and getting ready for the year. The first thing that I think about is what do I want my classroom to feel like emotionally every day. The classroom environment sets the stage for everything that happens inside the classroom. It is just as important to plan for the classroom culture as to prepare lesson plans and study the content.Here are a few principles that have worked for me and are easily transferable to all grades. 1. Develop a relationship – One of the biggest motivators for a studentRead More →

  My Last Class for the Introduction to Independent Learning.  It was an awesome experience. Thank you to all who participated!   Reflections on teaching the class   Online Resources for the Unit   Pronouns   Game for reviewing pronouns Nouns   Verbs   Using cantillation (trop) to break up the pesukim and translation     Analyzing the theme of the pesukimRead More →

Today, I finished my 8th class in Introduction to Independent Torah Learning that was a blended learning course with both a live and online component.  Here are some of my reflections about my first go at this kind of course design. Background:  Separating the gap between the Can’s and the Cannot’s in Torah Learning I began teaching Chumash in 2001. Every year, there were two kinds of students in a class – those who could translate pesukim independently and those who could not. The more I taught, the more these distinctions became clear. I began to wonder how to give students who could not translate independentlyRead More →