So many people come to my blog after googling “teaching shorashim.” Obviously this is a topic of great interest. Knowing hebrew roots (shorashim) is the foundation for being interested in learning independently.   In other words, the more basic hebrew vocabulary a student knows, the more likely he is to experiment and try to learn more pesukim on his own.  According to Jeanne Gunther, Students learn independently when they can understand 94% of the text. Instruction takes place when they understand 90-94% of the text. Frustration comes when they know less than 90% of the text. The goal is to have the students at the 90-94%Read More →

A. Tefillah time – the class tried to move the water bottle today by saying “Move!” no luck. I asked them to think of how I can change the world using just my words – one student figured out the riddle. We did Think, Pair, Share to think of positive things we can say to others to change the world. B. Chumash: Acting out the shorashim was a huge hit. Future note: the students will be MIMES (no sound) and must remain seated to qualify. After the first round of teaching, we did a rapid fire round of MIME shorashim.  The students filled out their linear translation independently orRead More →

I have so many ideas I’d love to write about but 1. I don’t have time, 2. it would be a waste of other peoples time. So here is a short post of what I may be doing tomorrow in school. A. Tefillah time – After brachos, we do an activity to make few words in tefilla come alive. We just began ברוך שאמר. Today: I asked the class today to try to move a pencil by looking at it. Then, the class said, “Move!” but the pencil didn’t move.  how amazing it is that Hashem said and the world came from nothing into something. Tomorrow:Read More →

We all remember September 11 and where we were when the world we knew was shattered. I remember September 11 as the bookend of a terrible year. A year earlier, on September 28, 2000, I was on a number 2 bus going to my job in the Old City when Israeli soldiers boarded. They shouted at us to quickly get off the bus for our own safety. Ariel Sharon had visited the Temple Mount and the second Intifada started. There were raised voices and pushing as I walked to work under the watchful eyes of armed soldiers. Outside my office, I could hear clashes betweenRead More →

This past week, there was a tragedy in Klal Yisrael. A young boy was murdered by a member of our community. We were all profoundly and sincerely shocked.  Ten thousand people came to a funeral and countless others listened to the funeral over the phone. If you listen to the news reports and read the news stories it was not only the Jewish community who were shocked. The whole of New York City has been mourning. Bill Ritter from ABC news filed this news report: I went to the Kletzky home in Borough Park this morning to visit the family. I was honored that theyRead More →

Teaching elementary school is sweet. The students are uncomplicated. Their hearts are open and they are excited by new ideas. They have questions and want to learn the answers. Unfortunately, many times, the answer to those questions, the true answers, the fullest answers, are simply beyond their grasp. The answers require maturity, awareness of the human condition and abstract reasoning. By the time they get to high school, many students don’t bother with the questions anymore even though they  are ready for the answers. Many are apathetic. Others want to follow a leader and are intimidated by  aura of authority that a teacher has. SomeRead More →

I spent some time teaching students who insisted they couldn’t translate a pasuk. I tried to create a systematic way of reaching them. Here are my ideas Rationale for system – The best learning comes through authentic involvement in the process. The process is modeled after being an apprentice rather than a student. An apprentice is involved to the best of his ability, while a student is perceived as an empty vessel to be filled by the teacher. To be authentically involved, the student must be provided with scaffolds so that they can act like the experts and can learn gradually how to be an expert. TranslatedRead More →

I used to teach in High School. It was very rewarding, but at times I felt like pulling out my hair. I couldn’t get some kids to remember assignments, translate basic pesukim or recall the story accurately no matter how many times we reviewed. I couldn’t figure out where the problem was and how to correct it. Last night I saw this video – A Private Universe produced by the Annenberg Foundation that made me think about that experience and how what we teach when really impacts kids’ lives. The video is 20 minutes long and traces how both Harvard graduates and high school students hadRead More →

Learning happens when kids are invested in what they are doing. This works best if they buy into the process and know why they are doing what they are doing. Over the years, I have developed questionnaires to help the students figure out what they need to best learn and why we are doing what we are doing. This tool promotes a better classroom climate and learning. Research says that students who set personal goals for learning learn more effectively (Marzano). I have combined this goal setting with getting feedback to help improve my teaching and student learningI have used this technique in my highRead More →

I already have a blog That blog was devoted to things I do at home to teach my kids Torah. In my professional life, I teach. I have taught Tanach, Machshava and Ivrit in high school for 10 years and am teaching 3rd grade this year.   It is true that Chinuch is always written about as a calling, a mission, an opportunity to reach the next generation and teach them Torah. But it is also a job. To do a job well, you got to know what you are doing, to reflect on what works and what doesn’t.  This is what this blog isRead More →