Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Frisch Integration Program: New Presentation

The latest integration presentation is on www.slideshare.net/artikw and is on the isha sotah. It follows closely on the heels of the last presentation, because we wanted to make sure the sotah presentation was close to the time the chumash teachers taught nazir.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Military Encampments presentation

I managed to post my military encampment presentation on www.slideshare.net/artikw. I've also posted an integration lesson I revised from an old one for a mishmar I gave at Frisch last week. Last, I posted a presentation on Greek art that I sometimes use around Chanukah time to show the development of Greek philosophy and how and when it became pernicious to Judaism.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Text and Context: Frisch Integration Program

I've created and begun to present the first Chumash integration unit for the year, which is about military encampments in the ancient world and is entitled Camping Out: Israel in the Midbar. I'm having trouble posting the presentation on slideshare.net but will figure out the problem and will get it up there as soon as possible. The second Chumash presentation will follow closely on the heels of the first, as the second one is on Isha Sotah, and we'll be presenting the lesson in conjunction with Nazir in an attempt to tie together issues of holiness in the two topics. The year in Chumash will focus a lot on maintaining holiness, and my presentations as well will try to reinforce for the students how holiness is preserved in the camp.

I was in Israel over Thanksgiving vacation, and while it's always fantastic to be there, I went this time with a camera ready to take pictures at any spots I thought might pop up at a future integration lesson. I got shots of the mountain where the Azazel goat was thought to have been thrown down from as well as aerial shots of Jericho. Usually I have to scope out many Internet sites before finding the pictures I want and need, so hopefully the ones I took will save me some time in the future.

Frisch is still busy with the ninth-grade wiki as well. We've found some terrific ways of integrating our classes under the theme of identity and thereby deepening and enriching the learning experience. We have had art, history, Gemara, Hebrew Language, English, and Chumash create discussion threads that became very sophisticated, we've had teachers post quizzes and presentations on wiki pages using cool widgets, and we've had teachers create assignments for their classes out of other classes' work. The experience is becoming really rich. The students seem to be enjoying the wiki, and we'll see at the end of the year if the experiment really was a more educational and spiritual endeavor.

This coming week Frisch will be hosting our sister school from Nahariya, and we're going to be looking for ways to have the students from Nahariya work on the wiki as well.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Videotaping Teachers Teaching

In our grant, we said that we would videotape teachers teaching as a way of helping ourselves reflect on our teaching and learn from each other. In the last week, three of our Hebrew staff were videotaped and the entire Hebrew staff met, watched the videos, reflected on the teaching and the teacher reflected on her own teaching.

We realized that we needed to watch the segments more than once to truly learn from the experience. There were things we missed in the first viewing. We also learned that it is important for the person filming to know what the essential questions are so that she could focus on that while filming. It is important to edit in advance so that we are watching that which is most important.

The experience helped us find common pedagogic questions for us to share and work through, to learn from each other, to count on each other, and to recognize the differences in each other’s teaching style. We also discussed the ways that we can support each other in meeting different students’ needs based on our teaching styles. Perhaps we will do a better job of matching teachers with classes in the future based on our learning from all of us being exposed to each others’ teaching through video. That may not be what we decide, but this helped us frame the question.

We had a very lengthy discussion on the presentation of new vocabulary at every level of teaching. How much focus is spent on helping kids understand the words before translating them is dependent on the importance of that vocabulary word as a foundation for other learning.

We were also made more aware of how often teachers used English when they did not have to and reflected on how to ensure that this does not happen unless it is with students who truly need it.

The teachers feel that the experience helped them reflect deeply on their own teaching through watching others. The experience raised their consciousness about many things, including their tone, their methodology, and the materials they used They learned new ideas, discussed and shared and a sense of team was truly present.

--The Hebrew Team at SASSDS