Dvar Torah Project

By: Noah Sonenberg, Aviad Pituchey Chotam
from Bnei Akiva Schools

Category:
Interdisciplinary Integration

Subject(s) of entry:
English/ Writing/ Language Arts, Tanach

Pedagogy:
Flipped Learning, IBL - inquiry based learning, PBL - project based learning, 21st Century Skills

Grade(s) to which this was taught:
9, 10

Grade(s) for which this will be useful:
High school

In the 2017/2018 school year, all of grade 9 and 10 students will create insightful divrei Torah that have been crafted using the skills learned in Tanach and English classes.

These Divrei Torah will demonstrate an ability to clearly describe the context, frame the Dvar Torah on a meaningful and engaging idea, quote and use פסוקים effectively,

Entry Narrative

We have worked together for many years in a Modern Orthodox Bnei Akiva high school in Toronto.  We noticed that the school philosophy that secular subjects are an integral part of a religious person’s approach to living is often given lip service without any practical applications in the school educational environment.

After much thought we theorized that by creating cross curricular content, projects and activities, students will actively experience תורה ומדע. Through this experience we expect that students will personally internalize the essential values of the school’s philosophy.

Our project’s goal is to allow our students to experience intellectual growth by realizing the enriching aspect of combining secular and Judaic studies.

In order to begin to implement this idea we decided that for the the 2017/2018 school year, all of grade 9 and 10 students will have Torah content in their speeches that are delivered in English class.  These Divrei Torah will demonstrate an ability to clearly describe the context, frame the Dvar Torah on a meaningful and engaging idea, quote and use פסוקים effectively, use מפרשים on the text and provide a positive spiritual or ethical message.  Judaic Studies teachers will be involved in the project and will teach how to effectively create the content of the student projects with a new rubric that examines criteria that are based in Torah content and analysis.  The General Studies teachers involved in the project will teach the students about effective presentation style and oral skills.

Entrant Bio(s)

Rabbi Noah Sonenberg
Rabbi Sonenberg has been teaching at Bnei Akiva Schools since 2003 and has taught Torah, Halacha, Philosophy and Gemara. He is the head of the Gemara department and has developed a four year Gemara curriculum which works on developing the students’ ability to learn independently. Rabbi Sonenberg has a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a focus on genetics. He studied in Yeshivat Bircas Hatorah in Israel after completing his university degree. Rabbi Sonenberg is passionate about learning and teaching Gemara. In addition to teaching at our school, he also teaches adult Gemara classes in the community. Rabbi Sonenberg is married to Mrs. Rifka Sonenberg, who teaches at Ulpanat Orot and together they have three children: Tamar, Boaz and Yishai.

Rabbi Aviad Pituchey Chotam
Rabbi Aviad Pituchey Chotam is very excited to return for his fourth year at Bnei Akiva Schools. Prior to joining BAS, he and his family spent a wonderful year of teaching Hebrew and other Judaics at Hebraica Hertzl-Bialik school in Caracas, Venezuela. Prior to that, he coordinated a Tanach program in Yeshivat Har Etzion, Alon Shvut and was a counselor in Gesher Educational Center for study and dialogue of Jewish identity and Israeli society. Rav Aviad has also taught in Alon Shvut Elementary School and in OTS Neve Shmuel Yeshiva High School. Rabbi Aviad has a BEd and MEd in Education. Rabbi Pituchey Chotam coordinates our shlichim program, has developed a relationship with Herzog College and Shaanan College, and has been instrumental in integrating technology, new media and creativity into YOC’s Ivrit program.