Differentiated instruction is crucial in education, because every student should be given the opportunity to maximize his/her potential. Shifting my Chumash class into a more student-centered one has helped me reach this goal. In this model, students play an active role in their learning, and they produce work that demonstrates authentic learning.
Student-Centered Chumash Class
As a Chumash teacher of 18 years, I believe that it is very important for my students to love this subject, as it often affects their relationship with Hashem. Over the years, as I implemented techniques and strategies, I realized that creating a student-centered classroom for Chumash yielded incredible results. One of the benefits of this model is that when teaching a class with diverse ability, it allows each student to grow and achieve. This enables each student to grow, thereby feeling successful and good about herself. It is equally important to challenge the higher level students as it is to reach and modify for the weaker ones.
Four main components of a student-centered classroom are: student inquiry, technology integration, collaboration, and self-evaluation. These essentials should be present when planning the physical space of a classroom, methods of instruction, assessments, and homework.
Some of the ideas mentioned in previous links which need further explanation and/or samples are listed here:
- Exposure – explanation, sample 1, sample 2, sample 3,
- Video clips – sample (before teaching the mitzva of Shabbos in Parshas Kedoshim)
- Online learning community – padlet, mercava link(you need to sign in) and mercava snapshot, google docs
- Jigsaw – explanation, sample, student reflection form
- Q and A experts – explanation
- Post it note system –explanation
- Partners A,B,C – explanation
- Learning Centers – explanation, sample 1, sample 2
- Rate questions – literal (1), linguistic (2), philosophical (3) – encourage higher level thinking
- Levels 3-2-1 – explanation
- Online activities – wizer activity (sign in with google to see activity), powtoon activity
- Jitap – game 1, game 2, game 3
- Plickers – stands for “paper clickers” – nice resource especially for a classroom that doesn’t have technology
- Study tips – sample, log and more
- Graphic Organizers – sample 1, sample 2
- Flipped instruction – sample video #1, sample video #2, sample Jitap, student analysis sheet#1, student analysis sheet #2, student opinion, parent night
- Mercava – great resource to share with students – when clicking on a phrase, English appears – lots of nice features
- Vocaroo – explanation
- Weekly skills exercises – explanation, sample #1,sample #2
I feel passionately that a student-centered model is vital, especially for a Torah based classroom, because it creates confident students who love learning. The outcome of this is that we are raising children and adolescents who have a strong connection with Hashem, which is a critical piece of living as a Jew in the 21st century.
As Assistant Principal of the Junior High of Bruriah as well as the 7th and 8th grade Chumash teacher, I spend most of my day connecting with students, and helping each one grow and maximize her potential. With an emphasis on respect for others, strong academics, and openness to innovation, I strive to create an environment for my students that will encourage them to be life-long learners who are well-prepared for the 21st century.