The Kohelet Prize Database
Awarded for the creation and implementation of exemplary learning experiences that help students break down the barriers between school and the world around them. Preference will be given to experiences that demonstrably heighten student motivation for learning and increase ability to apply knowledge in a real-world setting.
Explore the Kohelet Prize Database
- Interdisciplinary Integration (79)
- Real-World Learning (105)
- Learning Environment (30)
- Differentiated Instruction (45)
- Development of Critical and / or Creative Thinking (56)
- Risk Taking and Failure (12)
- PBL - Project Based Learning (161)
- IBL - Inquiry Based Learning (94)
- UBD - Understanding By Design (76)
- Constructivist (72)
- Montessori (15)
- Blended Learning (67)
- 21st Century Skills (155)
- Art (100)
- Computer Science (58)
- Gemara (52)
- Halacha (75)
- History (107)
- Ivrit (71)
- Literature/ English (123)
- Math (69)
- Mishnah (59)
- Music (39)
- Science (112)
- Tanach (127)
צער בעלי חיים Compassion towards animals – Examining an ancient Jewish value through a modern real life question: Should Zoos exist or not?
Should Zoos exist or not? This was the question that led a Jewish Values course section that dealt with the value of "״צער חיים בעלי , Compassion towards Animals. Students were encouraged to dive into the subject searching for various pieces of evidence to support their claims and eventually present their argument in a "court".
Note: all attachments are products of students' work, except for the following: "Argument document", "Jewish texts" and "curriculum".
A curriculum on the 39 melachot of Shabbat that connects how life was in the past before the advent of electricity to modern times that we live in, with an emphasis on the hands-on and practical understanding of science and engineering and how that affects Shabbat observance. The students are fascinated to see how science plays a role in their everyday life and this heightens their motivation for learning and creates a plethora of practical questions which we examine and research.
In 3rd grade my students are active participants in our classroom economy. They earn, spend, & save money. They can distinguish between Needs and Wants. Students created hand made duct tape wallets for money and keep running records of their earnings. Throughout the year my students learn about real life experiences like applying for and managing jobs, the pride one feels when chosen to be the employee of the month, having overhead expenses, and at the same time, trying to save money. We have auctions, garage sales, and many opportunities for students to use their money. This year long initiative teaches my students financial literacy.
Through an interdisciplinary integrated PBL on amusement parks, our 4th graders gain real world experience by
participating in a program to increase their understanding of economics and money systems and applied their knowledge
about supply and demand as well as profit and loss and related it to the project. In all the different subject areas students
experience and participate in different lessons all related to the amusement park. The project presents an opportunity to
build and enhance our students' cooperative learning skills.
During this 6 week course, students were exposed to open-ended engineering design and multidisciplinary entrepreneurship in this unique makerspace course. Students with minimal background in STEM and electronics came away with a physical 3d prototype with sensors coded on arduino, a blog/website, initial business analysis, and in many cases an app. These were all created by the students with guidance from students a few years older. Students were given short focused PBL lessons to build their skills in key areas such as electronics, arduino coding, patent law, business development, app design etc. followed up by individualized online learning specific for their projects.
This project simulates a real world experience, in the context of an interdisciplinary approach, and helps students finance their 8th grade Israel trip. They are exposed to the basic of money management and investments and learn about different types of investment vehicles and create an investment portfolio. This entrepreneurial program builds the middle school students' critical thinking skills and advanced communication skills, while building creativity.
Our program provides a constructivist based pedagogy that facilitates real world, solution-based, student outcomes. The makerspace provides for a hands-on learning environment that uniquely inspires creativity, invites curiosity and celebrates individual solutions.
We learned about the mitzvah of procreation and discussed some of the practical applications with modern medicine such as IVF.
The mitzvah program at the Martin J.Gottlieb Day School was first introduced as an integral part of the middle school curriculum 22 years ago. The concept was based on the idea that after students studied Tanach, Jewish laws and customs, they were more likely to understand and accept the mitzvot if given the opportunity to put them into practice. It was also believed that students who became part of their community at large with service projects would grow to understand both their responsibility to the community and their ability to make a difference even at the young age of 11.
In what may have been the most rewarding experience of my career, students chose three values learned from Sefer Bamidbar and wrote letters of gratitude to their parents for already helping them learn these values throughout their lives. Simultaneously, parents wrote value letters to their daughters. Parents and daughters exchanged letters on the same day in what ended up being a meaningful and emotional expression of what we hold dearest.
Going back to the primary source- Teaching TaNaKh from TaNaKh using the B*E*S*T method. Enabling students to 'own' the text making their learning limitless- not confined to instructional teaching.
Building a Listening Room, Maturing Student Prayer: Creating Intentional Religious Environments and Practices in the Traditional Jewish Day School
In my work on Tefila, I have thought about, proposed, and worked on various ideas and projects related to increasing student engagement in Tefila. In the particular capacity of a facilitator of an alternatively structured tefila, I have built a tefila space that both quiets and focuses students around conventional tefila practice through deliberate practices of mindfulness meditation built into the tefila--before, and during the prayers themselves--while still maintaining the full ritualized practice of Orthodox prayer. My theory, which has played out for the past four years and for over 100 students, is that a stilled body allows for a focused mind, and a quieted, focused mind allows for optimal tefila experiences. Setting students up for success, in other words, has everything to do with setting up tefila properly so that it might be a strengthening, cathartic, and transformative experience.
Working in collaborative teams, the 8th graders run a grade-wide campaign to encourage their peers to vote for their "candidate" (AKA a charitable organization) as the class cause. Through interviews, web-based research and site visits, students develop understandings about their organization in order to create a complete marketing strategy and compose persuasive speeches. Starting with class primaries, continuing with town halls, and eventually by conducting a grade-wide convention, students develop their verbal, written, and graphic communication skills, all while raising awareness about important issues such as homelessness or the refugee crisis.
Imagine you’re an 8 year old student at Carmel Academy. You, along with your third grade classmates, are in a toy store, each with $50 in your pocket, money you worked so heard to earn through a class-wide reading challenge. You can spend the money on anything you like, but you cannot spend one penny more than you have. You use your best judgement to choose wisely, you use your estimating skills to make sure you will have enough money when you go to pay, and you carefully count your change from the cashier to make sure it is correct. You board the bus back to school with bags and bags of toys. What happens next exemplifies the true meaning of tzedakah...
Each year our Grade 6 students partake in a project that connects them to the lives of Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust.
These innocent victims who perished are honored and remembered by our students who retell their stories. Our students feel connected to their Jewish heritage and have a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the lives of those who lived before them.
Inspired by the hit cooking show “Chopped” teams of Hilchot Brachot students used mystery ingredients to create their own recipes. While the members of a team had to work with the same mystery ingredients, each team member was responsible for developing a unique recipe for their specific bracha. Final recipes were put together into a class cookbook. Who has lots left to learn and who. has. chopped?
In this units, students will understand the structure and function of the various components of the circulatory system, through didactic and hands-on learning activities. Students will further explore the interaction between the heart and lungs and discuss the impact of their behavior and decisions on their health.
In this unit, students were exposed to some of the major Civil Rights leaders and their impact on rights for all people. Second graders explored the history of the movement through literature, art, writing, and theatrical performance.
The primary goal of this unit is for students to use the Talmud as a tool for exploring real world problems. Contrary to the expectation that Talmudic discussions of capital punishment are arcane and grim, students learn that the Talmud’s dissection of this matter can be fruitfully applied to America’s criminal justice system. Stepping far outside of the American cultural context is sometimes the best preparation for engaging with it. Using the Talmud in this way encourages students not only to become more involved American citizens, but to experience Judaism as a guiding and thought-provoking force in their citizenship.
Student teams research the life history of an individual outside our school community and interview him/her for both educational and personal growth.
It has been my goal and passion for my students to engage with the Biblical text, to find personal meaning in its wisdom, to wrestle with its many interpretations, and to internalize its messages and values.
Students in our 11th grade US History classes researched the Fernald School, a defunct school for students with
disabilities right next door to Gann! They did 2 site visits, developed strong historical questions, and did research in both primary and secondary sources to learn more. Rather than "learning" history, they "did" history, and produced an excellent website documenting their work, which will hopefully be used to lobby the city of Waltham regarding how best to use the site.
Karen Hidalgo has developed a project-based unit on sustainability that has become the hallmark of Austin Jewish Academy’s fifth grade program. It has evolved over the past three years culminating in a service-learning project meaningfully integrated with Jewish studies presenting unique opportunities for students to become real world problem solvers.
Please begin with Text Introduction and proceed to Curriculum Outline.pdf
I teach my students that all of learning and all of life is connected. When we realize connections, we celebrate our
learning. The attached PDF titled Real-World Learning explains how my students learn about the environment and the real world around them by being exposed to connections inside and outside of the classroom and by being encouraged to question and to create ideas.
My presentation begins with the PDF titled Real-World Learning. Thank you!
The Final Journey is a 10-hour curriculum that teaches high school students about Jewish death rituals. It includes videos of each of the topics presented and a 98-page Study Guide for teachers.
What does Real World Learning mean in the elementary classroom? Making science, social studies, current events and the children's natural interests the launching point that ties together the reading, writing and math.
Powered by video instruction and analytics, this 21st century approach to teaching Tanach and Jewish Law helps students master storylines and basic concepts before coming to class. Teachers use repurposed instructional time for higher-order thinking activities (analysis, evaluation and creation), highlighted by a protocol for guided group discussion of Sefer Yehoshua and project-based learning related to the laws of kashrut.
In this unit, we learned how forces cause movement in both physical and social environments. The Ontario Science Curriculum talks about direct and indirect forces (e.g. gravity, magnetism, static electricity), but we took this concept to the next level by analyzing direct and indirect forces that have an ability to cause real world movement. To do so, we integrated our Science learning with Reading, Writing, Drama, Art, Jewish Studies, Technology, and Media Literacy.
From the Classroom to the Courtroom: How to Prepare and Conduct a Successful Mock Trial for Middle School Students
Middle school students get hands-on experience in criminal and civil law in our court system. The unit covers the criminal and civil law rights and procedures as found in the United States Constitution and case law. Students learn about their rights and ultimately get to see their rights in action through attending a circuit court trial in Baltimore, preparing for and participating in a mock trial in a real courtroom, and being jurors for the mock trial done by another 7th grade class.
Students served as honorary pages in the Maine Senate, lunched and engaged with our senator, and had the mayor of Portland in to class for an intimate session. This led to great desires to be involved in the political process.
Students use hands-on obstacle courses, field trips and models to replicate actual Halachic scenarios they are likely to find in their own lives. Students take the knowledge they have studied. research the best ways to implement it and create a life-like interaction with these Halachos.
Halacha Mini Color War (HMCW) is a week-long Hilchot Shabbat course that is designed as a color war competition between teams of high school students. HMCW facilitates real-world learning of Halacha while creating and maintaining the fun and energetic atmosphere of a Color War. Students are motivated to learn and master the material, and their mastery is assessed by their ability to successfully compete in the Color War events.
Our senior elective, Merging Halachic Judaism with Modern Life, combines the study of and appreciation of Jewish law with the study of engineering and its principles. In the first half of the year, students learn Hilchot Shabbat and how these laws manifest in modern life. In the second half the year, students work in groups to identify and create a working prototype that merges both Halachic implications and modern technology to enhance the Shabbat experience. Students, thereby, learn to view the latest technological innovations through the prism of a religious perspective.
Imagine an educational experience in which Jewish teenagers have the opportunity to take their classroom learning and direct that knowledge into a course of action that enhances their education and the Greater Kansas City community. This experiential learning is happening at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, in the form of the Upper School Social Justice Project. I developed and implemented this project - in partnership with peers from an urban charter school, as well as local leaders - which facilitates personal growth and community activism in our students as they address issues such as health care access, voter engagement, and universal early childhood education.
A fifth grade teacher and curriculum coordinator collaborate to develop a science unit. The children learned about inventors and inventions, specifically, how inventors solve real world problems. They designed a new unit incorporating Design Thinking to help students gain real world problem solving skills.
The Adelson Educational Campus has constructed a 5000 square feet, state-of-the-art, invention and entrepreneurial workshop: the Startup Incubator.
In this space, teachers and mentors from university and industry work collaboratively with students to employ the design cycle in identifying and tackling real-world challenges. Prototyping a wide range of products from mobile apps and digital videos to IoT devices and drones, students ultimately develop not only solutions but lean startups through our relevant and progressive “Education for Life.”
A first-in-its-class Integrated Learning Lab and Enrichment Option for 6th-8th grade boys and girls was configured for the 2016-17 school year, based upon the successes and lessons learned in earlier pilot studies in 2013-2016 (see, for example other submissions from this school). The goal of this ambitious program is to more fully involve students in the process of discovering, analyzing and engaging with new information, while giving them real-world experience in using the critical-thinking and technological tools imperative for rational, safe and productive interaction with today’s networked world.
The Israeli Knesset Simulation is a combination of live role-playing and online virtual world interaction in which high school seniors immerse themselves in Israeli politics by becoming members of Knesset. By playing a specific character, learning the party platform, and drafting legislation through committee work, the seniors engage in Israel from the inside-out, breaking down the barriers between their education and the real world.
The Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital’s (JPDS-NC) Election Project 2016: Kid’s Voices Count
The Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital’s (JPDS-NC) Election Project 2016: Kid’s Voices Count was an interdisciplinary, school-wide project that required the participation of every student and teacher at JPDS-NC. Students from Pre-Kindergarten through Sixth Grade delved into a variety of election issues, met with experts to deepen their understanding, met with and listened to other students in area schools to broaden their perspectives, and reflected on Jewish teachings that relate to the issues in the election. Each grade focused on a different election-related issue connected to their core curriculum, culminating in a Voter’s Guide distributed throughout our community and beyond.
The units of the Judaism Revealed program are lessons and units utilizing the “Understanding By Design” methodology as a springboard to build a curriculum that does not sacrifice depth, meaning and Jewish content when creating a universal message for a multi-denominational elementary school audience. The lessons delve into the depth of the holiday allowing the students to taste the relevance that the holiday has for them in the 21st century.
Why should we limit our students to the knowledge of our teachers? By using Skype lessons, we bring in knowledge and experiences to our students that were unavailable to them before. I built learning experiences for our students around Skype lessons.
We're changing how our students relate to their heritage. The LaHaV curriculum has pioneered a text-based approach to Talmud and Tanakh education that communicates the richness and relevance of Jewish tradition by exploring the principles of halakhic legal theory and asking our students to apply their learning to contemporary, real-world issues.
We’re also transforming the Judaic studies experience for teachers around the world - we’ve created a groundbreaking digital curriculum app that serves as the basis of a fully connected network of Jewish educators who share training, resources and methodologies across schools in the US, Israel, and Australia.
L’Dor V’Dor provides deep one-on-one encounters between students K-6 from Columbus Jewish Day School and Jewish and non-Jewish elders around lifecycle and holiday events. Through carefully planned and facilitated exercises, simulations, and activities, the intergenerational wisdom of elders interacts with the joy of youth among participants aged 6-106, through the use of art, music, text study, guided interactions, prayer, and more.
Students reflected upon the unique traits of leaders in Tanakh and wrote letters of recognition to modern-day figures who exemplify these traits.
This is a reading program designed to foster an enjoyment of reading Hebrew while cultivating the skills necessary for navigating Jewish life.
Maimonides Better Together students & seniors share & grow together; students actualize their study & seniors share their life experiences.
We integrate timely and relevant Jewish Respect for elderly, Torah values in classroom lessons, before meeting & hands-on activities with seniors.
At Arthur I. Meyer Academy, Jocelyn Weiner used a student driven and created curricular integrative process, inspired by UbD, to create a unit to explore, research, solve, and write informational books about issues of importance in the upcoming presidential election with 18 third graders. The teacher began the unit by using Judaic and Secular text to help guide students to critically think about issues in our country and community.
By using students’ questions, wonderings, and misconceptions, the students and teacher were able to create the unit and lessons needed to solve the problem. The goal was achieved by creating individual books that provided ways to solve the issue, what Jewish text and scholars say about the problem the community was faced with, and a detailed description of the topic (according to credible, secular, age appropriate text).Jenna Sherwood, the other third grade teacher at Meyer Academy, built upon the research students did in reading in order to give a better understanding of timelines in math class
Kellman Brown Academy is committed to the principle that ALL of our students are critical thinkers and problem-solvers. Through introducing the Makers Movement into the culture of the school, students are challenged to "make" what they need to solve real-world problems using their imagination and any materials they can get their hands on. The Makers culture promotes independence, ingenuity, and collaborative work.
A Medical-Based approach to ecology. Ecology is an important branch of biology, and has led to many important discoveries and developments in healthcare, agriculture, genetics, and anthropology. However, for elementary school students, this information can be made more relevant to their everyday lives by making the connection to, and describing the significant impact ecology has in, modern day medicine.
The 3rd graders worked on a beginning of the year interdisciplinary assignment as a getting to know you better project. The project combined many 21st century skills, including communication, creativity & innovation, and global awareness. The project centered around the book Who is Melvin Bubble? by author Nick Bruel and culminated with the students getting to understand the real world outside their classroom by meeting Mr. Bruel via Skype!
Through the Mesila financial literacy course, I am helping students in the ultra-Orthodox world develop life-long financial responsibility and skills for facing serious challenges to the Jewish community today: the loud and alluring commercialism and media that pound me-first materialism into our lives; social pressure that causes many Jewish families to live beyond their means and end up in debt; and a general lack of knowledge about smart, proactive financial behavior. Built on a solid foundation of Torah sources and Jewish values, this course addresses the issues of money and money management openly and systematically, through age-appropriate content that includes real-life creative activities and assignments on topics such as responsible spending, understanding consumer culture, withstanding social pressure, budgeting, prioritizing, making informed choices, the potential hazards of credit cards and loans, investments, ethics and integrity and social responsibility.
The mock Beit Din serves as a final exam, capping off a year of studying numerous cases surrounding the same theme -- in my case, the concept of mamon ha-mutal b’safek -- financial disputes between litigants. While the year begins with one mishnah providing one din, it ends with many variations on that theme. The mock Beit Din serves to demonstrate to the students the practical applications of the cases and laws studied, making the material actual and relevant to their lives - rather than dry and impractical.
I created and implemented a combination Jewish Ethics/ Rabbinic Literature curriculum that addresses common modern ethical issues via authentic Jewish literary sources (primarily Talmud). Students learn the basic skills to navigate the sources (presented in their classical, albeit redacted, formats), gain the ability to explore various interpretations thereof, acquire a thorough understanding of the content, and produce high level responsa in the style of of rabbinic decisors (poskim) that address these contemporary ethical problems.
With the right teacher, the study of Jewish Law and the Jewish Legal System (Mishna and Gemara) is exciting, insightful, and extremely relevant to contemporary issues. What most students do not know is that British Common Law (the source for the U.S. and Canadian Legal Systems) has its basis in Jewish Law. Moot Court versus Moot Beit Din is a program that takes composite, real life legal problems, and divides students into two teams who research, recreate, and present each side of the case before both a Beit Din and a civil court giving the students incredible real world experiences.
To help students explore real-world uses of decimal arithmetic, and also to encourage team building and creativity, I introduce this 2-part challenge to my Math students. First, in groups, they create thematic pop up restaurants for their classmates. In the second part, each student is given a random guest amount and is directed to calculate total costs for their orders from each restaurant to plan for a catering event.
The N.E. Miles Jewish Day School social justice and leadership initiative is guided by the core beliefs and values on which our school is based. To that end, we provide real-life experiences for the students to participate actively in three of the guiding Jewish values- Menschlichkeit, Tikkun Olam, and Torah Study.
In this unit, students explored the necessary components of a community/neighborhood, including, laws, community 'helpers,' homes, street furniture, and establishments that provide needed goods and services. Students discussed what it means to be a member of a community and what rights and responsibilities accompany that privilege. The unit included a great deal of 'first-hand' experience as students met and interviewed community members, explored a neighborhood and spoke with voters as they entered the booths in this recent election.
Our middle school students run a hot lunch business for the students and staff of the school on Fridays, in which they prepare and serve over 100 meals from a menu including grilled sandwiches, soup, salads and pasta. The students manage every aspect of the business, including finances, inventory, customer service, marketing, and vendor relations. The proceeds go to pay for the middle school spring trip, for tsedaka, and other classroom projects. We are on our fourth year of this very successful business.
A full curriculum and real-life experience growing bug free lettuce in our greenhouse. "Farm to Table" concepts presented with participation across the grades. Interdisciplinary connections will be made.
In this lesson, student use skills learned to navigate non-fiction texts in order to do research and learn facts about teeth. This topic is relevant to first grade students as they often begin losing their baby teeth at this stage of life, and it provides them with the scientific reasoning behind this occurrence.
After learning about important moments in Modern Israeli history the students in our 4th and 5th grade visit a local Senior center (called Oasis) to interview them about their memories of these moments.
This course blends technology with traditional text study and shifts the teacher-driven model to a teacher-facilitator and student-driven/project based learning model. Each week, the parasha of the week is studied through unique student creations in which they are challenged to produce content related to the parsha of the week. The students learn new independent skills including Torah research and writing, and collaboration. as well as utilizing powerful digital tools to produce engaging, contemporary, and sophisticated compositions on the weekly parasha.
Kindergarten through 5th grade students exercise already existing passions or new interests in multi-age/grade elective classes. Electives span such disciplines as sports, computer programming, engineering, robotics, culinary arts, fine arts, the environment, etc...
At CCJDS, we teach our children that their words and actions have the power to make change in this world. We believe that as they grow and learn academically, so too should our children explore what it means to make a difference in the world and in the lives of others. Through our school-wide, cross-curriculum SHIR HaLev program, students embark on a yearlong service project in the spirit of the Jewish value of tikkun olam (repairing the world).
Using traditional Jewish texts, select video clips, case studies, stories and interactive projects "A Privileged Partner" is rooted in 3 over-arching "Big Ideas":
1. Character development (Midot) is not a subject, it is a way of life.
2. The power to change myself and the world is in MY hands.
3. The greater one’s potential, the greater one’s responsibility.
“We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all the people are upon us." Using this quote by John Winthrop, the founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, as inspiration, my 5th grade students at Yeshivat Noam research and discover, through project based learning, what it takes to create a successful colony during early Colonial Times. Students are split into groups of Pilgrims and Puritans. Each group member is responsible for researching an important role : Leadership/Government, Trade, Food Provider, Shelter Provider, or Family Roles. Throughout the process students research a guiding question, make classroom presentations and together plan a Pilgrims and Puritans Fair teaching people that creating a successful colony is not so different from keeping a society successful today!"
As we continue to improve our middle school program, we recently elected to change our learning environment to include more Real-World Learning, based on projects that better motivate students and increase their engagement. This entry describes our accomplishments so far.
The collection of lessons in our submission are examples of how we have applied project-based learning (PBL) to our Mishna and Chumash classes. In addition to having to develop the skills necessary to learn the material on their own, our students learned how to reach out to and share what they had learned with members of the broader school community, the Jewish community, and the global community. This process has brought our students to a greater appreciation of the role of the texts in their daily lives, and of their ability to take initiative in both the learning process and the practical application of what they have learned.
The Project Sholom Message is that Kindness is not only something that we 'learn about', but something that is part of our daily lives.
The Project Sholom Method (catchy phrases, visual aids, role play, songs, stories and activities) give children experiences that drive home the lesson that you can be happy by making others happy. The Project Sholom Tools teach kindness skills, one at a time, in a way that is fun, easy to remember, and relevant.
What is PV? Learn all about it in this six-minute video made by the 6th graders at Lander~Grinspoon Academy. This video is the culmination of a year long Project Based Learning experience on solar power. It was produced utilizing community media at Northampton Community Television.
Students actively converse in Hebrew with their peers in class, at recess and at home, thereby making Hebrew not merely a subject they learn at school but a language they own and use. Students attain Hebrew fluency through engaging in games and collaborative real world Hebrew projects.
Using this program, students can use their skills in a real-world setting and share their learning with others. Students apply learned skills to create a video of unfamiliar text as a demonstration for other students. The collection of these videos gets posted to a website to compile a student-created Khan Academy for Judaic skills.
I was teaching a grade 11 course in a Jewish overnight camp in Toronto through Torah High (a supplementary school in Toronto). The course was an interdisciplinary course of Leadership and Judaic studies. The goal was to make it as 'unschool' like for the students as possible.
The office of Student Life at Beth Tfiloh High School has developed beyond cute programming and is now seen as an Educational Department, working alongside all Academic Departments to enhance, collaborate, deepen and apply values, ideas and skills being taught in various disciplines and give them a meeting place of relevance and application through experiential programming. This is a new and exciting way to envision teaching for the Real World and I am excited to share the fruit of the first three years of this experience with you in the hope of inspiring more schools to develop this approach as well.
As a nurse practitioner and veteran of the fitness industry, I have created a transformational model of physical education for the high school level that is designed to meet the changing dynamics of the "real-world". This program is a response to the rising rates of sedentary lifestyles across all segments of society and its' comorbid sequela on both our physical and mental health. This Real-World model replaces the traditional curricula of physical education programs centered around games and team sports with a model focused on providing students with the education, inspiration, skills, and tools to inculcate a healthy lifestyle while in high school and be well-prepared to maintain such a lifstyle as they transition to adulthood.
This day, the first in a new school tradition, was structured as a call to action for students and families in a time when action is sorely needed. We hope to give our students the tools they need to to stand up for what is right, like our social justice heroes throughout history have done.
The Rosh Chodesh Calendar project is a two year multiweek integration program which has been successfully incorporated into our school for the past four years. Year one involves integration between the science, technology, art, Ivrit/Hebrew language and Judaic teachers for grade five; year two integrates Humanities, physical education, math/engineering, art and Judaic instruction for grade six/Middle School. Each of the multiweek learning units culminates in a presentation showcasing student individual and class research projects for parents, and occasionally the greater Indianapolis Jewish community
In this unit, students develop academic, social and emotional skills when learning about what it means to be members of a classroom and school community. Students learn about diversity, empathy and responsibility as they discover their role as a member of multiple communities.
Students explore the over 3000 year old tradition of Hebrew writing using the traditional equipment of quill, parchment and ink. A key aspect of the course is for student to reach a proficiency in scribing so they can analyse different Torah scrolls/Megillot found in our school, and evaluate their respective merits. Students also explore the deeper meaning of the letters (i.e. why is a dalet shaped like it is, and has the name it has?) exploring a chosen letter, and seeing how its deeper messages relate to the world and their lives.
The Shearim Work Study Program is designed for high school students with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Students are given an opportunity to engage with the world, learn important life skills, and derive satisfaction and joy from serving their community.
A group of Israeli teenagers (Shinshinim) who are volunteering in Toronto for the year join my Grade 12 Israeli history course for one lesson a week. The students learn about Israel together and share and challenge each other's understandings about Israel. The Israeli teens provide first-hand experience and real-world knowledge about Israel and change the nature and dynamic of the course because of their involvement.
Sinai Akiba Academy, a Jewish day school, partners with New Horizon School, a Muslim day school. Through art, text-study, games, and prayer, students come to see their "buddies," as individuals rather than as members from a faith group.
This curriculum uses the Exodus story as the foundation for the students to research and execute the making of bricks. The Pesach narrative is then used to expose the students to child labor throughout history. The bricks are used to build a working oven upon which the students baked matza and then taught the rest of the school the matza-making process.
The SOLE Student Leadership Seminar is a full-day, interactive leadership seminar for grades 9-12 which combines real world skill development learned from world experts, with the application of Jewish values in the community.
Students learn from SOLE mentors including Rabbis, Commanders in the IDF, Professors specializing in Israeli Affairs, and other thought leaders in an innovative learning environment called a Self-Organized-Learning Environment or SOLE.
After each keynote, the speakers join the students in small group discussions on how to apply what they just learned from the presentations to their clubs, committees and Israeli-themed projects.
The Ma’ayanot STEAM initiative orchestrates a learning environment which fosters creativity and reasoning, compelling students to evaluate, ideate, prototype, test, and iterate . Our philosophy is one of Constructionism which shares constructivism’s connotation of learning as ‘building knowledge structures’ and adds the idea that this happens most pronounced in a context where the learner is consciously engaged in constructing an entity. Students are forced to engage dynamically with their creations in order to prevail in the fruition of their design.
I initiated a school-wide STEM Day, where the students participated in several hands-on activities. These included science, technology, engineering and math activities. The students were able to see how the skills that they learn in school are used in real-life situations.
The Perelman Jewish Day School Student Council inspires real-world learning of civic engagement in our school. The Student Council provides students with opportunities for leadership and ownership of actual student issues. Students have a forum for discussing our school environment and exemplifying good citizenship.
16 seventh grade students were presented with a real problem -- that MJDS has no Sukkah. Their challenge was to design, prototype, build and decorate a kosher Sukkah in time for Sukkot. The results were stunning; but the process was even more so.
The Talent Center Handbook shows how to develop creative young Jewish leaders with an 18 word curriculum in just 30 Minutes a Week. Emek’s game-changing Extra Challenge Projects connect holistic Torah learning, technology, and Jewish design thinking through child-led community service passion projects.
This mandatory workshop for the eighth graders is done with small groups of 11-14 girls during lunch semi-weekly. The goal is to educate and discuss the impact that the internet and new technology has on our lives in order to empower the girls to be able to make better, more responsible choices presently and in the future.
At Yeshivat Noam in Paramus NJ the use of iPads and a variety of music apps in our music program has opened up an exciting new world for our students. It has sparked widespread interest on the part of our students to eagerly pursue areas of music not only in our classrooms, but independently out of school.
The Middot Project blends the emerging wisdom of Positive Psychology with the timeless perspective of Jewish values aimed at a lifetime of meaning and human flourishing.
This project tasked the students to create a scale model of the mishkan using 3D modeling and printing. Attached to the submission is a google doc with a full explanation with additional materials and references hyperlinked to the doc itself.
Cultivating positive associations with Tefillah in our time is a formidable challenge that every day school faces. A response to this universal issue, our Shtender Project fostered an excitement for Tefillah and an opportunity to personalize one's Tefillah experience while building confidence and pride through hard work. While so much of our shcolastic lives are spent fulfilling cognitive goals, this project honed the psychomotor skills of the students, in addition to stimulating the mind, heart and soul. It was a memorable project, and it left each student with something that they can hold onto for years to come.
What follows is a thematic unit on Persistence created for our 7th/8th grade Jewish Thought class at Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School. It is the first in our series of units to deeply examine character traits (or middot) as a means to develop connections between our modern lives and our sacred Jewish texts. After settling on an initial definition of persistence, we studied and discussed examples found in Tanach and various other Jewish and secular sources to help us deepen our understanding and appreciation of this important and esteemed character trait. It is our hope that this creative approach to learning will allow our students to be fully engaged now, but also to reflect and think about these traits and their rich connection to Judaism at different stages in their lives. Future units this year include Heroism, Happiness and Kindness.
The Torah textbook project is a Torah SheBaal Peh curriculum with an emphasis on relating Torah texts (Pesukim, Mishna, Gemara and Halacha) to real world scenarios and situations. Each unit or "sugya" begins with a trigger film or series of articles that promote thinking about topics that are relevant to the lives of students. In addition to the relevance the curriculum includes skill building components which promote self-efficacy in both reading and understanding the logical flow of gemara.
Please note that this curriculum is written for either an iBook (iPad, iMac or iPhone) or online format. The sample below is a .pdf version which is limited to graphics and text.
Torat Chayim: Real World Learning in Tanach and Gemara; Analysis and Integration through Real World Application
How do we engage students in the rigorous, text based learning of Tanach and Gemara while helping them learn how to apply their learning to their lives and the world around them? A portfolio of sample projects are provided that serve as different models in answering this question. These projects challenge student to extract values, apply and synthesize their learning in various "authentic" ways.
For Tu’Beshvat 2016 the Hamilton Hebrew Academy decided to create a school wide initiative that integrated science, biology, the arts, Ivrit and Judaic Studies. Our vision was to create a real world, interdisciplinary experience that would engage all learners.
In honour of our school's 18th anniversary and its initial visionaries, we launched a school-wide initiative looking at how to turn dreams into reality. Each grade integrated this theme with a core curricular unit. A detailed description of each grade's project as well as work samples are included with this submission.
Through study of modern ethical dilemmas related to the use of animals in our society, and a cursory dive into traditional texts related to the treatment of animals, students write position papers and debate Lincoln-Douglas style in an attempt to convince peers and parents to act in a manner that aligns solutions to current concerns with ancient wisdom.
Given that it is an election year and we recently lost Shimon Peres, I demonstrate how teachers can use world events to increase student awareness while building their skills in the target language. Spanish is particularly relevant right now given the Spanish speaking population in the US and a key issue in the elections; immigration.
Voice of Israel is a 12th grade multi-leveled Hebrew class where the students design, build and create content to their own live website which enables them to learn and apply their knowledge about Israel all in Hebrew. The goal of the class is to learn Hebrew, to deepen the students’ relationship to Israel and to allow them to engage with a wider audience through real life output. Students were given the opportunity to form affinity discussion groups, and engage in peer review, all while learning Hebrew and gaining knowledge about Israel. The website gives students a real-life platform to express their ideas, and to share their knowledge with the world.
We learned about how Yonah runs away from God and what his different motivations could have been. We spoke about how Abraham Maslow's "Jonah Complex" can be relevant in our lives when we prevent ourselves from success for fear of success.