The Kohelet Prize Database

Risk Taking and Failure

Awarded for a failed project or initiative that falls into any of the five categories above. Preference will be given to failures that resulted in lessons that are applicable and relevant to a broad spectrum of educators across subject areas and grade levels.

בכל דור ודור – B’chol Dor Va’dor

“B’chol Dor Va’dor” is an independent anchor activity for accelerated Tanakh students that encourages meaningful inter-textual exploration of Tanakh requiring creativity and reflection. Students identified underlying themes of Pessach by analyzing eighteen events in Tanakh that took place on the dates of Pessach. Their work culminated in the creation of their own Seder Symbols which were then used at their family sedarim to help enhance the experience of these themes on Pessach.

By: Mrs. Shira Greenspan from Ramaz Upper School

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Art, Tanach

Pedagogy: PBL - project based learning, IBL - inquiry based learning, UBD - understanding by design, Montessorri, Blended Learning, 21st Century Skills

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Bayit Rishon Museum

The Bayit Rishom Museum is a project that was developed to allow students to view Tanach as a historical vehicle and for Mesopotamian artifacts to be used to appreciate Jewish History. Using important historical artifacts, students created virtually museums to teach about the Bayit Rishon Era.

By: Jeremy Hellman from Yeshivat Noam

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Art, Computer Science, History, Philosophy/ Values/ Ethics/ Hashkafa, Social and Emotional Learning, Social Studies, Tanach, Technology

Pedagogy: Design-Thinking Model, Experiential Education, IBL - inquiry based learning, PBL - project based learning, Social and Emotional Learning, UBD - understanding by design, 21st Century Skills

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Computer Lab

Utilizing online computer courses for remedial, standard, and advanced students.

By: Mr. Daniel Rosenblum from Mesivta Shaarei Arazim

Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Computer Science, Halacha, Literature, Math

Pedagogy: 21st Century Skills

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Creating an focused but open engineering makerspace

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.

By: Mr. Yosef Skolnick from Shulamith High School of Cedarhurst

Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Art, Computer Science, Math, Science, STEM, Technology, Engineering

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

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In Defense of Learning Lishmah

Jewish educators often approach their subjects with the same modalities and grading system that are common in General Studies classes. Rather than continue with this approach, Shalhevet attempted to design two Judaic courses that would devalue letter grades and promote more authentic and deeper student learning. We were willing to take a calculated risk and we failed. While our initial pilot missed the mark, the effort has promoted some benefits and has jumpstarted further innovation in our approach to Judaic instruction.

By: Mr. Jason Feld, Mr. Noam Weissman from Shalhevet High School

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Halacha, History, Literature, Mishnah, Music, Tanach, Jewish Philosophy, Israel Education

Pedagogy: IBL - inquiry based learning, Constructivist, 21st Century Skills

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Enrichment@Maayanot

To meet the educational needs of our strongest students, who are not fully sufficiently challenged by the Honors classroom we instituted an enrichment program. Each student chooses two projects (bekiut and b'iyun) to work on over the course of the year. The handful of students participating across the grades, through specially geared programming form a peer community of motivated achievers who push each other to discover and reach their full potential.

By: Rabbi Donny Besser, Mrs. Rivka Kahan from Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Art, Computer Science, Gemara, Halacha, History, Ivrit, Literature, Math, Mishnah, Music, Science, Tanach

Pedagogy: PBL - project based learning

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Escape the Room! Halacha Mini Course

I created a series of week long escape rooms to teach different topics in Halacha. I used Google Classroom and other apps and websites to transform my class into an exciting Escape the Room for the week.

By: Aryeh Wasserman from Kohelet Yeshiva

Grade(s): K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Elementary school, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Halacha, Technology

Pedagogy: Experiential Education, Gamification, IBL - inquiry based learning, UBD - understanding by design

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#FailureFridays: Helping Students Embrace Risk Taking and Failure

#FailureFridays is a class-wide program that integrated daily social and emotional learning (SEL) with curricular lessons to foster a greater appreciation for risk taking and failure. Students applied critical and creative thinking to Tanach study, engaged in daily journaling, and discussed their setbacks and successes at a weekly class meeting.

By: Joe Hirsch from Akiba Academy

Grade(s): K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Elementary school, Middle school

Subject(s) of entry: English/ Writing/ Language Arts, Social and Emotional Learning, Tanach

Pedagogy: Social and Emotional Learning, UBD - understanding by design, 21st Century Skills

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Imagine and Design Lab: Beyond the Classroom Walls

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.

By: Mrs. Yonina Lermer from Yeshiva Har Torah

Grade(s): Elementary school, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Science

Pedagogy: PBL - project based learning, IBL - inquiry based learning, UBD - understanding by design, 21st Century Skills

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Integrated English 11/Media Arts: A Failed Attempt to Institute a Progressive Educational Program into a College Preparatory High School

There is hubris in imagining that just because we developed a program that would lead to enhanced student learning that it should happen. But we did do our best to identify a problem, recruit faculty and students, present funding opportunities, and further the school mission in the areas of Judaic integration, integrity, and personalized learning.

By: Roger Blonder, Tony Soltis from de Toledo High School

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Art, English/ Writing/ Language Arts, Philosophy/ Values/ Ethics/ Hashkafa, Social and Emotional Learning, Social Studies, Technology

Pedagogy: Constructivist, Design-Thinking Model, Experiential Education, IBL - inquiry based learning, PBL - project based learning, Social and Emotional Learning, Soulful Education, 21st Century Skills

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iPad English Classroom Trial: Challenges, Successes, Discoveries, and Failures

Over the academic year of 2014-5, I embraced the introduction of iPads across the entire SAR High School freshman class by taking certain risks and often failing at integrating the iPad into my already digital curriculum. A record of my efforts were recorded on a public blog that I used as both a record of my “trial run” and a platform for networking with other iPad educators via social media. In my year-long blog, I shared questions, answers, successes, challenges, and yes, even failures regarding the first-year introduction of iPads into my already paperless English classroom. My blog record shows that while I failed at fully integrating the iPad as a media device, and while I failed at fully aligning iPad apps with my already digital curriculum, I succeeded at researching, recognizing, and even demonstrating the iPad’s strengths and challenges in my English classroom.

By: Dr. Hillel Broder from SAR High School

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Art, Computer Science, Gemara, Halacha, History, Ivrit, Literature, Math, Mishnah, Music, Science, Tanach

Pedagogy: 21st Century Skills

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Judaic Studies Electives Program

Initiative to revamp, reinvigorate, and reimagine the Judaic Studies Curriculum at Ulpanat Orot by empowering the students to have diverse and personalized choices in their course selections. Ivrit and Torah (Chumash) are mandatory courses throughout HS, but the other 3 JS periods were opened up with 3-4 choices per period.

By: Rabbi Effie Kleinberg, Mrs. Sara Munk from Bnei Akiva Schools

Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Gemara, Halacha, History, Ivrit, Mishnah, Tanach

Pedagogy: Blended Learning, 21st Century Skills

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Kol Isha: Giving Voice to Jewish American Women

Kol Isha: Giving Voice to Jewish American Women is a primary document based inquiry project for advanced level American history students that encourages analytical interpretation of historical documents in tandem with creative writing and personal reflection.

By: Ariel Levenson from Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Elementary school, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: English/ Writing/ Language Arts, History, Social and Emotional Learning, Social Studies

Pedagogy: Constructivist, Design-Thinking Model, IBL - inquiry based learning, PBL - project based learning, Social and Emotional Learning, UBD - understanding by design

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Magazine of Mishaps: Swimming with Sharks

As a creative extension of their invention/innovation research papers, I challenged my students to create their own inventions and present them in a forum like the TV Show, Shark Tank. I didn't think through all the details, and the project didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. As a result, I learned some important lessons.

By: Mrs. Sari Kopitnikoff from Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey

Grade(s): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Elementary school, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Art, Literature

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

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Makerspace Failure= Learning

In my K-5 Makerspace classes, students are able to explore, design, engineer, create, collaborate and educate. They are exposed to hundreds of different materials, tools, and supplies ranging from straws, to robotic LittleBits, to broken VCR players. Students are taught, encouraged, and accepting to challenges as learning opportunities and understand that in the Makerspace, there is not failure, only learning.

By: Ms. Jamie Moskowitz from Perelman Jewish Day School

Grade(s): K, 1, 2, 3, 4, Elementary school

Subject(s) of entry: Art, Computer Science, Math, Science

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

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Mesivta 404: Risk, Failure, Opportunity

Equal to a boy’s feeling of accomplishment and belonging is his chance at finding his place among the Jewish people. But departing from the path of least resistance, even if things do not seem to be working, is hard. Taking the risk to do something different might just have to come from desperation. This is the origin story of Mesivta 404.

By: Rabbi Yehuda Fenton, Rivkah Schack from Lamplighters Yeshivah-Mesivta 404

Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Philosophy/ Values/ Ethics/ Hashkafa, Social and Emotional Learning

Pedagogy: Blended Learning, Constructivist, Social and Emotional Learning, Socratic Method

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Risk-Taking and Failure: A Greenhouse for Learning

A cautionary tale of the lure of innovative educational opportunities that not only engage and inspire, but also exemplify our Jewish values and how to best integrate into existing school culture to ensure acceptance and longevity. Our effort led to the near loss of a signature program. The risk was well worth it, the failure a challenge, and the ensuing lessons, invaluable for the program and our school.

By: Allison Oakes from Sandra E. Lerner Jewish Community Day School

Grade(s): K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Elementary school, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Art, Ivrit, Literature, Science, Environmental Curriculum (integrated into general and Jewish Studies and Hebrew), Environmental Curriculum

Pedagogy: PBL - project based learning, 21st Century Skills

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Scheduling Circus

Creating a school schedule is difficult. Furthermore, creating a schedule that works for 14 multi-age, multi-level, individual students with very different academic and social-emotional needs, seems nearly impossible. It was through a journey of taking great risks and reflecting on failures that brought our classroom the schedule(s) we all needed.

By: Amy Morford from Arevim Schoolhouse

Grade(s): K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Elementary school, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Art, English/ Writing/ Language Arts, Halacha, History, Ivrit, Math, Mishnah, Philosophy/ Values/ Ethics/ Hashkafa, Physical Education/Health, Science, Social and Emotional Learning, Social Studies, Tefila, literature

Pedagogy: Blended Learning, Experiential Education, IBL - inquiry based learning, Montessorri, Social and Emotional Learning, Wholebrain Teaching, 21st Century Skills

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Shifting Math Models

In order to better differentiate in our math classrooms, we recently shifted our math model from a "pull-out" model, where students were pulled out into above and below level groups, to a "push-in" model, where a third teacher joins the classroom and the teachers teach in small groups.

By: Elana Willig, Yvonne Ostrov from Magen David Yeshivah

Grade(s): K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Elementary school, Middle school

Subject(s) of entry: Math

Pedagogy: Constructivist

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Learning from Failure: Tanakh Mastery Skills Lab

Last year, I introduced a “skills lab” component into my high school Tanakh class. It was designed to improve students' Tanakh reading skills while allowing them to work individually in a style and pace appropriate for each one. I was unsatisfied with the success of the lab last year, but I was not ready to give up entirely. I applied the lessons learned from last year and completely redesigned it based on the principles of mastery learning instead of differentiated learning. I am happy to report that the risk I took in revamping the skills lab has, to this point, paid off, with exciting results.

By: Adina Borg-Blaustein from Fuchs Mizrachi

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Tanach

Pedagogy: Flipped Learning, PBL - project based learning, None of the Above

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Tanakh Skills Lab

Differentiated instruction suffers from a lack of concrete expression in the high school Judaic Studies classroom. This entry describes an experiment I started in September to create an opportunity for differentiated learning for my Tanakh students at the Fuchs Mizrachi Stark High School. I dedicated one class a week to a skills lab and gave students an opportunity to work independently on a Tanakh skills project of their choice. Accompanying documents and links are numbered in order of suggested viewing.

By: Ms. Adina Blaustein from Fuchs Mizrachi Stark High School11

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Tanach

Pedagogy: IBL - inquiry based learning, 21st Century Skills

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The Super You Project

To give my students the opportunity to creatively document their lives as 5th graders, I assigned them the “Super You” project. It didn’t turn out to be the productive tool for differentiating instruction I’d hoped. In the end, though, my students were happy with their products and I felt committed to improve the project for the future.

By: Sari Kopitnikoff from Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey

Grade(s): 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Elementary school, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Art, English/ Writing/ Language Arts, Technology, literature

Pedagogy: Experiential Education, PBL - project based learning, 21st Century Skills

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Three Models of the Integrated Online Classroom

Three different models of the integrated online classroom are examined and evaluated in this study. All three models utilize the PowerSchool Learning platform (formerly Haiku Learning). The study compares and contrasts the models, highlighting the benefits and drawbacks of each.

By: Daniel Freund from Yeshivat Kadimah High School

Grade(s): 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Middle school, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Gemara, Halacha, Tanach

Pedagogy: Blended Learning, Flipped Learning, 21st Century Skills

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Two Poems–Two Teachers–Two Classrooms: Creating a Collaborative “Howl” for today’s teens.

We used two poems as an opportunity to challenge a very significant norm at many schools--the lack of interaction among students in different levels/grades. Students in two classes--one an AP senior class, the other a grade-level junior class--analyzed both poems, asking questions of each other and answering as many as they could.

By: Dr. Hannah Saltmarsh and Ms. Victoria Plaza from Berman Hebrew Academy

Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12, High school

Subject(s) of entry: English/ Writing/ Language Arts, Social and Emotional Learning, literature

Pedagogy: Blended Learning, Constructivist, Flipped Learning, PBL - project based learning

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Yosef Through the Lens: A Co-Teaching PBL Experiment in combining Jewish text, Psychology and Photography in a heterogeneous classroom

This entry is our reflection on the successes and failures during our attempt to co-teach the Yosef narratives through a multi-faceted PBL in a heterogeneous classroom consisting of 9th and 10th grade boys.

By: Rabbi Jonny Gordon, Rabbi Adam Mayer from Kohelet Yeshiva High School

Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12, High school

Subject(s) of entry: Art, Tanach

Pedagogy: PBL - project based learning, 21st Century Skills

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