Friday, October 1, 2010

First session tomorrow: Plan it out

From Now through January I'm taking the LOMED challenge.
LOMED is the work of The Jewish Education Project.
Funded by UJA-Federation of NY. Can 100 teachers create powerful learning and assess it?
Can 100 teachers teach another 200 teachers powerful learning and a way to assess it?

Can I?

Can I
do what the leading the teachers in New
York are doing to create powerful learning?

teach aligned to a long term real life goal?

CAN I create units that speak to the head, the heart, the hand and the feet?

CAN I use the design principles that seem to make a difference?

1. build relationships
2. apply to daily life-real life questions..(I want to start a new movement: Quotidian..Judaism...Judaism for the everyday!)
3. give the learners time for discovery, inquiry and reflection so they can make their own meaning
4. make content rich an
d accessible

CAN I do all this on Shabbat where learners can't write or cut?

Oy, it would be easier to do some warm up activities, have a good discussion and serve bagels. This is a lot of thinking and planning.

A little something on th
e side
I'm volunteering at my congregation to teach twenty-five 8th to 12t
h graders.
That's a hefty number of sleepy teens saying "I'll get up
Saturday mornings before 9 am." Okay we'll see how many would be madrichim actually show up.

I'm a congregant. And the synagogue thinks its okay for me to teach...volunteer.They know me. I don't bop kids on the head or teach (on the first day) about hell fires consuming you for eternity.

The Director of Educatio
n and I talk. She has given me a subject:.

The Torah portion of
the week...all ages kids and adults are learning the portion of the week.
The synagogue, conserva
tive, has a model where parents and children and the larger congregation come together to learn and pray Shabbat morning. Parents and kids do stuff together and separate.

My task ultimately (priority goal) is that these teens go off to their next venture and take up the task of of making a life guided by Torah. I get that goal in a big way. My four sons packed their bags and are on their way. Torah is in the suitcase for each of them in a different. I'm glad its there. Just getting a haircut and a degree from a good college is not enough to have full life.

Short term goals: I'm supposed to help the teens be madrichim (student assistant
s) ...Torah as the source

Here goes: I need to be ready with a lesson tomorrow am.

Challenge one: What are the outcomes for the 14 weeks/the unit?

I'm going to be successful if by January (and along the way)
the teens...what?

As I start to think about how to name this stuff I thinking the whole of a person. I'm not just nurturing their head or their feelings. Okay over all these weeks, even if it is not in each lesson, I have to unlock the whole of the person. Parts and wholes. How do I unlock the parts and the whole of a person? Connect the pieces?
Not sure.

Makes sense to keep it simple.
What's observable and seems worthwhile? I'm doing this by myself. It would be easier if I could talk to someone about it and get some feed
back. I never wrote or made or did anything that wasn't better with partners...not even soup.

Outcomes for this Torah unit:



Key values from each weekly Torah portion (content an
d Hebrew)
A Jewish way to make decisions (consider this and this and then..)

Regularly mentor/role model/ interact with their own students

Name key values and name the Torah value that they "decide" to apply in those interactions
Implement one teaching experience for their students enabling their students to live a Torah value

Reflect on and express observable benefits and challenge
s of decisions guided by Torah

Engage with peers, elders and children about how to apply Torah to daily life Be in conversation with their ancestors (e.g. Eve and Rashi) about Torah values Speak it out with God Okay stop there. There could be a million other things I'd try to go for. But if I'm only with them 1 hour a week for 3 months, keep it simple. Did I make these outcomes observable? Review..okay not bad, will edit as a I go forward.

How Am I going to collect their growth over time..have no idea, will think about tools and prompts and that stuff next week.

What's the big idea for tomorrow?

Torah is a tree of life

What's the big question the learners care about?
So what's it got to do with me and being a it gonna help me out?

Before starting I've got to know them and they need to kn
ow each other. MMM I guess they need to know me too. I'm a person, not a teacher. I a Jew. I'm struggling to figure out how to live with Torah at the center. Not sure they are.

Relationships first. Relationships and relationships.
I love teens.
They often have great bravado, they know everything and the rest of us are as stupid as they come. I remember my first year as a principal I had student Steve. He walked out on me with the ending advice F you. It took m
e a lot of years to see pass a teens F you look or I'm better than everyone else, or smarter than everyone else, and see in to their light. Then there are the students who are quiet and can't find their voice because the universe is telling them they are as stupid or awkward as they come. All the students who no one sees. Relationships means seeing their light and helping them find their light. No matter how they show on the outside the inner voice is the same: **I want to be seen **I want to be known **I want to feel I'm not alone

So that's goona take effort every week. I love Deb Krivoy at Avodah Arts says, " Teaches often think relationship building is something you check off your list in October. It is something you need to do intentionally and continually."

Intro ...
Need to start with some ritual, a song, a to think about that and ask their permission..comfort level. Start and end with a ritual..that's for sure

what are you gonna get out of the course...

enable you to make a positive difference in someone's life the way a teacher or madrich/cha or someone made a positive difference for you. You wouldn't be here if that weren't the case.


Gonna go to the flower store near my house and buy each of them a little plant/tree (gfits on the first can't hurt).

What's it take so when you take the plant home it doesn't die? What's it gonna take to make it grow? Is it worth the effort?

Think about someone who did something to help you grow in a Jewish wa
y..what did they do? Why do you think it was worth the effort.

your help someone else grow..What do you need to do that well? Would they tell me..(don't know)

Core Discussion: Torah is a Tree of Life

What's it take to make this ancient Torah grow today?What's it mean for Torah to be a tree of life?

Put up a big poster of Levi. Introduce them to a person walking in the world stiving to live a joyful meaningful life guide by Torah. This is what it can look like.

At Levi's feet are the words Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuterono

Then have students in hevruta read the opening of Bereshit.
The question
what stands out in the portion to guide your students to live a full and meanignful life?

what would it tell them to

Have examples they can refer to or select..ok a little corny but I'll put these things on leaves...


*The master story of your ancestors (how did they explain creation around the camp fire)

*The unexplainable, conflicting, and confusing parts of the master story of your people

*Definitions of important words like b’zelem elohm, “what doe it mean to be made in the image of God.”


Set aside time to be sacred which is different than weekly time

Take care of the earth, the animals, the water, the plants

Treat others as if they are made in the image of God

Treat yourself as if you are made in the image of God


God and the earth are connected

Creation is connected to God

Every living thing on the earth is connected in a holy cycle

People are connected to God

People are in the image of God

People are guardians/rulers of the earth and the creatures

People should eat seed bearing fruit and plants

Just as animals, plants and people are distinguished so is time distinguished….holy and daily

You are a partner with God in creation (God can’t do it alone)


Find partners in life to create with (you are a partner in creation)

Just as you keep nature alive, keep your people alive

Let them select what they think applies and say out loud what's not there and they think.

This is a TREE OF LIFE

Torah as a root, a person growing toward the light, living Torah


So what...what's a tree of life have to do with my role as a madrich?
How is thinking about my role as a madrich as someone helping a tree/ a person grow?
What's that mean for my work ahead.
Try it out "let's brainstorm the it".who knows how and we'll see if it matters or its jibberish next week.