Deborah Fishman

Jun 192019
 

Are you a Jewish day school educator or funder interested in improving instructional practice in day schools? You may want to participate in the BetterLesson Showcases happening at Ramaz in New York City on June 24 and at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, MD on August 12. Teachers, coaches, and administrators from Jewish day schools across the country will share their journeys with personalized learning – including their experiences with BetterLesson coaching.

In 2018-19, 365 day schools teachers enrolled in a BetterLesson program and received one-on-one, personalized coaching from blended learning experts that enabled them to innovate and incorporate new personalized learning strategies in the classroom. BetterLesson offers a national program funded by AVI CHAI and regional programs in Miami, Boston and Seattle. Here are two examples of projects that emerged from the coaching:

Meirav Kravetz, who will be presenting at the Showcase in Maryland, is a Department Head at the Hebrew Academy (RASG) in Miami Beach, Florida, working in middle and high school. For the past two years, she met with her coach through BetterLesson every two weeks for a half hour each time. One outcome of the work was an interdisciplinary effort in the school to transform a local landfill site into a park, based on the model of Park Ariel Sharon in Tel Aviv. In Miami, everyone knows to avoid a hill that is a garbage landfill covered in grass. Could that landfill be transformed? Meirav worked with science and math teachers, and soon students were engaged in a project that entailed visits to the landfill and recycling plant, emailing in Hebrew with the park in Israel, and ultimately presenting a short film presentation with a business plan. All along the way, Meirav’s coach was supporting her to move from vision into practice, to measure the project’s potential outcomes and to present them, to capture the project’s development in pictures and film, and more. The project went on to win the Kohelet Prize.

“I feel that without having someone as my right hand supporting me in this process, it wouldn’t have happened,” said Meirav. “Having a BetterLesson coach is having someone who works together with you hand-in-hand, being a sounding board for your ideas and making them better and pushing you forward. It opened my eyes as a department head to look at things a different way, to try something and learn from what you’re doing for the future.”

Meirav is now working with BetterLesson as a coach for other teachers. She is grateful for the support and encouragement of Rabbi Avi Bossewitch, Dean of Academics and Innovation at Hebrew Academy (RASG), and Andrea Lucero, Principal of the middle school, and for the fact that professional development is a priority for the faculty at the school.

A Presenter for the New York Showcase, David Saltzman, also began receiving BetterLesson mentorship and is now part of the BetterLesson team of mentors for other teachers. He was mentored last year as Principal at the Maimonides School in Boston. He developed a personalized and blended learning experience for a tefillah class, a web-based program using google sites. One of the strategies employed was student self-assessment, where students could learn the art of knowing if they are ready to go on to the next lesson.

“My coach Romain Bertrand suggested I should frame the introduction of the class with the idea that the control of the learning is in the students’ hands. Empowering them with agency was not just a classroom lesson, but a life lesson. This impacted how kids experienced class.”

Next year, David will go on to be the Director of Teaching and Learning at the Lower School of the Yeshiva of Flatbush and Assistant Principal of General Studies. He hopes to enhance the school’s work with data collection, its use of new pedagogical techniques, and the personalization offered in the classroom – all of which dovetails with his upcoming work with BetterLesson.

“One-on-one mentoring is extremely powerful. My coach was someone outside the school who could bring a new perspective and offer pure, unadulterated help without another agenda. My coach understood what I needed and helped me get there step by step. I’m excited to be part of the team and work with teachers the same way Romain worked with me last year.”

For more information about BetterLesson and to register for the Showcases, see: https://bit.ly/31mQaNA

Jun 132019
 

Personalized learning seeks to increase student enthusiasm and learning by tailoring the instructional environment – what, when, how and where students learn – to address the individual needs, skills and interests of each student. We are proud that the Jewish day school field is making strides in the use of personalized learning to encourage students to take ownership of their own education while developing deep connections with one another, their teachers and other adults.

One cutting-edge example of the work to advance personalized learning in Jewish day schools began in September 2018 under the auspices of the Jewish New Teacher Project (JNTP), a division of the nationally-renowned New Teacher Center (NTC). JNTP is a leading organization fostering teaching excellence in Jewish day schools through teacher and principal mentoring and coaching. Since 2002, JNTP has supported 1,183 teachers with 494 mentors at 165 schools, 86% of which are still in the field of Jewish education and 72% still at the school they were in when they first participated in JNTP.  The new JNTP pilot, which is funded by The AVI CHAI Foundation, aims to build on JNTP’s record of success, helping teachers to bring innovative personalized learning approaches into the classroom and serve as a leading edge in American education.

Fourteen JNTP teachers and mentors participate in the program—from the Jewish day schools Barkai Yeshivah, Ben Porat Yosef, Yeshiva Har Torah, and Yeshiva University High School for Girls. Alongside leaders and experts in the field, educators in the program explore research on social-emotional learning, brain and education science, and learner variability. During in-person and synchronous online trainings, Valerie Mitrani, JNTP Project Lead, and Lisa Mount, NTC Project Lead, focus on developing mindsets around personalized learning and introducing participants to new NTC teaching and evaluation tools. Educators then build on their learning in online peer forums. Twice during the year (January and May), mentor-teacher teams receive individualized coaching on the tools presented in the trainings. The entire JNTP staff also participates in internal training on the NTC framework and tools.

Since three of the schools are elementary schools and one is a high school, the ways personalized learning plays out may be different across the schools. Thus far, the schools have reported that the initial learning was very exciting, and they are now eager to bring practical strategies into the classrooms for the fall.

JNTP is now exploring what strategies and educational technology tools can add value, and will look to identify and develop such strategies for the benefit of the Jewish day school field. Ultimately, the plan is that the learning gained by NTC, JNTP and the four schools in the pilot will inform all of JNTP’s work with teachers, mentors, and administrators across the country.

For more information about this pilot and about JNTP, please contact Valerie Mitrani, vmitrani@newteachercenter.org.

Mar 122019
 

The second day of the Prizmah Conference in Atlanta, GA included a unique opportunity to use design thinking to crack “The Questions that Matter Most,” a dinner celebrating the field, and a rousing performance by the Distant Cousins. Throughout the day, there were also sessions offered that allowed an exploration of trends and ideas in the field that affect all areas of Jewish day schools. In accordance with the conference theme, “Dare to Dream,” here are some dreams from this second day of the conference.

  • We will make the case for Jewish day schools using evidence and research.
    In a session on “What makes for a great Jewish day school?” Dr. Alex Pomson and Dr. Jack Wertheimer discussed their research underway at nine Jewish day schools to explore three questions: 1) How is Jewish day school today a different “animal” today than 20 years ago? 2) How are day schools going about trying to address their challenges? 3) How do day schools understand what the educated Jew of the 21st century needs? The session discussed how the emerging research could be used to inform how day school leaders and other stakeholders make the case for Jewish day school in their communities.

  • Israel will be infused throughout Jewish day school life.
    “Israel lives within and through us; therefore, learning about Israel is most effective when woven throughout a learner’s experiences.” Dr. Lesley Litman from The iCenter talked about the work of iNfuse, a program that helps Jewish day schools explores questions such as: What does an Israel infused (in and through the learning) educational setting look like? How do we go about creating an Israel-infused environment? The conclusion was that Israel should be a living place – beyond “flags and falafel,” closer to “a shared language.”
  • Jewish day schools will thrive through creative financial strategies.
    At “Alternative revenue sources: yes, you can,” Dan Perla of Prizmah facilitated a conversation about bold new ideas that might help schools stabilize finances. The San Diego Jewish Academy has experimented with monetizing day school spaces, catering, and international exchange students, among other creative ideas. We also heard about an idea for a communal tuition fund that pays tuition and allows parents to pay it back interest-free based on income over time, using life insurance as collateral.
  • The Jewish day school field will be strong and vibrant, and continue to realize all its dreams.
    On the occasion of AVI CHAI’s last North American Jewish Day School Conference before our sunset, we were very moved by five toasts from field leaders: Rabbi Ari Segal, Cheryl Finkel, Nina Bruder, Jonathan Cannon, and Rabbi Marc Baker. May the field continue to realize its dreams.

Lesley Litman presenting

Jack Wertheimer Presenting

L-R: Nina Bruder, Rabbi Ari Segal, Cheryl Finkel, and Dr. Jonathan Cannon during the toasts

Mar 112019
 

The Prizmah Conference is taking place March 10-12 in Atlanta, GA. It brings together Jewish day school leaders, lay leaders, and communal professionals from across the North American day school landscape to learn from one another and be inspired to dream together. The first day’s full-conference experiences included an opening by George Couros on the Innovator’s Mindset and a dinner featuring an ELI Talks StorySlam with five presenters sharing stories about their dreams for Jewish education. In between, a plethora of sessions (among them quite a few by AVI CHAI grantees) further shed light on the theme of dreams. Here are just a few examples of dreams witnessed at Prizmah 2019:

  • Jewish day school leaders will be the change we want to see in the world.
    DSLTI alumni spoke at “Big Jewish Questions on Our Minds” on how to reimagine critical areas of day school leadership work ranging from inclusion of diverse learners to the changing demographics in the Jewish community. Many important ideas were shared about change, such as, “People want change, but they do not want to change” and the idea of looking internally at ourselves before we go out and change the world. The leaders who spoke – Andrea Cheatharn Kasper, Lianne Heller, Rabbi Ari Leubitz, Benjamin Mann, and Rabbi Harry Pell – and all the others engaged in this important work are an inspiration in not only what they do, but also who they are as leaders and how they are moving and will continue to move the field forward.
  • Children will construct Jewish meaning through exploration in a Jewish environment that stimulates and challenges.
    Rabbi Sheryl Katzman together with Carol Green and Laura Weisblatt shared about work conducted through the Legacy Heritage Instructional Leadership Institute Early Childhood Rabbinics Initiative, “Developing Text Aligned Learning Experiences for Young Children.” The conversation included the importance of giving early childhood teachers authentic foundational learning around Jewish texts so they can understand how to prepare the environment for students where Jewish meaning will flourish.
  • Courageous school leaders will have a clear vision of their schools’ Hebrew language goals and align their teaching to those goals.
    This dream was expressed in “Why Hebrew? Which Hebrew?” with Ofer Salman Sagi and Dr. Esty Gross, about how to “definite and refine your vision for Hebrew language instruction and set realistic and attainable goals.” Data is important to inform steps to realize that vision.
  • Schools will collaborate to shift paradigms and personalize learning in the classroom.
    Craig Carpentieri, Rabbi Avi Bossewitch, and Jodi Bruce presented on JBlend Miami, an initiative of CAJE-Miami in partnership with the DigitalJLearning Network of The Jewish Education Project that allows schools to collaborate to bring about sustainable, learning-driven change.

What dreams will you dream today?

In Case You Missed It: Recently on the AVI CHAI Blog

 Posted by on March 7, 2019 at 8:04 am  No Responses »  Categories:
Mar 072019
 

Whether you’ve been busy getting ready for the Prizmah conference, or filling out your application for the Harvard programs, or simply engaged in day-to-day life at a Jewish day school or other institution, we know you may not have caught all the latest posts on the AVI CHAI blog. Here we provide some posts of interest – you can print them out for some great Shabbat reading, and don’t forget to share with your school, professional network, and beyond.

Giving Away Knowledge, Free of Charge
By Deena K Fuchs

AVI CHAI has one year remaining before our sunset, having supported Jewish education since 1984. So what do we do with the knowledge we’ve accumulated over the years, and how we can best ensure that it has value for others? That is where thought partnership comes in. AVI CHAI’s Deena K. Fuchs writes on our aspirations for this year, and lessons we’ve learned so far about this work.

https://avichai.org/2019/01/giving-away-knowledge-free-of-charge/

Getting Beyond the Survey
By Susan Kardos

Ever heard colleagues say something like: “We just finished this program/initiative/event and we want to do a survey…”? AVI CHAI’s Dr. Susan Kardos shares key insights and questions to develop effective surveys that garner useful and informative data.

https://avichai.org/2019/01/getting-beyond-the-survey/

Meet Chana German
By Galli Aizenman

Congratulations to Chana German on becoming Executive Director of The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education! AVI CHAI Program Officer Galli Aizenman took the opportunity to ask her some questions about herself, her vision, and her passions.

https://avichai.org/2019/02/meet-chana-german/

Toward a Strategic Philanthropic Approach to Field Building
By Susan Kardos

AVI CHAI’s Dr. Susan Kardos shares how we arrived at a field-building strategy as we planned for AVI CHAI’s sunset in 2020. “What became increasingly clear, with 10 years left to operate, was our overwhelming desire to leave behind a strong Jewish Day School field with the talent, institutions, resources, and ability to learn and innovate – a field that could meet the evolving educational needs of Jewish youth.”

https://avichai.org/2019/02/toward-a-strategic-philanthropic-approach-to-field-building/

 

Prizmah Conference: Sessions of Interest

 Posted by on March 5, 2019 at 10:24 am  No Responses »  Tagged with:  Categories:
Mar 052019
 

We are very excited for the Prizmah Conference, taking place in Atlanta on March 10-12. We encourage you to join us at the following sessions showcasing AVI CHAI grantees and their work.

Sunday, March 10

2:45-5:45, Int’l Salon 4
Big Jewish Questions on Our Minds
Ray Levi (DSLTI), Benjamin Mann (Solomon Schechter of Manhattan), Lianne Heller (Sulam), Ari Leubitz (Atlanta Jewish Academy), Harry Pell (Solomon Schechter of Westchester), Andrea Cheatham Kasper (Solomon Schechter of Greater Hartford)

2:45-4, Int’l Salon A
Lightning Round: Six Mind-Blowing Presentations in One Session!
​Tatyana Dvorkin (DigitalJLearning), Elysa Blumenthal (Ramaz), Avi Bossewitch (RASG Hebrew Academy), Jodi Bruce (Lehrman Day School), Craig Carpentieri (Scheck Hillel), Mindy Gold (EdtechMMG), Barry Kislowicz (Herzog Global)

2:45-4, Int’l Salon 9
Existing and Potential Government Funding for Day Schools 
Maury Litwack (Teach Coalition)

3:15-4, DreamLab: JSTEAM Lab
Interdisciplinary Game Design and Project Based Learning
Carina Rock, Anat Goodman (Jewish Interactive)

​4-5:45, Int’l Salon 7
Making Evidence-Informed Educational Decisions
Susan Kardos (AVI CHAI), Sharon Feiman-Nemser, Mitchel Malkus (CASJE)

4:30-5:45, DreamLab – Hebrew Language Lab
Why Hebrew? Which Hebrew?
Esty Gross (NETA-CET)

4:30-5:45, M103
Designing Jewish Learning Environments for Early Childhood Classrooms
Carol Green (Netivot HaTorah Day School), Laura Weisblatt (Luria Academy),
Sheryl Katzman (Legacy Heritage Instructional Leadership Institute)

5:15-5:45, DreamLab: JSTEAM Lab
Game Design for JSTEAM
Carina Rock (Jewish Interactive)

5:15-5:45, DreamLab: JSTEAM Lab
Using Technology to Enhance Human Interaction
Chana Kanzen (Jewish Interactive)

Monday, March 11

9-9:30, DreamLab: JSTEAM Lab
Game Design for JSTEAM
Carina Rock, Anat Goodman, Sammy Morhaim (Jewish Interactive)

9-10:15, M102
​YOULead: Hiring, Placement, and Talent Design
Maccabee Avishur, Shelly Sadon (Prizmah)

9-10:15, Int’l Salon 2
Imagining a More Soulful Faculty
Aryeh Ben David, Michal Fox Smart (Ayeka)

9-10:15, M105
Infusing Israel into Day School Life: A Holistic Approach
Lesley Litman, Jan Darsa, Dvora Goodman (iCenter/iNfuse)

9-10:15, Int’l Salon 10
Assessing the Dream of Hebrew Education, Part 1
Scott Goldberg (MaDYK), Kyle Ennis (Avant Assessment), Liat Kadosh, Tal Gale (Hebrew at the Center)

10:45-12, Int’l Salon 10
Assessing the Dream of Hebrew Education, Part 2
Scott Goldberg (MaDYK), Kyle Ennis (Avant Assessment), Liat Kadosh, Tal Gale (Hebrew at the Center)

10:45-12, M105
What Makes for a Great Jewish Day School?
Jack Wertheimer, Alex Pomson (AVI CHAI case studies)

10:45-12, Int’l Salon 7
Connecting Academic Excellence and Menschlichkeit
Allison Cook, Orit Kent (Pedagogy of Partnership)

10:45-12, M101
A View From the Top: How Can We Recruit and Retain Quality Judaic Studies Teachers
​Aviva Golbert (Pardes Institute), Fayge Safran (JNTP), Sharon Feiman-Nemser (Mandel Center), Deena Rabinovich (Legacy Heritage Jewish Educators Project), Melanie Eisen (Prizmah), Tania Schweig (Oakland Hebrew Day School), Elana Rand, Suzanne Brooks (Azrieli Graduate School)

10:45-12, M107
Reimagining Tefilah Education in Your School
Susan Wall (Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies)

10:45-12, Int’l Salon 3
The Role of Community Partnerships in Sustaining Educational Innovation
Nina Bruder (JNTP), Valerie Mitrani (CAJE-Miami), Julie Gordon (REACH
​Chicago), Jeffrey Liberty (BetterLesson), Amy Amiel (Samis Foundation)​

10-45-12, Int’l Salon 4
Financial Planning 3.0: High Value Propositions with Affordability
​Harry Bloom (Measuring Success)

Tuesday, March 12

10:30-11, DreamLab: JSTEAM Lab
Game Design for JSTEAM
Carina Rock, Anat Goodman, Sammy Morhaim (Jewish Interactive)

10:30-11:45, Int’l Salon 10
Classroom Practices to Promote Personalization of Learning
Rachel Mohl Abrahams (AVI CHAI), Uriel Lubetski (HALB), Craig Carpentieri, Nancy Penchev, Monica Wagenberg (Scheck Hillel)

10:30-11:45, Int’l Salon A
Building Relationships Between Schools in Israel and Abroad
Lisa Micley (OJSC), Reut Noyman (Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism), Yael Katz, Merav Shany (JAFI)

12:15-1:30, M101
Two Pathways to Schoolwide Personalization
Rachel Mohl Abrahams (AVI CHAI), Yehuda Chanales (Fuchs Mizrahi School), Gil S. Perl (Kohelet Yeshiva

12:15-1:30, Int’l Salon 8
Identity Development and Connection to Israel: A New Approach
Dina Rabhan, Noam Weissman (Jerusalem U), Aaron Bregman (Charles E. Smith)

12:15-1:30, DreamLab: Hebrew Language Lab
Using Data to Improve Learning
Liat Penso, Shoshi Becker (iTaL AM)

Meet Chana German

 Posted by on February 7, 2019 at 5:02 pm  No Responses »  Categories:
Feb 072019
 

Congratulations to Chana German on becoming Executive Director of The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education. AVI CHAI Program Officer Galli Aizenman took the opportunity to ask her some questions about herself, her vision, and her passions.

Chana German

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I’m from Canada originally, and am the proud graduate of the local day schools. In addition to receiving a stellar education from teachers I will never forget, and the strong work ethic that naturally develops as a result of participating in a dual curriculum, I came away with a very strong sense of Jewish belonging and with it, a sense that I had a responsibility to do my part.  I am also the mother of three little people who keep me on my toes.

During my time at The Lookstein Center I’ve worked on a range of projects—really, everything from professional development to curriculum development. Early on, I became fascinated by the way technology has the potential to enhance learning and teaching, and started running educational technology projects that aim to achieve that potential in Jewish education.

What makes you excited about becoming the new director of Lookstein?

The thing that I have always loved the most about The Lookstein Center is that we have never been satisfied with the status quo: this is the way we do this, or this is the way we do that. We can always do better. So we have a strong culture of experimentation, iteration—and yes, throwing ideas into the trash because they were ill-conceived—in order to improve the quality of Jewish education.  Lookstein has a strong tradition of pioneering in Jewish educational initiatives. I am excited to take the reins and forge forward.

What is your vision for the future of Lookstein? 

We’ll be focusing on keeping Jewish education relevant and meaningful in the twenty-first century. This means supporting the range of schools and educators, making sure that they have the tools and skills they need to ensure a community of engaged and educated Jews. To that end, we will be building out from our core competencies of curriculum development – mainly digital – and professional development.

You had been the director of the Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy since it was founded in 2014.  Tell us more about LVJA and some of its successes over the years you have been involved? 

At its launch in 2014, Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy was not much more than an idea. The essence was that online Jewish studies courses could strengthen schools in a range of ways, with the students ultimately being the beneficiaries. It’s gratifying that we’ve been able to accomplish that.

Our partner schools really do a fantastic job using Lookstein Virtual in strategic ways in their communities. Some expand learning opportunities for their student bodies and enable their students take courses that really interest them, some use our courses to free up faculty time to run special projects, and others identify students who need something different to reach their full potential.  And that’s exactly the point—schools are empowered to achieve their goals, whatever they are.

Whenever I have the chance, I like to look at student feedback and read first-hand accounts of how the courses are impacting our students. Students often get so passionate about whatever it is they are studying—Tanach, Jewish history, etc—that they say things like—“it’s inspired me to”—and you can fill in the blank here: learn more, do more, explore more. Knowing that our work is having a real impact on their Jewish path is what drives us all forward.

What are your passions in Jewish education? Where do you see it going in the future?

Historically, the Jewish community has always been the aggregate of many types—doers, thinkers and scholars, artists of all kinds. Today, the path to an engaged Jewish community is acknowledging, embracing, and acting on this—we’re a diverse bunch and have different aspirations, passions, and learning needs. I am hopeful that there will be a wider acceptance and use of personalization and in constructivism in our schools, so that we are there to support each and every student on their Jewish journeys.

I think we will also see a simultaneous move toward and away from technology. On the one hand, there is a recognition that educational technology—done right—can transform learning from a one-size fits all to a meaningful and hands-on experience. On the other hand, all of us need to step away from our devices more often: to go outside and be awed by nature, to sit down with a group of friends and chat face-to-face. We should be able to find the right balance over time.

 

 

Jan 162019
 

Are you looking for what’s trending in Jewish day school thought leadership? Look no further than eJewishPhilanthropy, where day school leaders have contributed many inspiring articles of late. We recommend you add the following to your reading list.

  1. “Unlocking the Potential of Jewish Day Schools” by Paul Bernstein

Paul Bernstein, CEO of Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools, shares Prizmah’s new five-year strategic plan. The focus is on “unlocking the potential of the inherent link between communities and Jewish day schools to secure a strong Jewish future.”

  1. “The Empowerment of the New Jewish Superhero” by Rabbi David Saiger

How do you teach your students to listen in the Judaic studies classroom – both to the texts, and to their peers? Rabbi David Saiger of Milken Community Schools in Los Angeles participated in the Pedagogy of Partnership (PoP) Day School Educator’s Institute at Hadar and shares thoughts on how “PoP helped me imagine a new reality in which our Torah study changes lives by modeling an essential practice in the world of civil discourse – true, open, listening.”

  1. “College Admissions and ‘Measuring’ Students: A Different Approach for Day Schools” by Alanna Kotler

What do you think about standardized testing, and its role in education and child development? Alanna Kotler argues that it’s time to re-think this role and suggests some innovation in how we define success and learning for our students. As one potential model for Jewish day schools to consider, she talks about the Mastery Transcript Consortium which has been adopted by Gann Academy in Boston.

  1. “In the Face of Tragedy: 10 Lessons Learned by a New Head of School” by Mark Shpall

There have been two mass shootings and a massive forest fire since Mark Shpall, Head of School of de Toledo High School in West Hills, California, assumed the headship at the start of the school year. Mark has helped lead important physical and spiritual services to local families and institutions so that people both within the school and the wider community can start the healing process.

  1. “Re-digging the Wells of the Day School Field” by Deena K. Fuchs

AVI CHAI’s Deena K. Fuchs reflects on the first-ever Day School Investor Summit, convened by Prizmah. Through wisdom from Rabbi Marc Baker of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Deena shows the power of “re-digging the wells” of the day school field, through which the convening “unearthed innovations in day schools across the country, we unpacked new paradigms for effective lay leadership, we revisited messages on day school impact, and we surfaced new philanthropic models for day school investment.”

Tu B’Shvat and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

 Posted by on January 14, 2019 at 11:14 am  No Responses »  Tagged with:  Categories:
Jan 142019
 

This year, we have a double celebration – the coinciding of Tu B’shvat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees, and MLK Day, when we commemorate the great civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. In Jewish day schools, this presents a great opportunity to think about ways to integrate your Judaic and general studies curriculum.

Fortunately, there are many resources available to give you ideas for your classroom or even to do at home. Here are some resources that are available:

  1. Jewish Learning Matters provides a lesson plan by JTeach, “Dr. King, Honi, and me,” focusing on the concept of legacy, what kind of impact we want to make on the world, and making sure our values are aligned with our actions. The lesson includes a hands-on art project for students to reflect on and explore these ideas.
  1. Hazon offers a Tu B’Shvat Hagaddah which has a helpful source page on the connection to MLK Day. It compares a source from the Talmud (“Anyone who is capable of protesting injustice in their home and does not, is responsible for the outcomes of their neglect…” -Bablyonian Talmud, Shabbat 54b) to Dr. King’s famous idea “why can’t we wait?” and asks thought-provoking questions such as “When the world and its inhabitants are being attacked, where is our sense of urgency on the environment and to ensure that ecosystems are sustainable?…How do we make this Tu B’shvat a critical encounter with the urgent needs of our planet Earth?”
  1. PJ Library notes that Tu B’Shvat is a great opportunity for tikkun olam, repairing the world, as we think about our environment and how we can better it, such as by doing park cleanup. Likewise, Dr. King dedicated his life to making the world a better place. The site provides service ideas and activities for preschool, elementary, and middle school age students.
  1. Here are some ideas of programming day schools and synagogues are planning in communities across the country:

We would love to hear how you marked this double celebration at your school. Please send us your posts and stories!