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MIFGASHIM  April 2009

MIFGASHIM April 2009

Subject:

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 59

From:

Lee Buckman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 2 Apr 2009 13:00:46 +0300

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (298 lines)

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 59



Contents:

1.	Mifgashim’s Publication Schedule During Pesach

2.	Lookstein Podcast: Ten Pedagogical Techniques in the Haggada	

3.	Queries:  Beating the Midwinter Blues (Buckman)

4.	Seeking Participants in DIBELS Evaluation (Weinberger)

5.	Professional Development
a.  Pardes Summer Curriculum Workshop
b.  Drisha Institute Workshop for Chumash Teachers

6.	Youtube Teaching Resources 

7.	Marshall Memo: Leadership Lessons from Honest Abe


~~~~~~~~~


1.	Mifgashim’s Publication Schedule During Pesach

Next week and the following week, Mifgashim will be published only on the respective 
Mondays instead of twice a week.

Chag Kasher V’sameach,
Lee Buckman


~~~~~~~~~


2.	Lookstein Podcast:  Ten Pedagogical Techniques in the Haggada

Our Sages were master educators, and the Haggada and the Pesach Seder is one of their 
crowning achievements. This week's "Classroom Teaching" reviews ten pedagogical 
techniques and approaches used by the Haggada that we as teachers should be using in 
our classrooms. 

To hear the podcast or subscribe, go to http://www.lookstein.org/podcasts


~~~~~~~~~


3.	Queries:  Beating the Midwinter Blues (Buckman)

I’m interested in feedback on a brief essay I wrote on teacher morale.  Does the analysis 
of the problem ring true?  Do the remedies seem appropriate?  What should be changed?  
Comments can be sent for posting to [log in to unmask]  Below is the essay.

--

"Beating the Midwinter Blues"

For those of us in cold climates, and even for those in sunny climes, January and 
February can be downer months on a school calendar.  Not just for students but for 
teachers.

The morale dip hits most schools, not just Jewish ones.  Teachers feel under-appreciated, 
stressed out, stretched to their limits.

And why not!  

At the midpoint of the year, teachers look ahead at all they have yet to teach and wonder 
how they will ever accomplish all the curricular expectations.  That’s enough to make 
anyone anxious.

Even if we renew our resolve to figure out how to get everything done, all the momentum 
that was just built up in the first part of the year was quashed by December break.  Now, 
we have to rev up the engines again.

And we have to keep that energy level up for a long stretch of time.  After all, from 
January to Pesach break is the longest period in the year of uninterrupted instruction.  
Yes, it can be productive but also exhausting!

If all of this weren’t already enough to drag down teacher morale, it’s also contract 
renewal season.  Even in the best of circumstances (without a recession), teachers are 
nervous about the outcome.  Anxiety goes up.

What’s one to do?

Since we can’t make the number of hours of daylight longer, we can’t make the January 
and February months warmer, we can’t wish away the snow (which keeps our recess-
lovers cooped up inside), we can do one thing:  Plan ahead.

After surveying a dozen or two educators from around the country, here are ten things 
administrators can do to help beat the midwinter blues.

Top Ten Ways to Beat the Midwinter Blues
1.	Plan for it!  Set up a faculty committee to think of ways to head it off before the 
morale dip hits.
2.	Implement a clear and transparent teacher evaluation system set up from the start 
of the year so it’s easier for teachers to know where they stand.  However, don’t do 
formal observations in January and February.
3.	Put together a strong peer-mentoring program that promotes ongoing personal 
growth for all teachers.
4.	Visit classes throughout the year not just to provide feedback but so that you know 
all the great things going on in classrooms.  Then acknowledge those highlights.
5.	Plan the school calendar with celebratory events that help mark time and insert 
vacation breaks that renew and refresh.  
6.	Put on the school calendar times for the faculty to reflect on their curricular 
achievements so that they make sure they are on pace.
7.	Plan a mid-year in-service day at a local campsite or retreat center.
8.	Meet with every teacher personally between January and February to evaluate the 
year to date and reassure them of their status for the coming year.
9.	Ask Parent Association to hold a mid-year teacher appreciation event.
10.	Throw a party for the faculty every six weeks.

Not all of us are so proactive.  All of the above take planning.  They require managing the 
school calendar.  

But what happens if you didn’t plan ahead.  It’s January.  Teacher morale has dipped.  
Now what?

Here’s our Plan B:

Top Ten Ways to Beat the Midwinter Blues:  Plan B
1.	Name this beast; admit that January/February are the toughest months picking a 
date when the blues season begins and another date in March you declare it’s officially 
over.
2.	Recognize and discuss with faculty ways to support each other during this time and 
help everyone prioritize their numerous responsibilities.
3.	Celebrate faculty achievements so they can rest and take stock of what has been 
achieved.
4.	Be transparent about any unforeseen problems (e.g. the recession) and how the 
school is responding.
5.	Be available for teachers to come and talk.
6.	Cancel the January staff meeting so that teachers have an unexpected time bonus.
7.	Send a fun gift to the department meetings (e.g. ice cream).
8.	Have a weekly “who-dunnit” mystery for staff to solve and reward the winner with 
one less duty for a day.
9.	Relieve teachers of a duty (e.g. lunch duty) and substitute in their place.
10.	Deliver breakfast to a classroom, send flowers to teachers erev Shabbat, hold a 
surprise faculty lunch.


~~~~~~~~~


4.	Seeking Participants in DIBELS Evaluation (Weinberger)

Researchers at the Institute for University-School Partnership at Yeshiva University are 
developing a Hebrew literacy evaluation that will be modeled after DIBELS (Dynamic 
Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills), a reliable and well-accepted literacy evaluation 
that is already on the market in other languages. This evaluation, which tests the various 
areas that contribute to a student’s overall literacy, will be piloted in a number of day 
schools before being published.
 
If you would like to become involved in this exciting project, please contact Elana 
Weinberger, Project Coordinator, at [log in to unmask] or (212) 960-5400 x 5830.

Elana R. Weinberger, M.Ed.
Project Coordinator
Institute for University-School Partnership
Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration
Yeshiva University
(212) 960-5400 x 5830
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


5a. 	Professional Development:  Pardes Summer Curriculum Workshop


The Pardes Summer Curriculum Workshop in Jerusalem for Novice Day&#8232;School Teachers 
(1-5 years experience) has a few openings left for this summer's program-July 14-July 
28, 2009.  

The program is for Judaic Studies teachers grades 4-high school (tracks for upper 
elementary, middle, and high school) in Community, Reform, Conservative, or Orthodox 
day schools.  

The program includes individualized Beit Midrash time to prepare a curricular unit/s for 
your teaching next year, Torah lishma, pedagogy workshops, collegial sharing sessions, 
field trips and other special programs. Participants receive a scholarship to cover the 
workshop tuition, housing/living stipend, one meal a day and all educational&#8232;materials.  
Limited airfare assistance may be available as well.

For more information, contact Debra Weiner-Solomont at [log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


5b.	Professional Development: Drisha Institute Workshop for Chumash Teachers

A workshop for day school Chumash teachers is being sponsored by the Drisha Institute in 
order to introduce JOFA’s innovative, student-centered curriculum.  The workshop will 
take place on Sunday, May 17th, 9 am to 2 pm, at 37 W. 65th Street, 5th floor, NY.  
Enrollment is limited to 20 teachers.  

To apply, go to www.jofa.org to download the application form.  Applications are due May 
1.


~~~~~~~~~


6.	Youtube Teaching Resources 

In Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 58 we posted a link to Joan Cohen’s Youtube Pesach dramas.

Joan currently teaches Tanakh and drama at the Solomon Schechter High School of Long 
Island, and since the days she lived in Vancouver, she has continued doing the Jewish 
education-drama work.
 
Those who enjoyed her Pesach videos, might also enjoy:
 
For Chanuka:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkhCJdvkLHY&feature=channel_page
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT4S4NiapOo&feature=channel_page
 

Deuteronomist History:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bW2wGSTuKU&feature=channel_page
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKF00DpufKs&feature=channel_page
 
Joan can be reached at [log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


7.	Marshall Memo: Leadership Lessons from Honest Abe
	
In this Harvard Business Review interview, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin tells editor 
Diane Coutu some insights from her study of Abraham Lincoln:

	• A team of rivals – Lincoln surrounded himself with people who had strong egos 
and high ambitions, men whose temperaments were different from Lincoln’s and who 
weren’t afraid to argue with him, question his assumptions, and challenge his authority. 
The danger of a feisty leadership team like this, of course, is that “you’re constantly 
talking and arguing about things late into the night without reaching a consensus,” says 
Goodwin. “It can be paralyzing.” Fortunately, Lincoln was able to listen to the debate and, 
when consensus didn’t emerge, he’d reach a decision: “Like it or not, here’s what we’re 
doing.” Even though not every member of his cabinet agreed with the outcome, they all 
felt they had been heard and were able to support the president.

	• Generosity – Lincoln was comfortable sharing credit for his successes with other 
members of his inner team. “Basically, you want to create a reservoir of good feeling, 
and that involves not only acknowledging your errors but even shouldering the blame for 
failures of some of your subordinates,” says Goodwin. “Again and again, Lincoln took 
responsibility for what he did, and he shared responsibility for the mistakes of others, 
and so people became very loyal to him.” Goodwin believes that Lincoln’s one flaw was 
that he liked people, wanted to give them a second chance, and was sometimes slow to 
lower the boom on incompetence.

	• Knowing how to relax and recharge one’s batteries – Lincoln went to the theater 
about 100 times while he was in Washington, says Goodwin. He loved to tell stories and 
had a great sense of humor. Similarly, FDR had a cocktail hour with his associates every 
evening during World War II, during which nobody was allowed to talk about the war.

	• Emotional intelligence – Goodwin notes that Lincoln was not particularly 
charismatic and it took the country a while to warm up to him. People working closely 
with him initially thought there wasn’t anything very exceptional about him, but they soon 
came to believe that Lincoln was as near a perfect man as anyone they’d ever met. “He 
was able to acknowledge his errors and learn from his mistakes to a remarkable degree,” 
says Goodwin. “He was careful to put past hurts behind him and never allowed wounds to 
fester.”

“Leadership Lessons from Abraham Lincoln: A Conversation with Historian Doris Kearns 
Goodwin” by Diane Coutu in Harvard Business Review, April 2009 (Vol. 87, #4, p. 43-47), 
no e-link available

__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

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The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora,
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