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MIFGASHIM  June 2009

MIFGASHIM June 2009

Subject:

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 78

From:

Lee Buckman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 22 Jun 2009 11:45:47 +0300

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (188 lines)

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 78



Contents:

1.	Computer Glitch

2.	Stellar Speeches

3.	Bible Raps

4.	Deborah Lipstadt’s Response to the Shooting in DC

5.	Marshall Memo:  Using Literature to Teach Character Education in Middle School


~~~~~~~~~


1.	Computer Glitch

Due to computer problems at the University, Monday’s issue of Mifgashim was not 
distributed.  We apologize for the interruption in our twice-weekly schedule.

Lee Buckman
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


2.	Stellar Speeches

USA Today featured a brief column on ten stellar college graduation speeches.  They 
excerpted a sentence or two from the ones they considered best.  

See http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-05-12-best-speeches_N.htm

Inspired by USA Today’s idea, we have begun to accept nominations of speeches given by 
some of our stellar day school leaders at graduation.   

If you would like to nominate an administrator’s speech to be included in the excerpts we 
publish, contact me at [log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~



3.	Bible Raps
 
Rapper and Pardes Institute graduate Matt Bar has created rap songs for Torah lessons. 
His rap lyrics engage and entertain students. 

The lyrics from his song "Rabbi Akiva and Raquel: Learn Torah," for example, not only 
teach the story of Akiva's struggle to study, but also teach students they can learn 
anything if they try, bit by bit.

Here are the contents of The Bible Raps Album, some of which may be accessed at Matt 
Bar’s website, http://www.bibleraps.com.

1. Cain and Abel: "Am I My Brother's Keeper" Listen
2. Noah: "The Seeds of Change" Listen
3. Abraham and Isaac: "The Silence"
4. Moses and Aharon: "You Know My Name"
5. Moses: "The Days of Ten Plagues" Watch video
6. Rahab: "It's Going Down"
7. King David: "I Am Goliath!" Listen
8. Haman: "Venahafochu" Watch Video
9. Rabbi Akiba and Raquel: "Learn Torah" Listen
10. Hanukah: "The Burning Bush is in Your Building" Listen
11. I'm Not White I'm Jewish Listen


~~~~~~~~~


4.	Deborah Lipstadt’s Response to the Shooting in DC


Deborah Lipstadt, Resnick Invitational Scholar at the Center for Advanced Holocaust 
Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Dorot Professor of Modern 
Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, wrote a moving piece about the 
shooting at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.  

She was present at the Museum at the time of the shooting on Wednesday. 

“We who were here have so much to be thankful for:
For Officer Johns who gave his life defending this museum.
For the guards who did precisely what they are trained to do and did it so very well.
For the fact that this man's hate resulted in the death of "only" one man and not of scores 
more.

Above all, we have to be thankful for the existence of this place. It is a place that stands 
to teach about the consequences of hatred and prejudice. This week it taught that lesson 
in the most horrifying of ways.

Today the building will be full again. There will be staff members and, we hope, people 
who have decided not to let the haters win.

They know that the only way to defeat those who spread evil is by not letting them stop 
us. Who ever thought that there would be a time when coming to a museum, which 
teaches about hatred, prejudice and anti-Semitism, would itself be an act of defiance?

That time is now.”

The full text of her comments may be accessed at:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/06/12/lipstadt.museum.shooting/index.html


~~~~~~~~~


5.	Marshall Memo:  Using Literature to Teach Character Education in Middle School

For those day schools that are evaluating in middot curricula, you might consider a 
literature-based approach.  For some students, all they remember about our lessons are 
the stories we tell.  

In the public school domain, one school harnessed the power of the story to teach good 
character.  The report is described in a January 2006 issue of Principal Leadership.  

Florida middle-school principal Joseph Brown describes how his school used works of 
literature to implement the school district’s mandate to teach character education. He 
won a $5,000 grant and worked with the school’s literacy coach to select class sets of 15 
books appropriate to different grades and reading levels. Brown decided to use the 
school’s daily 30-minute homeroom block to implement the literature program. He 
launched it at a faculty meeting, but few teachers picked up on the idea.

Disappointed, Brown decided to model the idea in the eighth-grade homeroom he 
supervised. He suggested “Gifted Hands” by Ben Carson to students and was told that 
they had read the book the year before. 

So Brown suggested Carson’s second book, “Think Big,” which is the story of how Carson 
made it from the slums of Detroit to director of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s 
Center. Students took turns reading the book aloud and remained engaged for the whole 
of the first semester. One student pulled up her failing grades as a direct result, saying 
that “what Dr. Carson said makes sense. And if he can do it from where he came from, I 
can make it too.” 

Next the class read “The Code: Five Secrets of Success for Teenagers” by Mawi Asgedom, 
an immigrant from Ethiopia who was admitted to Harvard and graduated. Again, students 
were intrigued and a failing student improved as a direct result of reading the book, 
focusing on his work and earning promotion at the end of the year. 

A seventh-grade homeroom read Carson’s first book, “Gifted Hands,” and students were 
equally impressed. “He was the dumbest kid in class just like I was in fifth grade,” wrote 
one student in a reflection paper. “And yet he made it.” Another student wrote, “I learned 
that people may call you names and talk about you, but when it is time to get to work, 
then you’re going to be the smart one and they are going to be the ones looking lost.” 

Brown acknowledges that his literature-based approach and choice of books are not the 
usual way of approaching character education but he believes it is successful at “people 
building” – helping students to look at life issues from a new perspective, go beyond their 
own experience, and learn from the wisdom of others. 

After his tentative start, Brown is now designating books for each grade level and 
working one-on-one with teachers to increase the number of homerooms implementing 
the program. 

“Books at Work” by Joseph Brown in Principal Leadership, January 2006 (Vol. 6, #5, p. 
39-42), no e-link available.

__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

The Mifgashim List is a project of
The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora,
The School of Education, Bar Ilan University

The Center encourages you to become a paid member and
benefit for the wide variety of programming offered by the Center.
For information see http://www.lookstein.org/joinus/.

To reply, comment or post a message, please write us at: [log in to unmask]
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You can search the archives at http://listserv.biu.ac.il/archives/mifgashim.html.

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The e-community is supported by generous grants from Evelyn and Shmuel Katz, Bal Harbour, Fl.

Further information may be obtained by writing to: [log in to unmask]

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