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MIFGASHIM  November 2009

MIFGASHIM November 2009

Subject:

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 102

From:

Lee Buckman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 12 Nov 2009 04:32:12 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (225 lines)

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 102


Contents:

1.	Online lesson plan for 29th of November 

2.	New Lesson Plan: Hakarat Hatov and Thanksgiving

3.	High school students go green

4.	Can schools determine who is a Jew for admissions purposes?

5.	Marshall Memo:  A Balanced Assessment System


~~~~~~~~~


1.	Online lesson plan for 29th of November 

Jewish history teachers may be interested in this online lesson plan to commemorate the 
United Nations vote to support the Partition Plan on November 29, 1947. 

The lesson uses images, primary texts and maps to describe the history leading up to the 
historic vote. View the lesson at http://www.lookstein.org/webquests/nov29.htm.


~~~~~~~~~


2.	New Lesson Plan: Hakarat Hatov and Thanksgiving


BabagaNewz.com presents a new lesson plan entitled Hakarat Hatov and Thanksgiving. 
This lesson is a great way to integrate Judaic and general studies, and emphasize Jewish 
values in the celebration of Thanksgiving. 

In this lesson, students will study Birkat Hamazon to explore how its theme of hakarat 
hatov, recognizing the good that God provides, resonates on Thanksgiving. The lesson 
uses berakhot and includes the following Hebrew texts: Devarim 8:10, Talmud Megillah 
18A, Rashi on Talmud Megillah 18A, and Psalm 92. 

After exploring the themes and texts, students will create a project that brings the value 
of hakarat hatov to their families' Thanksgiving celebrations. The four projects presented 
apply to all ages and interests.

Lesson plan
http://www.babaganewz.com/teachers/lessons/3003lesson/

Sara Marx
Editor, BabagaNewz.com
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


3.	High school students go green
 
JNF Green Team offers an authentic environmental education program and also 
showcases Israel’s global environmental leadership. The environment is a topic of 
importance to students.
 
JNF environmental education is flexible and fits into most curricula. The program is 
organized around JNF Green Times, a bi-monthly e-newsletter about the environment. 
Each issue of JNF Green Times includes discussion starters and suggestions for tikkun 
olam projects that the students can do to better the environment both locally and in 
Israel.  Students can participate in as many of the suggested activities as fit into their 
curricula and their schedules.
 
Each issue focuses on a different environmental theme, such as water, fuel, or food.  
Articles are written by experts in the field.  Writers include a congresswoman, a scientist 
from the US Forest Service, well-known rabbis, and leaders of Jewish organizations such 
as Teva and Hazon. Each issue of JNF GreenTtimes also includes an article written by a 
student reporter.  There are links to videos, music and additional information in each 
article. High school students can receive community service credit for their work.
 
Green Team group leaders are invited to join a bi-monthly conference call on various 
topics about Judaism and the environment.  Guest speakers have included Barbara 
Lerman-Golomb, Director of Education and Outreach for Hazon and Harriet Shugarman 
from Al Gore’s The Climate Project with advice about greening your school or synagogue.
 
JNF Green Times is available at no cost to educators who use it in conjunction with JNF 
Green Team.  For a sample issue, please visit www.jnf.org/greentimes
 
Please contact me, or Nina Woldin at [log in to unmask], if you would like more information 
about JNF’s environmental education program for high school students.  I’m looking 
forward to speaking with you.
 
Thank you,
Ira Glasser
 
[log in to unmask]
212-879-9305 x249


~~~~~~~~~


4.	Can schools determine who is a Jew for admissions purposes?


This week’s online edition of the New York Times featured a story about an Orthodox 
Jewish day school that did not accept a student whose mother converted under non-
Orthodox auspices.  
 
Below is an excerpt:

By many standards, the applicant, identified in court papers as “M,” is Jewish. But not in 
the eyes of the school, which defines Judaism under the Orthodox definition set out by 
Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. 
Because M’s mother converted in a progressive, not an Orthodox, synagogue, the school 
said, she was not a Jew — nor was her son. It turned down his application.

That would have been the end of it. But M’s family sued, saying that the school had 
discriminated against him. They lost, but the ruling was overturned by the Court of 
Appeal this summer.

In an explosive decision, the court concluded that basing school admissions on a classic 
test of Judaism — whether one’s mother is Jewish — was by definition discriminatory. 
Whether the rationale was “benign or malignant, theological or supremacist,” the court 
wrote, “makes it no less and no more unlawful.”
The case rested on whether the school’s test of Jewishness was based on religion, which 
would be legal, or on race or ethnicity, which would not. The court ruled that it was an 
ethnic test because it concerned the status of M’s mother rather than whether M 
considered himself Jewish and practiced Judaism.

For the full length article, go to: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/08/world/europe/08britain.html


~~~~~~~~~


5.	Marshall Memo:  A Balanced Assessment System (Originally titled “The Quest for 
Quality”)

In this Educational Leadership article, Educational Testing Service assessment experts 
Stephen Chappuis, Jan Chappuis, and Rick Stiggins present five keys to high-quality 
assessments. “Only assessments that satisfy these standards,” they say, “…will be 
capable of informing sound decisions.” They are:

• Clear purpose – Teachers should know exactly why they are using an assessment – to 
inform students of their progress, to help improve teaching, or for a final grade?

• Specific learning targets – “If we don’t begin with clear statements of the intended 
learning,” say the authors, “– clear and understandable to everyone, including students – 
we won’t end up with sound assessments.” These include expectations for knowledge 
mastery, reasoning proficiency, skills, and students’ ability to create products. 

• Sound design – Assessments must yield accurate results, which means deciding whether 
multiple-choice, extended written response, performance assessment, or personal 
communication is the best format, and minimizing possible bias.

• Effective communication of results – This includes timeliness, informative presentation, 
and clarity on next steps. 

• Student involvement – “Students learn best when they monitor and take responsibility 
for their own learning,” say the authors. Students need to be clear about learning targets 
and involved in self-assessing, setting goals for themselves, and tracking their progress.

Chappuis, Chappuis, and Stiggins close with four questions that teachers and 
administrators should consider as they put together their assessment plan:

•	What decisions will the assessment inform? On-the-spot assessments help teachers 
make immediate instructional decisions; interim assessments identify where students are 
having difficulty and suggest instructional interventions; and end-of-year summative tests 
suggest how teachers can improve instruction the following year.

•	Who is the decision-maker? With on-the-spot assessments, it’s students and their 
teachers; with interim assessments it’s building leaders, teacher teams, and individual 
teachers; and with summative assessments it’s district curriculum administrators and 
community leaders. 

•	What information do decision-makers need? With on-the-spot assessments, 
teachers need to know where students are on a learning continuum and where they are 
struggling; with interim assessments, teacher teams need to know how well students are 
mastering each standard; and with summative tests, everyone wants to know the percent 
of students scoring proficient or above. 

•	What conditions are essential? For on-the-spot assessments, teachers need clear 
curriculum maps for each standard, a way of getting feedback from students, and data 
that point clearly toward next steps; for interim assessments, teachers need results that 
show the level of mastery of standards of all their students; for summative tests, 
everyone needs to know how each student did on each standard, and how all students 
did.

“In such an intentionally designed and comprehensive system,” conclude the authors, “a 
wealth of data emerges.”

“The Quest for Quality” by Stephen Chappuis, Jan Chappuis, and Rick Stiggins in 
Educational Leadership, November 2009 (Vol. 67, #3, p. 14-19); this article can be 
purchased at
http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership.aspx. The first two authors can 
be reached at [log in to unmask] and [log in to unmask] 


The Marshall Memo is a weekly digest of important research in K-12 education. 
Individual&#8232;subscriptions are $50 for the school year at http://www.marshallmemo.com.

__________________________________________________________________________
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