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MIFGASHIM  January 2011

MIFGASHIM January 2011

Subject:

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 156

From:

Rabbi Lee Buckman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Tue, 18 Jan 2011 21:52:14 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (277 lines)

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 156


Contents:

1.         More Tu B’Shevat Resources

2.         Pardes Educators Summer Curriculum

3.         New Community of Practice on Integrating Technology into
Jewish Education

4.         Mifgashim Memo:  Challenges of Adult Education

5.         Marshall Memo: A Michigan Middle School Makes the Leap to
Standards-Based Grading


~~~~~~~~~


1.      More Tu B’Shevat Resources


Thursday, January 20 is Tu B’Shevat.  Below are links to resources:


www.ChallahCrumbs.com has extensive crafts, activities, podcasts and
learning celebrating Tu B'Shvat.

http://azm.org/Gilad/ allows you to write a Tu B'shvat message/prayer
for Gilad Shalit.


~~~~~~~~~


2.      Pardes Educators Summer Curriculum


I would like to post the following re the Pardes Educators Summer
Curriculum Workshop  as the deadline for applications is January 20th.

The New  Pardes Summer Curriculum Workshop Fellowship Program,  to be
held at Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem from July 19 -
August
2, 2011 ( 17 Tammuz - 2 Av, 5771),  is currently accepting
applications for five fellows.

This program is designed for exceptional novice Judaic studies
teachers who are serious and committed and whom school administrators
feel will make a great impact in the field. The candidate needs to be
a  full time Judaic studies teacher with no more than four years of
teaching experience, is thought highly of and will continue to teach
full time in the 2011-12 school year.

The nominee should have a good working knowledge of Hebrew language
and Jewish text.  They will join other novice teachers, graduates of
the Pardes Educators Program.

The two week program includes individual time to work with a mentor in
developing a curricular unit for the coming school year (using the
curricular model Understanding by Design), workshops, Torah lishma
sessions, site and text outings, and sharing opportunities. We bring
master teachers and administrators from day
schools in North America to join our Israel staff.

In addition to a full grant to participate in the program, the Fellows
will receive a $600 living stipend and an $800 travel subsidy.

For more information and an application please contact Debra Weiner:
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


3.      New Community of Practice on Integrating Technology into
Jewish Education


A new Community of Practice (CoP) on Integrating Technology into
Jewish Education has been established.  This CoP is a special interest
group of the Jewish Education Change Network.


See http://www.jedchange.net/group/integratingtechnologyintojewisheducation


~~~~~~~~~


4.      Mifgashim Memo:   Challenges of Adult Education


In Michael Paley’s article, “Jewish Education as a Tool of
Engagement”, he outlines the challenges and opportunities for Jewish
adult education in America, based on his experiences as the
scholar-in-residence at the UJA-Federation of New York.

His educational philosophy is built on that of Franz Rosenzweig, who
claimed that “learning, more than practice, should be the foundation
of Jewish communal existence.” In efforts to form a modern, vibrant
Jewish identity, Paley believes education must move “from life to
learning” instead of the other way around, allowing modern American
Jewry to integrate Torah with secular learning and professional life
in a balanced and meaningful manner. He draws a link between engaging
education and the creation of caring, united communities, through its
power to form proud leaders who feel a sense of responsibility and
connection to shaping the Jewish future.

Among the challenges of Jewish adult education in America, Paley notes
the gap between the quality of and interest in secular and Jewish
education, as well as the lack of opportunity for non-Orthodox Jews to
be involved in sophisticated adult education that engages the
emotional aspects of Judaism that connect one to the intensity of the
Jewish narrative. Paley argues that the American Jewish adult needs a
Torah education that develops from the myriad of skills and interests
of a modern, educated, learner, demanding the presence of the whole
person in his or her educational experience.

He urges educators to remove the “veil of authority” that puts the
knowledge of the Talmudic rabbis of yesteryear above that of the
educated professionals of today, showing how the same curiosity and
creativity is present among modern American Jewry.

Jewish education needs to apply learners’ skills and passions to
ancient texts, revealing the richness and relevance hidden within,
thus allowing learners to actively engage and question the texts that
have shaped Jewish tradition. Paley emphasizes meaning and spiritual
intensity, rather than rules and historical accuracy, for today’s Jews
demand learning that engages their entire identity. He closes by
reminding the reader that “In Judaism, study is the process of
perpetual self-renewal”, showing how this philosophy has shaped the
adult education programs of the UJA-Federation that encourage Jewish
adults to take an active role in shaping the next chapter of the
Jewish story.

“Jewish Education as a Tool of Engagement” by Michael Paley in Journal
of Jewish Communal Service, Winter 2010, 85 (1), pp. 43-48.


~~~~~~~~~


5.         Marshall Memo: A Michigan Middle School Makes the Leap to
Standards-Based Grading


In this Kappan article, Michigan middle-school teachers Heather
Deddeh, Erin Main, and Sharon Ratzlaff Fulkerson describe their
school’s journey from traditional to standards-based grading.

They start with a softball analogy: a pitcher practices her riseball
for days, and a lot of the time the ball flies over the catcher’s head
or ends up in the dirt. But all that matters is whether the pitch is
effective in a real game. “What seems so logical and implicit in the
athletic and performance arena is often foreign in schools,” say the
authors. “Teachers often weigh practice and performance equally.” For
example, if a student gets a C in homework and an A on the test, many
teachers would average the two to give a final grade of B. This is
crazy, they argue. What counts is mastery when it counts.

Deddeh, Main, and Fulkerson and their colleagues started reading Ken
O’Connor’s book, How to Grade for Learning (Corwin, 2009) to help them
rethink their grading practices. “As we moved through this book,” they
say, “we felt as if we were crossing a bridge that was exploding
behind us, leaving us with no way to return and no clear path ahead.”

They decided that what would count was content mastery – students’
ultimate understanding of what was taught. “Traditional grading
practices often lead to ‘grade fog,’” they say, “in which the level of
content mastery is distorted by such nonstandards-based criteria as
practice, neatness, organization, attendance, and behavior.”

O’Connor’s book helped them articulate three core beliefs:

¨      A grade should communicate a student’s mastery of learning standards.

¨      Homework is essential for learning but should not be included
in the grade.

¨      Learning may take more than one attempt.


Their school made the journey, and they have the following advice for
others who want to follow a similar path:

• Educate yourself. Ken O’Connor’s book is excellent, as is Rick
Wormeli’s Fair Isn’t Always Equal (Stenhouse, 2006).

• Don’t journey into unfamiliar territory alone. The authors worked
with like-minded colleagues and administrators as they figured out how
to change their school’s policies.

• Chart a course. It was very helpful that their district had
organized state standards into curriculum units culminating in
standardized tests. All that remained was for them to organize units
into logical, assessable groups of content standards, getting away
from the traditional textbook chapter-by-chapter approach.

• Organize instruction. The authors suggest that a standard unit-plan
format be used schoolwide.

• Practice comes first. “Every student should have the opportunity to
practice without penalty,” say Deddeh, Main, and Fulkerson. “…
Practice is the time to learn a new skill, make mistakes, fine-tune or
perfect new techniques, take risks, and receive feedback, with the
goal to continually improve.” Interim assessments chart progress but
don’t count, and summative assessments are the biggest factor in
students’ final grades. The authors’ school has found that parents and
students quickly catch on to the logic of homework and interim
assessments not counting toward grades, and students do these practice
assignments because they understand that they are the way to improve
proficiency and earn a good grade on summative assessments.

• Evaluate the performance. The authors’ district decided to take out
of summative assessments any credit for participation, neatness, or
extra credit. “If it’s not a standard, it doesn’t belong on a
summative assessment,” they say.

• Give second chances. The maxim they applied was “Learning may take
more than one attempt” and they made sure students had multiple
opportunities to hone their skills – without penalty. Struggling
students got one-on-one conferences with teachers, and students who
failed tests got extra help and second chances.

• Keep records. They invented a new unit grade sheet with three
columns for each assignment, allowing space for practice,
alternatives, tests, and retests so teachers could track students’
multiple attempts. They had to find creative ways to fit all this into
their computerized grading program.

The bottom line at this school: “We have never considered returning to
our outdated grading practices,” say the authors. They compared letter
grades with students’ standardized test scores before and after their
changes, and found that now there is now a much closer correspondence
between the two. “This supports our belief that our grades now clearly
communicate to parents and students exactly what the student has
learned,” they say. A seventh grader has the final word: “I find that
I am more prepared for tests because I don’t have to worry about
getting a good grade; I have to worry about learning and understanding
the material, and good grades will follow.”


“Eight Steps to Meaningful Grading” by Heather Deddeh, Erin Main, and
Sharon Ratzlaff Fulkerson in Phi Delta Kappan, April 2010 (Vol. 91,
#7, p. 53-58), http://www.pdkintl.org

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

__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

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

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