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MIFGASHIM 

December 18 2005 
Kislev 17 5766, Volume 5: 10

Moderator: Solly Kaplinski

The Lookstein Centre for Jewish Education 
Bar Ilan University

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Stuart Zweiter

Director, The Lookstein Center

 

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CONTENTS                                                    

 

1. Israeli songs in the classroom - some observations

Response to David Lewis (See MIFGASHIM December 4 2005)

Rahel Halabe

www.hebrew-with-halabe.coEE 

 

 

2. Director Education and Training

Responses to Linda F.



2.1 Jonathan D. Schick, President, The GOAL Project, LLC 
[log in to unmask]
www.goalproject.com     http://www.goalproject.com/

 

2.2 Paul Shaviv

Director of Education: Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT)

 

2.3 Nachum Sorkin

 

2.4 Rabbi David Jacobson, Ph.D. 
Director, Yeshiva Educational Services, Inc.  
[log in to unmask]

2.5 Lynn W. Raviv, Birmingham, AL 

3. Management versus Leadership

Responses to Anonymous (See MIFGASHIM December 4 2005)

 

3.1 Mark Smiley: Director of Education,

Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto 

 

3.2 Paul Shaviv, Director of Education

Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT)

 

3.3    Yaacov Greenstein

 

3.4    [log in to unmask]

 

3.5    Rabbi David Jacobson, Ph.D. 
Director, Yeshiva Educational Services, Inc. 
[log in to unmask]

 

4. How to accommodate children with special needs - the pressures of the Dual Curriculum

Response to Pam Sacks (See MIFGASHIM December 4 2005)



Dr. Dania Shapira, Hebrew Program, Tufts University
German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literatures
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
             [log in to unmask]

 

 

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1. Israeli songs in the classroom - some observations

Response to David Lewis (See MIFGASHIM December 4 2005)

Rahel Halabe

www.hebrew-with-halabe.coEE 

 

In response to David Lewis observation concerning Israeli songs in the classroom:
 
Indeed, songs due to their versatility are a wonderful way to impart so much. If carefully picked it can certainly help build identity.
 
Personally, I am interested in Hebrew songs as an easy and enjoyable way to teach and learn the Hebrew language (a major component of Jewish identity). A careful choice can support the teaching of grammar, vocabulary, tradition, culture etc. in the most authentic way. 

 

Songs are very effective for any age, from babies to adults. I have used songs (and children songs in particular) successfully in my adult Mini Ulpan. They help students internalize both grammar and basic, most frequent vocabulary in a painless way. Rhyme, repetition and music enhance learning. Many song collections can be found, not only on CD (many of them with lyrics attached), but also on video/DVD. Young kids who would not mind watching the same thing again and again, have a lot of fun and don't even feel they are learning, but they do!

 
Songs as identity builders or language teaching/learning medium is a subject worth studying. In the meantime, try googling for <heritage language + songs> you might find something.
 
Also, people might find the following sites interesting as resources for lyrics and music for modern and traditional material:
 
http://jnul.huji.ac.il/dl/music/index.html  National sound Archives - Hebrew
University: both traditional and Modern
 
http://www.piyut.org.il/   Liturgy
 
http://mp3music.gpg.nrg.co.il/lyrics/   Lyrics to popular music
 
http://shironet.gpg.nrg.co.il/homepage.aspx?homep=1
http://www.eyalcohen.com/classics.htm                          Music
 
 
 Enjoy!

 

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2. Director Education and Training

Responses to Linda F.


2.1 Jonathan D. Schick, President, The GOAL Project, LLC 
[log in to unmask]
www.goalproject.com     http://www.goalproject.com/

 

Regarding your question about Education and Training for Boards of Directors please see


http://goalproject.com/Services.html 

 

to find out more about The Six Principles of Board/Head Partnerships training module.

 

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2.2 Paul Shaviv

Director of Education

Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT)

 

"Linda F." asked for guidance in training her Board of Directors in appropriately functioning in the best interests of the school. There are two very good sources:

 1. Independent School Management (http://www.isminc.com  http://www.isminc.com/ ) is a well-regarded consultancy working with many private schools, including many Jewish schools.  A fairly significant part of their publications and seminars are concerned with training for correct governance.  Look at their website, including publications and seminars. It
is worth joining ISM, especially if you are experiencing the difficulties you describe.

    2.    PEJE (Partners in Excellence in Jewish Education) - www.peje.org http://www.peje.org/   has some excellent resources, and all the same comments apply. See their website, especially (but not only) under "Knowledge / pull-down to 'Leadership and Governance".

 The next problem is convincing the Board / President that such training will be in their and the school's interest!

 

(Thanks also to: [log in to unmask]) 

 

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2.3 Nachum Sorkin

 

Regarding Board education/training:  A few years ago, AMODS, the Association of Modern Orthodox Day Schools which may be reached through the Max Stern Division of Communal Services of YU (212.960.5263) or at www.msdcs.org ran a program which included a couple of speakers who clearly had much to share on this issue.  Sadly, I have forgotten their names, but AMODS can hopefully direct you to these resources.  The program was held 2-3 years ago on a Sunday in Newark as I recall.  

 

Dr. Jerry Unterman is the Director. 



Good luck! 

 

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 2.4 Rabbi David Jacobson, Ph.D. 
Director, Yeshiva Educational Services, Inc.  
[log in to unmask] 



Linda,

Boardsource (Boardsource.org) is a major US org dedicated to improving nonprofit boards and board training is a major part of that. they have publications including a series of booklets that are short but sweet. They may also offer trainings and speakers. 

Many federations offer annual board training, which they open up to constituents boards as well.

As a consultant to day schools, I have done board trainings and have what I believe is a good introductory presentation I give with PowerPoint to keep everyone entertained and focused. Please contact me if you are interested in scheduling a talk. 

A joke: How many consultants does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: Oh, we just tell you how, you have to do the work yourself!

The truth is, a consultant can only help educate and guide a board, but they have to want to change. This will usually involve a motivational introduction, a board retreat to allow the time and communication for the education and process, and follow-up consultation. 

It's well worth it to everyone if you can get the process happening, but often hard to get the first steps. If your president or other key officers are interested, it can make all the difference.

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2.5 Lynn W. Raviv, Birmingham, AL 

To the several queries regarding management, special needs, and board training, if you are a RAVSAK school, please get in touch with our national office, 212 665.1320.  A major part of our work is to support schools in just these areas.  A number of our heads of school are very experienced in these areas and are excellent resources as well as members of our professional staff.
   
 

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3. Management versus Leadership

Responses to Anonymous (See MIFGASHIM December 4 2005)

3.1 Mark Smiley: Director of Education, Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto 

 

Regarding the question of management versus leadership and being dragged down by minutiae:

 

Try to see your work as educational - how does the managerial work best to  provide opportunities for children's teaching and learning. 

 
Try to see your work as Jewish education. how does the managerial work reflect values of your school's mission, tradition, being able to provide opportunities for children to try on the majesty of the school's commitment to raising the next generation of leaders, educators, managers.

 Try to understand leadership as your ability to manage day to day events with a sense of purpose and mission that is unique to you and the numerous others that depend on your leadership and managerial ability to create a context for the education of the young. 

Sign your reflections, find a friend and get yourself a coach or mentor, and enjoy your winter break wherever you are ..

 
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3.2 Paul Shaviv: Director of Education

Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT)

 

"Anonymous" asks for help in exercising leadership without getting drowned in 'minutiae'.   One quick answer would probably be: "Delegate!".  It is not so simple, and the issues relating to defining and implementing the functions of Principals, VP's etc are probably too long to address here.   

 
HOWEVER --- both issues are addressed comprehensively in my book-in-progress "The Principal's Guide to the Jewish High School" (60,000 words written so far - aiming for completion this year!).  If 'Anonymous' and 'Linda F' would like to send me his/her email I will happily send  ([log in to unmask] ) some relevant passages.

 

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3.3 Yaacov Greenstein

 

Perhaps an effective information system for your school might help you manage the large amount of information and communication that may be bogging you down.  I am developing an Internet information system for schools - maybe it can give you some ideas on getting control of the mundane management issues to free you for more time on education.  You can visit the site at www.bkesher.co.il  I would be happy to give you a guided tour.

Hang in there!

 

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3.4 [log in to unmask]

 

Regarding management versus leadership, one tends as Principal to get caught up in the nitty gritty minutiae and it is just something you must accept. The buck stops with you and if you can manage to do anything uninterruptedly for more than 2 minutes, you're lucky!

 

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3.5 Rabbi David Jacobson, Ph.D. 
Director, Y.E.S. 
[log in to unmask] 



I feel for Anonymous' predicament. 

Step One is attending a time management training such as Franklin Quest. 

Step Two is sticking to the prioritization of tasks that you generate from this training, including scheduling specific time to work on the leadership functions.

Step Three may be to assess the job you have and see if you need to get help with or eliminate some or all of the "administrivia" that is bogging down your key roll as leader. Where you can get help is not always a budgetary issue, it may be done with a reorganization or change of job descriptions.

Best of Luck, it's a hard job but a rewarding one when you can be successful!!

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4. How to accommodate children with special needs - the pressures of the Dual Curriculum

 

Response to Pam Sacks (See MIFGASHIM December 4 2005)

Dr. Dania Shapira, Hebrew Program, Tufts University
German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literatures
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
             [log in to unmask]

 

Dear Pam, 

I have some thoughts in reference to your inquiry regarding how to accommodate children with special needs - the pressures of the Dual Curriculum.



I would like to make it clear that officially I am not a professional in the field, although I have attended quite a few academic courses, workshops and conferences on special education, and specifically on ADD/ADHD (also presented at such a conference my research on the use of graphic representation to enhance beginning reading- the research  
sample included preschoolers with ADD/ADHD). However, I have vast experience dealing with people (from early childhood through adulthood - I am currently teaching Hebrew at the university) with ADD/ADHD and/or other learning disabilities.

I believe that in the past professionals where too quick in diagnosing children with ADD/ADHD and drugging them to the extent that they would not be able to function properly. Unfortunately, due to the fast changing technological world (changes that are a blessing otherwise), too many children as well as young adults are not able to concentrate even for a short while (at the college/university level it mainly being  projected in endless repetitive spelling mistakes occurring when COPYING a given text), and attention span seems to have become shorter and shorter.

Based on my experience, most of the time learning disability in  general, and language learning problems in particular, are a symptom of  deep emotional problems (many times result in behavior problems).  Therefore, the first thing I would do is to find the basis for a certain behavior [it is important, of course, to get the background from parents and teachers]. I have been lucky enough to build warm, informal, and friendly relationships with my young students and older ones alike that have resulted in creating a trustful atmosphere, which is of the utmost importance in such a community of learners. A child  
(and/or an adult for that matter) will open up to someone he/she can  trust (even if it takes time -  one needs to be extremely patient) and  let you help him/her. I have found out that many times children who were considered to have language disability actually made themselves and/or their teachers and classmates believe that "I don't know." or "I  
cannot...". I do my best to eliminate "cannot" from my vocabulary, and pass it on to my students. While working with such students one-on-one they would finally start to believe in themselves and in their capacities, and shine.

Here are some examples: 

A nine-year-old student pretended to be a jerk (excuse me for the expression). His teachers have used to ignore his presence in class, while his classmates were laughing at him. At the time he was a frequent attendee at the after school program I have directed. Most of the time he wouldn't get along with the other children and sit aside.  Soon enough I have realized that he was writing extensively. Luckily, he let me look at his writing (in English), and I was overwhelmed to learn that for a long time (he already had half a notebook filled up) he was writing rhymed long poems (what we call in Hebrew 'poema'). When we worked on homework, I have found out that he actually was excellent in mathematics and other sciences (and years later- in Tana"ch and Hebrew as well, although for some reason he was placed at the lowest Hebrew level. Only at his Bar-Mitzvah did people learn how brilliant he was in Hebrew knowledge and use!).

I have taken the opportunity to have a serious conversation with him about his behavior problem. I urged him to acknowledge the fact that he was trying to get his classmates' attention jerking around. I made him understand that they weren't impressed with that behavior but were rather making fun of him, and made him realize that the only way to get the attention of his classmates (and his teachers) is to impress them with his strengths. I have also brought my discovery to the attention  of his lead teacher, and asked her to further develop his talents and  make him participate in class rather than ignore his presence. It didn't take long until the child who used to bully him has become his best friend. Sure enough, his academic achievements - both in English and Hebrew - showed up.

I have found an additional way to improve self-confidence and self-esteem in students in general, and in learning disabled students in particular, using the school's newsletter (I produced and edited it) as a learning tool. I would encourage students of all ages to have  their work published in the newsletter (after all, everyone would see that and show their pride in them: their parents, teachers, classmates and friends). I have realized that the learning disabled (with encouragement) would go the extra mile to improve their Hebrew work too to have it published.

I have had a unique case, where an 11-year-old learning disabled  student has done a great job in Hebrew (he was not Israeli), but had  great difficulties in  writing in English- according to his teachers,  who asked me to teach him to type, because "he will never be able to  hand-write in English." I haven't accepted this verdict. I have decided  to tackle the problem by building the child's self-esteem, and first of  all published a beautiful art work of his, accompanied by his  description in Hebrew (surprisingly, or not.., he had a beautiful  hand-writing in Hebrew). I have made sure that other children would notify him that they saw his work in the newsletter (he didn't see that himself) and praise him. He was very excited, and I took the opportunity to tell him that when I saw what he had accomplished in Hebrew, I couldn't believe that he cannot do the same in English, his  native language. I made an agreement with him that I'll let him attend  the after school program extra time free of charge if he agrees to come  earlier and sit with me to practice writing and re-writing time and  time again the English letters and further on- words and sentences. I had no doubt it is going to work, and it did!

I would suggest letting beginners use the computer in their learning process. Unfortunately, you can count on one hand good ready-made programs for learning Hebrew. The Israeli Institute for Educational Technology (Mata"ch) has had in the past (I haven't seen their programs recently) very good programs for children with special needs. However, I would be reluctant to recommend programs I have found on the internet. I do recommend though to have children (the young generation  is computer savvy) "DRAW" (not type) the Hebrew letters on the computer  to practice their use (cut and paste as if it were a game), first  separately and then as part of words and short sentences. Also, I am a great believer in letting students write poems.  That would be   considered as another way to play with words, many times with no grammatical constrains since in a poem people can express themselves regardless being "correct" or "incorrect" [of course it's essential to later on address grammatical issues relevant to that creation.].

Last but not least, I have made it a practice - more often with my adult students (they have more of a self-discipline) but it can work with the young ones too - to copy to a clean sheet of paper their homework with my corrections. That way they can understand things and remember them better in order to apply them in future work.

Let me conclude with a very important personal statement: There is no way to achieve all of the above during the regular work schedule; one should (and most of the teachers I know do) dedicate his/her private time to students with learning disabilities and never  give up on them. That reassures success. Good luck!



 

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