HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

Educational Innovation

Educational Innovation

The articles in this issue represent the balance between the old and the new, sacred and profane embodied in Jewish history. The issue tells the story of the drive for innovation in modern education that has gained strength in recent decades. It features efforts to learn from, adopt and adapt innovative programs and pedagogies from the larger educational universe, even as authors advise caution, patience and planning around such changes.

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Beware the Aisle of Abandoned Innovations

by Jeffrey Kress Nov 20, 2019 William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education-JTS

I followed the principal as she showed me around the school where I, just out of grad school, was doing the day’s professional development session. As we walked through the Teacher Resources section of the school library, a set of bookshelves caught my eye. “What’s that?” I asked. “Oh, that…,” the principal replied sheepishly.

Lessons from Public School: The Need for Socially Driven Innovation

by Jennifer Unis Truboff Nov 20, 2019

As Jewish day school leaders seeking to nurture and implement successful educational innovation, much can be learned from the implementation of educational innovation within public schools. From a historic perspective, the current drive to innovate that has dominated so much of the educational discourse among Jewish day school educators and their public school counterparts emerged 10 years ago when President Obama established i3, the Investing to Innovate Fund. The highly publicized competition for this federal grant was intentionally designed to drive educational innovation.

From Report Cards to Portfolios

by Rachel Arcus-Goldberg Nov 19, 2019 Columbus Jewish Day School, New Albany, OH

Reading and editing progress reports were the most painful parts of my first year as principal of the Columbus Jewish Day School. At best, the progress reports relayed a snapshot of a student’s growth over the last grading period. With some oddly specific standards thrown in, perhaps parents were able to understand what skills their child was mastering and where their child needed more support.

The Gifts of Seeing: Making Excellence Visible in Arts Education

by Sharon Marson Nov 19, 2019 SAR High School, Bronx, NY

How often do we hear that an artist, whether a painter, sculptor, musician or writer, is gifted? Indeed they are, and certainly we all have predispositions and abilities, yet inherent in that assessment is: They are gifted therefore they can create masterfully; someone else is not. The haves, so to speak, and the have-nots. Do we leave it at that, and not strive to nurture what could be possible beyond the obvious?

Multiple Subject Areas, Multiple Life Skills: Integrated Project Based Learning (IPBL)

by Leah Spector, Orry Jacobs Nov 19, 2019 Mandel Jewish Day School, Beachwood, OH

One of the primary functions of a Jewish day school is to help create healthy, functioning members of both society-at-large and the Jewish community. With this goal in mind, we at the Mandel Jewish Day School in Beachwood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, have adopted an approach to education called Integrated Project-Based learning (IPBL).

Gaming the Bible: Supporting Tanakh Study with a Digital Game-Based Learning App

by Shuki Reiss, Yonit Sadan Westman Nov 19, 2019 Herzog College, Israel

Given the limited classroom time available for teaching Tanakh, school administrators and teachers must make a choice about how to divide their time. Should we focus on breadth of knowledge, having students cover a large amount of material? Or perhaps classroom time should be devoted to depth of knowledge, focusing on deepening the understanding of a limited number of chapters and stories?

Taking a Week to Solve Real-World Problems

by Jared Matas Nov 19, 2019 JCDS Boston

What if school was a place for students to collaborate to solve real-world problems? What would the school day look like if student work consisted of meeting with stakeholders, learning from experts and creating projects that address the needs of clients who require solutions to real problems?

The Power of Creation

by George Couros, Katie Novak Nov 19, 2019

Excerpts from Innovate Inside the Box: Empowering Learners Through UDL and the Innovator’s Mindset, Chapter 10, “Creators.”

GC: Here is a little confession: I have a gigantic #ManCrush on Ryan Gosling. I think he is amazingly talented and love his range in so many roles; La La Land is in my top 10 movies of all time! He is one of my favorite actors in the world and has been for a long time. And he is Canadian!

Choosing Tefillah

by Rabbi David Teller, Stark High School Dean of Students Nov 19, 2019 Fuchs Mizrachi School, Cleveland

For many adolescents, who deeply yearn for authentic spiritual experiences, the confined structure of tefillah remains an enormous obstacle to overcome. The square peg of autonomy, personal freedom, and free choice does not always align with the circular hole of Jewish core values such as chiyyuv, responsibility and obligation.

Assessing Prayer: Integrating Tefillah Experiences into Talmudic Learning

by Tamara Frankel, Jewish Studies Teacher Nov 19, 2019 Rochelle Zell Jewish High School, Chicago

While interlacing her fingers, my mentor, Susan Wall, teaches that “goals and assessment go hand in hand.” I believe it’s important to translate this notion into curricular decisions made in tefillah. In the high school where I teach, my colleagues and I have developed four main goals for our tefillah program: