experiments, instruments & measurement book

The Lemon Story & Why It Matters

The Lemon Story & Why It Matters
Posted by Ben Alpert in Noticing

10/6/14

By Susie Tessel

People feel disconnected. But a community is only built with lots of connections.

Reinforced concrete has steel running through it. This reinforcement distributes any load placed on it throughout the adjoining steel and concrete members. The result is greater strength, because burdens are shared by the whole.

So it is with a community. By communicating frequently with personal and pointed observations, we can reinforce our connections to share the burdens of community members and thereby create lasting relationships. The importance of reinforcing these connections cannot be overstated. Many important steps are required, but all include the slow and methodical intermediate steps.

The most important of those steps is taking the time to share an insight, vignette or observation personally observed.

One of the best examples I knpen-blank-paperow of this was when I was teaching a sixth grade class. It was the beginning of the academic year, and the Jewish holidays fell similarly to the way they do this year. I wondered how to frame the idea of the etrog and lulav, and their meaning. What do they represent? To introduce this concept, I asked my class “If you were a fruit, what fruit would you be?” and “If the Jewish people were a fruit what fruit would we be?” One of the most impulsive students in my class was David. To control him better and to have better access to him, I put him near me. When I asked this question he started waving his hands wildly in the air and calling out “Pick me! Pick me!” Because he was waving his hand right in my face, I was distracted and inadvertently called on him. David answered, “If the Jewish people were a fruit, they would be a lemon.” My heart sunk. Making light conversation, I asked him “Why do you say that?” He answered, “Everyone knows that by itself, a lemon is really sour, but if you add a little sugar and water you get lemonade – and that’s really something special. That’s like the Jewish people. Without God we are nothing, but with God’s help we are really something special.” I was floored. It was so brilliant and beautiful. So I sent his parents a “Nachus Note” in the mail in which I described the assignment, and what David had said.

The impact it had on their family was unbelievable. His mother actually came to class at the beginning of the next session. She ran into the class, hugged me, as she said, “Oh my gosh I can’t believe my son said this,” waving the “Nachas Note” in her hand. “I’ve never heard such nice things about him before in Hebrew school. Thank you so much… ” She did not stop talking, thanking and making the most effusive comments about me and my class!

And, from that moment onward, everything was so much easier, and so much more enjoyable both with her family and with her son.

You too can send “Nachus Notes”! A nachus note is a postcard sent to the home of each of the  students in class several times during the year.  The content begins, this nachus note is sent to share with you… extolling and describing a commendable action or contribution the child made to our class. Look around look for nice things that you see people doing. Prolong these incredible but fleeting moments- they are all too rare. Take advantage of these opportunities. When you see something commendable, share it! This makes it more permanent than a phone call that a distracted parent may not focus on at that particular moment, but can savor when things are quiet. That is why I sent the “Nachus Note” via snail mail – but an email may have worked just as well.

Communicate the good, share insights and observations and connect and reconnect. You will forge friendships that foster growth and learning, and help create a community with lasting bonds.

 

Listening for Innovation

Listening for Innovation
Posted by Ben Alpert in I*MOVE, Innovation, Noticing

7/17/14

By Tamara Gropper

Being a parent requires many things.  For me, one of the most exciting things that parenting requires is also the most challenging – listening carefully to my children and believing deeply in their ideas no matter what path those ideas might lead them to follow through life.  It turns out that if I can do that consistently I may just be able to provide a key ingredient in raising an innovator. 

In his book, Creating Innovators, Tony Wagner explores what it takes to provide an atmosphere in which innovators and innovation can grow and thrive.  He profiles a number of individuals to see what elements of their life journey contributed to their ability to innovate from a young age.  Over and over again he finds that parents who really hear their children, who take the time to listen to and support their passions even when it means taking an unorthodox path to learning, significantly contribute to creating an environment of innovation for them.  The same can be said of the teachers and mentors with whom these young people engaged at various points in their development many of whom are innovators themselves.

So, what does innovation sound like to you?  Whose innovative voice have you heard this summer?  What gets in the way of hearing innovation when it’s expressed by our children, by our learners, by our colleagues? And what would it take to shift your response?

Learn more here!

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Time to Share Protocols

Time to Share Protocols
Posted by Ben Alpert in KDBB, Noticing, Protocols

By Suri Jacknis

12/16/13

Over the next few weeks we’d like to share some of our most successful learning protocols. These protocols are structures for a guided conversation that usually gives directions/framework for who talks when and for how long to encourage focus and participation. We hope that you might experiment with these or develop your own protocols that will work for your target audiences.  We would love to hear about your experience using these protocols and/or developing and using your own protocols for the Noticing the Jewish Journey.  Click on the title of this post to share your responses.

We are on Jewish journeys throughout our lives.  The protocols have been developed to help our learners to notice their progress on their Jewish journeys and map out their future Jewish journey.We have done a lot of work in The Coalition of Innovating Congregations on the “noticing cycle”- identifying noticing targets for the whole person (Knowing Doing Belonging Believing); selecting tools to notice our progress toward our targets, collecting the data and then analyzing what we learn in order to improve teaching and learning in order that learners continue to progress toward the targets.

Now we bring “NOTICING” to the Jewish journey.  In what ways can we help our learners appreciate and celebrate past benchmarks?  In what ways can we empower learners to select their next goals, pick tools so that they can notice their progress and guide their own Jewish journeys?  Families want a Jewish life that is rich and fulfilling.  These protocols are tools designed to help families decide for themselves what are their own next steps toward a Jewish life that is “well-lived”.

This artifact protocol was developed by Cyd Weissman with input from our Webinar Design Team… Hilary Schumer, Tara Siegel and Suri Jacknis.

 

Artifact Family Protocol for Noticing the Jewish Journey

(Can also be adapted for individual learners)

Overview: This protocol supports families in paying attention to their Jewish journeys. Being a Jewish family grows and changes over time. Adults and children can benefit from a reflection of where they have been and where they want to go.

The artifact protocol, by accessing family “treasures” facilitates parents and children having a conversation to mark their memorable Jewish experiences. The protocol can help families honor these special moments and together set new experiences the family would like to have on their journey.

Parents and children can see they are in the “driver’s seat” for the journey ahead.

Steps:

  1. Prior to a communal gathering, families are asked to conduct a “Jewish family treasure hunt” in their home. Each member should select one object that represents a Jewish memorable experience. Objects may be traditional like a hanukkiya or a hallah cover. They can select things outside of tradition that still are seen as special like a piece of clothing worn at a special time, a cookbook, or a photograph of a family member.
  2. At the communal gathering, each family sits as a group to share their treasured artifacts.  Each family member has a chance to share:  This object is important because it helps tell …a memorable Jewish experience I’ve had….
  3. Family members listen to one another’s stories.
  4. Together they make a Jewish Journey treasure map…the years of the events, the object, and why it was important to the person telling the story. Each family member can add their own memory of that moment/ event. Together the family writes a title for their Jewish journey treasure map.
  5. The family then is paired with another family to share their maps. Each family shares their map.
  6. After sharing there is time for questions. Time to be excited: What is one thing you’d like to learn or try from another family or another person’s experience?
  7. The original family unit returns to their own space: What is something we want to pencil in together in the coming months, what is the next treasure we want to uncover/discover/experience together? (This can be more of something they have already done or something new.)
  8. Family Journey Template to Complete together: (keep one copy of the following questions for your family and share one copy with your facilitator)
  • What is our next treasure that we want to uncover/discover experience together?
  • What is something that you might want to know more about so that you can think more deeply about what you will be doing?  How will you plan to learn about this area?
  • What is one way that you can highlight your progress as you move toward your next treasure?
  • How can your family share your pride in your own Jewish journey with others and be able to appreciate the journeys of other families in your circle?
  • How might we track our progress as we move forward toward our goal (next treasure)?

Template

 Please keep an eye out for our next protocol in this series.

Bringing Noticing to Life

Bringing Noticing to Life
Posted by icadmin in Noticing

By Shana Zionts

“I was like Esther when I had courage to stand up for others. One time a kid was being bullied and I said something.”

These are the words of one student at Congregation Emanu-El (NYC) who has completed the values-based curriculum that was implemented in the third and fourth grades. Nina Loftspring, HUC Education Intern, recorded every 3rd and 4th grader responding to the following prompt: “I was like (character from Tanach) when I (character trait). One time (story about embodying that value).”

Now, Nina has data that provides insights into this year’s learning, and which can help shape learning in years to come.“By reviewing this footage, I’m able to see the scope of the year and can get a sense of what worked and what didn’t,” says Nina. For example, Nina noted that of the students in one fourth grade class, none mentioned women. “What does that tell us about the lessons? What needs to be changed so that the kids are seeing all of these characters as worthy of emulating?”

By doing noticing in this way, Nina is also taking a learner-centered approach. “In watching these videos and seeing how the kids respond to the prompt, I’m able to see what’s important to them. If they all mention courage, for example, maybe this is a topic that’s coming up for them right now, and the curriculum needs to be responsive.”

Yasher koach to Nina on bringing noticing to life!

Shana Zionts is a Coalition Educator working with Temple Israel Center, Ansche Chesed, and Congregation Emanu-El (NYC).

New Book on the Practice of Noticing 

Posted by icadmin in Noticing

By Jessica DeGrado and Miriam Brosseau

Noticing is a central piece of the practice of the Coalition of Innovating Congregations. We build it in into our work, and use noticing tools and targets to help us improve our teaching and the experience of our learners.

Noticing has recently taken center stage in the general education world as well, with a new award-winning book by Miriam Sherin on noticing in mathematics.

In the foreword to the book Deborah Ball, dean of the School of Education at the University of Michigan, explains the importance of teacher noticing as a central practice of teaching that makes it learnable. She writes, “This book opens and unpacks this construct, tracing its foundations and scope and displaying insights garnered from studies of teacher noticing. It offers both language and frameworks for making more precise the study of teaching practice and the resources needed for its skillful enactment.”

Read the Entire Article Here
Learn More About Noticing

Noticing is No Joke!

Posted by icadmin in Noticing
by Susie Tessel, Congregational Consultant

In our fast-paced world in which we live, we are all so intent on getting things done, and answering e-mails, texts and tweets that we often either ignore our surroundings, or fail to notice the people by whom we are surrounded.  

As educators, we can (and should) learn from both the big and the small. In her book, Alone Together, Shari Turkel, Professor at the Sloane School at MIT, details the effects of social media, our tuned-in lives (during which we're meant to make ourselves available 24/7), and the potentially detrimental effects it has on our social interactions. What happens when you have 500 friends, but no one to whom you can really talk? 

With this in mind, what are the implications of noticing, responding and recording for our work?  

Below is a selection of cartoons loosely chosen to convey different ideas about noticing.   

Which was your favorite cartoon?  Which cartoon resonated most with you?

Cartoons for Noticing (PDF)
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Differentiation for Successful Noticing

Posted by icadmin in Noticing
by Hilary Schumer, Coalition Educator

The following are two resources on how thinking about differentiating noticing tools can lead to more successful noticing/assessment.  One explains why it is important to carefully consider how we choose noticing tools, while the other is a hands-on exercise for teachers (learn more about the value and practice of noticing here). Please feel free to adopt and adapt these materials for your own congregations, and let us know what you tried!

Differentiation for Successful Noticinng (PDF)
File Size: 57 kb
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Differentiated Assessment Exercise for Teachers (PDF)
File Size: 370 kb
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Noticing Webinar Series

Posted by icadmin in Noticing, Uncategorized
This year, all congregations in the Coalition of Innovating Congregations are working on learning about and boosting their noticing/assessment practices. As part of this work, all congregations are participating in a webinar series – one webinar in the fall, some practice in the winter, and a second webinar in the spring. 

Below, you will find links to the recordings, downloads of the PowerPoints, and links to the forms to share the work you did in the winter. 

Webinar Series:

Noticing 101 (with Ellen Rank): an introduction to noticing, focused on priority goals and naming targets in each of the domains: Knowing, Doing, Believing/Valuing, Belonging. 
Click here to replay the webinar.
Click here to access the form to share your work.

Noticing 101 Presentation Slides (PDF)
File Size: 1070 kb
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Noticing 201 (with Suri Jacknis): an overview of noticing and designing learning aligned to targets. Participants select noticing targets, prompts, and tools, design 2 unit plans, and collect noticing data at least once. 
Click here to replay the webinar.
Click here to access the form to share your work. 

Noticing 201 Presentation Slides (PDF)
File Size: 973 kb
File Type: pdf

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Noticing 301 (with Jeni Friedman): an intermediate discussion of noticing that includes analyzing noticing data. Participants name noticing targets, prompts, and tools, design 2 unit plans, collect noticing data at least twice, and indicate whether learners are “close,” “middle,” or “far” from the targets. 
Click here to replay the webinar.
Click here to access the form to share your work. 

Noticing 301 Presentation Slides (PDF)
File Size: 716 kb
File Type: pdf

Download File



Questions? Contact Shaina Wasserman.

The Importance of Belonging

Posted by icadmin in Noticing, Uncategorized

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by Rabbi Beth Nichols

— Rosh Hashanah Sermon given at Temple Israel of New Rochelle —

             In the fall of 4th grade, Mrs. Edelstein, Temple Isaiah’s Religious School Principal, called my house and asked for my mother.  For those of you who are now thinking, “Ooh…the principal called her mom.  What did Rabbi Nichols do?”  I am sorry to disappoint you.  Mrs. Edelstein was ordering prayer books to present to my class at the celebration marking the completion of our first Hebrew book.  On the front of each book they planned to print our names in both English and Hebrew.  “What,” Mrs. Edelstein asked, “is Beth’s Hebrew name?” 

            It turns out, I did not have a Hebrew name.   So later that evening, my mother and I called my great-grandmother in Chicago and asked for her help.  She told us of an older cousin she remembered meeting as a child in Poland.  This cousin had been a midwife in the Jewish community and was known for baking extra loaves of challah for those who could not afford one for Shabbat.  By the end of that phone call I added the name Channah to my Jewish identity, and felt a profound connection across time and geography to my family’s history.  

            Choosing my Hebrew name with Great-Grandma Etta affirmed and strengthened my sense of belonging in the Jewish community.  I would later learn that the name Channah also forever connected me to the Channah of the Bible, the Channah of our Haftarah portion this morning.  But while our shared name connected me to my family, our biblical Channah felt alienated from her own.

            When we meet Channah at the opening of the Haftarah portion, she has traveled with her husband, along with his second wife and her children, on their annual trip to worship and offer sacrifices at the Temple.  If we picture this ancient scene, we might imagine campfires and tents dotting the hills around the temple, relatives separated by long distances the rest of the year exchanging updates, children running off to explore with new found friends…  And then there is Channah, sitting off to the side, weeping, desperate to have a child of her own. Channah is surrounded by people, loved by her husband, but is completely alone.  Channah feels no sense of belonging, no meaningful connections to the people who surround her.   

At Yale’s Commencement this past Spring, graduate Marina Keegan captured in words what Channah was missing.  Keegan said in her speech, “We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life…It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together.”  Keegan was describing a feeling she felt among her classmates: a sense of camaraderie and shared goals, a belief that she was accepted and understood. 

While Marina Keegan did not have a word for what she was describing, social scientists have termed it “belongingness.”  The “belongingness hypothesis,” asserts that “human beings have a pervasive drive to form and maintain at least a minimum quantity of lasting, positive, and significant interpersonal relationships.” Human beings naturally desire connections with other people, and research shows that feeling socially connected is positively correlated with measures such as academic success, high work performance, and physical and mental well-being.  Bottom line, feeling that we belong somewhere, that we are connected to other people, is good for us.  It makes us healthier, happier and more successful.

Sociologists studying religious communities identify three B’s of religious identity: “Belief, Behavior, and Belonging.” Religious identity cannot rely on doctrine and religious practice alone.  Religious identity, especially Jewish identity, is inherently communal: part of an individual’s Jewish identity is the knowledge that he or she is tied to the Jewish people across time and space.  And in order to establish that tie to the Jewish people across time and space, a person needs to be a feel a sense of belonging in this time and in this space.

“Belonging,” as it relates to Jewish identity, is a word I first encountered through Temple Israel’s partnership with the Jewish Education Project of New York. As we worked to design and create educational innovation, I was introduced to Levi.  Levi is not actually a living, breathing human-being, but a concept and a diagram: He is technically only an outline of a person whose body parts are labeled with four words: Knowing, Doing, Believing, and Belonging.    


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Levi’s labels express a theory of whole-person learning which reminds us that meaningful learning, particularly Jewish learning, is not only about knowing information.  Jewish learning also involves doing – participating in Jewish life, believing – exploring beliefs about God, values, and the nature of the world, and belonging – creating caring, purposeful relationships with others in our community.  

Jewish learning experiences that only focus on one of these four areas will not prepare a person to be fully engaged in Jewish life.  For example, by itself, “knowing” is an academic study, leading to a person who can talk about Judaism, but does not act on his knowledge.  By itself, “doing” can be empty ritual, a person carrying out the mechanics of Jewish life without imbuing them with meaning and purpose.  Impactful Jewish education needs to weave together opportunities for knowing, doing, believing and belonging.  Over the past year I have to come believe that of the four areas of whole-person learning, “belonging” is an essential piece of strong Jewish identities in today’s society.

Nowhere do I see this more clearly than at camp.  As many of you know, the clergy often spends time during the summer serving as faculty at overnight camps run by the Reform Movement.  This summer, while serving on the faculty of Eisner Camp, I was particularly struck by the sense of belonging and acceptance that is cultivated by the camp leadership, and then embraced and implemented by the entire camp community.  I witnessed two campers who I imagine get teased at school during the year and have trouble making friends at home discover the power of belonging to their camp community: During the opening week of camp, I was leading a discussion on the Jewish Value, Deebook Chaverim, Cleaving or Caring for Friends with an entire bunk of girls. Sitting in a circle on their cabin porch, the campers were brainstorming qualities of a good friend, when one girl decided to share a personal story.  

She described a group of students in her school at home systematically excluding her at the lunch table and on the playground, calling her names and joking that she had “cooties.”  I will admit, I was a little nervous to see how the rest of the bunk would respond.  I had nothing to worry about.  The girls immediately supported their fellow bunkmate and one camper announced, “That’s horrible and it will never happen to you here.”  I could not have been more proud of their response.  Here was a girl who was bullied at home, and could easily have been picked on at camp.  But her bunk illustrated to her, “You belong.  You are one of us.”  

On another afternoon, I was leading a program on Hebrew names for a group of the oldest campers and as part of an activity, distributed a tiny, cheap stuffed animal to each camper to name and keep.  The last camper to choose an animal was left with no choices that appealed to him, and to my surprise, he was visibly upset.  He became even more upset when he realized he could not control his feelings in front of the other campers.  But then, that moment of belonging happened.  A girl across the circle calmly held out her animal and offered to switch.  She did not tell him to calm down or make a joke, but merely told him, “I’m okay with anything, and this clearly means a lot to you.”  

A few seconds later it was hard to tell that anything out of the ordinary had happened.  Everyone was engaged in the activity and no one was whispering, commenting, or teasing.  This one simple exchange of dollar store stuffed animals had communicated to a young man, “We care about you. You belong.”  

These camp moments drove home to me two important components of belonging.  First, belonging does not require uniformity.  To feel a sense of belonging, you do not have to be the same as everyone else.  These two campers were a little different, but it did not prevent them from being accepted.  Belonging communicates that the group cares and values each person as a unique individual.  The second component these camp stories illustrate is that belonging is not automatic.  The moment those campers moved into their bunks in July, they were technically part of the bunk.  Every camper was assigned to a bunk.  But the feeling of belonging did not come until they felt accepted by their peers. Belonging requires time, openness, and communication.

Here at Temple Israel all of our educational programs, whether they are for infants, children, teens or adults, reflect the importance of belonging and the knowledge that Jewish learning is enhanced when conducted in the context of meaningful relationships.  In the Kehillah School, teachers consciously create opportunities for children to work together and develop friendships, while daily emails nurture the connections between home and school.  In the Religious School, pictures of families and teachers line the hallways, encouraging us to learn a new name and connect with another family.  Chavaya, the new educational model being rolled out in the Religious School, intentionally brings students of different grades together and focuses on learning as a community.  B’nei Mitvah students pile into our offices to prepare in small groups, cheering each other on while also getting to know the clergy.  The centerpiece of our new adult confirmation program is two small study groups that meet monthly in someone’s living room.  In all of these settings, students are learning concrete knowledge and at the same time cultivating belonging.   

Belonging, however, is not only important on the playground or in the classroom.  Belonging is something that each one of us looks for in our families, in our circle of friends, at our jobs, and in our communities.  Each one of us needs, and each one of us deserves, places and groups where we feel a sense of belonging; where we know we are loved and heard.

In the diagram of Levi, describing whole-person learning, knowing is connected to the head, doing to the hands, and believing to the heart.  These connections are logical.  But where is belonging?  Belonging, it turns out, is connected to the feet.  At first this gave me pause: if belonging is a feeling a person can have, why doesn’t the line point to Levi’s head or heart?  What can the line connected to the feet tell us?  If belonging is about identity and the feeling that we are part of a group, than it is our feet that express that feeling physically.  When we feel that sense of belonging, our feet bring us in and get us involved.  And when that sense of belonging is missing, our feet are tempted to carry us away from a group or out through a door.  

As a community, we must work together to make Temple Israel a place of belonging: a place where each person who walks through the doors feels welcomed, accepted, valued and included.  The temple should be a place where people can be their authentic selves without fear of judgment or exclusion.  If Temple Israel is already such a place for you, as I know it is for many, ask yourself, what about this community gives me a sense of belonging?  What is it that makes me feel safe and accepted?  Now ask yourself, how can I help others feel at home here too?  The theme song to the 1980s and 90s hit sitcom Cheers goes, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.”  In our large and diverse community it may not always be possible for everyone to know our names.  But it is possible to hope that when people enter our doors they sense that everyone is open to learning their names and hearing their stories.  For those who are new to our community, or who are not new, but have yet to feel that sense of belonging, I hope you will keep walking through our doors.  That you will get involved in activities, share your story, and give others the opportunity to recognize and acknowledge the unique gifts that each person brings to our community.  

            Research has shown that having places and groups where we feel the comfort and security of belonging will help us live healthier, happier, and more productive lives. I believe, without the scientific data to back it up, that such places and groups will also help us be good people and live up to the high moral goals we set for ourselves during these High Holidays.  How can belonging shape our moral character?  By reminding us daily that we are not alone, and there are people who care.  

            Maimonides taught that a crucial step of repentance is being confronted with the opportunity to repeat a sin, and choosing not to.  Having a sense of belonging, and knowing that we do not stand alone in the world can help us achieve this final step of repentance.  Belonging gives us a place to turn when we are tempted to repeat a past mistake; a person to seek out for help when we cannot calm our anger or curb our jealousy; a group who will listen when we feel stuck or lost.  

Each one of us needs, and each one of us deserves, places and groups where we feel a sense of belonging; where we know we are loved and heard.  As we journey together through these ten days of reflection and repentance, take time to ask yourself, where do I find love and support?  Where can I give love and support to others?  Where and with whom do I feel a true sense of belonging?  And then, with the knowledge that we do not have to face life’s challenges alone, may we enter the New Year with hope, courage, and confidence.  


In Appreciation of Whole Person Learning and Noticing

Posted by icadmin in Noticing, Uncategorized

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by Suri Jacknis 
with Mike Mellen

As a LOMED consultant, I was privileged to attend a 2-day seminar on priority goals, whole person learning and noticing taught by our esteemed ECE consultant and teacher, Cindy Reich.

During one segment of our recent session, we paused on our classic picture of LEVI and considered the power of whole person learning. Each participant called to mind past learning experiences that we found particularly powerful. Some people reported that they felt the learning in their bodies, even recalling where we were sitting or standing and who was next to us. Some of us remembered the emotions and rekindled the feelings of learning some important newly-gained knowledge, of doing something with our bodies that was a part of authentic Jewish living, of belonging and connecting to those who shared this special experience with us. Some felt connected to something larger than themselves- maybe Jewish tradition or the Jewish people. Often we were doing something that we realized was deeply important, something that was of great value to us and to the people around us.

When I stopped to reflect on my own teaching before learning about LOMED, I realized that although I had goals, I did not often aim for the really powerful learning I have now come to prize. I was not intentional about having noticing targets beyond targets of knowledge and skill. I modeled ritual and Jewish behavior that I hoped my students would try out at home or help them feel more comfortable in shul. However, I was not thinking about capturing authentic Jewish moments as potential opportunities for creating learning that really mattered. I was teaching about Judaism, but not living Judaism with my students [and on rare occasions] with my families. I was not imagining doing things with my learners that were intimately related with their own real life questions, with helping my learners access the richness of Jewish tradition in making decisions in everyday life, or in using Jewish values in guiding their daily choices and behaviors. I did not intentionally think about building connections between my learners and fostering their sense of belonging as part of every unit design. I did not take responsibility for intentionally giving learners the opportunity to explore/grapple with/express what they believe and value or for helping them to evolve their beliefs and values over time.

In this moment of reflection during the recent session, I appreciated how much LOMED has helped me shift my thinking and practice. I now feel that my work is elevated and much more intentional. I feel LOMED’s potential power in terms of the impact that the learning that I design can have on my learners.

As I sat and looked at LEVI, I felt inspired in a new way to be accountable to the 4 domains that make learning powerful. At the same time, I find writing noticing targets challenging and look for ways to make this writing process easier. Fortunately, during the session, Cyd suggested starting with the DOING domain first,

remembering that “doing” is really about Jewish “living”. “So,” I thought to myself, “what can I imagine my families doing by the end of this unit that they either could not do before or would be able to do in a much more powerful way? What can this unit empower families to do related to Judaism and life in ways that are more personally meaningful, more thoughtful or more in consonance with Jewish wisdom?”

Once I am clear about my “doing” target, I can ask…what do my learners need to know in order to accomplish or feel comfortable in this aspect of Jewish living? What values or beliefs do they need to explore? How can living Jewishly together through this shared experience increase my learners’ sense of connection to each other, to the synagogue community, to Israel, and to the Jewish people? All of a sudden the other 3 targets seemed much easier to write and become much more aligned with one another. I can feel the power of my unit taking shape as I am working.

I feel responsible for being an effective guide for my families as they push forward on their Jewish journeys. By raising my commitment to intentionally identifying my noticing targets or outcomes for each of the domains of KDBB, I am designing learning that can impact my learners both in the present as well as long into the future.

For more notes and practical take-aways from the days of learning, click here for a post from Cyd Weissman’s blog, Living LOMED, “Consultants’ and CE Day of Learning.”


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