experiments, instruments & measurement book

Bringing Noticing to Life

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).

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