Federation funding supports high tech Hebrew school learning
…“A couple of teachers not from our school did these beautiful activities related to Tu b’Shvat,” Rabbi Shelley Kniaz, the director of congregational learning at Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley in Woodcliff Lake, said. “My teachers are going to use them.”
Rabbi Kniaz and Rabbi Paula Feldstein of Temple Avodat Shalom in River Edge organized Kulanu NNJ and wrote the grants for the teacher training program .
The technology training is having a ripple effect, Rabbi Kniaz said. “One of the things that we were hoping would happen is that other teachers would be inspired to start learning these things and our current participants would mentor. It’s already happening.”
Rabbi Kniaz has been using high tech in her Hebrew school for years. Her interest was sparked by a course the federation ran for principals of supplementary schools. On Monday, when northern New Jersey public schools shut down for a snow day, Temple Emanuel’s seventh graders took part in their regularly scheduled class on Israel, video conferencing from home, as they always do on Monday afternoons. A teacher in Israel leads the class. “The kids are really involved,” Rabbi Kniaz said.
In Devorah O’Brien’s sixth-grade classroom at Temple Emanuel, Google Slides has replaced worksheets. If she’s teaching about Joshua, for example, she will pose questions and assign students to small groups to research the answers on their iPads or phones.
“They’ll put together pictures and a little bit of history and their own thoughts on how it applies to them in their own life onto a Google Slide,” Ms. O’Brien said. Then each group will present to the rest of the class. “It’s very visual, very engaging, and everyone feels they’re a part of it,” she said…