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Teacher Resources

  1. Rubrics: A Powerful Tool for Staff Development

    Rubrics: A Powerful Tool for Staff Development

    It's a new school year, and a new season of staff development opportunities.

    Consider the following:

    • What changes do you want to bring to your setting?
    • How will you know whether your staff has the skills to actually do things differently?
    • How will you help them identify and develop the new skills they might need?

    If we want to teach differently, we need to make sure we and our staff have a way to identify, articulate, and then develop the new skills that will help everyone grow professionally and become reflective practitioners.

    Rubrics are one tool to help us do that. Rubrics can articulate the specific skills that help teachers excel in areas such as content knowledge, classroom management, inclusive focus, family communication, work with madrichim, community building, and collaboration with colleagues. A rubric not only sets out standards to assess progress, it also

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  2. Welcome Students Back to School with Icebreakers

    Welcome Students Back to School with Icebreakers
    Successful education starts with relationships - among students, and between children and teachers. These sample icebreakers can help get you started.
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  3. Improv Games to Engage Your Students and Break the Ice

    Improv Games to Engage Your Students and Break the Ice
    Improv games are a captivating way to focus students’ energy and attention, and bring students to the present moment. Here are some ideas to try with your students as you begin the new year.
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  4. A Passover Lesson on Freedom to Use Right Now

    A Passover Lesson on Freedom to Use Right Now

    Deepen the holiday learning by focusing on the big ideas to make best use of your limited time and attention spans to create rich learning.

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  5. Biographies of Heroes Help Explore Values and Character Traits

    Biographies of Heroes Help Explore Values and Character Traits

    Inspired by a groundbreaking exhibition at ANU - Museum of the Jewish People (formerly Beit Hatfutsot) in Tel Aviv and published by Behrman House, The Hero in Me is a series of short biographies to help students learn about themselves an their global Jewish community through five traits:

      • courage
      • kindness
      • creativity
      • curiosity
      • fairness

    Storytelling is perhaps the most effective way to convey meaning to children,” said David Behrman, publisher. “These biographies offer bite-size insights into what makes a hero, and how our young readers can build those qualities into their own

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  6. Simple Tools to Help Teachers and Students Find Their Calm

    Simple Tools to Help Teachers and Students Find Their Calm

    The pandemic has been challenging for all of us, and even as we remain creative and resilient and dedicated, these uncertain times can make us - and our students - feel mentally and physically worn out. 

    Learning to practice self-care as a habit can help improve coping skills and mental health. 

    Here are a few techniques to try as we settle into another atypical school year.

    Practice being present

    Mindfulness is a catch word these days, and with good reason. It’s a way of being in the world, the ability to pay attention to the present moment, the here and now. There’s a growing body of research pointing to the effectiveness of mindful practices on our ability— both adults and children—to pay better attention, make thoughtful decisions and calm ourselves down. Our ability to be in the moment requires opportunities to pause and slow down together and individually.

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  7. Stories and Activities for Sukkot and Simchat Torah for In-Person, Remote, or Blended Learning Environments

    We've rounded up some stories for our Apples & Honey collection to share, and some free, ready-to-go Sukkot and Simchat Torah lessons and activities for various ages.

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  8. A New Jonah Story to Supplement Yom Kippur Teaching

    A New Jonah Story to Supplement Yom Kippur Teaching

    The Book of Jonah, with its message of religious universalism, comprises almost the entire afternoon reading for Yom Kippur. The Jonah story highlights how all people, Jews and non-Jews, are entitled to God's blessing and forgiveness.

    For young children, supplement your Yom Kippur teaching with an approachable retelling of the Bible story. 

    Jonah's Tale of a Whale, by Barry Schwartz and illustrated by James Rey Sanchez, tells the story of Jonah using simple words and features dramatic illustrations that bring it to life.

    Jonah lived by the sea. As a boy, he heard fishermen tell tales of whales that swallowed up ships. But he never expected to be swallowed up himself.
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  9. Tools to Build Resilience and Kindness in an Uncertain World

    As we enter a second school year of pandemic-induced uncertainty, children have shown their resilience time and again.

    We can all learn and practice such skills. Character traits such as resilience, kindness, and courage lie at the core of Jewish values, requiring us to make conscious choices about our actions. Here are some ways to teach and develop character traits and values.

    Grades 3-5

    This is an age when children are thinking critically about right and wrong and the importance of the choices they make. Here is an activity from A Kids Mensch Handbook about the value of sh'lom bayit, peace in the home. 

    Start by asking children to complete the following sentence in their heads or on paper: "My favorite family memories are_____" Allow

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  10. Teacher Support Materials Simplify and Enrich Planning

    Teacher Support Materials Simplify and Enrich Planning

    When it comes to figuring out what and how to teach, there’s no need to start from scratch.

    Start by determining what ideas you want students to explore and how much time you will have.

    Then, choose curricular materials that will help you to get there. And by that we mean teacher guides and lesson plan manuals and resource guides. Our rich collection of educator materials support your work and mission. 

    Think of these support materials as your launch pad, the starting point. They map out the directions for where you want to go. Then you can add in student text as source material for the content you’re trying to provide.  

    First, some terminology. 

    What are teacher support materials?

    Curriculum planners create a map of the big picture goals and key concepts that will drive your learning program.

    We have developed three big ideas that encompass the key values and purpose of

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