A Texas School Leader: “The Year Has Been Tremendous Because of Hebrew in Harmony”
Of all the challenges students at Congregation Beth Israel in Houston have faced this year, learning Hebrew has not been one of them.
The school uses Hebrew in Harmony curriculum for grades 3-6, and this year, just as in pre-pandemic times, students learn to read Hebrew with fluency and develop connections the prayers. This year, perhaps even faster.
“Our Hebrew program has excelled this year,” says David Scott, director of lifelong learning. “The year has been tremendous in many ways because of Hebrew in Harmony. The curriculum works really well, and we’ve found that being fully online this year has really opened up even more opportunities for us to create and develop new ways of engaging children online with Hebrew.”
The Hebrew goals of the Miriam Browning Jewish Learning Center of Beth Israel are tefilah-based. Students are grouped by skill level, and they work on mastering reading each prayer before moving on the next prayer level. What this looks like in practice is that Hebrew teachers aren’t teaching a specific grade, but rather they’re teaching Sh’ma and Barchu, for example.
Prayer meaning and kavanah are covered with grade levels, separately from the rotational system for reading fluency.
Hear from David Scott himself about how Hebrew in Harmony is effective for his students:
Hebrew in Harmony was designed as a music-based prayer curriculum. There are 22 individual modules – each devoted to a specific prayer – that can be taught in any order. Each module invites students to sing and pray in Hebrew, as well as read, explore, and interpret prayer text. It does this through music from top Jewish musicians, along with arts, movement, videos, and an app for a full digital learning experience.
The Houston students each have a digital license to the app, which they all use for reading practice and reinforcement games and videos. The accompanying print materials are sent home to each student.
Listen to Scott describe the value of Hebrew in Harmony and how it connects with his synagogue services:
Hebrew in Harmony supports schools that are focused on prayer learning. It was designed to be flexible and reach across denominations and various learning environments – whether at home, in person, or a combination. Further, the material encompasses a broad array of modalities that address visual, aural, and kinesthetic learners.
Here’s how Scott sees it:
Learn more about Hebrew in Harmony here. You can find sample materials, download the goals and enduring understandings for each prayer, and more.
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