Professional Development Sessions on Pedagogies for Distance and Blended Learning for Jewish Day School Faculty

As day schools plan forward, even in today’s uncertainty, the need to innovate, iterate and improve the remote learning experience is clear. What also has become clear is that some of the teaching methodologies used for at-home learning can also elevate student learning in the physical classroom. 

With collaborative funding provided by JEIC (the Jewish Education Innovation Challenge) and UnitED (the Diaspora Initiative of the State of Israel), Prizmah is coordinating professional development sessions on pedagogies for distance and blended learning for Jewish day school faculty. Sessions, taught by seasoned coaches from BetterLesson and UnitED, leading experts in the field, will begin in July and continue throughout the summer.

Sessions will be offered for general studies and Judaic studies teachers of grades 1-12 with options to register for both stand-alone sessions and a series of courses. In addition, BetterLesson will offer sessions specifically for school administrators on continuous improvement for distance learning plans.

The UnitED sessions are under the leadership of Smadar Goldstein, leader in digital training and learning. The UnitED team of facilitators holds expertise in training hundreds of Jewish educators around the world to maximize online learning opportunities and sessions are geared towards grades 1-5 or 6-12.

BetterLesson will offer four stand alone sessions, two hours each. They can be registered for individually. UnitED’s sessions will run as a series of four one-hour workshops. Teachers will need to register for the full four-session series. 

Sessions for Jewish day school and Yeshiva teachers

BetterLesson Sessions UnitED Series

Assessing Student Learning in Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning

Some of the strategies that teachers use to assess student learning lend themselves readily to a home-based learning environment, but require new lenses and best practices for leveraging them effectively. This workshop will allow participants to think more deeply about their formative assessment practices in home-based learning settings and to explore specific tools and strategies to gauge the depth and quality of student learning in real time

Collaborative Learning

Learn how to have students collaborate on online discussion boards, with student responses including images, recordings, videos, screenshots, location icons/mapping and of course, basic text. Be able to facilitate Jewish studies classes with games that include dramatic reading, collaborative games, as well as student recordings.

Real-Time Tools to Engage Students during Synchronous Learning Sessions

In this session, we will build teachers’ understanding about the ways in which we can make live classes via videoconferencing tools more engaging and impactful. We’ll introduce creative ways to use a synchronous space that are not driven exclusively by whole-group instruction and can therefore support differentiating students’ learning.

How Do You Know They’re Learning? Designing Independent Learning

Inspire creativity with video design that both you and the student can create, incorporating higher order thinking skills questions. Learn to facilitate collaborative games on or offline for Jewish studies.

Developing Tasks: Setting up Ways for Students to Learn Asynchronously

In this session, participants will explore examples of asynchronous learning and will imagine converting their daily in-person tasks to tasks in a home-based learning format. Participants will start to build their own strategic plans for what is most important to them and their students in this area.

Create Meaningful Learning Remotely

Analyze content, collate data collaboratively and independently, and create screen recordings for Jewish studies classes.

Self-Paced Learning Pathways: Guiding Students through Tasks

In this session, participants will begin to enhance their self-paced learning “pathways” to support students as they work towards mastery. This session will highlight common challenges and cover the use of benchmarking and controlling the amount of self-paced learning time in order to ensure that students are successful.

Communicate Creatively, On and Offline

Learn to design weekly on and offline projects, like gallery walks. See how students can comment on one another’s projects and share resources and research for Jewish studies classes.

*Participants in BetterLesson sessions will be given access to The BetterLesson Professional Learning Lab, their online professional development platform. *Participants in UnitED sessions will be able to ask follow-up/ongoing support questions to the presenters via whatsapp groups that will be established for each session.
Registration for these sessions is full Registration for these sessions is full

Session for Jewish day school and yeshiva leaders

Supporting Continuous Improvement of Distance Learning Plans

After initial distance learning systems and structures have been established, leaders often benefit from collaboration with our expert facilitators and other day school leaders to identify strategies to support their teachers, students, and families to be successful over the long haul in this new learning environment. In addition to discussing ways to tune and tweak the initial distance learning systems their schools launched in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, leaders will explore how they can assess student and teacher progress and how to provide ongoing support to and effective communication with teachers, students, and families.

Registration for this session is full

The providers

JEIC is a bold initiative to radically improve the quality of Jewish education in day schools across North America. We bring together educators, funders and consumers to pursue lasting school culture change through innovation, experimentation and collaboration. Initiated in 2012 by the Mayberg Foundation and supported through multiple philanthropic partnerships, JEIC seeks to reignite students’ passion for Jewish learning and improve the way Jewish values, literacy, practice and belief are transferred to the next generation.

BetterLesson has been working closely with Jewish day school teachers and leaders around the country as they have worked to transition their school communities quickly to distance learning over the past few weeks.
In addition to continuing to provide 1:1 coaching to help teachers and leaders navigate this enormous shift in practice, BetterLesson has led six Virtual Workshops for schools supported by The AVI CHAI Foundation, The Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE), and Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP).

Thirty leaders and six teachers from over 15 schools have attended these synchronous virtual sessions, which focused on honest discussion of the challenges day school educators faced in their first weeks of distance learning. They offered another Virtual Workshop for CJP’s network of school leaders on April 1 as well as a three-session Virtual Learning Series for teachers in CJP’s network after Passover. The sessions have been full of strategies and resources pertaining to distance learning and have served as a space for leaders and teachers to collaborate and share ideas around areas such as ensuring equity, supporting personal care among staff and students, and continuing to build community while students are learning remotely.

About UnitED
The Diaspora Initiative – UnitED – operates in Jewish schools around the world, to strengthen Jewish identity and ties to the community and to Israel.

The initiative believes that quality Jewish education is the key to communities in the Diaspora continuing to flourish.

UnitED is a cooperative venture among the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, and individual donors and foundations from across the Jewish world. CET (the Center for Educational Technology) serves as the operating entity, managing all of the initiative’s activities throughout the world.