by Joel Lurie Grishaver
Over Martin Luther King Weekend 650 Jews gathers in a hotel in upstate New York to learn Torah, celebrate Shabbat and build a sense of community.
Built on the model of British Limmud, an amazing celebration of Jewish learning that had CAJE as a point of origin, but that grew in completely different directions. British Limmud made a turn from teaching to learning, and then it began to grow. It is now a 2000 person intergenerational pluralistic gathering with real orthodox participation and with all ages participating actively, and with the leadership being for the most part in its late twenties.
Now, a group of lay people in New York, inspired by the British model, have added another event to the national Jewish calendar. For those of us connected to other learning events in North America a few small things were revolutionary. Cookies and Coffee (etc) were served all day. The food was pretty good. It had a bar as an adult hang out at night. Sessions were diverse, high quality and the central focus. There was no theme, no tracking, no programmatic organization, just good people teaching excited learners. The administration was supportive and did not blame participants. As a presenter, it was easy to solve problems and things were flexible.
What’s kind of amazing—what is worth talking about—is that at a time when Jewish education somehow feels smaller, somehow feels that we are on the losing side, a group of volunteers in New York have once again made magic, once again enriched us with a vision of the possible (and a great new conference to consider).
by Lizabeth A. Fogel
Talent, imagination and skill are attributes first-rate teachers possess. When working with children who have diverse needs these attributes must be perfected. Collaboration is an important key in having a successful year with a student with special needs. Speaking with parents is the first place to start. Think about the information I shared with you about communicating with parents and other adults in the child’s life. Remember parents know their kids the best, they can shed light on the behaviors (physical or emotional) you witnessing in the classroom. If the child has a diagnosed learning or behavioral disorder, ask the parents if they will share the information they have with you. Explain that the more you know the more you can help their child be successful. Bear in mind anything a parent reveals to you is strictly confidential.
In education today we call learners who have some type of disability or who are classified as gifted, exceptional. Over the next several articles I will share general information about several specific disorders and how to manage children in an after school or weekend environment. The most talked about disorder is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity. It is a medical condition which includes ADD (inattentive type – sometimes referred to as attention deficit disorder), ADHD-impulsive type and ADHD-combined type. ADHD is a common developmental and behavioral disorder. It is characterized by poor concentration, distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that are inappropriate for the child’s age. Children and adults with ADHD are easily distracted by sights and sounds in their environment, cannot concentrate for long periods of time, are restless and impulsive, or have a tendency to daydream and be slow to complete tasks. According to the National Institute of Mental Health ADHD is one of the most common mental disorders in children and adolescents, affects an estimated 4.1 percent of youths ages 9 to 17 in a 6-month period. About two to three times more boys than girls are affected. ADHD usually becomes evident in preschool or early elementary years. The disorder frequently persists into adolescence and occasionally into adulthood.
Once you have been informed that one of your students is ADHD you can make some simple changes to the classroom environment and your teaching style that will benefit the entire class.
Here are some “Do’s and Don’ts” when working with AD/HD students:
by Laurie Bellet
What a wonderful discussion of Maurice Sendak. Where the Wild Things Are is my most favorite book. Thanks so much. Also his pictures from Zlata the Goat stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer, have for models many of his relatives who died in the Holocaust.
- Ellen Zuskin, Boca Raton, Florida
Thank you, Ellen! How wonderful for all of us to be able to imbue Sendak’s stories with family significance. For more Maurice Sendak lesson plans, you can go to http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/ed…8_overview.html. You can also purchase Sendak inspired puppets and dolls from many booksellers. You may even be able to recognize acquaintances of your own when you and your students play with Moishe, Bernard and Sipi!
Using Jewish artists to inspire your lessons can offer a new look to time tested themes. The criteria for the definition of a “Jewish artist” is, in itself, a discussion topic. For today’s discussion, I am characterizing a Jewish artist as an artist who has a Jewish family heritage.
During the past several weeks, I have seen many “family trees” decorating school bulletin boards. Over the past decade, the traditional family tree model has become somewhat problematic used to characterize contemporary families. The dilemma calls to mind the art of Frida Kahlo, who pictured her own Jewish/Mexican heritage in many pieces including a family tree. Painted in 1936, in response to the pedigrees traced in pre-war Germany, Kahlo features herself in the middle at age two. Her father, Guillermo and Mother, Matilda are pictured above her. Her Hungarian Jewish paternal grandparents are symbolized by the sea and her maternal grandparents are symbolized by earth. The ribbon that Frida holds in her hand symbolizes the family’s relationship. In her self-portrait “Two Frida’s,” Kahlo paints one view of herself as Mexican and one as European Jew. These two images are bound by veins connecting the two prominent hearts.