We got this note from Rachel Margolis, Director of Education at University Synagogue in Los Angeles:
I was excited to have Torah Aura’s Whole School Tzedakah lessons in our curriculum this year. The idea of having anything “whole school” is so great because it shows the students that they can learn the same subjects year after year while at the same time getting more depth from them.
This year I planned on using the lessons as part of our first all-school family day where the theme was tzedakah and tikkun olam. We introduced the theme with some family activities, and then split into classes to learn more about tzedakah and how it is connected to tikkun olam. Each teacher used the Torah Aura lessons and prepared another activity on how tzedakah and tikkun olam are connected (continuous, deliberate acts of tzedakah can lead to tikkun olam).
Then families joined together again for another project where they talked about the problems in the world, and picked one they were going to “fix.” They each made pledges of what they would do to improve the world on pictures of tools, and we created a “Religious School Tikkun Olam Toolbox” on one of our temporary construction walls. [At right.]
People were really happy with the day – kids and parents learned a lot, and the teachers were really excited to use the materials. I actually just had another teacher tell me how great one of the activities was! (And this is two weeks later!)
Thanks for the feedback, Rachel.
Have you used any lessons from the Whole School series yet? Whole School lessons allow you to have students of different ages all studying the same content area (holidays like Shavuot, Passover, or Sukkot, as well as tzedakah and Israel), but doing so in a way that is developmentally and sequentially appropriate. It offers a truly spiraled curriculum for the religious school classroom.