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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Application of the Direct Instruction Model of Teaching with a Lesson on How to Tie a Tzitzit

When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices. Accordingly our mentees should know about the Direct Instruction Model of Teaching.

To demonstrate this model of teaching, we will now insert a lesson on how to tie a tzitzit into the five-step Direct Instruction Model of Teaching template.

Five Steps of the Direct Instruction Model of Teaching

Enduring Jewish Knowledge: There are many different Jewish symbols that remind us to follow the mitzvot.

Content: Teaching the Procedure of Tying the Tzitzit [*]



Teacher and/or Student Behavior


Get students ready to learn, and clarify the objective/s of the lesson

· Teacher displays a tallit and points to a tzitzit, and poses this question: “What is this?”

· Teacher asks, “Did you know that it is a mitzvah, a commandment, to study and understand the meaning of the tzitzit? Therefore, the objective for today’s lesson is to understand why the tzitzit is worn, and later we will learn how to tie a tzitzit.”

Teacher says, “In the Tanach and in the Shema prayer it says: the L-rd said to Moses: Instruct the people Israel that in every generation they shall put fringes on the corners of their garments and bind a thread of blue to the fringe of each corner. Looking upon it, you will be reminded of all the mitzvot of the L-rd, and fulfill them, and not be seduced by your heart, or led astray by your eyes.” (Numbers 15:37-41)


Demonstrate skill or knowledge

· Teacher explains, and demonstrates the steps of tzitzit tying: e.g. (double knot, 7 coils, double knot, 8 coils, double knot, 11 coils, double knot, 13 coils).[**]


Provide guided practice

· Teacher gives each student the materials for making and tying a tzitzit: (three colorful “short strings” the length from the hand to the forearm, one colorful “long string” the length from the hand to the chest, safety pin, scissors, and tape, if needed). Teacher invites each learner to complete the first step of tying the tzitzit.


Check for understanding, and provide feedback

· Teacher checks to see if each student is tying his tzitzit correctly.

· Teacher gives each student feedback on how well he is tying his tzitzit.


Provide for extended practice and transfer

· Teacher invites students to complete the second knot for extended practice, and complete their tzitzit at home for homework.

· Teacher explains that when you see a tzitzit, you will know that it is a sign, or reminder to follow the mitzvot.

On the next post we will share additional applications of the Direct Instruction Model of Teaching in seven different Judaic content areas.

* This lesson was adapted from one created and implemented by Rabbi David Eshel, Rabbi Rony Keller, and Lisa Keller.

**For more specific instructions on the tying of a tzitzit there are many websites, including: Retrieved September 2, 2009.

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