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Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Database for Lesson Plans Organized by Topic and Grade Level


Jewish educators and mentors now have a new database that provides a user friendly collection of lessons searchable by topics and grade level. It is called the Smart Board Jewish Educational Database (SJED) sponsored by the Legacy Heritage Fund. You can find this website at this address:

http://www.legacyheritage.org/SJED/?file=find_lesson

 

The SJED contains a large and growing database of interactive Smart Board
 lessons submitted by Jewish educators from across the United States.
The database is searchable by topic, language, and grade and allows
 users to download Smart Board lessons that can be used or adapted for
 any school. Users may also submit a lesson for posting, subject to 
review. It is the hope of Legacy Heritage Fund that this site will
help develop a community of practice and knowledge sharing, throughout
 the world of Jewish education.


 

This information was found via the Lookjed Listserv, a project of the Lookstein Center of Jewish Education, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel at this web address: http://www.lookstein.org/ If the reader wishes to join Lookjed, click on to this web address: http://www.lookstein.org/lookjed.htm

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Importance of External or Collegial Reflection


Before we share several external reflection formats and practices, consider what Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick (*April 2000) have written about the power of collegial reflection:

 

The act of externalizing our internal voices, and listening to the self-statements of our colleagues provides educators with an opportunity to:

 

1.     Amplify the meaning of their work through the insight of others.

 

2.     Apply meaning beyond the situation in which it was learned.

 

3.     Make a commitment to modifications, plans, and experimentation

 

4.     Document learning and provide a rich base of shared knowledge      



*Costa, A. L. & Kallick, B. (April, 2000).  Getting into the Habit of Reflection. Educational Leadership. 57(5), 60-62.

 

In the next post we will share some suggested methods to encourage your mentee to use different internal reflection tools.

Summary of the Requisite Reflection Skills A Mentor or Mentor Teacher Should Possess


On the previous posts we described a set of internal reflection skills and formats that a mentor teacher should possess in his repertoire. Below you will find a list of those internal reflection skills and formats.

Think-Alouds

The EIAG Journal

The Reflection Journal

The Professional Reflection Log

The End of the Week Journal

The Student Goals Planning Format

The Individual Professional Development Plan

Strategic Questions a Mentor Can Pose to a Mentee Prior to and After Teaching a Lesson

On the next post we will discuss methods to encourage your mentee to use internal reflection.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

On Implementing Innovations at School



Dear Friends and Colleagues:

I recently received this significant question from one of the readers of the blog. The question points to a much larger issue, viz. how can a teacher implement an innovation in a school which is not open to change? Below please find the question and my response. I invite you to share your comments as well.

The Question: 

But how do you implement this [innovative practices such as the ones discussed in the blog] in a school that does not invest an effort in improving the Judaic Studies Department, in a school that chooses to keep morim that have been teaching there for 40rs. or more and who are not interested in any career development neither to join collaborative efforts with other colleagues who do want to bring a new energy and change to the school?


Richard's Response:

What an excellent question! You describe a situation that many teachers, administrators, supervisors, staff developers, and other instructional leaders experience. Here are my thoughts and I welcome other readers to share their suggestions as well.
 

First let me share some theory about school-wide change. School innovations can occur from at least these four sources: (a)
Top-Down: The instructional leader or group of leaders announce the change; (b) Bottom-Up: Teachers apply the innovation in their own classrooms independently to test the efficacy of the new intervention. (c) Inside-Out: Teachers and administrators have formal and informal staff development meetings to discuss innovations to improve instruction. (d) Outside-In: Pressure from influential groups (i.e. parents, central boards, the rabbi, religious movements, professional organizations, community leaders, etc. ) are exerted to implement the innovation.



Having shared that theoretical perspective, let's offer some practical suggestions. Let's assume you have done some research and have identified a particular innovation that you would like to implement in your classroom.




1. Invite a colleague at your school to discuss with you how to implement that innovation. Ideally this colleague is a seasoned teacher who has the respect of the instructional leaders of your school. 



2. Implement that innovation with that veteran and well-respected teacher at your school.



3. Discuss implementation issues with your colleague at a convenient time and place, or via phone or email.



4. If the innovation yields positive results share it with the instructional leaders and colleagues at your school.



5. All teachers want to be successful at their craft. As teachers at your school learn about the efficacy of your innovation, they will want to replicate what you and your colleague have achieved. On a personal note, I should tell you that for 15 years I served as Coordinator of Professional Development Schools at the University of Maryland, College Park. One of the greatest rewards of my work at Maryland was to see seasoned teachers, those you describe as 'being there for 40 years and not interested in professional development', become renewed and excited about working with the newer teachers entering the profession. 



Obviously, this strategy that I have suggested employs both a Bottom-Up and an Inside-Out approach to school-wide change. In an ideal situation, you would be working in a school that is a Jewish Professional Learning Community, one which supports continuous professional development for the staff, and the implementation of research-based instructional strategies to improve student performance.



I will elaborate on professional learning communities in a later post.

Once again, I invite and encourage the readers and followers of this blog to offer your comments and questions.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Strategic Questions a Mentor Can Pose to a Mentee After Teaching a Lesson

Sample Strategic Questions A Mentor Can Pose to a Mentee After Teaching A Lesson 

(*Lipton, et al., 2001)

 

Sample questions that activate prior knowledge and engage the mentee

Sample questions that are expansive and help the mentee explore options

·      Now that the lesson is over, what if any, are some of your questions or concerns about this lesson?

·      How satisfied are you that your students were able to respond to the essential questions that you posed during the lesson?

·      How satisfied are you with the assessments you used for this lesson?

·      Did your lesson meet the needs of ...?

·      Would you say direct instruction was an effective method of teaching for this lesson? Please explain your thinking.

·      How well did you handle ... when he disrupted the class?

·      What did you like most and least about today's lesson?

·      How did this lesson relate to enduring Jewish knowledge?

·      Are there other essential questions that could have been incorporated into this lesson?

·      What other assessments could you have used for this lesson?

·      Upon reflection, are there other methods of teaching that you should have used for this lesson?

·      Given this opportunity to think through today's lesson, what are some specific actions you intend to take in future?

·      As you reflect on today's lesson, what are some of the things that come to mind?

·      What have you learned from today's post conference?

·      What other methods can you use next time to handle ... when he disrupts the class?

 

* Adapted from Lipton, L., Wellman, B. & Humbard, D. (2001). Mentoring Matters: A Practical Guide to Learning-focused Relationships: Sherman, CT: Mira Via, LLC.

On the next blog post we will present a summary of all the internal reflection methods and formats that we have presented.

Strategic Questions A Mentor Can Pose to a Mentee Prior to Teaching a Lesson


L. Lipton, B. Wellman, and C. Humbard (2001)* provide some helpful advice to mentors about the strategic kinds of questions they might pose to their mentees. In particular, they argue that well-designed mentor questions can evoke two different kinds of thinking in their mentees:

1.  thinking that activates prior knowledge and engages the mentee

2. thinking that is expansive and invites the mentee to explores options

 

The chart below identifies sample questions from each of the above categories before teaching a lesson.

 

Sample Strategic Questions A Mentor Can Pose to a Mentee Prior to Teaching a Lesson 

(*Lipton, et al., 2001)

 

Sample questions that activate prior knowledge and engage the mentee

Sample questions that are expansive and help the mentee explore options

·      What are some of your current questions or concerns about this lesson?


·      What essential questions are you going to ask during the lesson?


·      What evidence will your students demonstrate to prove that they understand your objective for the lesson?


·      What assessments will you use for this lesson?


·      Does your lesson meet the needs of ...?


·     Why did you choose to use direct instruction as the method to teach this lesson?


·      How do you plan on handling ... if he disrupts the class?

·      How does this lesson relate to enduring Jewish knowledge?


·      Are there other essential questions that can be incorporated into this lesson?


·      Are there other assessments you can use for this lesson?

·   Are there other methods of teaching that you might use for this lesson?

·      Given this opportunity to think through your lesson plan, what are some specific actions you intend to take to ensure success?

As you reflect on your lesson, what are some of the things that come to mind?

·      What are some of the differences between what you have planned and what we have discussed today?

 

* Adapted from Lipton, L., Wellman, B. & Humbard, D. (2001). Mentoring Matters: A Practical Guide to Learning-focused Relationships: Sherman, CT: Mira Via, LLC.

On  the next blog post we will share sample strategic questions a mentor can pose to a mentee after teaching a lesson. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Individual Professional Development Plan


Sample Format for an Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP)

 

Name:                                                                                            Date:

Position:                                                        School:

What is/are my goal/s for professional growth this year?

 

 

How do my goals relate to the goals of my school or district?

 

How will I know that I have achieved my goals? What data will I use to determine if I have reached my goals?

 

How will this IPDP impact my students?

 

 

Which of the professional development options/strategies/techniques listed below will I use?

Collaborative Options:

___Committee or Task Force Participation

___Delivery of Workshops/Courses

___Development of Instructional  Materials

___ Discussion/Study Groups

___Experimentation or Action Research within the Classroom

___Networking Group

___ New Curriculum Development

___ Participation in Teacher  Exchange Program

___ Peer Coaching

___Professional Visits

___ Team Teaching

___Peer Observation

___Other (be specific)

 

Independent Options:

___Analyze audio/video tapes

___ Delivery of Workshops/Courses

___Development of Instructional Materials

___Experimentation or  Action Research within the Classroom

___Professional Visits

___ Review of Professional Literature

___Staff Development (Course Participation)

___ Writing a reflective journal

___Other (be specific)

 

 

 

What material or human resources will you need to 

achieve your goal(s)?

 

How will you know that you are achieving 

your goal(s)?  

What evidence will there be to support 

your progress?

 

Teacher: ____________________________________________________

                                  Signature

Approved by ________________________________________________

                                   Signature

 

On the next blog post we will describe strategic questions a mentor teacher can pose to activate and expand mentee reflection.


 *This IPDP is adapted from one used by the Montgomery County (MD) Public Schools.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Reflection of the Past Year Format



Directions: Reflect on your past year’s teaching experience, and complete these sentences.

 

As I reflect upon my experience as a teacher last year, and am about to begin a new year, I want to remember...                

 

 

 

My best experience was …

 

 

This was because …

 

 

 

 

 

My worst experience was …

 

 

This was because …

 

 

 

 

 

This year I want to focus my learning on …

 

 

 

 

By the end of the year I hope to say to myself …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the next blog post we will share a important internal reflection format called the Individual Professional Development Plan.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Student Goals Planning Format


Directions: Think about the goals that you have set for your students, and complete these sentences.

 

Three major goals/learning outcomes I want my students to achieve this coming year are:

 

 

 

The major goals/learning outcomes of my school are:

 

 

 

 

How do my goals/learning outcomes for my students and the goals/learning outcomes of my school connect?

 

 

 

 

 

On the next blog post we will share the Reflection of the Past Year format.

The End of the Week Journal


Directions: Think about the events of this week, and complete these sentences.

 

These significant events occurred this week:

 

 

 

 

From these events I realize that …

 

 

     

 

Here is an area that I must learn more about …

 

 

 

 

This week I am very pleased that ...

 

 

 

 

Additional thoughts

 

On the next blog post we will share the Student Goals Planning format.

The Professional Reflection Log

Professional Reflection Log

Definition: A professional reflection log provides the educator with the opportunity to systematically think about (a) the instructional, classroom management, and other teacher decisions he/she made before and during class, (b) the effectiveness of those decisions, and (c) what to do in the future.

  DATE

INTER-

VENTION

WHAT     HAPPENED?

WHY DID IT HAPPEN?

PERSONAL

LEARNING

WHAT'S NEXT?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the next blog post we will share the End of Week Reflection Journal.

 

 

Jewish Education News Blog

Richard D. Solomon's Blog on Mentoring Jewish Students and Teachers

http://nextleveljewisheducation.blogspot.com/