When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices. This is one of many lessons we will be sharing on teaching Judaic content, lesson planning, models of teaching, differentiated and individualized instruction and learning activities designed to transform the classroom into a Jewish community of cooperative learners. The title of this lesson is “The Middot As Enduring Jewish Knowledge”.Since there are 13 elements in each lesson plan we will divide this lesson plan into four parts. Here are parts one, two and three of this lesson. The fourth part of this lesson on the middot as enduring Jewish knowledge follows.
Developmental Activity: (Set of procedures or steps to reach the objective/learning outcome)
1. Explain that middot are fundamental Jewish virtues that many Jewish people incorporate in how they interact with others. However, not all middot are equally meaningful to all Jews. Thus, it is your job to select three middot from this list and explain your rationale for selecting them.
2. Distribute the chart that appears at the top of this post:
3. After students have completed the chart, explain and model the APCA process for achieving consensus.
The APCA process involves these four steps
(2) Paraphrase: Example: "This is what I believe you are saying ..."
(3) Check for understanding: Example: “Can you tell me more about ...?”
(4) Add, if necessary: Example: "This is what I would like to add to what you are saying .... I have nothing more to add; we have achieved consensus."
Select a student with whom to model and demonstrate the APCA process. Read the sample scenario below.
Sample Scenario Demonstrating the APCA Process
Student says: “One of the middah on my list is chesed or kindness because I think people should be kind to each other.”
Teacher says: “What do you mean by kindness? Can you give me an example of chesed?” (Asking for clarification)
Student says: “Sure, an example of chesed would be opening the door for an old person who is in a wheel chair.”
Teacher says: “So helping a senior who is disabled would be an example of chesed. (Paraphrasing) “Would helping any person, old or young, who is disabled be an example of chesed?” (Checking for understanding)
Student says: “I think so; especially if they want and need the assistance.”
Teacher says: “I think you’re right, chesed, is a good example of a middah, a Jewish virtue, and I’m going to add that one to my list of middot. Now I’d like to add a different middah.... “(Add, if necessary).
Guided Practice: (Students apply new skill/s or strengthen previously learned skills during classroom instruction.)
Invite dyads to apply the APCA process for consensus building while you monitor their interactions.
Independent Activities: (Students practice new skill/s or strengthen previously learned skills outside of the class.)
1. Students can ask their parents, grandparents, or another teacher to (a) identify middot that are important to them, (b) explain their selections, and (c) explain how the middot they had selected were evidenced in how they lived.
Note: Students are encouraged to share the list of middot distributed during the lesson.
2. Students then record the responses of the person they interviewed in their notebooks.
3. Students should be prepared to share what they had learned during the interview with their classmates.
Closure: (Activity that summarizes and ends the lesson)
The teacher summarizes the students’ answers and indicates that in the next lesson we will continue to explore the question: What is enduring Jewish knowledge?
On the next post we will begin a lesson entitled, “What Does G-d Ask of You?”