Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Update on the Summer Sandbox

Thanks to Ma'ayanot High School,
our gracious Summer Sandbox host

Even as Rabbi Michael Bitton of Magen David Yeshiva High School keeps us updated on Twitter about ISTE 2013, we're here busy planning how we're going to integrate the latest educational innovations into the classroom. One thing we're noticing as we speak to educators and parents about the Sandbox is that there's a high level of interest in PBL and how to actually implement it in the classroom. 

We think Tzvi Daum is going to be a great resource for Judaic Studies teachers, since he can show us how to use his blended learning platform -- www.torahskills.org -- to ensure students reach the requisite benchmarks a teacher sets for a particular PBL unit. 

The general studies teachers can also learn from this Judaic Studies model, though there are more PBL resources out there for the secular studies teacher, one of which is obviously the amazing edutopia. There's really so much to choose from on that site, with any one of the PBL pages being informative and inspiring. Here's one we picked pretty much at random: Problem- and Project-Based Learning. Nancy Edelman and Lauren Burstein, English teachers at TABC, are planning on coming to the Sandbox to work on a PBL for the novel 1984. We're excited to see what they come up with! 

We're also going to have Q and A sessions with different educators who've done PBL and self-directed learning in the classroom. If you have expertise you want to share, please do so. We'd love to compile what the Jewish education world has done in this area. Yechiel Hoffman, I know you can jump in here with lots of good ideas. Rabbi Aaron Ross of Yavneh Academy and Rabbi Avi Bernstein of The Moriah School have much to contribute as well. In fact, if you haven't checked out Rabbi Ross' blog, Thinking about Chinuch, you should. Here in particular are his posts on PBL.

As we mentioned earlier, on Day 2 of the Sandbox, Sarah Blattner will let us know about Badge Learning, something Moriah is piloting in the fall. Check out Sarah's company, Tamritz Badge Learning Network, and learn more about the world of Badge Learning here

As we move towards projects that require deeper and more complex assessments, we have to rethink grading, something we've been discussing on JEDLAB recently, with Tzvi Daum's post on gaming a catalyst for the debateHere's a site that has a whole bunch of rubrics for grading PBL if you want to take a peek before we start the Sandbox.

We also wanted to let you know that Emma Goldman will be at the Sandbox to collaborate with educators on an exciting new approach to Israel advocacy. Emma works for Innovation: Africa, an organization Frisch students have raised money for. Innovation: Africa uses sustainable Israeli technologies to help improve life for people in Africa. David Bernstein, Executive Director of The David Project, has discussed how he has moved Israel advocacy away from drilling talking points into students and towards creating conversations and connections between people. Emma has concrete ways to do the same. 

Pam Ennis of Ma'ayanot High School, our gracious Sandbox host, is excited to discuss digital citizenship and  what the proper codes are for online conduct in a school environment. As a lawyer, Pam has a unique perspective to make this conversation a deep and meaningful one. We've found this site useful as a way to start exploring the topic. 

We'll be sending a schedule for the Sandbox soon and we've got lots more planned. However, since the Sandbox is not only an immersive workshop but also a model for how those involved in Jewish education can engage in inquiry-based learning, we want to know before we meet if there's anything more you want to discuss and that we can prepare for you!

Looking forward to playing in the Sandbox,

Sandbox Organizers

Akiva Mattenson
Penina Warburg
Tikvah Wiener

To register for the Sandbox, go to Registration for Summer Sandbox.