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February 17, 2005 - Image 23

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-02-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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its own vision, which became the basis
for an action plan.
"We chose from among eight stan-
dards that had been developed and
written by a national team of day
school educators and administrators,"
Shtull-Leber said. "We chose standards
that fit with the mission and philoso-
phy of our school."
Among the standards: students will
become independent and literary
astute readers of the Biblical text in
Hebrew; students will be engaged in
the learning of ancient, rabbinic and
modern modes of interpretation of the
Biblical text and will see themselves as
a link in this ongoing chain of inter-
pretation; and students will develop an
appreciation for Tanach as a sacred
text and embrace it as an inspiring
resource for informing values, ways of
experiencing the world and ways of
understanding God.
HDS Judaics teachers now meet
on a monthly basis to review how
each grade is achieving these stan-
dards. They also review a series of
benchmarks for each standard. For
example, some benchmarks for
becoming astute and literary readers
of the text in Hebrew include the
ability to retell a Biblical narrative,
distinguish between narrative and
dialogue, and recognize key names,
places and words.
Teachers are now documenting the
standards and benchmarks covered
in each grade, the activities used to
reach the goals and the means of
assessing student achievement.
Participation in this project has
helped teachers become open to
change, and, as a result, some new
class practices have been added.
In the Gan (kindergarten) section,
during weekly Parshat HaShavua
time, a story is read and followed by
discussion. Because of discussions on
benchmarks relating to the sacred
aspects of Torah, new rituals were
added. The Ark is now open before a
story is read, and the Torah is taken
out for the children to dance with.
Another benchmark for those
youngsters was to know that the
Torah is written in Hebrew. Early in
the year, Gan teachers asked the
children what language the Torah
was written in. Some answered
Spanish, and others thought English.
The Torah is now rolled open for the
children to see the Hebrew print.
The teachers used that opportunity
to talk about the many languages
that the Torah is translated into, so
that people all over the world can
understand its stories. ❑

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2/17
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23

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