21st Century technology is a tool that we as teachers can use to reach all of our students. Many students have a hard time learning how to analyze text and connecting to the text through words alone. It was very important for me to integrate technology into my classroom in a way that supported the work we were already doing and enriched the experience of the student. Using Jewish Interactive in my 2nd grade classroom has helped me to bring the text alive. By introducing self-directed learning through a multi-media platform Jewish Interactive helps the student forge a connection to the text at his or her own pace while using different learning styles.
Integrating New Technology into Existing Curriculum
Before Using Jewish Interactive I was struggling with how to differentiate and use multiple learning styles for teaching Parshat Bereishit, especially the days of Creation. With Shabbat Interactive each student received his or her own username and password. There are 9 modules in the Shabbat Interactive blended learning platform and the module about Creation was perfect for my curriculum. The Shabbat Interactive package also comes with a teacher’s guide with complete lessons and “offline” activities to use, which further scaffolds the learning of text and works in conjunction with the “online” learning. My objective in using Shabbat Interactive was to personalize each student’s learning, and to give him or her all a fun and multimodal way of engaging at home with the learning we were doing in class.
I continued to teach text in the way that I had been teaching, however I added elements of Shabbat Interactive into my lessons and as a way to review our learning in school, I sent “online” homework about each day of Creation. Students were able to access their Shabbat Interactive account at home and review that day of Creation using the “ The First Shabbat” module.
I also incorporated Shabbat Interactive into my classroom teaching using the projector, and modeling how to use the text within the program. The students enjoyed reading the Torah text found in the module and using a different medium to revisit what we had been studying.
As with any teaching it is fundamental to MODEL the use of Shabbat Interactive or any technology that the students will be using. It is crucial to go over the correct way to use the program at home and in class and what is expected of each student when interfacing with a particular unit of study. The way I structured our learning was to give students the opportunity to explore each day of Creation on Shabbat Interactive, once we had finished learning it in class. When we had come to Shabbat and Creation was over, each student printed out their summary, and made a collage, which was used as the cover of his or her “shoresh chart” for our next unit.
Making it Your Own
I have shared with you one way that I have integrated a Shabbat Interactive module into my existing curriculum. There are many more Jewish Interactive APPS to use as well as other modules in the Shabbat Interactive platform that touch on a multitude of subjects that may or may not be related to Shabbat within your curriculum. For example I used the “Shabbat in the Ten Commandments” module when learning about Shavuot. Your challenge is to find out how you will use Jewish Interactive and integrate it into your curriculum in a way that speaks to you, your school and most importantly your students. The staff at Jewish Interactive is always happy to help brainstorm and will even come to your school to find the best way to seamlessly blend your curriculum. Your fist step is to start exploring the website, the apps and the Shabbat Interactive platform. There is so much to offer to help you take Jewish Education into the 21st century.
About the author:
Jewish Interactive is represented in North America by Carina Rock. Carina is currently working as a 2nd grade Judaics teacher at Gesher Jewish Day School in Northern Virginia. She enjoys using the Shabbat Interactive program as well as Jewish Interactive apps with her students as part of a blended curriculum that involves text study, artistic expression, and exploration learning. As Carina says, “Among my many passions, creativity and education are at the top.” In addition to being a certified teacher, Carina trained and worked as an artist at York University and beyond.