Wednesday, August 22, 2012

C21: Gemara and PBL - A Blog about the Journey

The focus of our first annual faculty summer institute this past July was Project Based Learning.  With the help of Professor Moshe Krakowski and a team of educators from the Denver Academy of Torah, our faculty learned the ins and outs of this radically different approach to classroom learning and began collaborating with their colleagues on how we might introduce it to our classrooms.

While PBL lends itself more easily to areas such as science, math, civics, and even halacha (Jewish Law) - where the "real-world applications" tend to be evident, text-centered subjects like Gemara and Chumash provide a far more daunting challenge.  Thankfully for us, and for the field in general, Rabbi Aaron Feigenbaum, rabbi of the Young Israel of Memphis and a rebbe in our Boys High School, has thrown himself headfirst into this challenge and is documenting the process for all of us to see on his blog called Southern Figs.  Here's a selection from his first post:

PBL Gemara Day 1
A great start! I greet the students as they enter. I walk to the front of the room and I say “I have no intention of giving any exams this year, you don’t want to take them and I don’t want to grade them.” Gemara Honors erupts in applause. I explain we’re going all in PBL, group projects and presentations with content, collaboration, and presentation rubrics (will post all soon). The class is all on board and we are only five minutes in...

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