This seems like a good time and place to share what we've taken from The Hebrew Project (or other sources) to differently shape Hebrew learning in our supplementary programs. Click EDIT, skip TWO SPACES DOWN from the previous posting, tell us who you are, and then let us know wassup! If you think of it, insert a HORIZONTAL RULE below your posting so readers know when you're done and that another person will be chiming in. The HORIZONTAL RULE box is to the right of the bullet point box on the EDIT bar - just click and voila!

A group of supplementary directors from Cleveland have met a few times to discuss the principles that Lifsa Schachter has shared - both on this wiki and in person at the JECC (see the page, "Getting to Better Hebrew Learning" for some of her posts). For years, many of Cleveland's supplementary schools have worked to improve the way they take students along the path of sound to print (listening to and producing Hebrew speech, before introducing letters and print); a lot of Lifsa's work to introduce TPR has been helpful to our progress. In our summer meetings, we talked about how to help our teachers shift their practice in other ways, and have been experimenting with the creation of a unit for Avot/Imahot that is in the final stages of development; we'll share more about that with The Hebrew Project a bit later as Lifsa, Ronna Fox (JECC Teacher Center Director) and I take it through final edits. But two things came out of our meetings with the directors that I wanted to share as being importnat to think differently about:
1) Amount of time devoted to a prayer - In one of our meetings we asked how much time curriculum calendars devote (for example) to Avot/Imahot. The answers ranged from 2 sessions of 45 minutes each, to 6 sessions of about an hour each. The directors realized that we need to think a bit differently about our curriculum maps and find ways to allow students to spend time both with the ideas of a prayer and to practice recitation and decoding of it.

2) Dividing of Hebrew words into syllables - There's so much that Lifsa has shared with us, but the skill of dividing Hebrew words into syllables (which works differently that it does in English - a sh'va isn't a vowel and it affects how we divide!) is a core competency that needs to be introduced from the start. Pages 7-11 of this article explains what our teachers need to understand to enable their students to accomplish this task. Helping our teachers learn these principles is important and helpful.

Finally, as long as I'm on a roll, I wanted to commend Avram Mandell's article on The Hebrew Project wiki: He offers a variety of practical and quite helpful ways of thinking about teaching Hebrew. One that especially sticks with me is the importance of a director helping everyong get on the same page regarding teaching and learning principles - our students don't do as well when each teacher in a school has a different approach and, I might add, when a number of their approaches are based on kishkes, rather than true principles of learning.