25 May 2009

Passover For The Senses

As I was planning my lessons for the week, I thought of reviewing relevant concepts on the subject of "Pesach" with my 8Th grade class. In the past I had got in trouble with my school principal for not writing down my lessons plans for that week so this time I was very good and I had it all figured it out to the minimum detail.
  1. We will be reviewing the 4 names of Pesach,
  2. We will be exploring biblical Hebrew sources on it and I will through in some Rashis, and other relevant commentaries.
  3. I will give students worksheets to fill in,
  4. A quiz will need to follow so I can make sure my students did not forget what they learned that week. Do any of this sounds familiar to you?
I know this will make my school principal happy since she is the kind of person who wants everything planed a year in advance. (I'd never quite figured it out how can you plan creativity a year in advance.)
What I do know is how some of my my colleagues do it: They keep their lesson plan books from 30 years ago, and copy the same lesson plan over and over; so not surprises there.

One day a dad said to me, why is it that my daughter came home today with the same Hebrew worksheet homework, written with the same handwriting, than when I was at the same grade in the same school 32 years ago? That was my first year teaching at that school. I was only teaching K, 3rd grade and all Middle School Torah and Hebrew. So I knew he was not talking about me.

So, on that particular day, I said to myself:
"Nomy you have to start doing what ever the rest of the Judaic studies department is doing; keep all your lesson plans in the same cabinet and there they will be waiting to be picked up again next year; and DO NOT dispose the lesson plan book at the end of the school year as you always do."
Do not miss understand me, I love all of the Morot I worked with; I also understand their attitude. I am planning to discuss this on a different blog posting.

Anyway, as I am driving to school, I was listening to an interview on Public Radio, and I heard someone said a phrase that will change my plans for that week for ever:
"Colors are meant to be an emotional experience"
"Colors are meant to be an emotional experience"
Let me say it again:
"Colors are meant to be an emotional experience."

This phrase touched me so deeply that immediately started thinking on how I could make my students feel Pesach inside of a classroom.
I was so immersed in my own thinking that I did not realized that my son had starting playing my Vivaldi music CD. He saw me daydreaming and he wanted my attention but, he did not only did that, but solved my problem. This is how I would make my students "experience" pesach:
Day one
  1. Classroom setting: I sprayed my new "Method Citrus Cilantro Air Freshener" then I dimmed the classroom lights and made it a little cooler.

On the desks: Plates with kosher gummy bears in different colors (flavors), a plate with different types of nature stamping stencils, different containers with a primary colors acrylic paints, cardboard (that I collected from one of our Mitzvah trips to Dignity U-Wear 2 years ago. They probably thought I was insane when I requested from them to keep all of the cardboard left during packing that day.I needed the help of 15 students to load the trunk of my car.)
So on my next posting I will continue explaining the one day class that transformed into a 3 multidimensional experience for all the senses.
Hasta la vista! To be continue...

1 comment:

Greg R. Fishbone said...

Very cool. I'm looking forward to creating lesson plans but I can understand why people recycle lessons from previous years. Recycling is good for the environment! :D