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Posts Tagged ‘teachers’

Title: One Shot

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Author: M. Wiseman
Publisher: Israel Bookshop Publications

One Shot, authored by M. Wiseman, is an emotional drama that focuses on issues faced by some teens nowadays.

In Suburbia, U.S.A., lived three extraordinary young men, Baruch, Nadav and Rafi. Nadav and Rafi have been friends forever, and Baruch joins the crew in his later teens. Pain is the bond that brings the threesome together. Baruch and Nadav have emotional pain and Rafi suffers from a physical pain; he discovered that he had advanced-stage cancer. The cancer was serious – too serious for the doctors, so they eventually stopped treating him.

Nadav’s older brother, Ari, who was very gifted, decided that his parents were too paradoxical for him; they told Ari to follow the Torah, but didn’t fully do so themselves. In a fit of rage he left home. Nadav pondered his brother’s words and found himself full of questions. From then on Nadav became the bad boy to his teachers and had a hard time learning Torah. That was why he became attached to the charismatic Rafi, who had the ability to help him in times of crisis.

Baruch had a different challenge. His parents wanted him to learn in a kollel in Lakewood after learning in Israel and getting married, but Baruch couldn’t do that. The worst part was, he wished he could. Baruch also attached himself to Rafi, seeking inspiration.

Baruch, Nadav, Rafi – they were all afflicted with different types of pain. Did they all overcome it?

One Shot is a very inspiring book with serious themes including death and fulfilling one’s potential. The prologue and epilogue, stressing that the Torah was given to everyone, were extremely meaningful and true. M. Wiseman’s writing style, playing the part of author and narrator, is also very good. Sometimes she even has a conversation with the reader. One Shot is definitely an emotional and worthwhile read, and I would recommend it for all teenagers.

I Want to have Your Baby, Sarah Silverman

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

For the record, I’m a huge fan of Sarah Silverman and have been following her career forever, watched her Jesus movie on Netflix, followed two seasons of her sitcom on Comedy Central, absolutely loved her bit on the Aristocrats movie, and caught her act whenever possible. Unlike, say, Jon Stewart, or Adam Sandler, whose entire Jewish thing is about making funny cheh sounds, and Jerry Seinfeld, whose Jewish thing is, basically, Presbyterian, I believe Silverman is on a par with the serious Jewish-American comics of the day, Larry David and Richard Lewis.

This is because all three comics have pain in their comedy, and they use it to make us laugh so hard, our kishkes get shpilkes in our shkolniks.

Jewish Author Shalom Aleichem was funny because he took the repression and poverty of life in the pale of settlement in Czarist Russia and turned them into hilarious scenes. We laugh because it’s so sad. That’s Jewish comedy.

When Larry David’s dad doesn’t invite him to his mom’s funeral because he didn’t want to bother him, he’s so busy – that’s Jewish pain. When Richard Lewis, clad in black, is fearful of life itself for the mean things it has in store for him – that’s Jewish pain. When Sarah Silverman depicts herself as a mega-narcissistic LA girl, bereft of empathy or even an awareness of others – that’s Jewish pain.

And so, to start, I believe Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt missed the point when he was attempting to counsel Sarah Silverman on how to become happy and fulfilled as a woman. Because if our comics had any idea at all, or the inclination, really, to be happy and fulfilled, they wouldn’t be exposing themselves on a bare stage with nothing but a mike and a cutting tongue to protect them from drunken hecklers at two in the morning.

I tried it one summer in New York, I have no idea if the good rabbi ever did. Believe me, I have good reasons to admire Sarah Silverman, but to expect her to be a happy mother is like expecting (insert funny noun) to be happy (insert inappropriate verb).

And although I agree that the You Tube clip attempting to seduce Billionaire Sheldon Adelson was offensive, it was also funny and angry and a legitimate political attack. What folks on the right should do is come up with equally funny and effective clips — may I suggest a certain aging Hollywood star who enjoys talking to empty chairs.

Having said that, let’s talk about motherhood and babies, because, soon enough, the 170 comments on Rabbi Rosenblatt’s article veered away from dealing with the gifted comic and settled on the idea of compulsory child bearing for modern American women.

Or at least that’s what you’d think Rosenblatt was advocating, to judge by those comments. Which, of course, he didn’t. He only suggested (I’m paraphrasing because it’s more fun that way) that women by nature are hard-wired to be married and bear children, which is why some young girls start planning their weddings at age 7 and have the albums to show for it.

Put aside sentiment and politics, let’s talk economics. Here are a few of the leading countries in the world in terms of real Gross Domestic Product growth annually.

There’s Argentina, with 8.8 real GDP growth rate, and 17.34 births per 1000, as opposed to 7.36 deaths per 1000.

I propose that Argentina’s astonishing growth economically has everything to do with the fact that it has three times more people being born than dying.

In Turkey, there’s 8.5 real GDP growth rate, with 17.58 births per 1000, with only 6.1 Deaths per 1000.

India is another great example: 7.8 real GDP growth rate, births per 1000: 20.6 Deaths: 7.43

Even Israel, with a very good 4.8 real GDP growth rate, shows the same healthy trend: with 18.97 births per 1000 and only 5.5 deaths. In fact, Israel’s situation is even better than most because of its excellent medical services. Also, Israel isn’t showing the same stunning growth rate as, say, India, because our economy here has been pretty fabulous for some time, and so we are higher up the bell curve.

Now check out some liberal Western democracies, with self-fulfilled, emancipated women who have better things to do than get married and pregnant:

Test Him Before He Fails

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Parents often bring children into my office when they are already failing several subjects in school. These students are dejected, frustrated, and often depressed. They believe that because of their past performance, they will never succeed in school. It is not strange that constant effort and subsequent failure have taught them to believe that failure is the only option.

Recent advances in the way that educators assess learning disabilities can prevent this pervading sense of futility many children who struggle with school feel. This new initiative, called “Response to Intervention” (RTI) is helping educators recognize learning disabilities before the children have a chance to struggle.

Professor Lynn Fuchs, a special education professor at Vanderbilt University, explains that that the traditional way to find out which children need help is to test those who are failing. She continues, “But research shows that failure can lead to depression, and that can make improvement in school very difficult.” To combat this problem, some educators and schools are implementing RTI which helps parents and teachers identify problems much earlier.

Perhaps the most important element of RTI is universal screening, which means everyone gets tested regardless of their scores or perceived aptitude. This allows educators to catch potential struggles without forcing the child to fail first.

Response To Intervention

Screen: the first step in RTI is the screening process. In other words, RTI involves administering a series of short, comprehensive tests that have no bearing on the standard curriculum. Rather, these tests are used to determine whether a child might have difficulty responding to the core curriculum as traditionally delivered in the regular classroom. These tests determine children who are academically “at risk” or who might have undiagnosed learning disabilities. The downside of these tests is that they may produce many false positives for “at risk” children.

Teach. The next step is ensuring that the regular classroom teaching is research-based and field-tested. Trained and qualified teachers should administer this curriculum.

Intervene. In addition to the regular curriculum, children who are determined to be “at risk” during the screening process should be provided enhanced opportunities to learn, including, additional time with the core curriculum, small group lessons, and other supplementary instruction.

Probe. Given that children who are identified as at-risk are provided with extra instruction, their progress in essential skills must be monitored to ensure that this instruction is sufficient and effective. Short, frequent assessments that test specific skills help teachers understand the usefulness (or lack thereof) of the instruction provided.

Chart. Based on the probes above, a specialist should create a chart that provides a visual record of the rate of gain in specific skill areas that lead to a specified goal. Because the goal of intervention is to help the child improve his skills, this chart helps indicate whether the intervention is working.

Adjust. After several sessions and charts, the educator should evaluate in what ways the intervention is successful and in what ways the intervention is failing. Adjustments should be made in both directions, pumping up the successful methods and skills and reworking the unsuccessful ones.

Potential Learning Disabilities Aided Through RTI

Visual Processing Disorder: A visual processing (or perceptual) disorder refers to an inability to make sense of information absorbed through the eyes. This does not mean that the child has trouble with sight and needs glasses; rather it involves difficulty processing the visual information in the brain. Reading and math are two areas that can be severely affected by visual processing disorder because these subjects rely heavily on symbols (letter, numbers, signs). Some indications of visual processing disorders are:

Spatial Relation: Spatial relation involves distinguishing the positions of objects in space. For reading, confusion of similarly shaped letters such as “b” and “d“ or “p” and “q” can be attributed to a problem with spatial relation. In addition, for many math problems, the only cues are the spacing and order between the symbols. For instance, for the problem “13 + 6,” the child must be able to recognize that 13 is one number rather than two distinct numbers (1 and 3) and recognize that the “+” is between the 13 and the 6. While this is automatic for many people, these activities presuppose an ability and understanding of spatial relationships.

Learn Hebrew with Israel’s Best Teachers – In Real-Time, In Your Home

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

eTeacherHebrew.com offers a unique online environment where classes take place via internet video conferencing, in real time. The service not only brings Hebrew tuition right to your home, but also connects you personally with Israel’s finest Hebrew-teaching professionals.

Family is central to Israeli and Jewish culture, and the source of the genuine warmth that gives the nation its character. eTeacherHebrew.com is a family business, like many of Israel’s greatest and proudest organizations. Company founders Boaz and Yariv are the grandsons of Aharon Rosen, a respected teacher, author and theorist in the field of Hebrew tuition for non-native speakers in the nation’s early days.

Rosen’s grandsons have combined state-of-the-art technology with their grandfather’s dream of teaching Hebrew to anyone who wishes to learn it, at any age, anywhere in the world. The Internet has provided the ideal medium to realize such a vision, bringing the best teachers in Israel to the homes of students throughout the world.

eTeacherHebrew.com is a friendly and intimate niche in the often impersonal online environment. Teachers and students – though separated by oceans and time differences – form strong bonds, in many cases traveling overseas and actually visiting each others homes in person.

Shira Cohen-Regev has been teaching with eTeacherHebrew.com for seven years. She has frequently visited and hosted her students from all over the world. This Passover, she hosted a ‘virtual Seder’ with her class.

“We read from the Haggadah, and I explained what everything meant. We sang the songs and talked about the food, the calories,” she laughs. “I felt so privileged to share Passover with them, to be their first connection with a real Israeli Seder.

“For Independence Day I asked my students what they wished for the nation. Love and peace, money, and new immigrants were their answers,” she says.

Students at eTeacherHebrew.com have expressed their satisfaction with the program, and have been pleasantly surprised by the ease and effectiveness of the online learning method. Sanne Terlouw of the Netherlands says, ” I had never expected that I would benefit so much from an internet school, but it really works.” Coyle Pam of South Carolina, USA particularly enjoyed the student contact. ”

“This is the best course I have had. I signed up for a telephone course before, but it was one-on-one for the whole hour and it was too much pressure. With other students in the class, there are breaks between talking, and the other students are heard, so I learn from them.”

 

According to Tami Weil, Didactic Consultant to the writers and teachers of the eTeacherHebrew.com program, the online learning environment provides a unique opportunity for learning language at all levels – from beginners to advanced – while allowing for an enjoyable, social experience.

“At Hebrewonline.com, our program is comprehensive, including homework, yet flexible enough to include interesting surprises, such as special exercises relating to current events and holidays, colloquialisms, slang speech and more. The pace of the lessons is quite challenging, yet there is the constant online support of staff and fellow students to ensure all participants gain the most they can at every stage of the course.”

eTeacherHebrew.com’s history is a heartwarming tale of one family’s success – of immigrant beginnings to international achievement, across the generations. It is also your opportunity to learn Hebrew from the comfort of your own home, yet truly connect with the land of Israel and its people.

eTeacherHebrew.com has recently launched a new and exciting program for people with an interest in Biblical Hebrew. With eTeacherBiblical.com, you can learn Hebrew as it was spoken in biblical times. eTeacherBiblical.com brings the most experienced teachers and scholars of Biblical Hebrew direct to you, so you can increase your understanding and appreciation of biblical texts in their original language.

eTeacherHebrew.com and eTeacherBiblical.com are the most effective, enjoyable and convenient way to learn Hebrew – without leaving home.

Click here for more details and to sign up

If Rebbe Nachman were Alive Today

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

With Rosh HaShanah only a few days away, I drove to Hevron yesterday with my wife and two of our children to visit Avraham, Yitzhak, Yaacov, Sarah, Rivkah, and Leah (and Rachel on the way back to Yerushalayim). It’s hard for me to understand how people fly to Uman for Rosh HaShanah when they could far more easily be in Hevron. I mean, when you are sick, do you go to the doctor, or the student of the doctor?

For all of Rebbe Nachman’s genuine greatness, his teachers are buried here in theLandofIsrael– the Arizal, and his teacher, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, and his teacher, Rabbi Akiva, and the teachers of all the teachers, Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaacov. It is in the merit of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs that all of our prayers are accepted on Rosh HaShanah – so why go to Uman?

No matter how fervently you pray in Uman, or anywhere else in the world, before ascending to Heaven, all prayers are routed to Hevron for Avraham’s stamp of approval before being passed on to Yerushalayim, where they finally ascend. So why leave the Land of Israel, give hundreds of thousands of dollars to goyim who hate Jews, leave your wife and children at home, and fly off to Uman when your prayers are just going to end up coming back to the Land of Israel to first get the impurity of the Diaspora brushed off by our Forefathers before being rocketed off to G-d?

Also, everything that happens on Rosh HaShanah is a symbol for what will be in the year to come. That’s why we eat the symbolic foods on Rosh HaShanah night. So if you’re not at home on Rosh HaShanah with the family, chances are your relationship with your wife and your children for the rest of the year will be distant too. If Rebbe Nachman were alive today, I’m quite sure he’d spend Rosh Hashanah in Hevron, or Yerushalayim, or Tzfat, or Meron. He himself teaches that all of our of our prayers on Rosh HaShanah are accepted in the merit of the Land of Israel, the Land of our Forefathers, where “the eyes of the Lord look upon from the beginning of the year (Rosh HaShanah) till the end.”

If you want to journey to Uman during the rest of the year, have a nice visit, but on Rosh HaShanah, gevalt!

Touro L.A.: Teaching Teachers

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

In a creative initiative, Touro College Los Angeles’s new education concentration for working teachers is designed to meet the professional development needs of teachers in the Greater Los Angeles area by providing education courses each semester.

This fall TCLA will offer EDU 311: Principles of Early Childhood, beginning September 12 at Ohr Hachaim Academy, and PSY 203: Child Growth and Development, starting September 2 at the Cheder of Los Angeles. Students can earn three credits per course while learning from an experienced instructor.

According to Tamar Andrews, Ed.D., education instructor at TCLA and preschool director at Temple Isaiah, “The field of early childhood education is quickly moving up the ranks as a legitimate profession. Teachers, as the professional practitioners, must welcome this opportunity for recognition and rise to the challenge by educating themselves, as do practitioners in other fields. We will only become equals to lawyers, doctors and others when we, ourselves, are willing to go beyond the minimal requirements of licensing and towards ‘professional.’ ”

To reduce educators’ financial burdens, TCLA is offering a 50 percent tuition discount to teachers. For more information about this program, call Samira Miller at 323-822-9700 x 85155, or e-mail samira.miller@gmail.com.

The Impact of Anxiety On Children In The Classroom

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Tuesday afternoon, 1:30 p.m.

Pinny is a fourth grader in Mrs. Spitzer’s classroom. The class is doing a math lesson – its long division. Pinny loves math, so he’s giving Mrs. Spitzer his full attention.

“Now class,” Mrs. Spitzer intones, “what do we do after we subtract 7 from 9?” “Bring down the 4,” answers the entire class in unison.

O.K. I know subtract and bring down, but haw does it start again? Oy, I’m never gonna be able to do this. We have a social studies test on Thursday on 40 pages in the book. 40 pages!!! How am I gonna study 4O pages?

“On to more examples. 653 divided by 9.”

Pinny glances down at his math workbook, and is surprised to discover that he has written nothing in the spaces for the answers to numbers 1,2,3, and 4. As he glances around the classroom, he sees that everyone’s workbook is filled except his. As he quickly glances at Chaim’s workbook, which is on the desk next to his and fills in the answers, he feels so frustrated.

“What s wrong with me,” he wonders.

Test Taking Anxiety

Thursday Afternoon, 2:30 p.m.

Pinny feels nervous. He studied the material a few times with his mother the night before, but he is not sure he knows it well. He couldn’t eat breakfast or lunch properly so his stomach is rumbling and his mouth feels dry.

“Keep your eyes on your own paper” says Mrs. Spitzer firmly. “Turn your papers over and you may begin.”

Pinny turns his paper over and looks at it again and again. None of it, nothing seems familiar. “Maybe I got the wrong test, “Pinny thinks to himself. “Let me take a look at Chaim’s paper. I hope Mrs. Spitzer doesn’t notice. Nope. It’s the exact same test. I don’t get it I studied hard last night? What happened?”

And as he watches everybody else busily filling in answers on their test paper, he frantically tries to recall something, ANYTHING, from last night’s study session. Pinny sits there feeling truly helpless and wondering “what’s wrong with me?”

Following Instructions/Comprehension

Friday Morning, 11:45 a.m.

Pinny is exhausted. He barely slept the night before worrying about taking the bus to go to his grandmother’s house for Shabbos. This would be the first time he would be going there straight from school.

The Rebbe is speaking to the boys, something about bus changes.

“O.K. boys, listen up. We have new drivers on the buses, and the routes have changed slightly. I’m going to read your name and bus number. After that, I want you to pack up, and wait on line until I dismiss you.

“Berkowitz, Benoliel, Cahan, and Davis, bus number 41. Ettinger, Friedman, Ganzweig, and Gewirtz, bus number 42.”

I hope Bobby prepared my favorite chocolate cake. I hope she remembered that the cover that she usually keeps on the bed is very scratchy and itchy. I hope she changed it to the green and blue one.

Mommy thinks I’m big enough to take the bus all by myself. I hope she’s right and I don’t get…

“Pinny,” a deep voice interrupts “Everyone else is packed up, on line, and ready to go.”

“Right Rebbe, I’ll be really quick .Which bus am I going on again?” Pinny hears the rebbe audibly sigh, as he repeats the instructions for the bus.

Memory

Friday afternoon 12:10 p.m.

Pinny gets on the bus headed to Flatbush. He feels a bit queasy, but he has reviewed the route so many times with his mother that he’s pretty sure he’ll know where to go. After frantically searching through his knapsack, he realizes that he has misplaced the address.

O.K., so I’ve been to Bobby’s house before, I’ll just wing the address from memory. Is it 1427 East 37th street, or 1437 East 27th street. Which one is it? I can’t remember. Which one is it? Let me think…Let me think…. O.K. I know my friend Simcha lives around the corner from Bobby, and he lives on East 28th street, so its gotta be…Whewl Here’s the paper with the address stuck in the pocket of my folder. East 27th street here we come!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/back-to-school/the-impact-of-anxiety-on-children-in-the-classroom/2012/08/31/

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