Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Orlando Jewish Day School gears learning to the needs of each student

 

Educators at OJDS foster students love for learning by engaging them and making lessons real.

The old educational system has changed. Students are no longer expected to sit in neat little rows and stare at a teacher or a whiteboard an entire school day. Teachers everywhere have abandoned their old teaching methods and have adapted to the newer, more exciting ones of today.

One school that has entirely caught onto the wave of modern teaching and successfully integrated the new educational system is Orlando Jewish Day School. The secular and religious teachers work together to plan their units, intertwining Jewish Holidays, culture, history and laws with current events, science, math and technology creating comprehensive and all-inclusive lesson plans. For instance, during the month of December, and the Jewish month of Kislev, lessons in both Judaic and secular classes focused around the upcoming holiday of Chanukah. During a math lesson, kindergarten students played dreidel. The "game" had students predicting, adding and subtracting, and estimating. Students in older grades were challenged to create self spinning dreidels using both raw and electrical materials. The fourth and fifth graders analyzed the story of Chanukah and discussed how its lesson is still so relevant in today's assimilated lifestyle. The school aims to teach to every child, focusing on each individual and their unique needs for learning. Even the way in which the school decided to showcase their learning was modern and up to date with the latest trends, and of course had every student involved and excited.

Rabbi Yosef Konikov and his wife Chani, directors of the school thought of having the students participate in a mannequin challenge. This recent trend currently all over social media, has people freezing in the middle of everyday life, to act as mannequins while a camera captures all that is going on around them. One teacher, Ms. Levine stated, "The students were so eager to participate. They all knew what a mannequin challenge was, and couldn't wait for the results to show their parents!" The video, which is posted and available for viewing on the school's Facebook page, was not just fun for the students. It gives a rich glimpse into how the students truly learn. One can see the older students involved in a student council meeting, planning the ways in which they will reach out and get involved with the larger Jewish community. Ideas discussed included visiting the Kinneret Seniors Living Apartments before holidays, a favorite trip for many of the students. The video captured one class in the middle of a music lesson. These weekly lessons are with a professional music teacher, Mr. Hearn, who teaches the students to read notes and understand the rhythm of music. In just under three minutes, the powerful video manages to portray the true philosophy of the school: learning must be interactive, differentiated, and geared to every single child.

 

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