Chavurah FAQs

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  • 1.   Chavurah     A  New  Model  for  5th  and  6th  Grade  Families       Building  Community  through  Meaningful     Jewish  Learning  and  Living  Experiences   What  are  the  building  blocks  of  the     Chavurah  model?   Weekly   5th  and  6th  graders  will  meet  ("mifgash")   weekly  in  various  settings.  Theyll  explore   Mifgash   Jewish  answers  to  their  every  day  questions,   as  well  as  their  questions  about  speciEic   (Meeting)   Jewish  content  areas.   Family   Once  a  month,  the  whole  family  will  come   together  for  a  family  learning  ("limmud")   Limmud   experience.  As  role  models  for  their  children,   parents  will  play  active  roles  as  both  learners   (Learning)   and  educators.     Throughout  the  year,  the  Chavurah  will   Community   connect  ("kesher")  with  the  larger  synagogue   Kesher   community.  This  includes  experiences  for  the   whole  family,  as  well  as  opportunities  for  the   5th  and  6th  graders  to  connect  with  other,   (Connection)   non-­‐Chavurah  students.    
  • 2. Who  are  the  learners  in  the  Chavurah?   Building  off  the  success  of  JLife,  the  Chavurah  model  sees  the  whole  family  as  learners   on  a  journey  together.  While  some  members  of  the  family  will  meet  more  often  than   others  –  5th  and  6th  graders  every  week,  parents  and  siblings  once  a  month  –  the   whole  family  is  committing  themselves  to  being  a  part  of  this  exciting  new  way  to   experience  Jewish  learning  and  living.   FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS   Who  is  the  teacher  of  the  Chavurah?     Each  Chavurah  will  have  a  morah  derech  (guide),  who  will  coordinate  and  facilitate   learning  experiences.  Shana  Zionts  (Coalition  Educator)  will  serve  as  a  morah  derech   for  one  Chavurah  group  during  this  pilot  year.  An  additional  morah  derech  will  be   hired  for  a  second  pilot  group.  Candidates  for  a  morah  derech  position  need  to  be   able  to  relate  well  to  children  and  have  a  strong  background  in  Jewish  knowledge.     When  and  where  does  the  Chavurah  meet?   Learning  with  the  Chavurah  can  happen  in  any  number  of  places  –  in  the  homes  of  the   Chavurah  members,  Community  Synagogue,  a  local  park,  a  museum,  or  other   appropriate  destinations.  The  Chavurah  will  ground  Jewish  learning  and  living  in  real-­‐ life  settings.  The  Chavurah,  in  coordination  with  their  morah  derech,  will  decide   together  which  afternoon  the  5th  and  6th  graders  will  meet.  When  the  Chavurah   comes  together  as  full  families,  these  meetings  will  sometimes  take  place  over   Shabbat  (Friday  evening,  Saturday  morning  or  Saturday  evening)  or  other  times  on  a   Sunday.  There  will  be  a  maximum  of  two  times  in  any  home  where  a  parent  needs  to   be  present.     When  do  5th  and  6th  graders  learn  Hebrew?   While  Hebrew  will  be  integrated  into  Weekly  Mifgash  as  appropriate,  5th  and  6th   graders  will  also  receive  one-­‐on-­‐one  Hebrew  tutoring  through  Skype,  with  a  dedicated   Chavurah  Hebrew  tutor.  Each  students  will  coordinate  with  the  Hebrew  tutor  to  find  a   time  to  “meet”  online  weekly  for  a  short  tutoring  session.  They  may  be  also  have  the   opportunity  to  supplement  their  Hebrew  practice  through  online  resources.  The  5th   and  6th  graders  will  meet  the  Chavurah  Hebrew  tutor  early  in  the  year  or  over  the   summer.     How  will  the  Chavurah  groups  be  chosen?   Our  aim  is  to  be  able  to  organize  up  to  two  groups  (approximately  10  5th  and  6th   graders  per  group)  who  can  work  well  as  a  team,  are  open  to  trying  new  things,  and   who  will  contribute  to  the  group  in  a  way  that  strengthens  learning  and  builds   community.     What  is  the  time  commitment  for  students  and  families?   Fifth  and  sixth  graders  will  meet  once  a  week  for  2  hours  with  their  morah  derech.   They  will  have  a  Skype  appointment  once  a  week  with  the  Hebrew  tutor,  and  are   expected  to  complete  their  Hebrew  practice  and  homework  before  their  next  Skype   session.  Fifth  and  six  graders,  sometimes  with  their  families,  will  join  the   congregational  community  once  a  month.  The  whole  family  will  participate  in  an   active  Jewish  learning  experience  once  a  month.       2      
  • 3. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Will  everyone  who  is  interested  in  the  Chavurah  be  able  to  participate?   This  is  a  pilot  model  that  has  limited  enrollment  of  up  to  20  fifth  and  sixth  graders  and   their  families.    Our  goal  for  the  first  year  is  to  create  two  chavurah  groups  that  are   compatible.    We  hope  to  be  able  to  include  everyone  but  we  cannot  guarantee   admission.     How  do  I  apply  for  admission  to  the  Chavurah?   An  e-­‐mail  application  will  be  sent  to  all  5th  and  6th  families  on  June  17th  and  is  due   back  on  June  27th.     Should  I  still  submit  a  CJL  registration  form?   Yes.    All  students  need  to  have  a  CJL  registration  form  with  tuition  deposit  no  matter   which  learning  track  they  choose.         Can  my  5th  or  6th  grader  decide  to  go  back  to  the  classroom  model  if  we   sign  up  for  the  Chavurah?   Yes.  Fifth  and  sixth  graders,  and  their  families,  should  be  willing  to  commit  to  being   open-­‐minded  in  trying  this  new  model,  but  we  understand  if  students  and/or  families   find  that  this  isn’t  right  for  them.  Those  students  can  rejoin  the  classroom  model.           Why  were  5th  and  6th  grade  students  chosen  for  the  Chavurah?   Developmentally,  5th  and  6th  graders…   • Possess  a  broad  range  of  interests   • Are  capable  of  increasing  independence   • Are  truthful  and  dependable   • Are  beginning  to  think  about  their  own  identities   • Are  able  to  form  good  relationshps  with  teachers  and  counselors   • Show  more  self  assertion  and  curiosity   • Are  socially  expansive  and  aware   • Have  the  ability  to  relate  feelings   • Still  enjoy  spending  time  with  their  parents     As  Jewish  children,  5th  and  6th  graders…   • Have  basic  Hebrew  decoding  skills   • Have  established  a  connection  to  Community  Synagogue  as  a  spiritual  home     3  
  • 4. Ut  pharetra,  diam  in  consequat  vulputate,  leo  turpis  consequat  dui,  vel  sodales  risus  odio  non  turpis.   What kinds of experiences will children and families have as participants in the Chavurah? Weekly  Mifgash  (Meeting)  for  5th  and  6th  graders       The  Weekly  Mifgash  will  begin  with  an  opening  ritual,  developed  by  the  learners  and  their  morah   derech.  Because  the  Chavurah  will  meet  in  different  places  throughout  the  year,  the  opening  ritual   will  serve  an  important  role  in  uniting  the  group  each  week.  After  the  ritual,  the  group  will  enjoy  a   snack  while  discussing  a  “connection  question,”  like  “What’s  the  best  thing  that  happened  to  you   this  week?”  Next,  one  of  two  types  of  learning  will  take  place:  exploring  Jewish  answers  based  on   learners’  real-­‐life,  every  day  questions  (“What  does  it  mean  to  be  a  good  friend?”),  or  exploring   the  learners’  questions  about  Jewish  content  areas  (God,  Torah,  ritual,  Israel,  etc.).  Instead  of   deciding  in  advance  what’s  important  to  teach,  the  morah  derech  will  engage  the  learners  in  a   process  that  uncovers  their  questions  and  then  create  learning  to  address  those  questions.     Family  Limmud  (Learning)  for  the  whole  family       The  Family  Limmud  is  an  opportunity  for  the  whole  Chavurah  to  come  together  once  a  month  to   build  community  and  learn  together.  A  Family  Limmud  may  be  a  trip  to  a  museum  in  New  York   City  on  a  Sunday,  or  a  Friday  night  dinner  at  the  home  of  one  of  the  Chavurah  families.  Each   Family  Limmud  experience  provides  an  opportunity  for  parents  to  serve  in  two  important  roles:   as  learners  alongside  their  children,  and  as  educators  of  their  children.  Parents  are  supported  by   the  morah  derech,  who  works  with  each  parent  to  determine  what  kind  of  role  they’ll  play  in   Family  Limmud.   Community  Kesher  (Connection)  for  the  Chavurah     Although  the  Chavurah  provides  a  unique  opportunity  to  learn  with  a  small  group  of  families  in  a   multitude  of  settings,  the  connection  to  Community  Synagogue  and  the  wider  community  is  an   important  element  of  the  Chavurah.  Chavurah  families  can  join  other  Religious  School  families  for   J-­‐Living  events  throughout  the  year,  including  Come  in  From  the  Cold  (a  Havdalah  program)  and  a   nature  hike,  as  well  as  attend  Shabbat  morning  services  periodically  throughout  the  year.   Chavurah  5th  and  6th  graders  also  get  together  for  social  events  with  other  5th  and  6th  graders,   including  the  annual  Maccabia  Games.     4  
  • 5.   Highlights  of  5th   and  6th  Grade   Chavurah  Model   Classroom  Model   Models     Parents  play  an  active  role  as   Parents  participate  in  the  J-­‐Life     partners  in  Jewish  learning.  The   program.     th Family   whole  family  comes  together  for   5  grade:  Prayer   Involvement   experiential  learning  opportunities.  A   6th  grade:  Jewish  Identity   sense  of  community,  among  parents   and  kids,  is  built  through  ongoing   interaction.     Learning  takes  place  in  various   Learning  takes  place  on  Wednesday   Time  and  Place   settings,  on  days  and  times   afternoons  and  Saturday  mornings  at   determined  by  the  Chavurah.   Community  Synagogue.     Learning  is  guided  by  the  questions   The  fifth  grade  curriculum  covers     of  the  learners.**   Prayer,  Lifecycle,  Holidays,  and  an       introduction  to  the  Holocaust  through     Hebrew  learning  is  integrated  into   the  lens  of  the  mitzvah  of  saving  a  life.   Curriculum   Weekly  Mifgash,  and  learners  meet     one-­‐on-­‐one  with  a  Hebrew  tutor   The  sixth  grade  curriculum  covers   through  weekly  Skype  sessions.   Prayer,  Jewish  American  History,     History,  and  Prophets  through  the     lens  of  social  action.     Learning  is  facilitated  by  a  morah   Learning  is  facilitated  by  experienced   Students  and   derech  (guide),  a  “Jewish  personal   and  knowledgeable  teachers.     Teachers   trainer”  for  the  whole  family.       There  are  approximately  15  students   Learning  takes  place  in  small  cohorts   in  each  class.     of  up  to  10  students/families.     **What  does  it  mean  that  learning  is  guided  by  the  questions  of  learners?   Over  the  summer  and  as  the  school  year  begins,  the  morah  derech  will  begin  to  find   out  what  the  5th  and  6th  graders  are  interested  in  learning  about.  This  will  take  place   through  online  surveys,  in-­‐person  focus  groups,  and  “launch  lessons,”  interactive   lessons  that  are  designed  to  open  up  conversations  about  what  learners  are  interested   in  exploring.  Once  the  morah  derech  has  a  good  idea  of  the  learner  questions,  he  or   she  designs  learning  around  those  questions.  The  learning  can  include  anything  from   text  studies,  discussions,  games,  art  projects,  role  playing,  and  much  more.   Additionally,  Educational  Resource  Providers  (ERPs)  such  as  Teva,  Explora-­‐Torah,   Hazon,  and  Storahtelling  will  serve  as  resources  for  planning  learning  experiences,  both   for  the  5th  and  6th  graders  as  well  as  for  families.       5