1st September, 2016
Gaon Education welcomes our first 3 schools to use the full Gaon Gemara curriculum in the 2016-17 school year!
In the coming weeks teachers at Yeshivat Noam (Paramus, NY), Silverstein Hebrew Academy (Great Neck, NY) and Vancouver Hebrew Academy (Vancouver, BC) will be using the Gaon Gemara curriculum, lesson plans, and student exercises in the 6th and 7th grades. These partner schools have already started providing feedback and creative insights into how to further enhance the curriculum and activities, and their input will be invaluable this year in refining and perfecting the curriculum.
In the first year program students will work through the following sections of the curriculum:
It's going to be an exciting year, and we'll keep you up to date - click here to sign up for our newsletter.
Hatzlacha for the coming school year!
1st October, 2015
After two years of development, we've finally arrived at the grand unveiling of Gaon Gemara!
This gemara curriculum, developed in collaboration with Shapell's College of Jewish Studies / Darche Noam, seeks to take the powerful skill-based methodology developed and refined by Shapell's over 30 years of teaching gemara beginners, and make it available in a format tailored for middle and high school classrooms.
After encouraging feedback from our initial testing phase, we've now rolled out the first two sections of the curriculum to our two pilot schools: Vancouver Hebrew Academy and Mount Scopus Memorial College. Initial feedback has been very positive.
Rabbi Segel will be presenting the curriculum and methodology at the Yeshiva Day Schools Annual Day of Learning at HAFTR, New York on November 10th, and then doing a tour of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore and LA to meet interested schools.
If you would like to hear more please be in touch!
16th March, 2015
The Lehavin U'Lehaskil Online Supplement, developed by Gaon Education, has so far been rolled out to 14 schools across North America.
In a new addition to the software, this year teachers were able to track student progress in a single visual display, allowing them to identify students in need of remediation or extension at a glance.
Recently Gaon Education collaborated with the Consortium of Jewish Day Schools to test the viability of developing a blended learning element for the Lehavin U'Lehaskil Chumash curriculum. The pilot program included interactive games, activities and assessments that revised and reviewed the 6 stages of Sofiot skill development in the 2nd grade curriculum. The Moriah School in Englewood, Yeshivat He'Atid in Bergenfield, and Hebrew Academy (RASG) in Miami Beach all paticipated in the pilot program. The Moriah School and Yeshivat He'Atid used the rotational model, rotating a class in small groups including a station on computers. Yeshivat He'Atid used the program on a daily basis and The Moriah School had sessions once a week. Hebrew Academy used the Alternating Model, having an entire class use the software in the computer lab periodically. In total 140 students logged on and used the program as part of the pilot.
Three educational principles guided our approach to the pilot software and its implementation:
The first is differentiation, incorporated through mastery based learning and responsive feedback. Students were required to demonstrate a specified proficiency in an activity to unlock the next activity and continue in the skill revision. This ensures that students don't simply keep moving ahead while leaving gaps in knowledge, but rather work at their own pace, progressing when they are ready. Responsive feedback alerted students instantly as to their correct answers and mistakes, then offering them a chance to attempt the activity again and reinforce their learning.
The second guiding principle was gamification. Activities were colorful, fun, and in some cases addictive. One particularly challenging activity called Shamayim La'Aretz revises and assesses all individual sofiot skills through a game where students catch letters falling from shamayim. Data shows that students voluntarily attempted the game an average of 5 times in each session, with each attempt containing many learning interactions. Students sharpened their skills again and again in a short space of time and had fun doing it! Students were always given the opportunity to try again and improve their scores. Badges were awarded when a new level of proficiency was reached to incentivize learning.
The last and most important guiding principle was reporting. Distribution of class performance was viewable by teachers as a table of scores and averages, or as a graph report for quick visual representation. More detailed reports were accessible for each activity reporting extensive data describing student results. These features allow teachers to monitor on a daily basis how their class is performing and improving, as well as track individual students performance and identify specific students and specific topics that require further instruction and intervention. This capturing of data describing student performance allows the schools to start learning from data to make smarter, data-driven choices in the Chumash classroom. For example, in a longer study we would be able to measure which schedule of revision leads to better long-term retention rates: Weekly revision over a longer period utilized in the pilot by The Moriah School or the daily revision over a shorter period utilized by Yeshivat He'Atid.
Gaon is excited to be working with Lehavin U'Lehaskil, a leading Chumash curriculum now reaching over 100 schools in North America. This pilot is only the first step, and we look forward to working together with CoJDS to strengthen Chumash study in North America and around the world.
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