Just an update on what's been going on at Frisch this past month:
We launched the identity theme with a terrific video that a teacher at Frisch made, and I spoke about the identity issues in the ninth grade summer reading book, The Color of Water. Tzvi Pittinsky, the director of Educational Technology, also showed the ninth grade class the wiki and the pages we have up so far. Dr. Kalman Stein, the school's principal, emailed the parents about the launch, and the teachers spoke about the theme to the parents on Back to School night.
Now the hard work begins: getting the teachers to use the wiki on a regular basis so the integration truly happens. The first wiki assignment will be about the elections. The ninth grade history teachers will ask students to contemplate on a discussion board on a wiki page about leadership the qualities the students think are important to have in a president. The assignment is part of a larger assignment on the elections that is posted on the wiki. Tzvi has a rubric for grading discussion board assignments, and he is showing it to the teachers.
I plan to have an assignment on the personal narrative that will be posted on the wiki page entitled, "My Story." The page is for any project that has to do with a life story that shapes a person's identity. As of now, Hebrew language is also slated to have a similar assignment on that page.
Another page that the teachers are working on now is called Classification. I'm waiting for a biology teacher to send me a handout on the six kingdoms of life and characteristics of life. We plan to combine that with Gemara which will take a look at why we classify in halakha as opposed to why we classify in science.
I'm still doing my other integration projects for Tanakh, which I'll be beginning after the Chagim. The first Chumash presentation will be on military encampments in the ancient Near East and Egypt and a look at the military encampment at the beginning of Sefer Bamidbar. Students are learning Ezra and Nechemia this year in Nach, so my first Nach presentation will be on kings' proclamations in the ancient world, particularly in the Persian Empire. Students in the Nach classes are going to learn about the Cyrus Cylinder in class already.
This year Frisch is also integrating from Judaic Studies into English literature classes. I'm involved since I'm head of the English department. I'm working with a Nach teacher who has a master's in English Literature. She's planning on coming into each grade at some point in the year. She's beginning with the eleventh grade and discussing the Torah's view of witches when the juniors learn The Crucible. In the twelfth grade, the teacher, Rochel Besser, is going to discuss nihilism and stream of consciousness in Qoheleth when the 12th grade learns modernist literature. For the tenth grade, Mrs. Besser plans on discussing the Expulsion from Eden motif, as students in the sophomore year learn many works where getting back to Eden is an ideal. Finally, in the ninth grade, Mrs. Besser will weigh in on Judaism's view of man's inherent nature -- good or bad -- as part of the grade's discussion of original sin in Lord of the Flies. We'll definitely incorporate her work into the wiki and identity theme! Mrs. Besser is planning on using technology in her presentations, but we don't know how yet. We'll keep you posted!
Shana tova and a successful and meaningful school year to everyone!