The following approach for teaching Chumash has been developed by the “Machon Leintegratzia” at Bar-Ilan University which specializes in producing teaching materials for the religious day schools in Israel. The primary aim of this approach is to help teachers of heterogeneous classes to reach every pupil without compromising pupils’ academic achievement.
The basis of this approach is that every pupil has several abilities, each one being different from those of his fellow student. Each student’s special abilities can and should be used as a powerful impetus for his own learning and that of his fellow pupils’. Thus, the very difference between children may be fruitful for everyone if we know how to encourage every child to express himself in those areas of his special strength and in which he feels secure. The whole class will profit from this.
As we have seen, intelligence includes more than linguistic, cognitive and academic qualifications. Psychologists and educators today agree about the existence of many sources of intelligence. (Very popular is the E-Q = Emotional Intelligence—promoted by Daniel Goleman, but there are many others.) In addition, we know today that different people have different ways of efficient learning—by seeing, hearing, feeling, moving, acting, etc.
The following material is intended to help Jewish studies teachers in their efforts to advance the progress of every child. As each pupil reaches his maximum potential his classmates will regard him more highly and as a result his self-esteem will grow.
We recommend that the following materials be studied in groups. This learning advances every member’s interaction and dialogues and necessitates expressing one’s thoughts clearly. Through being exposed to another’s way of thinking and arguing, children learn to accept others for who they are and learn important lessons in cooperation and understanding.
The examples include “task pages” for shared work, lists of words and explanations and “work-pages” which are based on shared work and several pages of individual work.
The Machon Leintegratzia has completed booklets for grades 1-3, for Bereishit (Genesis) and Shemot (Exodus) . They are now writing one for Bamidbar (Numbers). We include in this booklet examples from their work on Bereishit and Shemot, and an example from Misrad Hachinuch Sefer Bamidbar for grade 4.
Noah’s Ark (Bereishit, Chapter 6:9-16)
Card 1 – Group Card
Materials needed for this unit:
materials for building an ark
1. “And the earth was corrupt and full of violence…” (6:11)
“And Hashem said…I am going to destroy the earth.” (6:13)
With the help of the dictionary below explain in your own words what happened in the story.
2. One individual behaved differently.
“Noah was a zaddik—perfect in his generations.”
Discuss between yourselves—what is easier—to be a zaddik amongst zaddikim or a zaddik amongst wicked people.
3. Hashem decided to save Noah and told him to build an ark.
Build or draw a model of Noah’s ark.
- Look at the examples of the following roofs on the next page – choose the one you think is most like the one described in the verse.
- Think why Hashem asked Noah to specifically make such a type of roof.
- Build a model of the ark with the materials above. Use the measuring sticks on the next page as a guide.
The War of the Four Kings Against the Five Kings (Breshit Chapter 14)
- Discuss how the king of Sodom thought and felt when Avraham arrived with all the spoils and people.
- Why do you think Avraham did not take anything for himself?
- The purpose of the following game on the next page is to match the king with his city.
Instructions for the game:
- Put the cards face up at the center of the table.
- Each pupil picks up 2 cards and reads them aloud.
- If the two cards are a matching pair — put the pair aside — if not move on.
- The game ends when there are no more cards face up.
Moshe’s Mission (Shmot 3:11-4:12)
Didactic difficulties of teaching the text
- There are many details mentioned in the verses which are difficult to follow.
- It is difficult to follow the chronological order of events.
The following pages aim to deal with this problem through summarizing the events in a different way. The pupils should fit the verses into the appropriate box in the correct sequence of events as mentioned in the verses.