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September 21, 2014 | 26th Elul 5774
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Family Education

INTRODUCING MITKADEM TO FAMILIES: A Family Education Program Outline 
By Kitty Wolf, Mid-Atlantic Council Regional Educator

Parents are an integral part of a child’s Jewish education. With the Mitkadem program, it is easy to include parents both as learners and teachers or teaching assistants. The self-paced format allows for easy transition to home study. In addition, parents can be integrated into the classroom to help with administrative tasks or working with students one-on-one or in small groups. In any case, introducing the program to parents will help insure its success. Following is a family education lesson that can be used to introduce the program to parents and children. The lesson can also be adapted to introduce the program to a school committee or teaching staff.
Before the program, you may want to provide parents with an introduction to the Mitkadem program and how it works. Direct them to the online tutorial and the description, and/or send home pages 3-6, “Introduction to the Mitkadem Program” (Teacher’s Guide to Mitkadem Ramah 1 and Ramah 2).

Materials Needed:
  • Copies of “Hebrew Vocabulary Words: Ramah 1” in Teacher’s Guide to Mitkadem Ramah 1 and Ramah 2, pages 11-12
  • Hebrew Helper kits, one for each family to keep
  • Siddurim for each family
  • Craft materials

Set Induction (7 minutes)
T
ell the group that today they will participate in a Mitkadem lesson together in order to experience the curriculum in action and gain a first hand understanding of how the students will be learning Hebrew.
Ask the group to brainstorm things they know about Hebrew and why it is important to the Jewish people.

Learning Activities (40 minutes)
Separate into groups of one or two families and allow them to rotate to different stations.

Activity 1

Each family receives a Hebrew Helpers kit and tries a few activities to become familiar with these tools. These activities are explained in more detail on pages 13-14, Teacher’s Guide to Mitkadem Ramah 1 and Ramah 2.

  • Choose a letter you like, you are curious about, or you think you recognize from the Alef-bet Letter Cards and match it to the Alef-bet Chart to find out its name and sound.
  • Choose two letters that look alike and explain how they are similar and different. Find them on the chart and identify the names and sounds.
  • Practice using the Alef Advancer, identifying letters by name and sound.
  • Hold up different letter cards and find the same letter on the Alef Advancer.
  • Choose one letter to learn for the day, finding it on all three tools. Hold up the card and announce the name and sound of the letter.

Activity 2

Each family receives a siddur. Be detectives and investigate how siddurim are different from English books. This discussion will prepare them for using the Ramah 1 workbook. See Lesson 2 on page 14 of the teacher’s guide for more suggestions.

Activity 3

Physically demonstrate left-to-right direction by having some participants walk left to right and right to left from the perspective of those watching, who call out “English” or “Hebrew” direction.

Activity 4

Select an activity from “Creating Ritual Objects” on pages 16-17 in the teacher’s guide, such as Shabbat and holiday objects with Hebrew words identifying them.

After rotating stations, bring the whole group back together. Each family decides on a Hebrew letter or word to form together using their bodies. After practicing, they perform for the group who tries to guess the letter or word. Families then show their art project.

Conclusion (5 minutes)
Explain that now you have experienced a little taste of learning Hebrew and Mitkadem. Parents play a crucial role in a child’s Jewish education. Using Hebrew at services, holiday programs, and other synagogue activities reinforces what and why we learn in Hebrew class.

Distribute copies of the Vocabulary list for Ramah 1 for families to use at home. The list includes English transliteration for the words, making it accessible to parents who are not yet comfortable with Hebrew.

 
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