Using Ed-Tech to Teach Tefillah

Using Ed-Tech to Teach Tefillah

Participants in ShalomLearning’s No Teacher Left Behind (an 8 week course in partnership with JETS) are learning about different online tools, and how they can used for Jewish education. Alissa Okrent, Religious School Principal at Temple Shalom, Succasunna, NJ used her new skills and her creativity to engage her students right away!  Using Padlet, an online, collaborative, bulletin board, she created an activity where the seventh graders gained a deeper understanding and connection with tefillah.

She shared with us the following (and we’re including a picture so you feel like you know her):
One of my personal joys is helping my students feel our prayers are relevant today. My two foundations for this lesson were:  Achrayut and nature.   How can I integrate these two concepts into an activity that would engage my students, and help me to interact with each other and the learning?

I began with nature, choosing pictures that gave me a sense of “prayer meaning.” Seeing the “rock” could be an image of Gevurot; the sky aligned with God/Shema and the path felt like a connection to being in the present moment.

I asked, “What words describe this image?”, they typed in their words, and things started to appear on the screen. The lines, and arrows, and “web” effect was a total surprise to me!

Once each picture had words associations, I asked them, based on their understanding of the meaning of the prayers we had discussed, which prayer correlates to which image?  There are no wrong answers.  As I watched the words appear on the screen, I asked the group to create a poem which could be their prayer.

One of the students composed the poem and we all experienced our own moment of Achrayut; becoming a better version of ourselves.

About Heidi Lovitz

Heidi Lovitz is an educator, education administrator, and curriculum developer dedicated to innovating Jewish education. Her experience includes Family Educator at Congregation Beth Elohim in Acton, MA for over 15 years, the Director of Jewish Life and Learning at Camp Tevya in Brookline, NH for 15 years, and Director of Education and Programming at Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua, NH. Heidi was one of the founding leaders of the Havayah program connecting teens from Boston, Haifa and Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. Heidi holds a BA in communication studies from the University of Massachusetts and is pursing a Master of Jewish Education at Hebrew College. Heidi enjoys theatre, music, reading, gardening, biking and hiking. Heidi lives in Westford, Massachusetts with her husband Peter and has two adult children.