What Makes ShalomLearning Stand Out to Traditional Hebrew Schools?

What Makes ShalomLearning Stand Out to Traditional Hebrew Schools?

There are many resources educators can use to provide Jewish learning, but ShalomLearning’s holistic approach to supporting the educator sets them apart.  When an organization uses the ShalomLearning program, the staff, the students, and the families benefit.

ShalomLearning’s Jewish values-based curriculum and Hebrew teaching programs provide the Hebrew School teacher with detailed lesson plans and the necessary resources to engage students. When class is over, the learning doesn’t stop. The program includes email summaries for the teacher to personalize and send to parents with questions to ask at the dinner table or during the car ride that evening. Additionally, there are self-paced activities students can complete online from anywhere to reinforce the learning, make up a missed class, or move ahead.

This comprehensive approach ensures that students, parents, and teachers remain more involved around the clock.

Let’s dive a little deeper and see what makes ShalomLearning one of today’s most unique and successful Jewish educational programs.

1. Detailed Jewish Lesson Plans

A leading benefit of ShalomLearning is the detailed lesson plans that provide the teacher with clear learning objectives and detailed activities to achieve the objectives. These Jewish lesson plans are valuable to new and experienced teachers alike. In some Jewish communities, particularly those in rural areas, it is an insurmountable task to find a great teacher who is also well-versed in Jewish text.  ShalomLearning’s lesson plans help every educator feel prepared since they include an introduction with links to find out more about the topic, translations of Jewish texts, and details to illustrate the real-world application of Jewish values.

2. Best Practices in Secular Education & Use of Technology

ShalomLearning incorporates best practices from secular education into the program. Educators have options to integrate the latest tools in education technology. For example, the teacher can select to have the students complete an activity on a posterboard, using Google Slides or using Padlet.

In addition, ShalomLearning uses Schoology, a Learning Management System (LMS) to provide the curriculum to the teachers and online activities to the students. Teachers can review student work and provide feedback between classes through the portal.   By using a digital curriculum in an LMS, ShalomLearning is able to respond to teacher requests and update curriculum to keep it relevant for today’s learners.  Teachers are also able to communicate with each other providing peer support and coaching.

3. Outside Class Time & Parental Involvement

In a recent study about ShalomLearning, students, teachers, and parents stressed the opportunities the curriculum provided for continuing the learning process outside of the classroom (or virtual classroom) setting. Many students described how they were able to integrate their new knowledge about Jewish values into discussions and activities at home. They now think more deeply about how the values and lessons from class help them build better relationships and make better decisions whether it is treating peers respectfully, looking for ways to make the world a better place, or standing up for themselves.

4. Increased Teacher Retention Rates

In addition to providing Jewish lesson plans, ShalomLearning provides support to the teachers through ongoing communication and training.  This is especially helpful for those who have received less formal pedagogical or Judaic studies training. With the burden of creating lessons lifted and having available support, all teachers, new and experienced, can focus on connecting with their students.

Teachers can take advantage of ongoing professional development opportunities offered by ShalomLearning to gain new skills specific to the program or more universal pedagogical skills. Teachers appreciate the support and resources, and therefore, schools have higher retention rates.

5. Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) Techniques to Make Connections

The ShalomLearning curriculum explores seven Jewish values and their relevance in our everyday lives using an age-appropriate lens. Our Jewish lessons incorporate strategies that promote Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Students see how they relate to the world from a Jewish perspective.  They learn how Judaism can guide them to build positive relationships and make responsible decisions.

6. Focus on Hebrew Curriculum

ShalomLearning offers varied approaches to teaching Hebrew reading and prayers. By partnering with two publishers: Torah Aura and JLearnHub, ShalomLearning offers choices for communities.   The program includes teaching materials for a traditional or a virtual classroom. Lessons include options for students to use personal devices to explore deeper into the meaning of the liturgy or take a virtual tour of places in Israel.

Students have an option to access materials for independent learning or to reinforce classroom learning, through the ShalomLearning portal on the LMS.  Teachers review and provide feedback on student submitted activities such as matching games or recorded readings/chantings of Hebrew words or prayers.

7. The Virtual Classroom

Hebrew school

ShalomLearning designed the curriculum to be used in either a traditional or virtual classroom. In the ShalomLearning virtual classroom, students attend a teacher-led class at a scheduled time.  The class is held in a virtual meeting room such as Zoom or Adobe Connect, making group work and other collaborative projects possible.

ShalomLearning sites use the virtual classroom in a variety of ways. All of them have found that this option has helped the community see them as forward-thinking and understanding the needs of the families. Geographic and schedule constraints can make the commute to the physical classroom a barrier to a Jewish education. The virtual classroom removes the constraints of commuting time and allows the student to participate from anywhere.

In some communities, classes meet in a traditional classroom once a week and in a virtual classroom for the second weekly class. Others use the virtual classroom as a make-up option for those who weren’t able to attend the weekly class in person.  It is currently being used at several locations. Some are only using the values-based curriculum in the virtual classroom. Others are using the Hebrew teaching program. Many are using both in the virtual space. This type of flexibility enables educators to customize the program for the specific needs of his or her community.

Let ShalomLearning provide you with an engaging Jewish learning curriculum!

Founded in 2011, ShalomLearning aims to meet the evolving educational needs of today’s Jewish community by providing the most up-to-date and relevant curriculum for grades K-7. Our lesson plans are engaging and also meant to be affordable and accessible to every institution. The goal of ShalomLearning is to instill a lifelong passion for discovery and give students, teachers, parents, and community members a way to use Jewish values to navigate the modern world.

Currently, we partner with 120 Jewish schools and synagogues. Our Jewish curriculum is both current and flexible to today’s teaching demands. To learn more about the ShalomLearning team, or speak to one of our representatives, contact us online or call (301) 660-3800. You can also visit our FAQ page to learn more about what we offer.

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.