Sharing ideas on Education, Leadership and Life

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Saying Thank You


Below is my Rosh Hashanah ( New Year's ) Message that I sent out to my faculty.

I just wanted to take a moment and say Thank You!

Thank you for your support
Thank you for your help
Thank you for your understanding and patience
Thank you for all your hard work and dedication

The list can go on but I think you get the idea.

This often is a thankless job and I at times are just as guilty as the next person in not showing my appreciation and HaKarat Hatov (recognizing the good) in all that you do.

In the spirit of being open and transparent, I would like to share with you some of my SMART goals for the coming year some personal and some professional.

I hope to be a better friend and keep connected to friends in other communities

I want to set aside at least 30 min to an hour day for my own learning ( small and manageable)

I want to listen better to your ideas

I want to say thank you to each and every one of you at least once a week

I want to spend more quality time with my family

May we be Zocheh ( merit) a year of health and happiness and may this be a year of prosperity and peace

Wishing you all a Ketiva V'Chatima Tova

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Picture from:

This week administrators from across the world picked one day to set aside as No Office Day. Truth be told I have a partial no office day every day. Besides my administrative duties I teach fifth grade for about 2-2.5 hours every day. However today I made a special effort to be out of my office more and go into some other classes.

My day started off with my eating breakfast with our 7/8 boys. Then I went to second grade who were working in groups. I sat down (on the floor) with one of the groups and joined there discussion. Then I sat with another student and started learning with him.

After that I went to teach my Fifth grade and today we did a jigsaw activity on certain Pesukim (verses) in the Chumash (the Bible).
My next stop was lunch and recess and duty (that I do regularly and Thursday just happens to be my day)

After that I decided to eat lunch with the 7/8 girls and had a very nice discussion with them and asked them for feedback for how their year was going so far.
Then I cheated a bit and during my lunch time I did some office work.
In the afternoon I was in the third grade when they played a game based on the Hebrew months and helped the fourth graders work on something about Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish New Year).
Finally before I taught my JH class on digital citizenship I had the chance to play kickball with the sixth grade at recess I was all time pitcher.

Yes it was great to spend more time in the classroom and less time in front of my computer. It was great to see all the learning and engaged students that I know happens every day but actual had a chance to see it and enjoy it for myself. However my biggest take away was how important the simple things and those non class moments are like talking at lunch or playing ball with your students.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Deep Roots a Key for the Future

I have blogged a lot lately about Technology, 21st Century skills and Religion. How does it all fit together. How do we find that necessary balance. For those of you that have read my posts you know that someone who I respect and admire is Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Rabbi Sacks is one who on has achieved this balance between the modern world and religion.
Here are excerpts of a "Though of the Day" from June 2000 called "Dancing with the Past":
"Religious Jews are among the most enthusiastic users of the Internet for educational purposes; and in Israel, a country of only five million, Jews have created the largest high-tech industry outside the United States.
And yet, when it comes to the Torah, we still write the exactly as our ancestors have done by hand on parchment using a quill.
There is a view I hear often in the media almost every day....forget virtues like honour, fidelity,civility;above all,forget religion.They're old...For heaven sake aren't we living in the 21st Century.

It's a view that couldn't be more wrong. It is when the winds blow hardest that you need the deepest roots. When you are entering uncharted territory. it's when you need a compass to give you a sense of direction. What gives us the strength to cope with change are things that don't change....

I knew beyond a flicker of a doubt that those who carry with them the heritage of the past are those who can face the future without fear."

It is clear that as we move forward and face our changing society head on we can only do so if we take our heritage and religion with us.