Questions for Great Learning

The Chumash Bookmark

click above to open bookmark

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Supports and stimulates learning

The Chumash Bookmark contains a set of 18 questions, and a few tasks, for supporting and stimulating our pupils’ Chumash learning, both in class and at home, organised into three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold.  It can be used (on card or laminated) as a (rather large) Chumash placeholder, so that a child will always have it available and to hand.  It is worthwhile providing a separate copy to keep at home, to assist parents in supporting their children with Chumash homework, or for some additional self-directed discussion around the pesukim currently being studied.  A teacher can display the Bookmark on an interactive whiteboard for easy reference when teaching a class.

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Provides focus and structure to learning

The idea is that only one or two questions be incorporated into any one lesson or home study session, to give focus and structure to the learning or review.  Moreover, not all questions will be relevant to every posuk; for example, ‘Bronze 2’ asks, “Who is speaking (if anyone), and to whom?”  This will only be relevant where a posuk contains a spoken exchange.

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Supports both adult- and child-directed learning

It will be for the adult (teacher, parent, other) leading the learning to decide how to use the resource; for example, a teacher may on occasion ask a question directly to the class, a group, or to an individual.  At other times, children may be directed, perhaps in pairs or small groups, to select questions for themselves which they feel are particularly suited to supporting them in building their knowledge, skills or understanding in relation to the pesukim they are studying.

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Gets children thinking about their learning; highlights the text’s different layers and facets; makes for strong and enduring learning

Using a resource like this can be a powerful way to get children thinking about the different layers of learning we want them to access and achieve;  even just discussing the various questions and tasks in the abstract will highlight for them the numerous facets that give a posuk or passage of Chumash its complexity, depth and beauty.  We will feel successful when the children become sensitive to that complexity such that they will themselves not be happy with learning that does not scratch far beneath the surface.  Meta-thinking and meta-learning describe the processes of ‘thinking about how we think’ and ‘learning about how we learn,’ and it is this level of engagement with our own learning, even – or especially – as children, that makes for learning that is both strong and enduring.

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Facilitates peer-learning and peer-assessment; supports independent, self-directed individual and collaborative learning

This tool can be used to facilitate peer-learning and peer-assessment.  As they become familiar with how the questions and tasks can be employed effectively, children will gradually be able to use the Bookmark to independently direct and evaluate their own learning and that of their peers.

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Helps with learning-focused planning

When planning to teach a class or work with one’s own child, a teacher or parent may find the Bookmark helpful in supporting the creation of a really learning-focused lesson or one-to-one session.

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Supports effective differentiation

Teachers should also find the variety of questions and tasks useful in building differentiation into their lessons.  Simply planning in advance to direct less or more challenging questions at children of different levels of ability is an effective way to enable all pupils to access the learning.

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Basis for training, discussion

Anyone leading training sessions in the teaching of Chumash, either with immediate colleagues or in a broader professional context, may find the Bookmark can be a basis for productive  discussion.

!הצלחה רבה