click above to open bookmark
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
See also below: “Appropriate use with different ages and ability groups”
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.
Can be used in a game format!
The Chumash Bookmark can be used together with real or virtual dice to make the learning fun. The die is thrown and the number on which it lands is the number of the question to be asked on the particular posuk being studied. Children and parents – and teachers of course – can take this basic idea and adapt it as they wish. The game can be played both in class and at home. A simple 6-sided die is sufficient for selecting from the first six questions, which make up the whole of the Bronze level. To select from a larger number of questions, either role multiple real dice (or a die with more sides) or change the settings in a virtual die. Here are examples of virtual dice you may wish to use: DICE 1 DICE 2
Appropriate use with different ages and ability groups
Clearly, moving from the Bronze and through the Silver and Gold levels, the questions become significantly more sophisticated and demanding. Teachers will need to match use of the Chumash Bookmark both to their school’s curriculum for the particular year group and to the different abilities in the class. This is why it is worthwhile to thoughtfully manage also the dice game in order to employ the resource appropriately. For example, as already mentioned above, giving children only a regular die with six sides will keep them within the Bronze level. Older children or children with higher abilities can be given the opportunity to tackle more advanced questions.
Focused skills work
Of course, rather than using the Chumash Bookmark with dice or suchlike, to generate questions randomly, the teacher may wish to focus on specific questions in order to build particular skills in isolation.
ENRICH EXTEND ENGAGE ~ VARIETY DEPTH RIGOUR
However you decide to use the QGL Chumash Bookmark, I hope you find it helpful in enriching and extending the engagement, learning and progress of your students, and that it facilitates bringing some extra variety, depth and rigour into the textual learning taking place in your classroom.