Thursday, May 21, 2009

Classroom Teaching with Mark Smilowitz

I have just spent 15 minutes on the treadmill learning about the issues involved in bringing "fun" into the classroom. I did it with my i-pod and a podcast on Classroom Teaching from the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora by Mark Smilowitz. He is a very engaging teacher and very easy to listen to. You can download (or listen online) any of his podcasts (28 so far) at http://www.lookstein.org/podcasts.

Podcasting is a great mix of old and new technology, and is really great because it is portable. I have been listening to podcasts of Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me and Car Talk since my family bought me an I-pod over a year ago. I listen while exercising or cutting the grass. In fact in the podcast I just listened to, he even suggests having the students create their own podcasts engaging in the content of their class

Here is Mark's bio from the Lookstein site:
Mark Smilowitz has taught Judaic studies in middle school and high school levels for 11 years, in Israel. Unsatisfied with the available options for professional growth, Mark sought his own, personal mentor. That's how he met Professor Stephanie "Stevie" Bravmann, a veteran master teacher who, according to one colleague, "knows everything" about education.

Mark emerged from his weekly sessions with Stevie with powerful new insights and ideas about teaching that he immediately implemented with profound impact on his students, not to mention great personal satisfaction. When Mark moved to Israel in 2005, he found that his his new teaching tools worked just as well with children on the other side of the globe.

Now Mark wants to share what he's learned with other Judaic studies teachers. This podcast is an attempt to help teachers - beginners and veterans - find personal satisfaction in teaching. Please send us your comments so we can learn how these ideas affect you. Together we can create a community of teachers committed to excellence and bringing the very best in teaching to our most precious commodity, our students.

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