The Meanderings of a Curriculum Head … Thursday 19 August – Just another typical Herzlia day!
By Mark Helfich, Curriculum Head UHS
10h00: Observed a Grade 7 class busily working on some Science research in the Junior High Hall. A group explained to me that they are using the Jigsaw Method of collaborative learning to study a section on Biodiversity. This involves each primary group collaboratively researching a topic and then breaking into secondary groups to teach their peers what they have discovered. Mr Tshado be careful you do not do yourself out of a job – I think these pupils are doing such good work they may not need a teacher anymore!
11h45: Bumped into Mrs Ghiaroni’s Grade 11 Consumer Studies class which is visiting the Makerspace to work on their ideal bedroom design projects with Moreh Kadar. Isn’t it amazing how pupils of all ages love creating things and how much better they learn when they have hands-on experience? This is only one example of opportunities our Makerspace is providing for pupils in a number of different learning areas – Grade 8 and 9 pupils are working on an Afrikaans story project which they will share with our primary school pupils as their audience; Jewish Life pupils are visiting the Makerspace to design and make a Tzedakah box; the Grade 6s will visit to work on their Electricity projects; the Grade 9 Biology pupils will be working on a Cell project later in the term; EMS pupils will visit to design a marketing product and Grade 9 Drama and ESTEAM pupils will be collaborating on a CGI film. Goodness … Moreh Kadar and team, I hope you have time to breathe in between managing all these exciting educational visits to the Makerspace. How did we survive without this learning space last year??
12h35: I chatted with three Grade 9 girls enthusiastically collaborating to create an online interactive textbook chapter as part of their Ulpan Or Hebrew programme. They are sitting outside and enjoying the fresh air whilst fully consumed by the task at hand. They have promised to share the chapter with me when it is complete – should be a great test of my very basic Hebrew ability! A fantastic idea for an activity – Moreh Ronnie, you can be very proud of the work ethic and passion for the subject demonstrated by these pupils!
12h45: Interesting question – Don’t any of our teachers and pupils work in classrooms anymore??
13h10: Second Break! Sirius Club is meeting in Room 10. A Grade 7 pupil, presents a fascinating talk introducing the group to the current situation in Afghanistan with the Taliban takeover which leads to a fascinating discussion of cultural norms vs human rights and who has the right to decide what is right and what is wrong in society.
14h00: Last lesson of the day! Some Grade 11 girls are sitting in the corridor outside Mrs Lerena’s English classroom working on their Chromebooks. I stop to chat and end up helping to brainstorm an idea for an English poetry oral. As the editor of a poetry anthology, the pupils have to create a lively speech to be presented on the night of its launch at a popular bookshop in town. What a brilliant idea! And this is only one of five options that the Grade 11s have for their poetry task. Well done, English department!
16h00: The day continues long after formal lessons are completed! Mr Collins has invited me to watch his group of young entrepreneurs pitch five business ideas to a panel of WorldORT judges. This group of Grade 9-11 pupils has been participating in an international entrepreneurship competition this year and after two rounds our pupils are leading the pack! The presentations are ‘slick and creative’ according to the international judges who select ideas from two of our children of an ecosole sneaker as the most viable on offer. It will now be up to the group to fine-tune this idea and turn out a prototype! Good luck.
How different the world of school is today! And how lucky our pupils are to have such a varied learning experience. Until next time, stay safe!