The New Siddur Program for Hebrew & Heritage is the first genuine solution to teaching practical Hebrew for American youngsters. The Hebrew used in rituals in the synagogue and in the home--liturgical Hebrew--is the primary link that unites all Jews throughout the world. It is as relevant and useful to Jews living in the Diaspora as it is to the Jews of Israel. And The New Siddur Program is the first "step-by-step approach" to teaching this elemental Hebrew in the classroom.
There is a natural flow to The New Siddur Program. It progresses from Reading Readiness in which letter recognition is the aim, to a primer which teaches phonetic decoding, to a first level text which stresses reading comprehension, to a second level text which stresses grammar and concepts, to the third level text which completes the task of transmitting prayer literacy. At the end of the third level text, the students are prepared to read any passage from the prayerbook, comprehend the key words in most passages, and identify the main prayers and sections of the prayer service. They are ready to walk into any synagogue in the world and participate in a Jewish T-B-S or holiday service.
All the basic tools for teaching the students are in the books, the teacher support materials, and the enrichment materials. The teacher guides include "Scope and Sequence" charts, classroom motivational exercises, vocabulary presentation guidance, games, chalkboard exercises, suggestions for songs and chanting, opportunities for group work, flash card exercises, listening activities, work with root words, suggestions for dramatic reading, and topics for discussion. The workbooks contain more exercises and motivational activities. And the enrichment materials include classroom board games, flash cards, holiday masters for photocopying, posters, and charts.
With all this material in one program, you might ask, Why produce another booklet? The answer is two-fold. First, many of the classroom management techniques are scattered throughout the teacher guides-in places we believe that you will need them most. But we can't always tell in advance where a particular technique is best suited to your classroom needs. Second, there are certain techniques which are basic to the teaching of any subject to students between the ages of six and thirteen. These techniques--always useful and always necessary--are reviewed here, in one place, for your convenience.
If you are new to teaching Hebrew in the American classroom, I think you will find this booklet handy and helpful in dozens of ways. If you have been teaching for a long time, this booklet will provide you with a simple review of many things you already know. I probably don't have to tell you that this review is important. You will be among the first to want to read this booklet from start to finish. Either way, this booklet is just the beginning. The master teacher is constantly learning new tricks and new techniques.
The name of the game in classroom management is "options." The more options you have, the easier your teaching becomes. The more options you have, the more skill you have. Work your way through this book, then look at it again from time to time to expand your options. If something here works for you, use it again. If it doesn't, forget it. Not all teachers can utilize all techniques. Each of us has a unique "style." Not everything here will fit your style. But you may be surprised at how much of it does.
Enough introduction. Except to say that teaching is a kind of blessing in itself You are blessed with the abilities to transmit an important segment of Jewish learning to the most important segment of the Jewish population-our young folk, the next generation. It is an awesome responsibility, and a sacred task. But it is a task which carries with it its own reward. Enjoy your students. Enjoy your teaching. Smile. Everything else will follow naturally.