More on Chai Student Workbooks

Maximizing Student Materials - Tips for Using Student Workbooks
Student workbooks can be a valuable tool for strengthening classroom learning, for extending student learning to the home, and for tracking student progress. Here are some innovative ways to utilize them.
  1. Student organization and classroom routine. Student materials are kept together in the workbook, giving students access to both current and completed worksheets. Asking students to take out their books can serve as an easy but clear transitioning time in class.  
  2. Self-directed or chevruta learning. After the concepts have been introduced, the workbooks can be used for self-directed student work, either alone or in chevruta. Students can also be encouraged to complete workbook pages after class, if time is limited. 
  3. Sharing work and teaching one another. When students teach and learn from each other, the learning is reinforced. Ask students to share their work with another student, or have each student leave his or her workbook open to the completed page on his or her desk and let the students rotate around the room to quickly view their classmates’ work. 
  4. Family activities. Some material in the workbook has been explicitly designed for students to discuss with their families, making the classroom learning even more relevant. Pages from lessons not completed in class can be used as a basis for Jewish learning at home. 
  5. Student assessment. The Understanding by Design lesson model on which the CHAI curriculum is based involves determining evidence of student understanding and then using this as a basis for designing learning activities. Activities from the student workbook can be used to assess student learning in the following ways:

a. In-class student assessment. Teachers can select questions and activities from the student workbook to administer before a lesson as a pre-test or at the end of a unit as a post-test. Alternatively, select questions and activities from all of the pages in the strand to create a separate student assessment tool. 
b. Student portfolio. Many worksheets ask the students to reflect; write an opinion, feeling or belief; or relate new understandings to previous knowledge or experience. The workbook therefore serves as a portfolio recording the student’s growth as he or she progresses through the lessons in a strand. The workbook can also be one component of a larger student portfolio. 
c. Material for parent-teacher conferences or report cards. Congregational school teachers can find themselves at a loss when trying to give an assessment of a student they see for only a few hours each week, often sporadically. The student workbook enables teachers to select exemplary completed pages as a basis for discussion with parents or to find quotes that highlight the student learning to include on report cards. 
d. A cumulative record. Teachers often change from year to year, making consultations between a student’s teachers in preceding or subsequent years difficult, if not impossible. When bar and bat mitzvah training begins, an entirely new teaching staff (cantor, rabbi, tutor) usually meets with the student. The student workbooks can serve as a cumulative record of the student’s work that follows him or her through your program and gives new teachers a sense of the student’s Jewish journey.