New Hampshire Educator Finds OLC Engages Students and Dispels Parent Concerns about Hebrew Homework

Written by Behrman House Staff, 03 of December, 2013
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Educative Director, Maggie Duford, now serving her second year with Upper Valley Jewish Community in Hanover, New Hampshire, has introduced the Online Learning Center (OLC) into her program and reports positive responses from both students and parents.

In fact she said she got some unexpected feedback during a discussion with parents and students at a recent all-school Shabbat program.  “I was in the 1st and 2nd grade (classes), and I asked them what  the BEST part of school has been so far this year,” Maggie said. “A second grade boy piped straight up . . . ‘The computer!’ ”

Maggie’s second grade class has been using the pre-primer Ready, Set, Go Alef Bet in the OLC this year.

Maggie said she has been pleased at the parents’ reactions to the OLC, even though some were not originally in favor of assessing more Hebrew homework. “One mom told me, ‘I was a bit afraid of MORE homework for my kids, but this is really working. I’m sorry I was worried about it now.’”

Maggie is also using Alef Bet Quest and the Kol Yisrael series in her program this year, and has  found the OLC helpful in   challenging accelerated students by allowing them to proceed at their own pace.

Maggie described a very advanced 3rd grader who needed more.  Using the OLC, and with the support of his parents, Maggie had the student pulled out during Hebrew to challenge him by moving him ahead into the Kol Yisreal book that the fifth graders were using.

“The 3rd grader’s mother told me, ‘He is still a kid, and because of rules with the house, has a certain amount of time allowed on the computer for ‘fun,’” said Maggie. “His mom reports to me that he is asking for more OLC time than ‘fun’ time on the computer, which made her smile very widely and she gladly obliges.”

Maggie is working to make sure all her parents are fully introduced to the OLC.  “I am going to do a presentation of the OLC site for parents, on a projected screen, so they have a better understanding of how it works for their kids.” Maggie said.  

Maggie is making plans to continue using OLC with her students. “I am so pleased.”

Over 7,100 students throughout North America are using the Online Learning Center to develop  fluency in Hebrew reading, to learn and understand Hebrew prayer, and to explore Judaism and Israel using a variety of multi-media resources. To find out more about bringing the OLC to your program, contact us.