Santa Monica Teacher’s Creative N‘kudot System Encourages Hebrew Practice at Home

Written by Behrman House Staff, 06 of May, 2013
Improved Online Learning Center Now Serving over 5,300 Students

After piloting the Online Learning Center this year in one grade at the Santa Monica Synagogue in Santa Monica, CA, Director of Education Lori Daitch is now planning to implement the OLC in all Hebrew grades. “It helps students reinforce skills and is a way for us to integrate technology into the school.”

Nine Santa Monica Synagogue fourth grade students used Alef Bet Quest, OLC Edition this year, led by teacher Rae Antonoff who asked students to do the at-home exercises and games once a week to reinforce their efforts in class.

Rae implemented an incentive system to motivate students to complete the at-home exercises, which she kept optional. “I have a supply of buttons that I call N’kudot (Hebrew for ‘points’).” Under Rae’s system, different types of buttons are worth one, five, or ten N’kudot. The students receive N’kudot for good behavior, participation, good work, and, among other things, for completing Hebrew lessons in the OLC.

“I’ve used the N’kudot system with a few different grades from 4th-8th, and while its usefulness for particular elements varies with age, it provides a fun method of positive reinforcement for every group I’ve tried it with so far.”

Rae checks the Assessment page to see how many exercises and games students have completed, and then distributes N’kudot buttons accordingly. “I’ve found that it works with the OLC system by incentivizing the use of the website for those with easy internet access without punishing the students who are unable to go online at home, providing the perfect balance of encouragement to see extra practice while avoiding unnecessary pressure.”

At the end of each semester, Rae holds a Shuk for her students. “I make a trip to the Dollar Store and cover a table in prizes, label them with a price, and the students get to ‘buy’ prizes with their N’kudot. (Sometimes I even let them haggle, especially toward the end of the day, for the true shuk experience!)”

How did YOU use the OLC to extend Hebrew learning home this year? Did you make at-home exercises and games an option or a requirement? How did you set goals and follow up with students each week to help them develop the Hebrew habit? Let us know!