“The Tanakh is our Story”
Teacher’s guide
This learning kit, intended for middle school students, is a pilot program for studying Tanakh in innovative and diverse ways, with the aim of connecting Tanakh to the hearts of the learners and strengthening their Jewish identity, while getting to know the story of the Jewish people on a personal and national level.
The pilot program includes the study of the story of the Exodus from Egypt (Shemot Chapters 1-15), but the pedagogical principles underlying the program: teaching Tanakh as a narrative, active learning and a modular structure that allows for choice, can be applied to teaching Tanakh in general.
The program is based on Herzog College’s approach to teaching Tanakh
which is unique in the way it focuses on the simple study of Tanakh and compares it to the sages’ interpretations of Tanakh throughout the generations. This approach is based on long-standing Jewish traditions, Jewish literary treasures, and the biblical view of religion, all while maintaining a dialogue with the research and interpretation that have been renewed in our generation, including a literary reading of the Tanakh, current events, geography and biblical archaeology, tradition, biblical language and more.
This approach is reflected in many projects, including the “Herzog Tanakh Project,” which aims at strengthening the Jewish people’s connection to its identity and heritage. This is a project that makes the chapters of the Tanakh accessible to audiences around the world, through innovative tools.
Why teach Tanakh as a story?
Observing the text as a story will allow students to examine the characters, the events and the dilemmas, in a way that will invite them to identify with the story and feel its connection to their daily lives.
“If we want our children and our society to be moral, we need a collective story that tells us where we came from and what our task is in the world.”
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Covenant & Conversation, Parshat Bo
Why did we choose to deal with the story of the Exodus from Egypt, as a story?
By studying the story of the birth of the Israelites (Shemot, chapters 1-15), we would like to create a connection between our Jewish identity today and the birth of the Jewish People in the past. Based on the assumption that we are all part of the same Jewish story that began thousands of years ago, we will dive into the stories intertwined in our past, and through them we will strengthen our sense of belonging to the People of Israel, to their roots and unique existence, and to Jewish tradition. We will also look at the challenges we face as individuals and as a nation and discuss our ability to be inspired by the exemplary figures and stories of the past, in a way that will be relevant and meaningful to our contemporary story.
As the Sages said: ‘In every generation a person must see himself as if he came out of Egypt’: the story of the Exodus is still here. Studying the chain of events and becoming acquainted with the characters in these chapters will allow us to examine the ways in which our values ​​and traditions are derived from and influenced by the way we became a nation.

The methods of teaching and learning in this kit were chosen in accordance with these goals.

What is on the site?

The curriculum includes a teaching course for the teacher, with suggestions for diverse and rich activities for the students, as well as online study units for the student’s self-learning.
What have we got?
Study units that include both classroom learning and active learning, focused on the heart of a story. The units are arranged in a fixed structure, including proposals for:
1. An intriguing introduction.
2. The teaching process, including: plenary learning, active learning, in-depth study of the verses and enrichment.
3. The lesson summary – in the plenary and a summary product.(Sometimes there are several suggestions for the different teaching stages, which the teacher can choose from).
Time planning and organization
The proposals include classroom teaching and creative work for the students. Each teacher must choose the lesson components and plan the amount of time for each, at their discretion, considering the class characteristics, lesson contents and the time available.
Actual teaching
When teaching according to the teaching program, we offer curriculum suggestions, but believe that a teacher wants and should choose topics that are closer to his interests and adapt the lesson according to various considerations. That’s why we offered alternatives and ways of teaching the content throughout the lessons.

We recommend that the teacher exercise personal judgment, based on the available time, nature of the class, and material that they perceive as most important.
What have we got?
The lessons are built on a user-friendly digital platform. The lessons are built in parallel with the teaching strategies offered in the kit, and they enable the student to encounter the verses and ideas that are the building blocks of the story. The lessons contain diverse and fun tasks and activities – which are personal and collaborative and deal with understanding the verses, conceptual analysis and internalization and personal clarification. The lessons are accompanied by clear instructions for the student to enable an independent learning journey.
Towards actual teaching
The teacher must make sure that there are suitable means for digital learning. It is also possible to give the student tasks from the lessons to work on as homework. 

In the classroom, it is recommended to combine the students' independent learning with a plenary meeting to start the learning process, or to do this at the end. The teacher can monitor the students' progress through the website. There are questions that are automatically checked by the system and there are tasks that require review and feedback from the teacher.

It is recommended to explain to the students in advance what is expected of them and how they will be evaluated for their learning.

The teacher must exercise discretion whether to refer the students to the entire online unit, or to choose units based on the characteristics of the class and the students. Of course, tasks can also be combined with oral teaching.

Referring the students to these options will also enable the teacher to split the learning time between the classroom and home. In this framework, we can respond to the standards and characteristics of Tanakh teaching, which appear as JTS standards and benchmarks.

We suggest that the teacher combine the different learning methods and even try to integrate the suggestions from the learning kit into the learning processes he is familiar with.
Organization and time planning
The lessons are structured according to content units, and the learning may exceed the lesson time accepted at your school. We recommend guiding the student if he is expected to work at his own pace, set a specific goal or prioritize tasks.
to Class E
What have we got?
This assessment includes an innovative platform based on a three-dimensional digital map that provides a fascinating journey experience in ancient Egypt, in order to enrich the students' world and their knowledge and familiarity with the story and its values.

The learning journey is based on a virtual tour through archaeological sites and museums during which the student will encounter findings that invite experiential learning and observation from different perspectives on the story of the Exodus. The journey is intended for an independent learner, and is accompanied by clear instructions for learning and tasks, based on experience and research. It is an independent unit, whose purpose is to enrich the corresponding teaching moves.

During the tour, the students will be able to dive into ancient Egypt, visit ancient temples, participate in the construction of the pyramids, learn to read hieroglyphic script (Khartoum script) and decipher an ancient inscription and, most importantly, navigate with the Israelites on their journey from the land of Goshen to the Sinai Desert in the story of the Exodus.
What have we got?
As part of the modularity of the learning and teaching methods for the teacher, we offer interactive study resources for students using the "Chumash Compass" app

The "Chumash Compass" App offers many different types of activities that enable varied and interesting teaching and learning units.
How can you use this in class?
Students can use the app to study independently, in groups or as a whole class, at the teacher’s discretion. The student performs the activities in each chapter and earns a personal score. This method encourages academic competition between the students

The students can study on cell phones or computers (laptops or PCs) and should use headphones for listening to the chapters, watching videos and more.

It is important to remember that learning on the app does not replace traditional learning in the classroom, but can be used to diversify teaching and learning methods. These lesson plans provide  teaching suggestions and each teacher should adapt them to the characteristics of the students and the class.
to We were Dreamers

The structure of the learning strategies

We divided the story of the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus, Chapters 1-2) into several ‘sub-stories’ and proposed a central idea for each of the sub-stories. We called this ‘the heart of the story’ which offers a relevant message for middle school students. We chose a verse that expresses the main idea for each study unit. The verse is quoted at the beginning of the teaching section of each study unit. In each teaching course we added some background information for the teacher, of pedagogical value and content.
this strategy is based on studying the stories written in the Torah, using the characteristics of literary analysis –familiarity with the events, characters and processes described in the verses. We will devote time to understanding the period, the choices of the various characters and how they are presented. The study unit is accompanied by charts, maps and illustrations that help learning the ideas emerging from the stories.
the program includes six sub-stories, which together weave the story of the Israelites’ Exodus from slavery to freedom. Each sub-story is divided into several study units, based on different stages in the story.
The heart of the story
the study units include the main timeline of the stories. The heart of the story offers a significant and relevant idea that emerges from the verses.
Study unit
is a proposal for each lesson, but the teacher can choose how many lessons to devote to each study unit. The teacher will be able to build the lesson from the study units and integrate independent learning (classe), Nemo and ‘On the Map’.
Background for the teacher
knowledge and content goals were written for each teaching course, pedagogical skills and social-emotional skills were presented, and we also referred to the values ​​learned from each story and unit.

Pedagogical principles
underlying the learning process

As our goal is to connect students to the actual learning process, we consider it highly important to make them active learners throughout the lessons. To this end, we combine various activities that allow the student to read the verses, think about them, observe them from their own perspective and express their opinion.

Some of the activities are intended for a single learner and some encourage cooperative learning based on dialogue between the learners.

For example, worksheets, studying in hevrutas and in groups, discussions on profound questions, creative ways to express knowledge, positions and more

The concept of active learning is part of United’s pedagogical principles. Throughout the learning proposals we will offer links to teaching practices that appear on the United website. https://unitedjed.org/teaching-learning-practices/
Active learning
Offering choice provides an opportunity for both the teacher and the student to tailor the material based on their preferences and the prevailing circumstances.
Modular structure that enables choice
During the lessons, we refer to the criteria and characteristics of teaching Tanakh, which appear in the JTS standards and benchmarks document, and accordingly we weave work on skills into the offered activities.
JTS standards and benchmarks
to the document
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