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FAQ > [Getting to Know TaL AM in a Nutshell]

The following are several common questions and answers, which will help you learn basic facts about TaL AM:

(Q) What is the vision and mission of TaL AM?
(A) Our vision is to enable Jewish children in the Diaspora to "meet at Mt. Sinai" in order to receive and study Torah in its original language Hebrew and at the same time to "bring Sinai closer" to their lives, tailored to fit their own personal perspectives. We aspire to create a strong connection between the students studying TaL AM and the people of Israel, the Jewish heritage and the State of Israel, through a unifying and distinct language.

Our mission is to develop a modern curriculum which integrates innovative research in learning and teaching methods and in education in general. Similarly, we aspire to provide training and professional support to teachers and principals so that TaL AM may be successfully implemented.

(Q) What is expected of TaL AM graduates?
(A) TaL AM graduates will be dedicated to the Jewish heritage and will be proud to be part of the Jewish People. They will have the sensitivity to make the world a better place (Tikun Olam), and will assume an active role in doing so. They will have communication proficiencies in Hebrew, skills for independent learning, and an educated and broad outlook on the complexity and beauty inherent in the Jewish heritage. They will also understand the imperative of imparting this heritage to future generations.

(Q) In how many schools is TaL AM implemented? Where?
(A) In this school year TaL AM will be studied in about 420 schools spread across six continents (including Asia).

(Q) Which ideological streams is TaL AM compatible with?
(A) TaL AM strives to create a unified language in unique voices. The program meets the needs of various ideological streams, while taking into account their respective worldviews. The content in subjects requiring ideological compatibility is, therefore, presented in two editions: one Orthodox/traditional and the other liberal. Thanks to its adaptability, TaL AM is used in Orthodox, Chabbad, Community, Conservative and Reform schools.

(Q) How many weekly hours of instruction in Hebrew and Judaic Studies are required for the implementation of TaL AM?
(A) TaL AM is a modular program; hence its flexibility and adaptability to different time constraints:
Option A: over 100 minutes per day
Option B: 2 lessons per day (100 minutes)
Option C: 1 lesson per day (50 minutes)

It is possible to adapt TaL AM to other time allocations in consultation with the school's Program Director and coordinators.

(Q) How is TaL AM adapted to students with different capabilities?
(A) (*) The material is designed so that it differentiates between the program's core curriculum and material for reinforcement and enrichment.
(*) Content and skills are acquired by activating multiple intelligences.
(*) The program enables students to use the communication channels they prefer, and is adaptable to their spheres of interest.
(*) The program is structured around a virtual classroom comprised of diverse students, each demonstrating how s/he learns.
(*) Teachers receive training assisting them in the adaptation of the program to the students' needs.

(Q) What subjects/fields of knowledge does the program consist of?
(A) TaL AM covers subjects taught in day schools in the Diaspora, and differs slightly from grade to grade, as certain subjects are introduced in later stages. These subjects include:
(*) Literacy track teaching reading, writing and oral expression
(*) The Jewish Year, covering daily life in the classroom, at home, and in the environment; Shabbat; the Jewish holidays.
(*) Torah
(*) Parashat Hashavua (the weekly Torah portion)
(*) Prophets and Navi
(*) Prayer
(*) Oral Law: Mishna
(*) History
Schools implementing TaL AM do not require any other learning materials aside from Chumash and Siddur.

(Q) What materials and scholastic aids does TaL AM consist of?
(A) TaL AM features a broad range of materials for the student, classroom, teacher, home and parents:
(*) For the student: workbooks, CDs, CD-ROM, books for guided reading
(*) For the teacher: manuals and big books
(*) For the classroom: posters, big pictures, games, CDs, CD-ROMs, library books and project books
(*) State of the art Internet website

(Q) What is the cost of TaL AM?
(A) The price lists for TaL AM materials for Grades 1-5 are available on our website. Please visi our webstore at http://www.talam.org.

(Q) Which TaL AM grades are available for purchase for this school year?
(A) Grades 1 to 5..

(Q) Who is TaL AM intended for?
(A) The program is suitable for schools with an affinity for the State of Israel, that are committed to teaching Judaic subjects in Hebrew, and which acknowlege the importance of professionl development and have their teachers participate in the Teacher Training Institutes.

(Q) What training is required of TaL AM teachers? What is the cost of this training?
(A) Teachers intending to implement TaL AM are required to participate in two training institutes:
Institute 1 - 5 days, prior to the commencement of the school year. Cost: US$800.
Institute 2 - 4 days, mid-year. Cost: US$720. These prices include registration fees and full accommodations, and do not include travel expenses

Teachers from schools that advanced to a new grade level are eligible for a full subsidy covering participation in their grade level institute thanks to a grant from the AVI CHAI Foundation.

(Q) When and where can one participate in TaL AM institutes in preparation this school year?
(A) Please visit www.talam.org/trainning.html for the dates and locations of our upcoming training institutes.

(Q) Who finances TaL AM?
(A) Many entities are involved in funding TaL AM: firstly, the AVI CHAI Foundation, which generously invests in the development and publication of the program, and enables schools to purchase TaL AM materials at a 33% discount. In addition, The Canadian Government; The Jewish Agency: The Jewish Zionist Education Dept.; The Pinkus Foundation, and numerous other donors are involved. Most of the funding, however, is derived from the proceeds generated by TaL AM sales to schools throughout the Jewish world.

(Q) What tools are provided in TaL AM to assess student progress?
(A) The TaL AM graded curriculum offers:
1. Graded benchmarks for the development of communicative skills.
2. Rubrics for assessment to be used by students and teachers in order to evaluate learning.
3. A spiraled and graded format enabling the development of a progress portfolio by teachers and students.
The curriculum provides teachers with tools to prepare portfolios per grade and per student, throughout the school year. The content knowledge, thinking and learning skills are assessed at the end of each thematic unit. The students’ reading, writing and speaking are assessed by the end of the first term, and at the beginning of the third term. They are examined according to established benchmarks and assessment rubrics per grade. The outcomes are used to inform and guide instruction, and to facilitate differentiated and active intervention. At the end of the year the class portfolio is handed over to next year’s teacher in order to enable him/her to activate prior knowledge and skills so that learning can be expanded in the new grade.

(Q) What can be done if the transition from grade to grade is not seamless – i.e. if there is a gap in knowledge or skills?
(A) 1. Identify missing knowledge and/or skills for first term learning.
2. Compensate through repeated modeling and direct teaching of skills the students are lacking.
3. Provide professional development for teachers in order to enable them to adjust the curriculum and better monitor the core skills and content.
4. Contact TaL AM and ask for the aid of a TaL AM Liaison.

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