TaL AM 4 has been pilot tested for 2 years, and is being implemented in 12 schools in Canada, the U.S and Europe. The first edition is being launched for the 2007-2008 school year.
The program was written and designed based on:
- The feedback garnered from 2 pilot testing years and pilot teachers' conferences;
- Feedback on the implementation of TaL AM 1-3 and Tal Sela 2-4;
- The analysis of videotaped teaching samples;
- A Think Tank participated in by researchers, educators and curriculum developers;
- A review of professional literature pertaining to the brain; types and forms of learning; instructional methods and skills; evaluation tools; curriculum development; the development of Hebrew as a communicative heritage language; the instruction of reading and writing, as well as Torah, Prayer and Oral Law; deliberations and discussions by the writing teams.
TaL AM 4 is a spiraled continuation of TaL AM 3, both in skills and in content,
and is organized in five aligned and interconnected tracks, three of which continue
from TaL AM 3: The Jewish Year, Parashat Hashavua & Tefilah and Torah. TaL AM 4 also
introduces two additional tracks to the curriculum: Mishna (Tora she'Be'al'pe) and Navi (Prophets).
TaL AM 4 continues to develop the Hebrew Environment surrounding the children in the classroom, extending into the home through the workbooks and library books they study and read at home. Whereas in Grades 1, 2 & 3 the students focus on exposure to and acquisition of language, concepts and skills, in Grade 4 they are introduced to the analysis tool. Their Hebrew environment, therefore, begins to reflect the internalizing aspect of language skills.
TaL AM 4 also continues to employ the Virtual Classroom, whose students grow and develop together
with the students, serving as models for the construction of a learning community.
Grade 4 has been identified as a transitional year during which students undergo changes in language and character development. TaL AM 4 focuses, therefore, on behavior and conduct, and on the construction of a community in which the children can work together in order to promote cooperation and facilitate successful learning. This concept is modeled by the Virtual Classroom. Each theme examines the congruency between the main concepts it presents and how the Unified Class can work to internalize and implement them together.
The Jewish Year Track
This track includes the following units:
Hakita Hameuchedet - Daily life in the class and at home;
The Holidays - linked to Mishna (Oral Law);
and The Memory Folder.
The Jewish Year track does not include a Shabbat unit in Grade 4; the time previously allocated to Shabbat is now devoted to Mishna (Oral Law).
Hakita Hameuchedet (Everyday Life)
This unit engages students with the rules of etiquette and good manners, linking them to Jewish sources and selected proverbs of Chazal (the Jewish sages), and to the Mishna track.
Hakita Hameuchedet consists of the following materials:
1 student workbook; 2 books for guided reading; 9 library books; 2 sets of flash cards; 1 CD.
This sub-track consists of 6 units covering the major Jewish holidays:
The High Holidays; Chanukah; Tu Bishvat; Purim; Pessach & Shavuot; Yom Ha'atzmaut & Yom Yerushalayim. Each unit is linked to the new Mishna (Oral Law) track through the proverbs and commentaries of Chazal, and - where appropriate - to the sources (Yom Kippur is connected to the book of Yonah, Purim to Megilat Esther, Pessach to the Haggadah and Shavuot to Megilat Ruth).
Key concepts and aspects of the holidays that were studied in Grades 1, 2 & 3 are expounded on and linked to the Jewish sources. In the High Holidays unit, for example, the concept of Tshuva is further developed and illustrated through the stages of Tshuva outlined by the Rambam.
The Holidays sub-track consists of the following materials:
The High Holidays:
1 student workbook; 3 books for guided reading; 4 library books; 1 sets of flash cards; 1 CD.
1 student workbook; 1 books for guided reading; 2 library books; 2 project books; 1 sets of flash cards; 1 CD.
1 student workbook; 1 book for guided reading; 5 library books; 1 set of flash cards; 1 CD.
1 student workbook; 1 book for guided reading; 3 library books; 1 set of flash cards; 1 CD.
Pessach & Shavuot:
2 student workbooks; 2 books for guided reading (including the TaL AM Haggadah); 4 library books; 1 set of flash cards; 2 CDs.
Yom Ha'atzmaut & Yom Yerushalayim:
1 student workbook; 2 books for guided reading; 3 library books; 1 CD. The Jewish Year track will also feature a series of Big Pictures assisting the students in reading comprehension, as well as environmental posters linked to the Holidays, to the Torah track, and to Hebrew language acquisition.
The Memory Folder
This folder develops the children's assessment skills, their ability to identify the essential content they have learned in each unit and track, and to determine what the would like to store for future retrieval and to incorporate into their lives. The students learn how to categorize, classify and file this information - both physically and in their memory - through a process of emotional and conceptual evaluation. In order to facilitate this process, the Memory Folder contains a set of worksheets for enrichment and reinforcement, which the children complete in each unit.
The Torah Track
The Torah track focuses on Sefer Shmot, and further develops reading and comprehension skills in Chumash, introducing Torah commentary. Following 3 years of studying Modern Hebrew and 2 years of exposure to and study of Biblical Hebrew, the children have a foundation on which they can develop their Biblical textual skills.
The students learn "Darka Shel Torah" - the specific ways of approaching the Torah text, e.g.: identifying and guiding key words; determining the significance linguistic of repetition; discovering and understanding Biblical ellipsis; recognizing the structure of the Biblical narrative. These aspects of the Bible can only be studied in the language in which it was written, as they lose their prominence and significance in translation.
The Torah workbooks are structured along the following themes:
Yetziat Mizraim (Chapters 1-17)
Matan Torah (Chapters 18-24)
Bniyat Hamishkan (Chapters 25-30)
The unit consists of the following materials:
3 student workbooks; 3 chumashonim; 3 sets of flash cards; 3 CD-ROMs containing the audio-visual reading of the Parashot; 6 classroom posters, one of which (The Sages) is shared with the Parashat Hashavua track; Big Pictures.
The Parashat Hashavua & Tefilah Track
This track is comprised of two sub-tracks: Parashat Hashavua and Tefilah.
The Parashat Hashavua Track includes 3 units, covering the four Chumashim taught throughout the school year: Bereshit, Shmot, Vayikra and Bemidbar. In Grade 4 this track offers various commentaries on selected verses, introducing the children to the concept of multiple answers and possibilities, which is fundamental to Jewish thought, scholarship and tradition. Students are encouraged to select the commentary that best reflects their opinion, thereby engaging in the act of interpretation. They then extract the message they learned from the Parasha and find its application in their own lives, sharing it as a Dvar Torah with their families at home.
The unit consists of the following materials:
4 student workbooks; 4 CDs containing songs, blessings and the chanting of selected verses according to traditional cantillation; 2 classroom posters, one of which (The Sages) is shared with the Torah track.
The Tefilah Track focuses on Psukei D'Zimra and on the Shema prayer and its blessings, from the Shma we say in the morning to the Shma we say at night before we go to sleep.
The unit consists of the following materials: 1 student workbook; 1 book for guided reading (Birchon); 4 library books; 1 CD; 1 classroom poster; 1 set of flash cards.
The Mishna Track
This new track introduces the students to the sages and to Pirkei Avot, its Mishnayot linked to the children's everyday lives. This tractate relates to the theme of behavior and conduct, developed through the concept of the Unified Class. The children are taught that it is customary to study Mishna in the synagogue on Shabbat afternoons, between Mincha and Ma'ariv. The reading of the Avot tractate begins after Pesach.
The unit is composed of the following materials:
1 workbook; an annotated Mishna containing key questions and explanations; 2 library books.
The Navi Track
This new track introduces the students to the prophets, beginning with the book of Yehoshua. The students are taught that the Nevi'im books are read during Shabbat as the Haftarah portion. The unit begins with an introduction to the book of Yehoshua, which links the prophets to Torah, and continues to the book itself, focusing on the theme of leadership and the settling of the Land of Israel.
The unit is composed of the following materials:
1 student workbook; 1 book for guided reading.
TaL AM 4 is organized in five discipline-based tracks:
Shay - Shana Yehudit, The Jewish year.
Hakita Hameuchedet - 1 units
Daily life in the classroom and at home.
Holidays - 4 unit
The High Holidays & Hanukah, Tu Bishvat & Purim, Pesach & Shavuot, Yom Ha'atzmaut & Yom Yerushalayim.
The Memory Folder - 1 unit
Toshba - 1 unit
Parashat Hashavua & Tefila - 4 units
Torah - 3 units
Navi - 1 unit
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