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2015-2016 Eleanor Meyerhoff Katz z”l Teacher Initiative Award Winners

Enhanced Robotics Course Engages Hochberg Prep Students

Serena Buchholtz, a middle-school science teacher at Hochberg Preparatory School, received a grant to enhance the robotics program. The upgrades will engage students, second grade and up, in active problem solving introduced in a gradual, self-motivated way. Beginner students can experience satisfying achievements immediately and can quickly move on to new challenges.

Lego Robotics Spurs Imaginations at Hebrew Academy

Eugenie Bensimon, a teacher at the Hebrew Academy (RASG), received a grant to purchase Lego Robotics for her third-grade classroom and implement a Tufts University curriculum for science, math and language arts. Among the uses for this technology, her students will build robotic versions of real animals from Lego pieces and develop the habitats in which they live. The youngsters also will create fictional animals developed from their own imaginations.

New Course at Lehrman School Explores the Environment

Linda Schaffzin of Lehrman Community Day School was awarded a grant to introduce “Project Based Learning: Recycling to Become Stewards of the Earth,” a creative course about environmentalism, into the curriculum for students on multiple grade levels. This program is offered to students who have mastered the basic skills of their grade levels and have demonstrated themselves to be independent learners. Participating students take charge of most of the learning, choosing the questions that they want answered and, with the guidance of their teachers, learning how to uncover those answers.

Beth Am Kindergarteners Enjoy New Level of Creative Play

Melissa Bittel, a teacher at Temple Beth Am Day School, received funding to purchase an Imagination Playground Classic Block Set for the school’s kindergarten program. Imagination Playground is a mobile, block-based play system that transforms children’s minds, bodies and spirits through creative play. The block set also will be used to encourage problem solving, collaborative play and imagination.

Mechina Mishmar Series Teaches Jewish Values

Rabbi Aaron Elias of Mechina High School was approved to receive a grant in support of the Mechina Mishmar Program, an approach to Jewish studies that reinforces lessons from the Torah, Talmud and other Jewish studies with first-hand accounts from uniquely qualified speakers. Subjects include Jewish Life Experiences, Culture, History and Jewish Ritual Experiences. Speakers include a former NFL player, a prison chaplain, a commercial pilot, a U.S. Army medic, a kosher butcher and other people with unusual backgrounds and areas of expertise.

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