The How to Learn Gemara Webpage Archived on Geocities.ws

Published: 
February 11, 2010

Source: Tech Rav

 

Almost 9 years ago, Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky created a "How to Learn Gemara" webpage as a culminating class project for a 9th grade Talmud class at The Frisch School. Over the years, he has received tremendous feedback about this site from many Jewish educators site who used it. After the GeoCities webhosting platform folded, the project site became inaccessible. Now that a group of old Geocities members setup geocities.ws and archived the site it is now available again for the benefit of educators and students.

 

Rabbi Pittinsky was teaching a 9th grade Gemara class in The Frisch School in which his primary goal was helping students gain the skills to learn Gemara on their own. As the culmination of a very succesful year, he asked his students to create a website for students just like them, 9th graders in a Yeshiva Day School, teaching them how to learn Gemara.

The students designed every part of the site, deciding what should be included and where. The stronger students focused more on the site content while the weaker students concentrated on the equally important technical aspects of the website. They even got student volunteers from other classes who knew HTML well and could design the code for the main pages.

 

The project accomplished two things:

  1. It summarized for the students all of the important Gemara texts, keywords, and syntax phrases that they learned throughout the year. By teaching them to others through the website, the students learned the material with a depth which any traditional assessment could never match.
  2. It was an excercise in metacognition. Students had to think about how to learn Gemara. They even each wrote essays on How to Learn a Page of Gemara. This gave the students the methodology to tackle a new page of Gemara on their own.

Rabbi Pittinsky highly recommends this type of "active learning" class project in any subject area whether it is on how to learn Gemara or how to write a sonnet. Students will appreciate all your time and effort and remember your class as a highlight of their school experience. However, today he recommends using Wikispaces as the venue of choice for creating and hosting such projects.

Updated: Feb. 18, 2010
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