The Laxer Family Jewish Studies-STEAM Project

Montreal’s Jewish schools have embarked upon a new and exciting initiative with the support of the Laxer Family.  The Laxer Family Jewish Studies-STEAM Project will support the ongoing professional development of Judaic studies teachers.  This hard-working, dedicated group of professionals are on a constant quest to maintain the relevance of Judaic Studies for their students and families, and to increase learning and engagement.  The Laxer Family Jewish Studies-STEAM Project will provide Judaic studies teachers with training in educational technology to equip them with a host of dynamic strategies and tools that can be applied in their classrooms.  They will also learn about how the incorporation of cross-curricular STEAM concepts – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math – within the Jewish studies classroom will help students make meaning for themselves across subject areas and deepen their learning within their Judaic studies and general studies classes.

An essential aspect of The Laxer Family Jewish Studies-STEAM Project is customized training opportunities.  The project will involve a combination of face-to-face workshops, inter-school networking, online webinars, and one-on-one mentoring in order to help each and every participating teacher receive the training and support needed to have an impact in their classrooms and on their students. 

In order to accomplish the goals set out for The Laxer Family Jewish Studies-STEAM Project, BJEC has established a partnership with JETS Israel.  JETS Israel is a Jerusalem-based company that specializes in connecting meaningful educational technology concepts and tools to Judaic studies curricula.  In their words, “Through our training, participants have gained the confidence and skills needed for using technology in the classroom, transforming the way they teach. Our model promotes user-friendly, up-to-date Ed Tech tools as well as how to use the technology to engage your students effectively.”  JETS Israel has worked with Jewish schools across the globe, and offers workshops both locally and from remote.  Because of the synergy between our mandates – to promote the use of educational technology and STEAM concepts in Judaic studies classes – BJEC has engaged JETS Israel to deliver professional development and mentoring to Montreal’s Judaic Studies teachers.

The impact of The Laxer Family Jewish Studies-STEAM Project will be monitored throughout the process and a summative evaluation will be conducted at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.  A mix of quantitative and qualitative measures will be used to determine the degree to which The Laxer Family Jewish Studies-STEAM Project has impacted the Judaic studies professionals and classrooms in our school system.

 For more information, contact Keren at Keren.Ludvig@bjec.org.

Update Fall 2019

The Laxer Family Jewish Studies-STEAM Project is going strong!  

In May 2019, CEO Smadar Goldstein came from Israel to deliver professional development to 23 Judaic studies and educational technology professionals.  Following the session, Keren Ludvig, BJEC STEAM Consultant, mentored and coached many of these teachers in small groups and one-on-one to ensure they were comfortable integrating the new concepts and strategies into their classrooms.  Smadar came back for two days in late October 2019 to extend the learning and share classroom applications of various tech tools. 

Our schools are also members of JETS’s JSTEAM Hub, through which we have access to a bank of very high quality lessons that explore Jewish topics through a STEAM lens.  For example, there is a JSTEAM Hub lesson relevant to Rosh Hashana that involves a hands-on science experiment to understand how pitch and embrasure work in making music, explores the emotional impact of different kinds of musical instruments, and examines why the Torah commanded us to commemorate Rosh Hashana with loud blasts, and why the Rabbis determined that these loud blasts should be made with a Shofar.   

Teachers from Hebrew Foundation School learn new Ed Tech tools for Judaic Studies classrooms

Teachers from across Montreal’s Jewish schools experiment with natural learning situations and for Hebrew language acquisition

Proud graduates of the JETS training program for Judaic Studies teachers