Thursday, February 26

The Smartest Idiot I've Ever Met

Smart people who do stupid things. How come? Chronicle of Higher Education reviews a new book on the topic.

Tuesday, February 24

The Teacher's Guide to Cheating

Top 20 (or so) best ways to cheat on an exam; cheating websites; how to buy a term paper; funny cheating stories; and other useful information available here. Or, if you prefer the collected wisdom of the virtual community of students, wikihow lists over 70 methods to cheat. Thankfully, wikihow also teaches how to catch the cheaters.

Sunday, February 22

A Little Black Humor

At the State of Israel's expense... (While we are at it, more from The Onion on the Arab-Israeli conflict).

Thursday, February 19

When We Finally Get Some Peace and Quiet Around Here

When the kids finally move out of the house, we will still have something to talk about? The New York Times says that we probably will.

Tuesday, February 17

How Your School Can Save Money

There has been a lot of talk in recent years about saving money for day schools by buying products and services together in order to benefit from bulk discounts and leverage with suppliers. The new Joint Purchasing Initiative is attempting to do just that. (Many years ago a friend of mine called directory assistance to get the number of the Joint Distribution Committee. When he asked for the number, the poor operator just burst out laughing. I suppose you can only distribute the joints after you have purchased them...)

Monday, February 16

Best Practice: Mishpatim

We're starting a new "column" here at Lamed -- featuring "best practices".
Email us ( with your teaching practices that succeed and we will feature them here.

Jeffrey Saks writes:
When I spent a year as the director of Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim I saw a fantastic "minhag" in the yeshiva: every year during the week of Parshat Mishpatim all of the boys in the yeshiva were expected to learn the parasha and Rashi very well and were quizzed on it at the end of the week. Beyond the general obligation of 2 Mikra ve-1 Targum this was the only time of the year a quiz was given, and it drove home the point that while all parshiyot are created equal, some are "more equal" than others. In other words, if one aspires to be a Talmid Hakham, or even a literate layperson, knowing all the Rashis on Mishpatim constitutes the ABCs of Nezikin. When I first heard about the yeshiva's custom I was a skeptic, but was won over by the end of the week.

Sunday, February 15

More on College Tuition

Pay more money; get less education. Sounds like the perfect formula for strapped economic times.

Thursday, February 12

Poorly Prepared Principals

With all the talk about a principal shortage in Jewish day schools, perhaps its worth looking at what principals know about their trade and how they are trained. Teachers College Record offers an emprical study of what principal training involves, and questions whether it is adequate.

Tuesday, February 10

Student Memory

Information on how memory works, and how that can be used to improve what students (and ourselves) recall.

Sunday, February 8

The Smartest Person in the State of Israel

I once heard Avi Ravitzky describe Ruth Gavison as the smartest person in the State of Israel (I've heard her speak on several occasions, and its hard to argue...). The Jerusalem Post reports on her new initiative to strengthen the connection between the State of Israel and Judaism, in part by undermining the Orthodox monopoly on various State-run religious services (though there is much more to it than that).

Thursday, February 5

Can't Get Too Much of a Mediocre Thing

We all just loved school, didn't we? So why not just have more of it? Larry Cuban explains why more may not be better.

Tuesday, February 3

Boys Will Be Boys

Are new educational techniques improving girls' education, but also harming that of boys? In a new book, (based on an older Newsweek article) Peg Tyre suggests that the answer is "yes." Is she right? Are things likely to be better in a single-sex environment? Are things likely to be worse in an Orthodox environment that has a great deal invested in boy's "book smarts" and hatmadah at a young age?

Sunday, February 1

Favorite Tech Tools

In this forum, teachers suggest their favorite educational websites and tech-tools. See what is out there, or post your own favorites.