Back to School

Here in the southeast we started school over a month ago, so this is a bit of a belated Back to School post. I waited until I could share some news from our first interdisciplinary lessons in Spanish 3, which we completed earlier this week.

You may recall from a post from fall 2021 that I spent last year working with my friend and colleague, Olivia Rocamora, co-creating interdisciplinary curricular units for two Spanish courses. This project was both challenging and rewarding—Olivia and I often referred to our task of building the airplane while flying it—and the team-taught lessons with Señora and La Rabina were popular with students, and with all the teachers in the Spanish department. 

This year, those teachers, Señor Colombini and Señora Shields will join me in teaching the now successfully piloted units in Spanish 2, while Olivia and I build a new airplane for Spanish 3. The Spanish 3 curriculum is particularly well-suited to incorporating Jewish texts, since the topics of La Cultura are all related to ethical behavior and an individual’s responsibility within a community. 

One challenge is to find the two or three texts that best inspire an engaging discussion and healthy debate of issues so relevant to our lives today. 

Our first lesson began with a quick review of the creation stories in Genesis, five Google Slides with headings including, First we were vegans, Then we messed up, so God destroyed us, and We became omnivores. This reminded us of how we’re instructed to relate to the other animals and the environment and led to an exploration of rabbinic texts on the prohibitions against eating the limb of a live animal and senseless waste. We ended with a lively discussion of an excerpt from Rabbi Heather Miller’s A Daily Dose of Talmud article, Ketubot 4: “Marriage or Mourning?

Another exciting challenge of this school year is Weber’s record enrollment: we have four sections of Spanish 2 and three sections of Spanish 3, and a total of 74 students. 

Next week I’ll be in six Spanish 2 classes over the course of four school days. 

It’s exhilarating work!