Virtual School Meanderings

February 11, 2020

2020-2021 Catalogs Have Arrived!

Note these opportunities and resources.

Time to Power-Up Jewish Learning!
Get Your 2020-2021 Catalog
Lookstein Virtual offers online courses and curricular materials in Jewish texts, Jewish history, and Jewish values. Available in a range of academic levels and models to help you meet the needs in YOUR school!
Email for more information on all courses and to find out how to apply for an early bird discount!
Power-Up Your Israel Studies
Bring Israel into your elementary or middle school classroom with our digital Israel studies curriculum!
Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy | (646) 568-9737 |
The Lookstein Center | The Lookstein CenterBar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, 5290002 Israel


November 26, 2019

Are You Ready For The Turn Of The Decade?

Note these learning opportunities below.
Ready to Give Your Jewish Studies
a Power-Up this Spring?
Try one (or more!) of these:
2 – EMPOWER your female leaders and leaders-to-be and harness the power of a cohort of Jewish women with In Their Footsteps: Women’s Leadership in the Bible and Today.
3 – EXPAND your elective offerings with varied options including Sage AdviceDeveloping a Jewish Ethical Voice, and Inspirational Jewish Figures of the 20th Century.
5 – ENRICH learning opportunities with more rigorous options including Quest for EliyahuProvoking Change: Trei Asar Part I, and Remembering the Holocaust.
6 – BLEND your tried and true classroom strategies with excellent digital materials and assessment tools with one of our blended options.
Not sure which way to go? None of these suggestions exactly right?
Email or schedule a chat at and let us know what YOU need, so that we can share our full range of courses and models.
Get Ready for 2020-2021!
The early bird catches the worm, and special pricing, and the best cohorts!
Power-Up Your Israel Studies!
Bring Israel into your elementary or middle school classroom with our digital Israel studies curriculum!
Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy | (646) 568-9737 |
The Lookstein Center | The Lookstein CenterBar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, 5290002 Israel


November 6, 2019

Professional Development Opportunities From The Lookstein Center Available Now

Note these professional learning opportunities from this international Jewish-focused organizations that manages a virtual school.

Higher-Level Thinking in חומש and פרשנים
Presented By: Zvi Grumet, Director of Education
Date and Time: Nov 24, Dec 1, & Dec 8 @10 AM EST
Number of Sessions: 3
Price: $135
15% discount for members!
This 3-part series will equip middle and high school חומש educators to elevate student thinking, learning, and personal connection to text.
Together we will explore:
•Moving the study of חומש beyond translation
•Engaging students in the process of interacting with the texts they are learning
•Focused critical reading of פרשנים
•How to make פשט and דרש meaningful categories for students
Chanukah EdTech Power-Up
Presented By: Hyim Brandes, Director of Technology & Shani Sicherman, Educational Content Manager
Date and Time: Nov 21 OR Nov 25 @2 PM EST
Number of Sessions: 1
Price: $30
15% discount for members!
This session will explore how incorporating educational technology can upgrade an old, stale lesson on Chanukah to something new and exciting to keep your students engaged. Participants will walk away with some ready-to-use Chanukah EdTech tools for the classroom, such as:
•Interactive versions of the Chanukah story
•A digital candle lighting ceremony
•Chanukah singalongs
•Online dreidel competitions and more!
This course is designed for a supplementary school audience but may be relevant to elementary teachers in Jewish day schools as well.
Best Practices in Israel Guidance
Presented By: Naomi Schrager, Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy Director of Education
Date and Time: December 15 & 22 @10 AM EST
Number of Sessions: 2
Price: $90
15% discount for members!
This 2-part course explores effective Israel Guidance in Jewish High Schools. The goal of any Israel Guidance program is to assist students with finding the ‘perfect fit’ in an Israel Program. We will present best practices which will enable you to:
•Generate ‘buzz’ about Israel programs in your school community
•Effectively communicate and coordinate with parents, Israel programs, and college counselors
•Create a ‘checklist’ for your guidance program
•Network with other Israel Guidance Directors
Information presented will be based on experience, communication with professionals in the field, and published data.
The Lookstein Center | The Lookstein CenterBar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, 5290002 Israel


April 2, 2018

Your Ethos Community Newsletter For March 2018

One for my Kiwi readers that showed up overnight.

Your newsletter from the Ethos Online Community – March 2018

Kia ora, talofa lava, and greetings,

I am writing this newsletter from my sunny garden, with a little round belly very full of chocolate and other such treats. I hope everyone else has had an equally indulgent and lovely Easter.

As well as eating far too much sugar, we at Ethos have been doing a little reflection upon this newsletter. Ethos started the newsletter 9 years ago now and it has been a big part of the community, and we’ve had heaps of positive feedback about how valuable they are. We’ve noticed recently, however, more and more bounce backs from our newsletter distribution.

Nowadays everyone has so many newsletters to choose from, and so many emails to keep up with, and we don’t want to be part of the problem by clogging up people’s inboxes. So, we’ve decided it may be for the best to put a hold on the newsletter for now.

The community itself will not be changing at all, and will still be very much in existence as a place for conversations and for sharing ideas and resources. We love everyone’s contributions, it is honestly one of the most interesting projects to work on, being exposed to such knowledgeable content from you, the members, every month – so thank you all so much for your involvement and we encourage you to continue getting involved.

Please do let us know if you have any feedback, or thoughts, on this. We can always look at resuming the newsletter at a later date if people are interested.

We hope to keep seeing amazing things from all our members! Thank you all for helping make the Ethos online community what it is :-)

Welcome to new members – March

The Ethos Online Community now has 455  members. Hope you will all give a warm haere mai (welcome) to the new members to the community:

  • Larbi Bayti is an EFL teacher all the way from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Larbi is particularly interested in how social media can assist EFL learning

  • Joining us from Nova Scotia, Canada, we have Jean Guibault. Jean develops and hosts online content related to education and business training and is therefore looking to hear more, learn and exchange ideas

Know anyone who would like to join an international Online Community that’s all about learning – across all education sectors, business & ITOs: Please invite them :)

Member Blog Posts and discussions

In this newsletter, as always, we have some interesting posts. Please jump into the conversations and feel free to ask questions.

  • Madeline Campbell discusses her journey from a teacher, who accessed professional learning from time to time – but rarely due to her somewhat remote setting, to a teacher who’s teaching spaces became sites of continuous professional learning and inquiry. Read about the little questions that sparked this transformation in Teaching IS Inquiry

  • John S. Oliver takes some time to reflect upon the amazing, weird and wonderful world of nature. In this post he writes about the more puzzling aspects of the everyday world that surrounds us

  • Gaining an MBA degree was once considered one of the highest business qualifications one could acquire. Recent stats have suggested that nowadays, only 7% of MBA students are qualified enough to get a decent job. In Why an MBA degree is still relevant today, Maisie Headey discusses why this may be the case. Maisie says the interest in MBAs is still present, and in fact this may be the issue. With a large number of MBA colleges forming over the years, industry simply can’t absorb all the graduates. Maisie also questions whether the quality of the MBA education has dropped, thanks to lack of experienced educators, infrastructure etc. So what will happen to this qualification? Do others question its relevance or have ideas on how this issue may be fixed?

  • Smart phones and technology are ingrained in many young people’s lives now, and this means they are also becoming a part of teachers’ lives. A lot of schools are encouraging students to access their smartphones during class in order to research etc. However, does this pose a large distraction for students? Leigh Hynes discusses some techniques to get around this while also ensuring technology is used to the best of its ability to inform all students and allow for a better learning experience – take a look; What can secondary teachers do differently?

  • See How Education Has Changed and Imagine What is Coming is a great little illustration that shows how the resources students have access to and the tools they use daily to learn have changed so much over the years. It also poses the question, what’s next?

  • We live in pretty amazing times, with advanced technology, science, education etc. enabling people to change the world in drastic ways. The arrival of the internet and social media has also allowed people more awareness of others situations and issues. It seems more common for the people driving change to be of a young age. Adam Fletcher looks at some of the ways our young people are changing the world right now and then at the ways parents, teachers, business people, and adults, every day, can help ensure that young people are paving the road to the future with five easy steps

  • The SAMR model for learning languages questions students’ abilities to effectively utilise technology in their education. Classrooms are becoming less teacher-led and Chitose Izuno argues that education needs to be structured in a way that maximises the benefits technology offers. Chitose looks at this with a particular focus on language learning. SAMR is a learning model teachers can use to effectively integrate technology in education. This model may help us to better navigate across technology enabled learning landscape. Head over to her blog post to find out about the 4 different levels of SAMR and how you can use it with your students

  • Allanah King writes about the importance of finding the right tool for the job. With so many resources available to teachers now, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or to give up completely on finding the right fit. Is it a case of less is more? Or do we simply need to figure out the best form of research on these tools? The right tool for the job looks at the art of doing just that

  • Ashwini Datt is still looking for educators that teach with technologies or are keen on adopting education technologies in the future. Ashwini is doing her doctoral research and is looking for some input from NZ academics. The research (University of Auckland Ethics approved #018812)  aims to identify the value of networks in developing higher educators’ capacity for teaching with technologies. More details can be found in the participant information sheet​. You can complete an anonymous questionnaire (10 mins of your time) and/or volunteer for a semi-structured interview that will last about an hour. Any outputs/publications – in addition to what will be available in the public domain ​- will be shared with all participants once published for wider dissemination.

Recommended videos

From the ever growing repository of videos (1,646 in total – thanks as always to John S Oliver for his awesome contributions), these are a just few of the highlights – there were plenty more this month, so make sure to check them out.

  • TEDx Talk Tryon – Teaching took on a whole new meaning for this high school teacher turned biofuel eco-preneur, when her students became her teachers. She learned how to transform waste into biofuel while at the same time identifying the enormous waste of knowledge, creativity and expertise that too often happens in our classrooms – I love teaching so much…. I quit

  • This talk (Creativity in the classroom) was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Catherine Thimmesh discusses why creativity is an essential tool for today’s students, and how teachers can easily encourage and foster the development of creative thinking skills. Along the way, she dispels some commonly held myths about what creativity is or is not, suggests some concrete prompts that can be used quickly in any classroom, and bemoans the fact that she still doesn’t have a jetpack!

  • For the last 24 years, he has repeatedly asked students the same question, “What makes a good teacher great?” Azul Terronez is the author of the best-selling book “The art of Apprenticeship”, and has coached teachers and schools leaders around the world in Spain, Chile, Canada, India, United States and China. He is currently serving as a teacher coach at Shanghai American School. Watch this video to get some insight into his research

  • By focusing tightly on instructional strategies and PD, educators at Cochrane Collegiate Academy saved their school from closure. In just three years, they have doubled student performance, and they continue to reach higher. How to engage underperforming students looks at their journey to success

  • After 31 years as a prominent and well-respected Financial Times columnist, Lucy Kellaway has made the decision to leave – to be a maths teacher. There are many programmes encouraging fresh graduates to enter the teaching profession, but what about seasoned professionals? In her talk, Lucy will reframe the way we think about being an educator and why it’s more important than ever to be one now

  • What are the 4 Cs? Learn how critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity are essential 21st-century skills for today’s students

What’s on?

The FLANZ Conference 2018: Inception to Infinity takes place at Massey University, Palmerston North on April 9th.  Please feel free to add events to share them, or just let me know and I’ll add them :-)

Nāku iti nei, faafetai lava, and warm regards


Charlotte Caines
Community Coordinator

Ethos Consultancy NZ Ltd

PO Box 90391, Victoria Street West,
Auckland 1142
Phone +64 (0)9 9738027 / +64 (0)9 5750206
Mobile +64 (0)21 2273777
Web site:
Email addresses: /
Skype: hazelowendmc

March 4, 2018

Your Ethos Community Newsletter for February 2018

Another newsletter for my Kiwi readers to begin their week.

Your newsletter from the Ethos Online Community – February 2018

Kia ora, talofa lava, and greetings,

We have had SO many great posts this month. Thank you guys for getting involved and sharing all your amazing opinions, experiences and resources. I won’t blather on for too long, so you have more time to scroll through all of Feb’s content.

We have a great story from Denise Arnolds this month about both taking time to help others, but also about the cost of success.

Success is obviously what we all aim for when working towards a goal. However, do we ever consider that with more success comes more boundaries? We are outputting more and therefore may need more resources / time / money etc. to sustain the success.

Denise encountered a situation where the success of her company at one stage was actually hindering its ability to get over the next hurdle. Take a read of Denise’s post to find out how she faced this challenge head on and actually used it as an opportunity to identify, and address, where her efforts should be focused.

Joanna Wheway also posts this month about another key to success – observation and learning from others’ mistakes. While it is easy to notice those who are achieving great things, and try and figure out why, we shouldn’t forget to take note of those not doing the best jobs.

It’s always interesting to note what behaviours and qualities the people around you possess that make you feel something negative. Have you ever had a boss who garnered little respect? Or who ignited anger in team members? Think about why this was and what you’d do differently in the same situation – and then do it!

It would be great to hear what other think of success and hurdles. What situations have you been through that have made you analyse success? Have you ever witnessed your own success as obstacle? Let us know!

Welcome to new members – February

The Ethos Online Community now has 453  members. Hope you will all give a warm haere mai (welcome) to the new members to the community:

  • Howard Roberts, a freelance writer based in Stockton, CA, United States. Howard is hoping the community can help him learn new things – we hope so too :-)

  • Larbi Bayti joins us from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where she is an EFL teacher, and is particularly interested in teaching EFL students through twitter.

Know anyone who would like to join an international Online Community that’s all about learning – across all education sectors, business & ITOs: Please invite them :)

Member Blog Posts and discussions

In this newsletter, as always, we have some interesting posts. Please jump into the conversations and feel free to ask questions.

  • Denise Arnold established The Cambodia Charitable Trust several years ago with the aim to break the poverty cycle through education. Through providing resources to enable a higher level of education, putting effort into closing education disparities between the sexes and ensuring education is more accessible, this is a goal that Denise has made true strides towards achieving. However, her success suddenly became an obstacle. She realised that one of the secondary schools, which was taking on the graduates of the primary schools the trust was supporting, was now overfull and having to turn students away. But with a little community spirit, generosity and determination, the community and the trust managed to come together to build more classrooms and provide further resources to ensure students have the choice of a secondary story. An inspirational story and a great example of good will overcoming obstacles. Read more in  Education in rural Cambodia – some of the challenges of success

  • Media literacy looks at media education in New Zealand and people’s ability to critically analyse the media they consume. The advent of the Internet has necessitated a whole new take on media literacies and it’s a fascinating field. Research show that hile young people are now very confident at finding information, they lack the ability to be critical about its accuracy, authority and sourcing. This is a great post from Helen Martin, referencing the research of Alan Norman, along with his tips on what we can do to help our youth approach this differently. There’s also a very interesting example of website ownership which is bound to make you think.

  • Monika Kern shares her experience using the collaborative online tool, Padlet. Padlet is essentially an online wall where users can post sticky notes. It is great for encouraging brainstorming sessions and the sharing of ideas and information. Check out Padlet Walls to learn more about the tool and Monika’s own experience and tips.

  • Higher education is a privilege, however, it is one that comes at a cost. With university education now more expensive than it has ever been, as well as more common than it has ever been – it begs the questions, does it really give you and edge and is it worth the investment? The real costs of higher education from Maxine Wells delves into the burden that can come with a degree. She’s also included an infographic that looks at the journey of education prices and how today’s generation have it compared to previous generations.

  • Adam Fletcher has very kindly put together an in depth guide on using reflection as a tool to encourage student voice. The process of looking back on an experience and deciphering the meaning of it can help students feel safe and grow the confidence they need to develop student voice. Seven Student Voice Reflection Activities outlines the activities Adam uses, the methods and context in which he does so and some tips to ensure their as effective as possible. Let us know how you get on with them

  • This month we get another installment on Joanna Wheway’s journey as a new principal. Joanna speaks of how her experience as a teacher and an employee of the education system is shaping how she is trying to behave as a leader. In Time got away from me! Joanna reflects on witnessing educators behaving in a selfish manner to further their career rather than focusing on how they can aid the teachers and students. This is a good reminder that even negative encounters can act as a lesson and shape our behaviours.

  • The negative effects of screens on young brains is a topic that has been up for discussion since technology became such an integral part of our lives. John Owen links us to an interesting article looking at the work of psychologist, Dr. Aric Sigman. Sigman believes that exposure to screens in young children can lead to a lack of empathy and that the longer we wait to give children screen time, the more intellectual advantage they will have. In Screens damage young brains, John notes the slightly sensationalist nature of the claims. Does this have an impact on the use of technology for learning? Does this actually support the concept of blended learning, where technology-based and traditional learning methods are pulled together within a syllabus? Do we need to help people understand the limitations of different forms of interaction – online, on the phone, face-to-face? It would be great to hear others thoughts.

  • John S. Oliver reflects on the delicate balancing acts we must all battle regularly in order to achieve harmony in our lives. For example ensuring we are productive, yet also making it a priority to have down-time and look after ourselves. There are small challenges we face everyday and then bigger picture things that take more time and consideration. Read all of John’s deliberations here.

  • Walter Ruhlman discusses his (by the sounds of it, frustrating) experience trying to get his university students to produce ePortfolios. Walter talks of their inability to correctly perform the task and, perhaps worse, to show any interest in understanding what is required. After putting in much time and effort, as well as discussing this issue with many other educators, Walter is still at a loss. He surmises the disinterest may be because the subject is not directly what they wish to study, but rather a prerequisite for the course. Does anyone have suggestions for Walter? How have others engaged students who seemed wholly uninterested?

Also recommended

As always you have contributed a superb variety of posts this month. Thank you. Here are some of the posts and topics that you may find of interest:

  • Not wanting to be too depressing, but natural disasters can affect anyone, anywhere. It is a positive outcome of the earthquakes in Christchurch to see a practical guide being written that suggests how institutions can prepare for such disasters…before they happen. Sustainable programme design: A guide to help institutions prepare for natural disasters…in advance looks at the project that could help us be in the best way possible for a disaster.

  • What is the difference between discussion forums, blogs and wikis. This post is a brief answer to that question. It is really worth looking at the examples of the wikis and blogs in education, and also watching the video about discussion forums as they might give you some ideas of how a learning experience could be extended or enhanced. Please also feel free to share your ideas in the comment box at the end of this post.

  • Effective coaching questions looks at the particular characteristics of a ‘good’ coaching questions. A good coaching question has the power to support a coachee in a range of different ways. Well-framed questions can positively stimulate thought, motivate, inspire, and help your coachee recognise their own strengths such that they remain motivated, energised and focussed.

Recommended videos

From the ever growing repository of videos (1,628 in total – thanks as always to John S Oliver for his awesome contributions), these are a just few of the highlights – there were plenty more this month, so make sure to check them out.

  • To conclude a week in which they focussed on resilience, a little over 400 students on the UniPrep programme rehearsed and performed (they were prepared and conducted by Igelese Ete) a cover of this inspiring and powerful song in under 4 hours (Identity: This is me cover by AUT STUDENTS) UniPrep is a five-week programme that supports students as they transition from high school to tertiary studies to realise and unleash their potential.

  • Just three countries- the United States, Myanmar (formerly Burma), and Liberia, still resist the metric system. Ever wonder why? Watch Mr. Beat’s video to find out – Why Don’t the U.S., Myanmar, and Liberia Use the Metric System?

  • John S. Oliver has shared a number of videos this month around the amazing story of Abby and Brittany Hensel. Abby and Brittany are currently in their last year of teachers college – and they’re conjoined twins. These videos look at how the students reacted to being exposed to this unusual situation, how the school prepared them, and how the twins tackle being two teachers in one body. There’s also a video looking at the challenges the women have faced through their unique situation and how they’ve still gone on to overcome these and become so well accomplished. Such an inspirational story; “WE GOT A JOB!” Abby and Britt, The Conjoined Teachers, Get Hired, Abby and Brittany Hensel: The Conjoined Teachers!, Abigail & Brittany Hensel – The Twins Who Share a Body – take a look.

What’s on?

Lots of other things happening (online courses, conferences and other opportunities) including the FLANZ Conference 2018: Inception to Infinity on April 9 at Massey University in Palmerston North, NZ. Please feel free to add events to share them, or just let me know and I’ll add them :-)

Nāku iti nei, faafetai lava, and warm regards


Charlotte Caines
Community Coordinator
Ethos Consultancy NZ Ltd

PO Box 90391, Victoria Street West,
Auckland 1142
Phone +64 (0)9 9738027 / +64 (0)9 5750206
Mobile +64 (0)21 2273777
Web site:
Email addresses: /
Skype: hazelowendmc

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