Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lev B'Lev - Reflections

So, ultimately, the questions remain:
What worked?
What didn’t?
What should we do differently next time?
What worked:
  • The key concepts made sense, hung together, and worked
  • Having someone help by reviewing the materials for teachers prior to distribution
  • The instant lesson from Torah Aura on “Rambam’s Rungs”
  • Involving congregational school kids AND day school kids in a morning of learning
  • Asking participating schools to plan to arrive between 9:45 and 10:00, so the program could begin promptly at 10:00
  • Assigning students to groups prior to arrival
  • Having extra name labels on hand
  • Identifying good presenters for the topics
  • Giving presenters a “two minute warning” before the end of their sessions.
  • Little time lost in transitions
  • Having envelopes with labels ready to go for tzedakah allocations
  • Literature to go home was distributed at the end of the program, counted and in pre-labeled bags by school.

What didn't work as well:

  • The arrival was chaotic, especially for schools who traveled by carpool.
  • Some of the adult chaperones felt the groups were too large
  • Some felt the hallways were too crowded during the transitions.
  • One teacher said she could have used the teaching materials earlier in the year.
  • We scrambled for presenters at the last minute.
  • The microphone on stage didn’t work.

What we will do differently next year:

  • Begin to identify presenters in the fall, as soon as we have a date on the calendar.
  • Distribute teaching materials in September, so the teachers have adequate time to integrate the materials into their teaching. (This year, there were only three Sunday sessions between the time I distributed the materials and the morning of the program.)
  • Order materials over the summer, so they are ready to go in the fall.
  • Designate the gym as the gathering/arrival place – and get the sign-in sheets to security from the gym instead of at the door.
  • Plan for 12 presenters and 12 rooms (instead of 8 and 8) – that will allow for smaller, more interactive groups and less crowding in the hallway at transition times.
  • Plan a better (stronger) intro session. Continue to use Debbie Friedman’s song – or find a different one? Begin with a brachah/blessing?
  • Make sure chaperones know about the on-line evaluation survey.
  • Design a paper/pencil survey for the kids?
  • Design an evaluation piece for the presenters?

Overall, feedback on the program, presenters, and content has been very positive. But, as always, there’s room to tweak it and make it even better next year!

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