Hands On Developing a Lesson

I'll take you through a short Chumash lesson, step by step.
We're working in Beraishis, chapter 1.
כד ויאמר אלהים תוצא הארץ נפש חיה למינה בהמה ורמש וחיתו ארץ למינה ויהי כן

For this lesson, we're exploring the meaning of the words בהמה ורמש וחיתו ארץ.
What are these three categories? Which animals are they referring to?
We will be studying the approach of the רמבן and אבן עזרא.

My objectives:
1. Students will know how the רמבן and אבן עזרא define these terms.
2. Students will compare and contrast each approach and identify the differences.
3. Students will continue to practice their reading and analytical skills.

Download Animals.notebook

If I Didn't Have a Smartboard

Have students read the meforshim (perhaps in chavrusah partnerships), then discuss the similarities and differences between the two.
Draw a chart on the board that categorize the different definitions and clearly show the contrast between them.
As part of the assessment process, mention various animals and ask students to assign them to the right category according to the various opinions.

Using the Smartboard

The first part remains the same--students read the meforshim. I used chavrusah partnerships for this exercise.
Students were asked to share what they had learned.
Then I went to my Smartboard to bring up a chart (created in advance):

This is similar to what I would have drawn on the board, with a few differences:
1. Colors to make it look more exciting
2. Pictures to add an element of interest
3. Finally, there's an interactive element, which I'll demonstrate in a moment.

Note the pairings of the various animals. I deliberately chose groups that clearly demonstrated the contrast between these two commentaries.
For example, אבן עזרא says בהמה refers to domesticated animals, while רמבן says it refers to herbivores (whether wild or domestic). I put the elephant together with the cow, which fits the רמבן's approach to בהמה, but not אבן עזרא, so students can actually see the differences.

Students were asked to put each group of animals in the right place on the chart. Here's what happened as they did:

And here's the completed chart:


As students put each item in place I asked them to explain why it fit, and emphasized the differences in the two approaches--for example, why the cow and elephant did not fit the אבן עזרא's approach.