Sparking Student Creativity on Sefaria: CJE Workshop for Teachers

Welcome! Sefaria’s platform transforms Jewish content into accessible building blocks that students - middle school and older - can use to create and innovate. In this workshop we will explore different ways to spark student creativity and help students take ownership over their learning by enabling them to create their own materials or add content to shared work on Sefaria.

Getting comfortable with the site's basic resources, as well as aspects of our educational vision, will help us use our time together productively. Below, you will find:

  • An introduction to the site
  • A summary of some of the ways that Sefaria impacts education
  • A list of resources for learning more
  • Questions? Ideas? Feel free to reach out to Sara Wolkenfeld, Chief Learning Officer, at [email protected]

For this session to succeed, please be sure that you have mastered the skills below:

What is Sefaria?

We are the People of the Book. For thousands of years, our culture, our traditions, and our values have been transmitted through our texts. From an oral tradition to handwritten scrolls to a vast corpus of printed books, each new medium democratized knowledge, and brought more people into the great Jewish conversation. We are the generation charged with shepherding our texts from print to digital in a way that can expand their reach and impact in new and unprecedented ways.

Sefaria is not merely an archive for preserving Jewish texts; it is a platform meant to give these texts new life. Accordingly, all of our product development efforts are designed to make Sefaria into a better learning and teaching tool. Sefaria is committed to working in partnership with educators to explore and develop the frontiers of Jewish educational technology.

Click here to watch “The Sefaria Story”.

Sefaria co-founder, Brett Lockspeiser, talks to Really Interesting Jews about rethinking the Jewish bookshelf.

“This Torah Study Tool is Everywhere...” Click here to read what they’re saying about Sefaria source sheets.

How Might Sefaria Impact Jewish Learning?

Sefaria's learning department is invested in thinking about how to thoughtfully integrate digital technology to support teaching and learning and enrich Jewish education. Below are some of the ways that Sefaria has begun to transform the learning experience.

#1: Sefaria broadens the range of sources available to learners

  • Navigate the sources by modeling use of Sefaria
  • Translations, dictionaries, and the ability to differentiate with a few clicks

#2: Sefaria teaches students about the interconnected nature of the Jewish library

  • Click on a verse to see what is connected, and spark their curiosity by studying the sidebar experience
  • Students learn that there are themes that connect texts and develop over a lifetime of learning
  • Shift to a more student-centered classroom by teaching from Sefaria's library rather than a sheet
  • Depending on age or skill level, clicking on connections may lead to students reading commentaries, formulating their own ideas, or even crafting a d’var Torah.

#3: Sefaria Increases Textual Independence

  • Topics feature allows students to pursue their own interests
  • Learners may create their own materials, add to a conversation around a shared passage, and build a digital portfolio on Sefaria

#4: Sefaria Allows for Creativity with and Around Jewish Texts

  • Combine artwork, student input, and even engage parents around the texts of our tradition

  • Create public collections or individual sheets to showcase student works and put student and teacher voices in dialogue with one another

  • Teachers can use Sefaria’s visualizations to provide a different perspective on Jewish texts (or challenge students to create their own)

Additional Resources

1) Creating a free Sefaria account takes only a couple a minutes and allows you to use all of Sefaria's features such as making source sheets, taking notes, and saving texts. Directions for creating an account are found here.

2) Watch a Sefaria 101 webinar to get a rundown on the basics of using the Sefaria Library. To learn about and register for future webinars, click here.

3) Try the Pedagogy on Sefaria group for ideas for how to use Sefaria in the classroom

4) The Teach with Sefaria page will direct you to a wide range of materials made especially for educators. Links to tutorials, professional development opportunities, the education blog, and more are available.

5) To delve more deeply into teaching with Sefaria, consider our online educators' course. The lessons include explanations and practice for using all aspects of Sefaria - the library and sheets - effectively in the classroom.

To register for the course, click here.

6) Send your students on a scavenger hunt. Celebrate Passover with Finding the Afikoman - A Passover Scavenger Hunt Teacher's Guide. Delve into the parasha with Where Are You, Parasha? Make your own scavenger hunt with the Scavenger Hunt Template

Questions? Email anytime: [email protected]