PoP Update: Spring 2022

What sparks your creativity? How do you infuse this into your teaching and learning practices? 
This PoP update highlights how innovative learning flourishes at the intersections of creativity, empathy, and critical thinking. As you read this update, consider how multimodal learning unlocks interpretive potential for unique, meaningful learning across all ages. Learn how PoP frameworks and protocols have elevated Milton Gottesman's award-winning STEM program. Explore how Adat Shalom staff integrate PoP into their bi-weekly staff meetings. Don’t forget to check out the PoP Havruta Text Study Guide for Shavuot
As the school year draws to a close, we look forward to celebrating together at our PoP Siyum on June 1st, and we wish you a gratifying conclusion to the school year. 

Kol tuv, All the best,

Allison Cook & Orit Kent
Co-Founders and Directors
Pedagogy of Partnership


Where Empathy and Academics Intersect: Preparing Students for the World Beyond the Classroom

At Milton Gottesman, the fourth-grade team has an innovative mission to use the world as their textbook. Their fourth grade STEM program seamlessly blends social-emotional learning, critical thinking, and partnership learning into a holistic educational experience, using the principles of Pedagogy of Partnership (PoP) as the connecting thread that ties it all together.

Throughout the year, students learn about different world cultures in their language arts class while studying climate in their science class. Across these classes, they ask the question: “How does climate affect culture?” to explore how geography drives many culturally distinct trends that we see around the world. Students use PoP language and tools to support empathy in their research, and they use PoP text learning protocols for engaging in partnership learning with their peers and diverse texts. The program culminates in students collaborating to build prototypes as a way to share their findings.

First groups contemplate the question, “what is normal?” as they work in teams to infuse empathy, understanding, and new perspective into their research on different cultures. Groups are then assigned a climate and region to guide their project. One group decided to research headdresses in arid regions such as South America, the Middle East, Asia, and America. Using PoP protocols to research and explore the text together, the group then demonstrated their learning by developing and building a prototype of a headdress using recycled materials. This immersive, partnership learning experience culminates in a school-wide expo with parents, teachers, and students gathering to learn with and from one another, emphasizing the PoP idea, “I have something to learn and something to teach.”


Adat Shalom in Action: Creatively Engaging Staff with PoP

PoP has become more than a classroom tool at Adat Shalom Synagogue in Detroit, Michigan. Melissa Ser, Director of Education, and Sammi Shapiro, Assistant Director of Education, have integrated PoP strategies, resources, and conversations into their biweekly staff meetings with administrators, clergy, and the education team.

In a recent meeting, staff used this PoP-inspired meeting agenda, created by Melissa and Sammi, to help guide their conversations as a staff overall and in havruta. Instead of using text on paper, they used the synagogue’s main sanctuary as their "text" to explore together their synagogue’s goals and mission. Through this process, the staff collaboratively identified new ways of understanding their wonderful space and how to creatively use it for educational, spiritual and practical purposes.


Multimodal Learning: PoP at the Intersection of Creativity and Critical Thinking

Twenty-first century teaching and learning is dynamic, a living and breathing thing. At Pedagogy of Partnership (PoP), we highlight this energy by emphasizing, “When all of the partners (human and text) work together, we can come to learning and insights that we would not have come to on our own.” Each time the partnership engages with the text in a new way, a unique insight has the opportunity to arise. Learning never remains stagnant.

In Jenna’s Jewish studies class, she chooses a critical moment in Megilat Esther to explore with her students. They read about Mordechai approaching Esther and telling her not to stay silent about Haman’s decree. Jenna gives them an assortment of magazines and asks them to create collages representing their interpretations of the scene. Then in havruta (partnership) students discuss their interpretations. One particular student, Levi, has struggled with language and often feels disconnected from the text. By offering students the ability to engage beyond words, Levi’s access to the text is unlocked. Levi adds multiple details from the text to his pictorial interpretation and is able to engage more meaningfully in his havruta. Jenna has selected a modality that opens space for true interpretive potential.

Multimodal learning enters the PoP equation at the moment of interpretation. Students have to truly listen to the text to formulate interpretations that are rooted in textual evidence. With a specific modality in mind, students can return to the text and listen even more closely for intricacies in the text that will help them represent their interpretation in that modality. Multimodal learning and PoP work in harmony, enabling learners to create that dynamic moment in their partnership, crafting a representation of the text unique to those learners. In these moments, students to represent their voice creatively opens a new avenue for the text’s voice to be heard even more clearly.

Impact Spotlight

Jenessa Schwartz, Middle School Teacher and PoP School Leader at Yavneh Day School

In April, PoP School Leader Jenessa Schwartz won the Ruby Award for Excellence in Jewish Youth Education and Engagement from Jewish Learning Works of San Francisco. In her acceptance, Jenessa shared that the PoP methodology is the basis of how she teaches an integrated text curriculum in middle school. Jenessa uses PoP- based havruta study not only to strengthen students' connection to Jewish practices, but also to cultivate critical thinking and attentive listening.

Mazal tov, Jennesa on this incredible and well-deserved award!


PoP Resource Corner

As the holiday of Shavuot approaches, we invite you to enrich your learning using our havruta text study guide for Shavuot.

Jewish tradition tells us many riveting recountings that report not just that the Torah was given to Moshe but how the process unfolded. This study guide sets the stage for a learning experience imbued with the same exhilaration found in the story itself. We hope you enjoy!


PoP Siyum Celebration for all PoP Educators

June 1, 2022 at 8:00 PM Eastern / 7:00 PM Central / 5:00 PM Pacific

We will celebrate the work of PoP teachers and school leaders across the country! If you are interested in attending please contact [email protected].

PoP Online Introductory Institute

Monday, June 27-Wednesday, 29, 2022 at 1:00-5:00 PM Eastern / 12:00-4:00 PM Central / 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM Pacific

Translate your learning into practice and meet the upcoming school year with renewed energy and new tools and materials. This 3-day online program is suited to both Jewish studies and general studies teachers. Please direct any questions to [email protected].


Experienced PoP Educators Institute

Monday, August 8-Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 1:00-5:00 PM Eastern / 12:00-4:00 PM Central / 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM Pacific

Don’t miss the online summer Institute for Experienced PoP Educators with 1 or more years of PoP experience. If you attended the Institute in 2021, you are invited to come back to continue to build your PoP practices with new opportunities for growing your PoP toolkit. Please direct any questions to [email protected].