About This Blog

Welcome to “Jen’s Blog,” a Moving Traditions blog about the 6th and 7th grade Rosh Hodesh curriculum.

A blog about a curriculum? you ask. What does that mean?

At Moving Traditions we’re developing a lot of new material at the moment: on sexuality, the b’nai mitzvah experience, for trans youth, and a rebooted Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! curriculum. Curriculum writing and program development takes time. With that in mind, this blog is here to give you all some new and exciting material NOW!

We know from conversations and internal evaluation that many Group Leaders find themselves wanting to adapt the  curriculum for their groups. We want to help you in that process.

As an experienced educator and as the primary curriculum writer for the Rosh Hodesh Rebooted curriculum currently being piloted in select locations, I have the expertise and the experience to help. Last year, when I was leading a 6th grade group of girls in Philadelphia, I went through a time intensive process before each group meeting. I looked at the month’s curriculum – Heshvan for example – in the Lev year, then compared it to Heshvan in the Ruach and Kol years. Then I thought about how current events related to the month’s theme, and considered the particular interests and personalities of the girls in my group. Finally, I transformed all of that thinking into notes for my Rosh Hodesh meeting.

In this blog, I will share what I did with my 6th grade Rosh Hodesh group, along with notes on how I adapted the current Rosh Hodesh curriculum to meet the group’s needs. I will also, in real time, share materials I create for my group as we enter the 7th grade year this year.

Who am I?

Along with being a Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! group leader, I am also the Curriculum Specialist at Moving Traditions’ national office in Jenkintown, PA. A little more background on me: I completed a Master’s degree in Education at the University of Pennsylvania where my research focused on teen identity development in out-of-school settings. Outside of Rosh Hodesh, I have experience leading after-school programs for teens as well as specialized classes focused on art, poetry, and mindfulness.    

What’s your role?

The goal is for this blog to be interactive, to not only be a place where I share content, but where you feel welcome to respond to the content I share. I’d love to hear feedback about what you used, what you changed, and how it went.

But is what I did applicable to your group?

I acknowledge that my group of girls with Ashkenazi, upper-middle class backgrounds, while not unusual in the context of Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing!, is not representative of all groups. Your group might be located on the West Coast, you might have Black or Asian or Hispanic Jewish group members, you might have wide social economic status differences among your group members, or your group may be culturally similar to mine but your girls’ personalities and interests might be very different from my girls’. This is all to say that there are so many reasons why a certain activity or topic may vary in effectiveness from one group to another. And your feedback will help other group leaders as they make decisions about how to adapt material for their groups.

Think of this like a recipe blog: I suggest using 2 cups of sugar, you feel 1.5 is sufficient. You share that in the comments under the recipe and everyone making the recipe who prefers not-too-sweet baked goods benefits from your comment. In the context of this blog, perhaps you will comment that you added an extra active icebreaker to your meeting because your group was looking antsy. Or maybe you added a conversation about the US election because you know your group enjoys talking about politics.

Finally, I hope to publish guest posts along the way. If you feel you led a particularly engaging meeting, send your gathering plan notes, along with a few sentences about how you created the material to me at janolik@movingtraditions.org.

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