[Noa's] grand vision for what education could be motivates the rest of us to look beyond our current reality and context when it might be tempting (and comfortable) to rest where we are. Her stubborn commitment to students reminds us why we are here, doing what we are doing. And, to borrow from Van Morrison, her unique combination of wit and purpose lifts us up, turns us around and always place us down on higher ground.
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Consultant, Teacher Educator, Writer, Facilitator, and Founder/Producer of VoicEd Radio
Noa brought an impressive amount of knowledge and energy to my staff training. Her ability to tailor her support to individual staff needs was very useful.
Director of Academics, Westboro Academy
The What's in a Name BOB was offered to my students with other research topic options. I know the power of student choice, but I was struggling to find more topics that would be meaningful to recent immigrants, some with minimal education...I was grateful that Noa suggested W.I.N. and something unrelated to their migration journey. I was blown away by how many students chose this BOB even though it would've been less work to do another topic. I think my student Uri said it the best, "I care about my life. When you ask us to report on that, we will do it with a smile on our face." I'm so happy that he learned enough English to express himself this way. Many of my students did this year. The idea of BOBs helped tremendously with that!
ELL Consultant and Author of Boosting Achievement
It did not take long after my arrival at the school to recognize how special a Middle School educator Noa is. She is a flexible and highly creative teacher who innovates based on her continuous learning about education, best practice and the world around her. Noa is purposeful in her development of curricula, and she understands the big picture of education in the 21st century. She is willing to take risks and think outside of the box. As a result, her classroom is a buzzing place with students working in groups on significant problems that matter to them.
Noa is a learner who brings enthusiasm and open mindedness to everything that she does. She is a caring and committed educator and a person who is deeply dedicated to the art and science of teaching.
Faculty Coach and Mentor
You help students think outside the box, create deeper meaning and understanding of what they are learning and what I love the most is that you really get to know each student as an individual. You truly want to know how they tick, what motivates them and when you can push them a bit further. As a result you get the best out of them.
I have been using What's News with my Grade 6 Social Studies (MYP 1 Individuals and Societies) class and What's Up with my Grade 7 History/Geography (MYP2 Individuals and Societies) class. These are interactive projects that engage students in current events. Students have an opportunity to work on several Approaches to Learning Skills such as communication, thinking and self-management. By critically reflecting on how these events link to our units of inquiry, students make real world connections. These activities engage the presenter and the entire class community in learning within and beyond the curriculum. These are amazing projects to help students self-direct, and they scaffold learning over the entire school year.
Teacher- Individuals and Societies MYP 1 and 2 (Grade 6 and 7)
I think this is fabulous. I can just feel the energy the working on BOBs will generate in the classroom. It is such an excellent opportunity for teachers to get to know their students and for students to learn about eachother in ways they would never do on their own. You made this point so well with the example of the student who was so quiet.
Interesting that it was the interpersonal and social gains that jumped out for me. This has always been my focus.
Notwithstanding these outcomes, the academic learning outcomes are well addressed too.
Please don't tell the kids about how much they are learning, you will spoil all their fun!!
There are so many reasons to initiate the PS2 (Personal Soundtrack) with your students. A soon as I introduced it to my class, they were instantly engaged. What middle school student isn't excited at the idea of sharing music they love and that is meaningful to them? They are excited to share things about their lives, their families and themselves.
What was amazing to me is how personal some of them got. For example, one student used a nostalgic song that reminded her of when her father had cancer. She would listen to this song over and over again because it gave her hope and faith. She cried in front of the class and the class was extremely supportive. They stood and clapped when she was finished presenting.
The students were excited to present, and equally as excited as an audience to watch and listen to each other. The PS2 enabled all of us to get to know each other so well. As the teacher, no project ever, has allowed me to learn about my students so well, so quickly. My students learned about each other. They empathized with what others had gone through, celebrated the heart felt stories of each other's pasts, and respected each other which created a family type environment right away. They also got to listen to a lot of music which was entertaining and a lot of fun. They learned not just to listen to melody, but to interpret lyrics and make connections.
I will use this project over and over again. It's brilliant.
TDSB, Middle School Literacy, Drama and Resource