Goof (Hebrew for body, English for goofy) is SCJ’s method for teaching Hebrew, which was developed over a decade of experimentation. It begins with a notebook. The students learn to write the letters, enforcing their acquired knowledge through the creative arts. I like to look at the initial process of learning the letters as an anatomical body-mind exercise, moving from the hands to the throat and finally to their entire bodies. They begin with their hands, using the letters and vowels themselves to draw pictures of English words that begin with the sound that letter makes. Then they move on to their vocal chords, singing the Aleph Bet song, and other made up songs to enforce the progression of the letters. Finally they use their entire bodies in games such as Hebrew Letters Charades, Hebrew soccer (a favorite with the boys..) and acting out little plays in which the letters are characters.
Once we have completed the Aleph Bet cycle, we use age-appropriate text books to review what we’ve learned. Once the students are able to read fluidly, we begin reading Hebrew texts, such as passages from the Torah, prayers, or stories.
More information about our pedagogical method can be found on our Pedagogy page.