PoP Update: Fall 2021

The prayer “Ahavah Rabbah” (Abundant Love ) contains a request that God instill in us the desire to “listen, learn, and teach.” When a 4th grade class was learning this prayer, one student exclaimed: “That’s what we are learning to do through PoP! To listen to each other and the Torah because we all have something to teach and something to learn.” As you read this PoP Update and use the resources included here, consider the ways in which the language we and our students use can help us all “listen, learn, and teach” for the sake of deeper learning and care.

Kol tuv, All the best,

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


Pedagogy of Partnership: Reimagining 21st Century Education

What does it mean to truly listen to another person and to the rich text that you’re studying? If you’ve ever been exposed to a lesson that incorporates elements of PoP, chances are you have an idea of how to answer that question.

The PoP approach–one that focuses on truly listening to your human partner and to your textual partner–elevates a partnership from sitting at a table into a living process that is fueled by collaboration and wonder. Learn more about how PoP enables these learning environments to unfold!


Words Connect Us: Why Language Matters

You’re traveling abroad, surrounded by native residents conversing in a language in which you’re not fluent. Suddenly, you hear some familiar English words, and a wave of comfort drives you towards the source. You’re searching for that sense of belonging.

There’s a momentous shift when we use language as a vehicle to build community in learning spaces.

Pedagogy of Partnership emphasizes a shared language that all educators and students can use when engaging in learning, reinforcing the attitude that all partners have something to contribute, and helping to create a strong and effective learning community. PoP language prompts help establish a shared language for asking questions, talking about texts, developing and clarifying ideas, and showing interest in each other’s thinking.

In Alissa’s second-grade classroom, she begins her year ensuring students are comfortable using PoP language prompts because she knows how effective they are in establishing strong partnerships. As the year unfolds, Alissa bears witness to the impact of this shared vocabulary on students, such as Mia and Caleb.

Mia and Caleb’s partnership started off a little rocky. Caleb had a lot of ideas to share about the books, but Mia didn’t quite understand them. Mia would tell Caleb, “Nothing you’re saying makes any sense!” In turn, Caleb took it personally, thinking Mia didn’t want to hear his ideas, and he stopped sharing as much in class. It was heartbreaking for Alissa to see this misunderstanding lead to frustration and silence.

After introducing PoP language tools into her classroom, Alissa noticed a remarkable difference. In that same havruta, these tools supported Mia in respectfully expressing her confusion by beginning, “I don’t understand. Can you try explaining that in another way?” The gentle switch and purposeful selection of words let Caleb know that Mia WAS interested in hearing his idea and working hard to understand it. By using the PoP tool of, “I think this means X. What do you think?” Caleb also grew in his capacity to invite Mia into the conversation and give her equal footing for sharing her ideas. Also, Caleb grew in his ability to explain his ideas in a different way, and to point to evidence in the book so that Mia could see where his ideas were coming from.

The shift in language made both students feel comfortable to take risks in their learning, share their ideas, and meaningfully grapple with differences of ideas. Developing shared language paves a clear path to communicating our ideas effectively and respectfully while equipping us with the tools to hear and embrace new ideas. THAT is a learning community.

When immersed in a PoP environment, you’ll never feel that pull to search for someone who speaks the same language as you. You’ll already feel right at home.


Fun with PoP Bingo: Shared Language in Action

We’ve created an adaptable BINGO board for you to use as a warm up that reinforces the use of a shared PoP language!



PoP Hanukkah Resource - The Wonder of Miracles

Check out our newest Hanukkah activity, The Wonder of Miracles, made in collaboration with Hadar’s Children and Families Division!



Upcoming PoP Programs

Webinar for Experienced PoP Teachers

Wednesday, December 8 at 8:00 PM Eastern

Be A Havruta Coach: Up your students’ game with a kit of havruta coaching moves

Foundational Webinar Series

Monday, December 13 at 8:00 PM Eastern

Rebooting Wonder: Exploring PoP Unit 2