Friday, August 03, 2007

Setting up a Hebrew Language Lab- Torah Day School of Atlanta

Mrs. Javits and I and a few other faculty have discussed means of conducting pre- and post- assessments of conversational levels, both receptive and expressive. Several techniques have been recommended for group and individual assessment:

Tape conversations in Ivrit in varying levels of complexity, play them for the students as a group, then have each one write summaries of them.
Have Mrs. Javits speak several short sentences and have the students transcribe and translate them.
Play short story segments from Israeli videos such as “Rechov Sumsum” for the students to translate.
[These would be scored on a rubric of general understanding and specific facts.]
Have native Ivrit speakers make a statement in English and ask the student how to say it in Ivrit.
Have native Ivrit speakers ask a series of scripted questions in Hebrew with some pre-planned follow-up questions to rate vocabulary and fluency.
Have students talk about a simple topic (e.g. tell about your family, tell about yourself, describe what you are wearing) using a list of topical words to assess how well they can integrate known syntax with prompted vocabulary.
[These would be scored on a rubric including vocabulary use, syntactical accuracy, and complexity and fluency of speech.]
Parent volunteers who are native Ivrit speakers might be willing to conduct individual interviews in order to accomplish the assessments in a timely manner at the beginning of the year and before the end of each trimester.

Our goal for this week is finish ordering the laptops, cart, and software. We also purchased narrow tables to replace the desks in the classroom, since sloping desk tops and laptops are a disaster waiting to happen. Fortunately, we have more than enough adjustable height, rolling, swivel-seat chairs that were to have been used in a second computer lab that instead became a regular classroom. These will be great in the Hebrew class. When the children are working with Mrs. Javits as a group, they can turn toward her. When they are working on the laptops, they can swivel around and she can see all the screens facing the center of the room. The tables just arrived and were set up today; Mrs. Javits reaction was "Wow! I can really fit 18 kids in the room now. That's chai!"

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