Setting up a Hebrew Language Lab- Torah Day School of Atlanta
Hebrew language lab assessment process
We chose our two 4th grade classes (16 boys and 14 girls) as our experimental group because there are few students with significant language processing difficulties in these classes, and their computer skills are up to the challenge of using and caring for laptops. An additional Ivrit teacher, Mrs. Dena Shmuel, has joined the faculty to team-teach with Mrs. Javits.
Students were assigned to groups based of four-part written and oral assessment:
Vocabulary and usage, ex. fitting words from a list into sentences;
Writing a paragraph in their own words about what they would like to do on their birthday;
Reading a short story and answering questions about it;
Grade given for reading/writing level.
Teachers began by asking children to tell something about themselves to help them relax and establish rapport.
Students were given a written assignment in English, e.g. “If you were interviewing for a babysitting job, what questions would you ask?” or “What books and information would you look for if you were researching living things in the library?” or “A new girl is coming to class; what will you ask her or do with her?” They had to respond in Hebrew.
Grade given for oral skill level
Students were graded on oral ability and written ability separately. When totaled, if the combined score was above 60%, the student joined the advanced conversational language group regardless of which score was higher. Scores between 50-60% were starred; the student has the option to switch group if necessary.
Classes in September were dedicated to readjustment to Hebrew hearing, reading, speaking after the summer. All directions are given in Ivrit. Vocabulary study began with the Yomim Tovim and has moved on to computer terminology so directions will be clear when the students begin using the laptops. October’s topic is ‘all about me and my family.’ Computer-assisted instruction will initially utilize basic-level websites. Mrs. Shmuel will work with the beginner level group for the first half of the year, then she and Mrs. Javits will switch