Monday, December 31, 2007

Text and Context:

This past month I've been busy finishing up the second presentation in the Chumash integration program, which has to do with how the plagues undermine not only physical and economic life in Egypt, but also spiritual and emotional life as well. I've also been finishing the first presentation in the Nach integration lesson, The Reign of King Solomon. The Nach presentation is tied to the students' learning of Qoheleth and gives the archaeological discoveries from David's and Solomon's times as well as a slight background on Wisdom Literature.

The Chumash presentation went particularly well. Many times I had to return to finish the presentation, because students had so many questions about magic and paganism in ancient Egypt and the differences in the way we practice our religion.

Students also found the Nach presentation interesting. Some students had been to Tel Dan and/or Megiddo and were pleased to see that someone else could confirm that these are, in fact, places of interest and significance in the Jewish world. Students -- some more than others -- were also interested in the archaelogical process and the findings that we have made in Israel.

The Smartboard technology definitely enhances the presentations. I go from room to room, giving the presentations to the eleventh and twelfth graders, and in the rooms without Smartboards, I have to advance the slides on a computer (so old school). The Smartboard allows me to easily open a hyperlink and therefore see images that are hard to capture in Powerpoint -- such as maps -- in greater detail, focus and size. Obviously I can also write on the Smartboard and highlight important details of an image.

This month I was also able to be one of the teachers at Frisch to launch the school's teacher webpages. The webpages cannot be accessed by anyone outside the Frisch network, but my class webpages are now available to my students, and my integration programs are available to other teachers. Several teachers have asked to use my presentations in the lower grades, and now I can simply send them my link, giving them access to my Powerpoints.

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