Thursday, March 05, 2009

Getting Smarter about the Smart Board

Three months ago, what was once just another part of my classroom decor suddenly became alive, and it has helped me to take my special needs Hebrew classes to a whole new level of learning. I started to explore ways that my Smart Board could help me in my Hebrew language instruction.

Creating lessons in Hebrew proved to be an unbelievable challenge since the Smart Board notebook software does not recognize Hebrew font. This means that all of the terrific interactive lessons and games are written using the English language and the English alphabet, and therefore they need to be adapted if they are going to be useful to the Hebrew language teacher.

I have had to work hard to think out of the box in order to create lessons that captivate my students. I have recently created lessons for Tu B'Shevat and Purim. For Tu B'shevat one of my goals was for the students to learn the Hebrew words for the parts of a tree. I found virtual dice which will roll and show the student the parts of a tree. For Purim we have been using artwork from Marc Chagall and Rembrandt as a springboard to spark Hebrew conversation. Part of my research in learning the software actually lead me straight back to the AviChai website.

It has been a gift to be able to work with a tool which allows me to use my creativity to enhance student learning.

--Sarah Shay-Davidson


Alex said...

Hi, I enjoyed reading your post. I work for Tequipment, Inc. I have trained teachers to use the SMART Board and the Notebook software at Jewish schools in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Maryland, and Florida.
You might have come across our blog post about Hebrew and SMART Boards which links to Avi Chai:
It's good to read about your creativity with SMART Boards, there is a lot of stuff that you can do. I would, however, disagree that creating lessons in Hebrew is an unbelievable challenge. Lots of the teachers I worked would never describe themselves as technologically savvy, but they were able to create engaging and interactive lessons for the SMART Board in Hebrew.
We run a free Educator resource center with lesson plans across a variety of subjects. I, myself, just created a lesson about Purim:
You have to register for the website (which is free) to download it.
I do agree, it's too bad that more flash activities aren't Hebrew-friendly, but in my experience working with Hebrew teachers, proper training opens up countless other easy ways to put together great SMART Board lessons.
Happy Purim, feel free to check out our blog and downloads.

Andrew said...

We’ve had some success with foreign languages (Hebrew and Chinese, mostly) by setting the language of the operating system (Windows, mostly) to the language you’d like to write in. Doing this enables Notebook to write properly in Hebrew. It still doesn’t allow input into Flash objects, though. Whatever we type in there comes up as question marks. We’ve found this to be a lot easier than typing first in another program, like Davka or Word, then copying and pasting into Notebook. Once we’ve changed the language on the taskbar when in Notebook, Windows knows to switch languages when we switch applications.

If we can be of any more help, or answer any questions, let us know.

Sarah Shay Davidson said...

Hi Alex,
I just downloaded your Purim lesson and laughed out loud. Great stuff.
How did you get the eraser to make the image appear?
If you were to use the Hebrew word "lo" instead of "no" in the flash envelope would it have worked?
I would like to be able to record my voice then attach it to an image. Is there a lesson that will show me how to do it?
Thanks for the website tip.