Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Talmud Torah of St. Paul begins using technology

The Hebrew faculty at Talmud Torah of St. Paul Day School has begun using the technology bought with the generous grant money from Avi Chai. Our intentions include documenting student progress through projects.

In Tishrei, already many of our lower school children have been recorded on video reading Hebrew. The first graders read their first syllables, the second graders read a short story about Rosh Hashannah, adding their own personal details to the story.

Fifth through eighth graders began the year writing about their summer experiences. The digital cameras were used to photograph students holding the objects they brought that were related to their summer. The photographs were integrated into the final presentation of the essays, which are now hanging on bulletin boards. The photographs helped students understand each other's essays by providing a visual prompt. A side benefit: students from other classes were drawn to the photographs, and spent time reading the essays.

Kindergarten students were photographed with "Bentzi", the class mascot, and the pictures will be used throughout the year to give visual clues to the students. Thanks to the photographs, the teacher is able to explain the procedure for Bentzi's rotation through their homes during the year ENTIRELY IN HEBREW. The photographs are also used to build sentences such as, "Yoni wants a banana."

The LCD projector has already been used to show short movies from Israeli news sites. For example, when Assaf Ramon died, students viewed the news coverage in Hebrew, from an Israeli site.

Next up: Seventh and Eighth grade students will begin to create "Vokis", which are voice recordings. This assignment: Pick the face of a famous person, and record your voice inviting someone to your sukkah. Students need to explain why you are inviting that person, and explaining the holiday to that person. The projector enables teachers to demonstrate the procedures to the entire group of students before they use the technology themselves.

Thank you to Avi Chai for the resources to explore these projects and more!

Wendy, Avivit and Riva

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