Saturday, October 31, 2009

DaTefilah. Ilanit Curi-Hoory Solomon -Schechter school of Westchester

Shalom. I had some technical challenges so you didn't have a chance to view my project's progress so far. I would like to share with you some highlights of my exciting project that thanks to Avi Chai it can come to "life".I am working on slides to upload on Voice Threads. Voice Threads will be my tool to share our Teffilah experience with our class community. I am writing a reading practice slide for 4 prayers. first and second pages will include decoding practice sounds and words using color codes lead by me ( teacher). third page ( with no color as it is appears in the Siddur) my classes will be singing with Morah Tova my Friend teacher and her guitar.
each child will add a picture to the Tefillah he/she are working on. I am planing to introduce the slides to my students in December after they get their Siddur

Friday, October 30, 2009


Shalom everyone. I have completed all the slides. We are working very hard with our first graders on decoding words.We are using Tal Am as our reading program, and we follow the same Tal Am color code for reading words in the will see the example in the Teffilah TORAH TORAH.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TTSP (Talmud Torah of St. Paul) Technology Update #2

We LOVE our LCD projector. We use it mainly in the upper school Hebrew classes as a link to websites and presentations that we can project on the wall. Last month we used it to teach students how to record themselves speaking Hebrew via avatars on the website. This month students had the pleasure of seeing and hearing each other's Vokis thanks to the projector.

We also use the projector for whole school assemblies. At Kabbalat Shabbat last week, in connection with parashat hashavua, we created a PowerPoint display of Noach songs that we projected onto the gym wall so that everyone could see the words of the songs . We can engage students with different learning styles by showing the lyrics along with illustrations while the students are both singing and hearing the music.

Posting lyrics has been controversial. Some faculty think that children should learn the words by listening, while others like the visual reinforcement. Also, we have many teachers and guests who might not know the songs that have been taught in a particular class, and are therefore unfamiliar with lyrics, so we want to accommodate them. We draw the line at transliteration, though, since our central goal is for our children to have Hebrew reinforced in many venues.

One great benefit of the LCD projector is that the clarity of the words is highly superior to using the old projectors. The former transparency projectors had to sit among the students near the front of the auditorium, the cords got in the way of the students, and the clarity was sub-par. This time, we worked on the files up in our classrooms, plugged in the computer in the auditorium, and pulled up our files. They were beautiful, clear, and we could project from the back of the room. Immediately after Kabbalat Shabbat, a few teachers made suggestions for improvements. We made them right there at the computer, and the file was immediately saved on the school server, accessible from anywhere in the school.

Elef todot to Avi Chai!

Wendy, Riva and Avivit

Monday, October 26, 2009

Shlenker School Project Assessment: Good Progress

I’ve finished the second month of using technology to assist me in assessing students’ language proficiency overall in a happy mood. I’ve expanded the use of the technology to 3rd grade, and now all three grades (3rd-5th) who are supposed to work with the technology are doing so. The students are getting more comfortable with the technical part of operating the devices, and it improves enormously the efficiency and speed of our work. They record their answers to assessments questions without delays, no longer experimenting with the MP3 recorders controls or making mistakes in the recording process. After class it takes me little time now to retrieve their recorded answers in order to grade them. The reading comprehension assessment process which used to take up to two class periods because it took the students so much time to laboriously write down their answers now take only one. I do give the students a choice, and some choose to write down their answers, but the writers are the students who are comfortable writing, usually because they are distinctly visual learners or because they can do it fast or both. The majority of the students choose to use the MP3 recorders.
My trusted lightweight laptop tablet computer is carried around the room during class time as I listen to my students apply new vocabulary in conversational setting and grade their efforts. As I was hoping it would be - it is very easy to do. Students’ use of language in class is being more objectively graded in real time than it would be if graded several hours later. To my surprise it seems to me that this method of grading in class also works as an incentive of sort for increased participation: students who previously participated sporadically now contribute more often, though no explicit or implicit connection was made by me between improved participation and better grades. I speculate that perhaps the knowledge that their linguistic effort is being recorded and assessed, i.e. – “appreciated,” is a motivator for some. On the flip side: it is even harder to coax a certain student to participate now. It seems he is reacting the opposite way and is intimidated by the knowledge that his performance is being assessed.
Unfortunately, we found that the MP3 recorders/players are not without some technical problems. We are working with the vendor to try and work things out, but at this point the students are unable to listen to recordings through headphones. I’m looking forward to resolving the problems so I can go ahead with more creative uses in the assessment process of the MP3 devices as players, not just recorders.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I have been practicing using the smart board.It is really "cool" how you can use your finger as a tool for writing and erasing. I learned to make charts to categorize the verbs, split screen, zoom in,and isolate a word or a phrase.
I can put an ink layer over a website, highlight and zoom on a word.I can save the new pages to my documents.I feel I have learned how to blog.

Bialik's Video Project - Technical Overview

Hello Everyone -- Jesse Gold Here -- IT Director for Bialik Hebrew Day School. We're beginning a film project in our Jewish Studies Curriculum and we'll be piloting it with Grade 5 & 7 classes.

Our Project focuses on relating Jewish History (both Biblical and more recent) to a modern context -- students will use video to explore these themes.

We are using a framework for Video projects called "The Director in the Classroom" by filmmaker Nikos Theodakis. This framework helps keep student projects on track by following the same process a filmmaker would need to get his or her film produced in the real world. Additionally, the framework gives all students a task so no-one feels left out, problem solving skills are embedded throughout.

We will be creating 10 "multimedia bundles" to break our projects into small groups of 5 students each x 2 classes. Each bundle will consist of a camera, portable rugged hard drive and accessories and will be entrusted into the care of a group. Half the bundles will include a basic Flip Video HD "pocket" video camera for basic shots, the other half will include a more traditional video camera with optical zoom, etc. Classes will switch equipment partway through the project so all students have access to both types of equipment. Both classes will also receive one set of extra equipment such as one tripod, dolly, to share between all groups.

The pocket cameras have arrived and we are anxiously awaiting the rest of the equipment. We envision this being a fairly lengthy project, taking a good portion of the school year. Mini projects (such as a unscripted documentary-style footage) will likely be inserted along the way as part of our "feedback loop".

Two more planning and PD meetings will happen in the next couple weeks with our Principal of Jewish Studies, Simona Dayan, and the teachers involved, to ensure that the project is properly embedded and aligned with our curriculum for these grades. Students will be introduced to and begin working on their projects in early November.

More information on the project specifics, curricula-wise, will be posted by other involved staff in the next couple of weeks.

We look forward to feedback from the community and would be happy to answer any questions.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

iPods for Hebrew - Gray Academy

Before the iPods, we would test the students during class. That meant “one shot” for the student, and “one shot” for the teahcer to assess.
Having the tests saved as opposed to heard live benefits both the teacher and the students. The students get a chance to hear themselves and re-record if necessary before returning the iPod. From the teacher’s perspective, it allows us to listen to the recordings as many times as we need, which allows attention to details.
In addition, having the files saved gives the teacher an opportunity to sit with the students and give them feedback. The teacher can listen to the file with the student and point out areas that require attention and improvement. It serves as a great tool for enhancing progress rather than just giving a mark for the test.
The iPods are quickly becoming a popular item in our school. Teachers in our Hebrew department have already scheduled a few reading tests. Students seem to respond positively to this new experience. As a matter of fact, students who have not used them yet keep asking when is their turn.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

King David High School in Vancouver Brings the Past into the Present

The senior Jewish History students at King David are embarking on a project to personalize their realtionship with Jewish history. Currently the students are researching their family histories in an effort to document the stories of their ancestors. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins are all being invited to tell their stories of immigration to North America and Vancouver, British Columbia in particular.
The project we are undertaking will involve video recording these stories in order to create a permanent archive of the Jewish experience in Vancouver. Working with the Jewish historical society located at the JCC across the street from our school we are seeking to leave a record that future generations can use to understand the journey that led their families to this beautiful city and its vibrant Jewish community. The use of video technology and the ability to digitally archive the wealth and breadth of information the students are gathering will allow us to give the community an invaluable resource.
It is bound to be a project full of interesting revelations for all of us as the stories are collected and recorded for the entire community to enjoy.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

American Hebrew Academy: AVI CHAI GRANT - Pocket Video Cameras Project

The cameras are here! They are very user friendly and everybody is excited to start filming. But there is work to do before we get to the real fun. (Students will soon discover that one can have lots of fun in a very serious learning environment.) This is what the cameras look like:

Hebrew 1.2 students are in the process of finishing the scripts they are writing. Putting together the grocery list was relatively easy for them; now we are working on the grammatical part of the dialog: verb conjugations in present tense in the first and second person, and using the possessive pronoun “shel”. We will probably start filming no later than Friday Oct 9.

Hebrew IV students have brought their favorite books to class. They are about to finish their presentations and they will start writing the scripts next week. After the presentations the students will choose two books to write about. I plan to start filming within two weeks, no later than Tuesday Oct 13.

Hag Sukkot Sameach,
Ariella Livnat