Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Yom Ha'atzmaut

On Yom Ha'atzmaut our middle school learned about the geography of Israel using the smartboard and some of the tools on the floating bar.
I divided the smarboard in half; on side i downloaded the map of Israel with all of its landmarks including cities, seas, and neighboring countries. On the other side, I downloaded a blank map. I then covered the whole smartboard with a "screen" by dragging this tool from the tool bar. Each student received a blank map of Israel with the landmarks numbered. The students were first asked to identify each landmark on their own. I then uncovered half of the "screen" showing only the blank map on the smartboard. The students were individually called up to the board to fill in on the map the landmarks in Hebrew and then check themselves if they were correct by uncovering the screen and looking at the completed map.
This activity was both educational and interactive for the students.

iPods for Hebrew

From Anat:

Until now we have used the iPods for audio recordings. It was a tool to promote the students’ reading and speaking skills (oral skills).
Now we are venturing into promoting writing skills.
The option of viewing videos on the iPods opens an exciting variety of activities.
The students can watch Israeli news clips, listen to Israeli music and watch any video from sites like you tube. You tube has a variety of videos and it is wonderful to be able to download these videos onto the iPods. The students can follow current events, learn about Israeli artists, “visit” sites and do so much more.
Students can watch a video and then write a summary of what they had watched, a personal reflection, a response letter, an article, a poem etc.
The iPods will open a whole new world of current issues in a form that the students love and are familiar with.

From Judy:

In order to use the Youtube videos, I converted them into an .mp4 file, using This website is very useful for converting videos. I have also used in the past, but it's not as reliable as
It was easy to sync the videos to the iPods after the conversion. The power cart made this a very quick process, in that all of the iPods were visible on the computer and I could easily transfer the movie files to all of the iPods at once.
I was impressed with the quality of the videos and I agree with Anat - this opens up some more exciting possibilities for the iPods.

Friday, April 23, 2010

BrightLink added to classroom

I’m EXCITED! The last part of the AviChai grant money has come through and combined with money from another grant it purchased BrightLink interactive projector for my class. The BrighLink is a very similar concept to a Smart Board or Promethean board, except there’s no special board involved – the projector is mounted on the ceiling and projects directly to a wall or white board surface. It is compatible with either Smart Board or Promethean software, and the images can be manipulated with a special pen directly on the surface without a need for a special board.
Of course, it will take a while before I’ll be able to take full advantage of this wonderful technology. At this point I’m using it as a glorified projector. I do have several ideas for activities but I’ll need training and lots of practice to get them to the operational stage. I hope that by the beginning of the next school year I'd be able to use it fully, and until then I'll use some of the features.
A technology is only as good as the creativity of the educators who use it in their lessons. As I’m not the first to receive a smart-type board from AviChai I checked the blog to see what my colleagues have done. To my disappointment I found that all are working with middle or high school students. I hope that eventually my co-teacher who teaches the same curriculum in grades 2-5 will get a BrightLink system installed and we’ll be able to develop lesson plans together. And if any of you, my blog readers, know of an elementary school teacher who is teaching Hebrew using a smart-type board and who would like to exchange ideas and lesson plans – please make the shiduch.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yom Hashoah

Today was Yom Hashoah. To commemorate this day, I "captured" through Jing a video of a survivor from Kol Yisrael/Wallah news in Hebrew. I loaded it to and presented it today to the class on the smartboard. The students listened to the clip and were instructed to write down the new words and verbs they heard. The class was impressed by the 83 year old male survivor who "refused to die" and presevered through five death camps by creating his own "imaginary world". Mr. Ayalon was honored last night, together with his grandson, a soldier, to light "the torch of victory" in Yad Vashem. For homework, the students were asked to analyze the verbs used in this clip. Meaning, they had to classify the verbs according to the Binyanim and then change them to different tenses. Tomorrow, we will make a chart and review the verbs on the smartboard. Each student will have a opportunity to come up to the smarboard and fill in the chart.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Spring Break Flip-Cam Homework

Our Multi-Media club at DKJA is full steam ahead! After some exercises in capturing and editing audio files, our students spent a week editing video footage to coincide with audio tracks. Students gained an acute awareness of the use and dramatic benefit of this interplay in mass media and for their own projects as well.

We began to learn about planning stages of development, how to storyboard, and brainstormed for ideas and media that could be used for various hypothetical assignments. With all of the hypothetical experience under their belts we began discussing some more real full-scale media assignments.

We divided the students into two groups, each group working on separate projects. One group would focus on putting together a short-length trigger video that would kick-off/introduce any Yom Hashoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations our school would create (with our hope that it would be showcased in the lower and middle schools at DKJA as well.) The second group is tasked with creating an end of the year retrospective, a mini video-yearbook for our High School. We spent time brainstorming, storyboarding and collecting various forms of media to be used in the respective projects.

In preparation for the long Pesach Break, the groups were outfitted with Sony's new Flip Cams. Small, sleek, teen friendly and user friendly, these little gadgets had the students excited and left them all bitten by the techie bug. Immediately the students started playing around, testing out their new equipment. Whether through the the design, Sony's name brand recognition, or their ad campaigns, the students were in. We briefly discussed some drawbacks; the Flip doesn't have an audio input - so that filming in a mall or at the beach in the wind would make it virtually impossible to capture any audio - but this did not as of yet deter their enthusiasm.

The two groups left for Spring Break with their Flip, an understanding of their timetable, and a good list of clips to shoot, and others to find from stock footage. When we get back from break it will be interesting to see what they have come up with. We will collectively look through their footage, peer edit and whittle down what was collected to what can be used.

We are excited to welcome Francine Safdaye to our team at DKJA as our Technology-Intergration Consultant. Immediately after break Francine will be joining our club meetings and will help with peer editing, as well as offer some insight in filming and photography. Using the students own work, we will demonstrate important basics like the law of thirds that will aid our students as they work towards completing their projects.

All-in-all, the students were excited and had their work cut out for them. I hope they come back from their break rested, relaxed and just as excited as when they left with their new cameras in hand. We shall see what they produced pretty soon, and I am sure we will have some great stuff into which we can sink our collective creative teeth!