Monday, June 28, 2010

39 Melachos Video-Robert M Beren Academy Houston, TX

Shehechiyanu v’kimanu v’higiyanu laz man hazeh.
We finally finished the filming today. We had to go back to the ranch for a few reshoots. We had to re-shoot some of the audio that came out bad and a few other shots that were not just perfect. Now we are ready for the editing. Dr. Jones has a big job in front of him. They usually say that it takes about one hour of editing for each minute of final video. Considering that the video is projected to be about 30 minutes long, it will take a lot of work.
We spoke to and they will be happy to host our video. So look for it in about a month and a half on their website.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

iPods for Hebrew

As the year is coming to an end, it is time to look back and reflect on the success of the iPod’s program.
I think that incorporating the iPods in the Hebrew program has given it a new appeal. Whenever I brought the iPods to class, the students seemed excited and eager to use them. It was the first time that oral tests in Hebrew seemed so popular. Not that students were not nervous about these evaluations, but the iPods definitely took “the edge off” needing to sit across from the teacher or stand in front of the class and speak.
In addition, the ability to immediately listen to themselves and edit their recordings when necessary gave the students a sense of fairness, confidence and perfection.
I consider that a great merit of the iPods because I believe it allowed for a more authentic evaluation.
From my perspective as a teacher, the iPods gave me the ability to listen to the recordings as many times as necessary. Unlike in the past, it wasn’t a “one time shot”. Like the students, teachers also need the opportunity to review and reflect. Again, it contributed to the purity and accuracy of the evaluation. The iPods are a great asset to the school and in our first year of using them we only peeled the first layer of their versatility. As time goes on I am confident that we will find new and exciting uses for the iPods that will enhance our curriculum

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Editing in progress

Hi everyone -- just a quick update:

Several Grade 5 groups are well into the editing process and are putting final touches on their movies (transitions, english subtitles, etc.). We are really looking forward to seeing the results of their hard work!

Students recieved the last two "Director In the Classroom" blackline masters for "post-production" and "distribution" in order to help them with their final tasks.

Monday, June 07, 2010

39 Melachos Video-Robert M Beren Academy Houston, TX

Finally! After many months of scheduling conflicts and other delays we were able to film at the ranch. All the background scenes had been shot, including one in the dugout of Minute Maid Park, the home of the Astros, and one shearing a sheep in a sheep farm. We are just waiting for the big day at the ranch where the bulk of the filming was to take place and today it happened!
We got an early start to be there before seven, because the summer is brutal in Houston. Indeed, the 100% humidity made the 80° temperature feel like we were in a sauna. Within 10 minutes we were drenched in sweat. (The script calls for me to wear a suit and tie.) We persevered and got in a good four hours of filming. All the practice paid off and the lines flowed smoothly and we were able to work quickly. We finished all of sidura d’pas and just have a few more such short scenes left. One more morning such as this and all the filming should be wrapped up. We are scheduled to finish it up next Monday.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Film Project Rubric

Hi everyone --

Here, as promised, is a PDF of our rubric.

It came from a number of sources -- we synthesized several rubrics from rubistar as well as a number of other sources as well as our own. It is very comprehensive, but, we feel, not needlessly complex. It is based on the same scheme as our Ontario report cards, so the students are very familiar with this type of marking.

The only criticism I have of this rubric is that we did not have time to create different rubrics for each grade, so we chose to use the same rubric for both and just adjust our marking for the grade 5 class if necessary.

If anyone has any questions, you know where to find me.

The rubric link is:



Bialik film project: LOTS HAPPENING!!!

After our last post, there wasn't much to report, but in the last few weeks, there's been a FLURRY of activity, and it's definitely time to bring everyone back up to speed on the successes and challenges we've faced:

All in all: Since our last post:

• A comprehensive rubric was created and delivered to the students
• The students finished their scripts and edited them.
• Each group split into two, with half working on a storyboard and the other half working on the Hebrew translation
• Translations and storyboards are all complete or nearly complete.
• Students FINALLY got their hands on the cameras again and started filming
• Students recieved basic instruction on how to use external hard drives with iMovie and how to import clips to the computer and do basic editing.
• We successfully tested "greenscreening" to place our students in exotic locales.

I will post the rubric in another post later today.

Just as a reflection: our project has seen significant challenges in finding enough in-class time to devote to the project...this has continued as our grade 7s were away this past week on a trip to Quebec City. The plan is for the grade 5s to spend all next week editing, but the grade 7s, who were away, are now further behind than the grade 5s.

The nice thing is that, even if not all groups complete the project in time, I believe that even now, we've met all our stated goals: We've brought new technology to the Jewish Studies program; students have been engaged at all levels with real-world problem-solving; conversational Hebrew was enhanced via script translation and scene practice, and students got enhanced media literacy training as well as technical training in the form of hands-on camera and (soon) video editing. We would definitely make some implementation changes for next year, but this has been a successful and worthy pilot. Even better -- we chose our pilot grades carefully, and, depending on how we decide to formulate the project next year, our Grade 5 & 7 students, who will then be grade 6 & 8 students, could, potentially, pick up right where they left off! :-D