Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I identified a more serious problem in the fact that less and less students were using the mp3 devices to record answers to assessments. As the use of recording rather than writing is designed to save classroom time which could be better used for instruction I was concerned about it. I thought it might be that some students still do not feel comfortable using the not-so-user-friendly mp3, and so I decided to devote another twenty minutes of class time for a refresher course. It seems that my hunch was correct as this made a big change in the number of users and the question “can we use the mp3s?” is heard again in class. I have to admit that the designers of the mp3 could have done a better job. This small devise does have many functions which can be worked with three moving parts, but for children, even our tech-savvy generation, it is hard to work with. The chief complaint of the students is that it turns itself off frequently and unexpectedly, usually without preserving any unsaved recording in progress.
However, I’m trying to get the most out of it. Before I assess students’ comprehension of a story I record myself reading the story and copy it onto the mp3s. I do that to benefit students who are not strong readers and who sometimes do not get to properly demonstrate their understanding because their inaccurate reading leads them to misunderstand the substance of the story. However, when they listen to an accurately read narrative they are able to show their understanding. Because the assessment is of story comprehension and not reading level this is a fair evaluation.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Dear Students and Staff,
On behalf of the Grade Six class of Shabbaton 2010, we would like to present a Siddur and accompanying C.D. to everyone who enjoys Shabbat music from their souls. In this Siddur, there are prayers and the translations to the prayers. We wrote stories that connect to the themes of the prayers. Included are: Shabbat quotes and art work. We decided to create this Siddur and C.D because we think that the new and jazzy tunes will enhance your Kabbalat Shabbat.
We are excited to share this new music with you. We feel more connected to Hashem because we are singing prayers with joy and intention (כוונה). We hope that this new music to traditional prayers will get passed down from generation to generation.
The grade six teachers and I used the iPod to record the students singing, when we realized that the sound quality was much better than recording directly to a computer. After recording, I used Audacity to create single tracks of each of the songs on the Mac. The CD has been burned and will be burned for each student, as well as the teachers in the elementary school.
This is the best part of acquiring new hardware; finding a new use for a teacher who has a need for the technology. The iPod made the recording easy and portable and the sound quality was excellent. I would like to ask other members of this blog if they have suggestions regarding posting the songs somewhere on the web.