Happy Hanukkah! Happy Thanksgiving! Of course you know that the two best-fed holidays happen to coincide this coming week (latke stuffing, anyone?). This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Check out Dr. Joel Hoffman’s explanation on why this will never, ever happen again.
Those of us in the trenches realize that a teacher’s role has shifted dramatically over the last few years. This edweek article sums up authors Will Richardson and Marc Prensky’s take on the topic (hint: teachers must become learners first, and teachers second).
Ooooh…this site is fun. Metta allows you to create multimedia stories incorporating video, text, still photos, polls and voiceovers. It’s all stored online, and you can connect it to your Google drive. The free version allows you to create unlimited stories, but polls can only get 10 responses. If you think you’ll need a beefier plus account which accepts up to 100 responses per poll, it’s only $30/year for teachers. Check it out – I think it’s a winner!
I know many of you have used Socrative in the past and have enjoyed creating online quizzes for your students. They’ve come out with a new version. It’s still in beta (which means it could be glitchy and not work exactly as you expect), but you might want to check it out.
If you’re a Prezi fan and use it with your students, you might want to consider becoming a Prezi educator. Perks include a free PRO account and access to exclusive resources. Click here for more information.
Studio Jew endeavors to “provide access to Jewish learning, even on the most basic level.” It’s the brainchild of Leah Weiss Caruso, who’s looking for people to participate in the content creation. D’var Torah, anyone? C’mon, you know you wanna…
Journalist Clive Thompson believes that digital writing is making kids smarter. Read his article here. Kathleen Costanza unpacks it – and adds her own resources for digital writing here.
Do not blame me if this website sucks you in! Check out Moovly to create animated videos. Know that cool effect where it looks like you’re writing on the screen? Yeah, you can do that there – along with animated presentations. This could be a good one to use with your students. You can add sound effects or record your own voice. I love this!
Apparently interactive whiteboards haven’t become the darlings of the edtech industry that they were expected to be. Read more here.
Edtech guru Wes Fryer has developed a website that lets you choose what kind of media you want to create (e.g. a narrated slideshow, or video or five photo story) and then get step-by-step directions to set it up. It’s a unique way of approaching creating media with your class. Check it out!
Some of you are already using Google docs in class. Here’s a great article with some ideas that integrate Google docs with teaching writing.
We are so excited that we just can’t stand it around here. Finally – after planning, musing and (okay, just a little) cajoling… the big day is this Sunday, when a group of excited, passionate and willing-to-try-something-different educators are going to converge on our school to share with and learn from one another. Tickets are flying off the registration site!
Haven’t registered yet? There’s still a little time! Check out our blog or dash right over to the registration site.
See you Sunday!
Knowmia is a site that provides a place for you to store videos, search for lessons created by other teachers or assign interactive lessons for your students. If you have an iPad, you can download their free app for lesson creation as well. FlippedClassroom is another great resource if you want to explore this teaching model.
The Science of Everyday Live is a Discovery Education site that provides videos and lessons connecting science to real life. While Discovery Education itself is a subscription service, this site offers lesson plans and videos at no cost (at least for right now).
Did you upgrade to iOS 7 and now you feel like you don’t know how to do anything with your iPhone or iPad? Check out this Forbes magazine article at for tips and tricks.
You may have heard about newest research study on U.S. Jews published by The Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project. Among other things, the study shows that nearly one-third of Jews under age 32 do not identify as Jewish by religion. The JTA has their take on it and what funders think – read more at here. The Jewish Education Project is hosting a webinar on what all that means for Jewish educators – registration is closed (the webinar filled up within hours), but it will be recorded and posted for us to watch later on. You can read the study itself here.
stalking checking out some other EDcamp sites, I see that some have created brainstorming docs in order to get everyone’s creative ideas flowing. I’ve created a doc – please add your thoughts. What you’d like to learn, what you can offer, what you’d like to talk about.
For many, the best part of a conference isn’t the keynote or the planned sessions – it’s the side conversations. You know – the networking, the meeting old and new friends, the serendipitous brainstorming… What if a conference could have all of that good stuff without the formality of a hefty conference booklet and the expense and travel time? That was exactly the thinking that led educators to create “EdCamp,” the (un)conference (or, as a colleague coined it, a “pop-up” conference).
Edcamp started in Philadelphia in 2009 when a group of educators wanted to just get together and have organic, participant-directed, meaningful conversations about education. For more about edcamp, visit the Edcamp Foundation website. Here’s a great article about edcamps and their impact.
Well, this year several Jewish educators have decided that it’s time to have edcamps that are dedicated to talking about Jewish education. There have been two so far in Florida and New Jersey and there are two more scheduled to happen this year in Maryland and (insert drumroll here…) NORTHBROOK, ILLINOIS!
Yes, my friends, we are proud and super excited to announce that Solomon Schechter Day School is sponsoring the first EVER Chicago area JEDcamp on Sunday, October 20th, 2013 between the hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. How incredibly cool is that?
It’s important to note that, while this will be an amazing professional development opportunity for SSDS staff, we’re excited to open this up to all stakeholders in Jewish education in the Chicago area including those who are involved with day schools, religious schools, museums and informal education.
So… I’m encouraging all of you to plan to attend Chicago JEDcamp on October 20th, and if you’re interested, please consider joining the planning committee in formation (drop me an email before school is out for the summer to let me know you’re interested). And be sure to reach out to other educators you know in the area – it’s important that we get a diverse group to participate.
Let’s all make this a success!
Some of us were fortunate enough to attend EdJEWcon in Jacksonville, Florida this week. To learn more about this unique conference, visit their website. If you’ve got some time, watch Chris Lehmann’s keynote “Creating the Schools We Need.” Chris is the founding principal of Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy.
One of the highlights of EdJEWcon was watching middle school students sitting in the front of the room backchanneling during the closing keynote. Backchanneling is a fancy term for using technology to, well, “discuss amongst yourselves.” Some colleagues have been experimenting with their fifth graders using online resources to discuss what they’re reading. One of the websites we like for backchanneling is Today’s Meet. For some ideas on ways that you can use backchanneling in the classroom, check out this article.
Monday morning our 7th graders will be embarking on the annual 7th grade trip to Washington DC. To prepare for the trip, they researched the monuments and memorials they’ll be seeing and created short films to teach others what they learned. The films are on YouTube and our students will be able to view them while touring by using their smartphones on the trip. I created QR codes for the films’ URLs so our travelers can easily navigate to the films. We have lots of teachers using QR codes these days (and saw evidence of that at the Gottlieb school in Jacksonville, too!). Here’s some great information about QR codes in the classroom.
I’m pleased to welcome guest poster Laurie Sendler Rappeport. Laurie made aliyah in 1983 from Detroit and has lived in Safed, a northern Israeli town, since 1985. She has been involved in various types of formal and informal education throughout the years and is presently entering the world of Jewish distance learning with JETS Israel.
Online learning is slowly entering the world of Jewish education. today there are a wide range of unique applications for online learning that are specifically relevant to the Jewish community.
Jerusalem EdTech Solutions (JETS), a Jerusalem-based project of Jewish distance learning, is expanding the opportunities for online learning to increase the students’ engagement with their Jewish/Israel studies. JETS courses are applicable for classroom situations as well as for situations in which students do not have access to Jewish education opportunities.
JETS distance programs meet the needs of school groups, adult learners and individual students in the areas of Israel Education, Jewish studies and Hebrew Language. Classes “meet” the JETS instructor who teaches from Israel and utilizes both synchronous and asynchronous learning to create compelling lessons that are relevant and meaningful to the students’ lives. JETS works with Jewish Day Schools as well as with public and parochial schools to offer lessons which include core curriculum courses of Tanach themes and Gemarah as well as individual classes and series about subjects ranging from Contemporary Jewish Issues, the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Jewish and Israel history to Israel archaeology, Ancient Israel and the Ethiopian Jewish community.
The JETS Shutafut program partners Israeli and Diaspora classrooms, Students in each location collaborate on shared projects and follow their peers’ progress on virtual blackboards. Students can work individually on their assignments, in pairs or in groups to as they complete the course material and observe the work that their partners are doing on the other side of the ocean. English-speaking students often write in Hebrew as they converse with their Hebrew-speaking peers while the Israeli children write in English as they strengthen their language skills while they complete their assigned coursework.
An additional JETS program, JConnecT was created to provide an interactive Jewish learning model to students who do not adapt well to traditional frontal classroom situations or who live in remote areas in which there are few or no Jewish educational opportunities. JConnecT students meet from their own homes and explore Jewish ideas and concepts in an open manner that enables each student to proceed at his or her own pace. Students may initiate subjects that interest them or may join in an existing distance learning class.
JETS courses were developed to meet the needs of a pluralistic Jewish community. They are non-denominational and provide quality distance learning options to learners of all ages and backgrounds.
Venerable Jewish songster Craig Taubman is giving away some more music. You can download his acoustic Shabbat album FREE!
I totally love the Library of Congress! We should – we pay for it… Check out their guide to using Primary Sources. It includes a lovely analysis tool as well.
How would you like Albert Einstein to read to you? REALLY! You can hear Einstein’s 1941 radio address on “The Common Language of Science.”
The Anti-Defamation League just put out an inspirational video “Imagine a World Without Hate.” Do not watch without a box of tissues handy!
Finally, speaking of videos… if you’re looking for a Passover video to liven your holiday preparations, check these out:
The Maccabeats‘ take on Les Mis and Pesach:
Muppets’ Matzah in the House:
And, from Aish – if today’s media told the Passover story:
Chag Pesach Sameach!
PowToon is a great way to create an animation – whether you’re creating one for your class or if you’d like a great web-based tool for your students to create one. Sign up for your free account! Here’s how one teacher used it to introduce a new unit to her class:
I’m a big fan of PBS.org’s website. I especially like their timeline on 200 years of literary history of The American Novel
Isn’t it fascinating how people interact with screens? Think of all the screens we stare at: TV, computer, iPad, iPhone… British artist Robbie Cooper wants to document our faces while immersed in screen interaction. He’s got a new project that he’s trying to get funded (using the awesome crowdfunding resource Kickstarter) called The Immersion Project. It will be easy to participate – agree to have your computer webcam take a photo every couple minutes while you’re playing a game or otherwise entranced by technology. Robbie envisions a website, exhibition, book and documentary on the topic. Can you imagine a display of our students’ faces while they’re engaged in tech?
I know many of you are already using and loving Socrative as a way to have your students electronically answer quizzes. Another resource is InfuseLearning. It’s free and your students can use it with any Internet-connected device. You set up a classroom and your students join – it’s as simple as that! You can run quizzes, have your students complete exit slips, or you can push a web link out to your students’ devices. I love it!
My colleague Carol and Lynn’s discovery projects have sixth graders traveling all over the web to research and present some fascinating information! In particular, some of their students have really fallen in love with Prezi to organize and present their projects. Kids like it cause it’s slick and, since it’s in the cloud, they can work on their presentations at school or at home. I know I’ve mentioned Prezi before, but if you haven’t checked it out in a while, pop over there – they’ve changed the interface quite a bit and made it much easier to use (and now it feels much more like PowerPoint or Keynote, which makes it especially attractive to our students).
Sometimes, especially this time of year, we get so stressed out trying to get so many things accomplished that we forget one of the things we teachers tend to value: creativity. We Are Teachers has a lovely article on 40 ways to integrate creativity into your lessons. Mason jar dioramas – I love it!
Finally…you are aware, aren’t you, that Pesach is just around the corner? Check out a crowdsourced resource on creative seders and other resources that can enrich your Pesach celebration. And feel free to add anything you like to the Google doc!