Last week, during the confirmation service, one of the kids spoke about something that happened in Israel during a synagogue trip. She used the story to illustrate, to her, that Judaism is capable of evolving.
During a b’nai mitzvah service in Israel, it was discovered that no one had brought a yad (the pointer which helps you keep your place while reading the sacred scroll without touching it) for the Torah reading. Our quick-thinking rabbi pulled a pen out of his pocket as a substitute and proceeded with the service. (I’m sure it was held in such a way that there was no potential damage to the Torah.)
Clearly this had an impact on our young student, who thought enough of the incident to relate it last night.
I’m sure that the event was quickly forgotten by many of the people in attendance. But not everyone. As educators, we need to remember that you never know what small gesture will have the greatest impact on our students. I know I can use this reminder. Small things (or words) matter.
What happens when you show kids an Apple II computer? Check it out:
For a fascinating look at how quickly data is generated on the Internet, check out The Internet in Real Time.
SAMR is a method of integrating technology into your teaching (SAMR – Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition). This graphic takes apps and websites and arranges them in a way that helps you decide what is the best technology to use to achieve your goals. Love it!
More free art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art! Full size images! Copyright-free for non-commercial use!
The Yivo Institute has just released their digital archive featuring some fascinating artifacts from life in pre-Holocaust Poland. There are photos, amateur videos, audio clips and more. Access it here.
If you’ve used PowToon before with your class, take a moment to check out the changes. If you haven’t used it, give it a glance. PowToons are animated presentations – think PowerPoint with oomph. My 7th graders are using it right now, and I think they’re really enjoying it!
Can sharing a film stop bullying? Interesting question. The makers of this film have created a little film with a meaning. The film is a plaintive black and white animation with the simple message that sharing bullying – talking about it – will end bullying. Every time you share it the film gets a little shorter, metaphorically wiping bullying out. Check it out (but don’t use Chrome – it crashed my Chrome browser several times).
Next week, we will participate in what writer Maya Bernstein calls “a model of creative education.” I’m talking, of course, about the Seder. Read more here.
Looking for SMART Board lessons? Check out Modern Chalkboard.
Tackk is an online space to create, well, anything you want to share with anyone. It kind of reminds me of Glogster, except that you don’t need to register (but your Tackkboard will expire in 7 days if you don’t), and Tackkboards can be any size. They kind of expand as you add more stuff to them. It’s super easy to add text, videos or photos. Layout options are limited (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). Visit Tackk using a computer or an iPad for more information.
Check out this article about Google Drive and how to make it work like desktop software.
Students love to play games in class! Here’s a great site that will create random Bingo cards from a user-defined vocabulary. If Jeopardy’s your thing, this can help.
Litpick is an awesome site with reviews of preteen and teen literature. Kids can become reviewers!
Visuwords is a cool graphical dictionary. Put in a word, hit enter, and a graphic with similar words will appear. Double click on any of the linked words to expand the illustration. Very fun!
…You deserve a break today…Want to give your class a brain break? Check out GoNoodle. Sign up for a free account, specify your grade level, and choose from among a list of break activities. Whether you’re looking for a calming exercise (Flow is a nice one), an active one (Zumba kids, anyone?), or a stress reliever, GoNoodle has colorful, entertaining videos that will be fun to show on your SMART Board or projector. The site does require Flash, so it can’t be played on an iPad.
Have you been following The Story of the Jews on PBS? The companion website has featured videos, photos, extension lessons on such topics as the Cairo Genizah, Zionism and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Well done!
A restaurant with no cash register…think about a different kind of “soup kitchen.” Read about Masbia, a restaurant chain in New York that feeds the hungry and endeavors to preserve their dignity at the same time. Feast on it here.
Interested in flipping your class? Free Technology for Teachers has some terrific suggestions.
Remembering those we lose…my friend Esther Kustanowitz writes about inheriting a gold ring, and the memories that come with it in her essay here.
Happy 25th birthday, World Wide Web! Yup, a quarter century ago, Tim Berners-Lee wrote a decidedly unexciting proposal for “a “hypertext project” called “WorldWideWeb” in which a “web” of “hypertext documents” could be viewed by “browsers.”” Yeah, that’s so sexy sounding, right? Anyway, if you’re interested in reading a little more about the origin of the web, check out the article (with Berners-Lee’s original diagrams). True geek observation: I love that the slide show features Next computers (the company Steve Jobs founded during the time he was ousted as Apple’s president).
Here are a few sites that are useful for student collaboration or mind mapping: Padlet – create a wall and your students can put sticky notes on it. Today’s Meet is a more linear display – comments will appear in chronological order. It’s super easy to use. Bubbl.us is terrific for mindmapping, but it is Flash based, so you’ll want to use it on a laptop or desktop.
Similar Site SEarch is a great way to search for sites that are, well, similar to another site. Let’s say you’re looking for YouTube alternatives. Type YouTube.com into the search bar, and alternatives will appear. Nice!
It’s Purim time! Time for some shtick(ers)… download G-dcast’s Shticker App and put, well, shtickers all over your photos. You know you wanna!
GoIsrael has a nifty new Discover Israel Interactive Movie, which you can access from a computer or via mobile device app. Check it out.
Instagrok is a really cool way to research anything. Type in your search term, hit the “Grok” button and watch the fun! You’ll see key facts, links to websites and online videos, images and more. Register for a free account and you can even save search results to an online journal and even share results.
A colleague and I presented a six-hour workshop on using ARIS from the University of Wisconsin to create digital scavenger hunts. That’s what we used to create the digital Purim quest in 2012. If you’re interested in seeing what materials we shared, check out my wiki.
Funded in part by the PresenTense Group, The Jewish Teacher Project is a new website that aims to connect teachers in Jewish settings. Check them out!
Canva is the only place you need to go if you want to design awesome posters, presentations or cards. There is a large library of graphics from which to choose, or you can easily drag and drop your own. Once you’re done, you can download or print your creation or generate a weblink.
We all know that showing YouTube videos in class goes much more smoothly when you don’t have related videos or comments appear. ViewPure is a great tool for that! Drag the bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar and use it whenever you want to show a video to get rid of distractions.
Think about this: Google is 12 years old, which means it’s been around for the entire lifespan of many of our students. What are the implications of teaching the “Google Generation?” That’s just what this article addresses.
Another thought-provoking article about how we approach student work can be found here.
If you’re interested in exploring how to use technology to teach reading, check out this article.
If you’re looking for apps to help run your classroom more smoothly, check out this blog post.
Intrigued by Pinterest? Here’s a great list of museums that share on this social networking site.
Here’s a list of 100 sites with information on gamification. These are great resources if you’re interested in using game elements in your classroom.
If you’re interested in using Google Forms in your classroom, visit this post. You’ll find forms you can reuse, articles about using Google Forms for rubrics, and how to create self-grading quizzes. Very cool!
Do you think Jewish kids need to have “ethical tune-ups?” This thought-provoking post explores that.
Looking for free iPad apps? Bookmark Appsaga and HappiPapa for free apps and reviews. And how about Apps Gone Free, an app that lists daily free offers…
EDpuzzle is very, very cool. It gives you the opportunity to find an online video, crop it, add a voiceover and embed quizzes along the way to track student understanding. Awesome for teachers… or for students to use! Free (for now).
If you’re looking to follow some awesome teacher blogs, here are some suggestions.
Word Hippo is a cool resource if you’re searching for synonyms, antonyms, definitions, rhyming words and more.
For a fascinating trip back in time, check out these brief video clips explaining (or not explaining, as it were) what the Internet is (was):
Today show hosts off camera trying to figure out what the “@” sign means:
A 1981 news piece about newspapers exploring delivering content electronically:
Here’s a 1995 Newsweek Tech & Science article on why an online database will never replace your daily newspaper.
And, finally, Steve Jobs in 1980 predicting what people might be doing with the computers they were designing:
If you’re a dog lover like me, you’ll enjoy this heart warming video about guide dogs being trained by Technion students:
Who doesn’t love a good story? Check out these TED talks on telling a great story
Looking for Judaic texts online? Check out these great resources: http://www.library.upenn.edu/cajs/etexts.html, http://www.hebrewbooks.org/, and http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/109864/jewish/Classic-Texts.htm.
If you’ve got a little time to do some reading, check out this New York Times article on the best-selling education books of 2013.
Popuparchive is a really cool resource. You can explore the categories for sound clips, including an awesome collection of interviews done by Studs Terkel. You can also search by tag – the “African American Civil Rights” tag alone has 94 items.