MuseForJews

muse: n. a source of inspiration

Marvel Comic Creator 

Just like its name suggests, Marvel Comic Creator is a free website gives you the tools to create your own comics using the Marvel superhero characters. You get to choose if you want to make a comic strip or a comic book, as well as how many panels you’d like to work with. Then, you can select from a list of characters, backgrounds and objects and place them into the scene. After that you just need to type in your own dialogue and you will be a comics creator!

Note that the image options are somewhat limited, and you can only work with what the site offers. So, as you can see in the strip below, we went with a teddy bear to represent a mishloach manot package since there were no food images!

But it can be fun to tinker with, and the final comics you create can be printed, downloaded or embedded onto other websites or emails.

In Your Classroom

  • Comics can be a really good way to have students summarize information or display knowledge.
  • If you’re creating a handout for your students, consider having a short comic panel as an introductory image or cover to add a little interest.

This is a “Technology Tuesday” post via Behrman House, edited by Ann D. Koffsky . You can find more Behrman House Technology Tuesdays here.

February 28, 2017 Posted by | Links You'll Love, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Here’s a list of over 150 websites of interest to lifelong learners. Definitely something for everyone!

Khan Academy has introduced an exploration of the storytelling process. They partnered with an exceptional source, too – Pixar Studios. Check out the course here.

We don’t know exactly what jobs of the future our students will hold, but we do know that educating kids to be problem-seeking design-thinking adults will serve them well. Ewan Mcintosh has a thoughtful blog post here where he addresses that. He has a good TED Talk about it, too.

 

February 17, 2017 Posted by | Links You'll Love, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Need a coloring book? Here are some awesome links to online resources you can download for free.

I’m a fan of the Talmud – how about you? This is HUGE news: Sefaria has announced the release of The William Davidson Talmud, a free digital edition of the Babylonian Talmud with parallel translations, interlinked to major commentaries, biblical citations, Midrash, Kabbalah, Halakhah, and an ever-growing library of Jewish texts. There’s a Sefaria app, too, which you can download here.

The Global Digital Citizen Foundation has another really nice guide on Nurturing Student Creativity Fluency. You can download the guide and watch the accompanying video here.

You can now insert videos from your Google Drive into Google Slides (you used to only be able to insert from YouTube). This is a great improvement! Here’s more info.

February 10, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Quizizz

The Technology:

Quizizz is a website that you can use to create your own multiple choice, online quizzes. Its easy-to-use interface and growing database of pre-made quizzes makes it a favorite for teachers.

To use Quziziz to create your own quiz, click on “create” and begin entering your questions and multiple choice answers. Be sure to note whether each answer is correct or incorrect. Your questions can be in English or Hebrew. (Yes, Hebrew is supported!) If you’d prefer not to type in each question on the site itself, you can choose to import a .csv file instead.

Quiziz also allows you to choose a cover image for the quiz, determine if you want your quiz to be private or public, and select the duration for how long players have to answer each question.

Once you’ve created a quiz, you can play it live in your classroom, or share the link with students so they can  play it at home. Students play at their own pace and can review their answers as they proceed.

It’s free to sign up to use Quizizz. Once you’ve created your account, you can also search among the quiz database and find other user’s public quizzes to play.

In Your Classroom

  • There is no question that kids love online quiz sites! Quiziz is a great addition to the quiz format because unlike many other quiz-making tools, Quiziz allows students to determine their own pace. This makes Quizizz particularly suitable for reviewing material at home.
  • Don’t forget about the quiz database.  A search for “Israel” returned hundreds of results. Note that you don’t have to use an existing quiz in its entirety; you can modify it and just include the questions that meet your needs.

This is a “Technology Tuesday” post via Behrman House, edited by Ann D. Koffsky . You can find more Behrman House Technology Tuesdays here.

February 7, 2017 Posted by | Technology Tuesdays | , | Leave a comment

TodaysMeet

TodaysMeet is a private, digital chatroom that teachers can use to encourage student participation. It allows students to share their ideas to the entire class by typing in their comments that are then projected onto a board where everyone can see them. This allows for a back and forth discussion in which  even the quietest of students are able to easily contribute their thoughts.

To set up a chatroom, simply go to TodaysMeet and pick a name for your room. You don’t need to create an account, but it’s free to do so, and creating one will give you the ability to moderate content. 

Once your room is set up, you can give your students the TodaysMeet URL and they’ll be able to type their comments or questions right into the message box. Comments are limited to 140 characters, so brevity is a must! You can keep a room open for up to a year, and close your room at any time.

In Your Classroom

  • While watching a documentary or other non-fiction video, check for understanding by asking your students to comment and answer questions about what they are watching.
  • Take a poll. Ask your students a question such as, “What’s your favorite Jewish holiday?” and watch their answers appear. 
  • TodaysMeet can also be a helpful tool in faculty or committee meetings.

This is a “Technology Tuesday” post via Behrman House, edited by Ann D. Koffsky . You can find more Behrman House Technology Tuesdays here.

January 21, 2017 Posted by | Behrman House Technology Tuesday, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Here’s some more info on fake news and how to detect it.

Data has become an extremely important topic, whether you’re talking about serving students, or serving a particular population. And now, if you’re serving cheese. Check out the Wine and Cheese Map to search for a type of cheese and then get suggestions for wine pairings. You can filter by moisture level, country of origin and type of wine. You. Are. Welcome.

Hands on learning is great – and just about everyone agrees that we need to give students more opportunities to participate in it. Here’s a great graphic that looks at what kind of reflecting students should be doing so we’re not leaving learning to chance.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Links, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Technology Tuesday: Tagul Word clouds

 What is a word cloud? A word cloud is an image that is formed from typed words, in which the size of each word indicates its frequency or importance. Here is an example of one:

Tagul is a free site that can help you create your own word clouds. You simply import your words, either one at a time, or by pasting a body of text.  And, you don’t have to limit yourself to English: Tagul will also work with Hebrew type, as long as you import a Hebrew font by going to “fonts” and then uploading your Hebrew font to it.

(Note: I had greater success with Tagul when I used Hebrew that had no vowels or cantellation marks.) 

You can also customize your word cloud by choosing from a menu of possible shapes, colors, fonts and layouts.  After you’re happy with the graphic, you can print it, download it, and share it with others.

To  use Tagul, create a new account, or use your Google or social media account. There is no charge to sign up and it is free for personal use.

In Your Classroom

  • Tagul can be used as visual tool to  to analyze ranked choices. For instance, you can do a values clarification exercise with your class, and then type in the results by rank (be sure to use higher numbers for more-frequently chosen values). The resulting word cloud will illustrate your class’s choices.  Try this with questions such as “what do you want to learn?” or statements like “the most important mitzvah is…”
  • Paste in any block of text for visual analysis of the frequency of words.
  • Do an “all about me” activity with your students. Ask each student to choose ten adjectives and rank them accordingly. The resulting word cloud will be a personalized set of visual illustrations that describe your students personalities.

This is a “Technology Tuesday” post via Behrman House, edited by Ann D. Koffsky . You can find more Behrman House Technology Tuesdays here.

October 26, 2016 Posted by | Technology Tuesdays | , , | Leave a comment

Technology Tuesday: Booktrack

The Technology: Booktrack

The Booktrack website gives users the ability to add soundtracks and sound effects to written text, creating a unique reading, listening and immersive experience.

Creating a new booktrack is simple. Just click on, “Create new booktrack” and choose:

  • If you have your own story you’d like to add music to, or
  • If you want to use one from the Booktrack library.

Then, enter your text. It can even be a Hebrew text! (When I tried, I was successful copying a Hebrew text from an existing file and pasting it into Booktrack).

Once your text is in, choose music clips and sound effects from the Booktrack library and connect them to different pieces of the text, so that when readers come to that portion of your story, they will hear that music. 

Once your booktrack is complete, select a title, category and rating and publish it. You can choose to have your story available publicly in the Booktrack library or you can choose to keep it private. 

To read a booktrack, simply click on the book and read it in the browser window. (If you are having several students read booktracks in your classroom, I highly recommend you ask that they use headphones!)

To start making your own booktracks, visit the website and create a free account. Teachers can create a class, and add students manually or by class code to it. Students can create an account and then join the class to view or submit books to the class’s bookshelf.

In Your Classroom

  • Assign your students to create a booktrack using a Bible or holiday story. Invite students to think about what kind of background music and sound effects will provide the appropriate atmosphere for the content of the story.
  • Older students can create booktracks for younger students.
  • Use a Hebrew prayer as your text, and add sound effects to it that help add meaning.

This is a “Technology Tuesday” post via Behrman House, edited by Ann D. Koffsky . You can find more Behrman House Technology Tuesdays here.

October 11, 2016 Posted by | Behrman House Technology Tuesday | , , | Leave a comment

ClassTag

The Technology: ClassTag

ClassTag is a free website that allows you to easily email all your student’s parents at one time. You can use it to send announcements, event information (along with an RSVP link), requests for volunteers, or parent/teacher conference details. ClassTag also makes it possible for you to quickly email photos and weekly updates.

You can also use ClassTag to organize volunteers. Simply send parents an invitation to volunteer. Then, once they receive it, they can choose to click to sign up, and their commitment will appear on both their dashboard and yours. 

Begin by signing up for a free ClassTag account. Then, create a class and populate it with your students’ names and their parents’ email addresses.

In Your Classroom

  • ClassTag is a relatively new product, and it will be interesting to see what features get added over time. Right now, it’s a great way to keep in touch with parents and easily share photos, newsletters and announcements.
  • Don’t worry about sending unwanted emails to your parents– they can opt out of any of the categories so that they will only get the emails they prefer.
This is a “Technology Tuesday” post via Behrman House, edited by Ann D. Koffsky . You can find more Behrman House Technology Tuesdays here.

September 29, 2016 Posted by | Behrman House Technology Tuesday | , , | Leave a comment

Using 3D Printing to Foster Students’ Creativity, Collaboration and Design Skills

“I’m working on a design for the Apple Pencil holder.”

“I need to print a poster that I designed.”

“We’re designing logos for the Israel Experience trip.”

This is what I hear as my 6th, 7th and 8th grade students gather in our new Innovation Studio for their innovation exploration specials. They can’t wait to spend time learning how to use the new iPad Pros with Apple Pencils, GoPro cameras and green screen, poster printer and electronic paper cutter, and especially the 3D printer.

 

While the tech staff had experimented quite a bit with 3D printing over the summer, we had only worked with designs that were sourced ready-to-print. When I created “Innovation Go,” a game designed to teach my colleagues about the new innovation studio during faculty planning week, my tech colleagues assisted by finding and printing various Pokémon Go characters for prizes. That was easy—designing and printing our first “from scratch” project has certainly proven to be much more of an interesting challenge.

 

Our first student-designed project is most definitely an ambitious one. We discovered right away that the Apple Pencil styluses are really cool but cumbersome to store when being charged. They kind of look like an electronic octopus, and it’s been difficult to keep them organized. So my Innovation Studio co-teacher and I posed the challenge to our 7th and 8th grade students: could they design and print an attractive, functional holder?

 

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The 20 Pencil mess…

One of my 8th graders rose to the challenge. He began by using 123D Print to design a holder. After spending a couple days (and evenings) working on his design, we were ready to print our first project. We were shocked at the length of time that it took to print! 7th and 8th graders regularly popped into the Innovation Studio on their way to other classes to check on the progress, peering into the 3D printer to watch the tiny thread of filament build the object.

Three days later, when we returned from the Labor Day weekend, we found a beautiful, structurally sound, perfectly printed Apple Pencil holder. It was everything we hoped it would be…except it was too tight for the Apple Pencils to fit properly!

My students aren’t daunted in the least. We explained to the class that this is simply the first step in learning how to engineer. One 8th grader led the class in a spirited discussion of the process, including what worked and how we can improve on our design and building skills. The students debated important questions like how we can better test designs before committing hours of printing time and how we can avoid the 3D printer having to create wasteful supporting structures. Having seen a design go from an iPad Pro screen to an actual item that you could hold was powerful, and we could not have had the discussion before we had actually gone through that process.

We explained to the students what going “back to the drawing board” really means, – and off they went!

 

In the meantime, these 6th, 7th and 8th grade students are learning how to use the iPad Pros to design for the 3D printer, and we’re excited to see their ideas coming to fruition. We’re carefully planning how to test, test and test before printing, and how to continue to build on what we’ve learned to ensure future successes. Stay tuned for updates on our design and manufacturing processes as we continue to collaborate and innovate our way to 3D printing success.

Cross-posted from Solomon Schechter of Metropolitan Chicago

September 18, 2016 Posted by | iPads, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

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