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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Some Updates and Thoughts

2 weeks have passed so quickly. It is amazing how time flies by
I havent had a chance to stop and write, as I had to:
1)        Plan the web 2.0, I wanted to teach my teachers (that was Glogster, my LOVE)
2)     Read articles (lots of them) for the course: Qualitative Research  Methods
3)     Think of a computer based unit  for the course: Social Network in Education
4)     Finish the interactive lesson for my 6th graders (print out the codes, laminate the cards etc)
5)     Completing 4 charts for the inspectorate's visit at school
6)      Stat planning my husband's surprise party (he doesn't read the blog – so do not worry!)
7)     Marking tests and dictations (I teach 6 classes)
8)    Looking for time to spend with my daughter and husband
So, as you can read it ain't easy going back to school, work full time, give courses once a week after school, being a mother and a wife etc..
Anyhow --- enough about my problems (sorry but it is easier writing everything down for you to read instead of going to the shrink – no time and no money for that J
I'm taking a course at college which I found out is an online course (asynchronous) and not a frontal lesson. The goal is to set up a group of students and to think about an ICT (information and communication technologies) learning unit based on one of the social networks out there. We have to write our thoughts and progress during the process in a blog, the lecturer opened for us (which is 60% of the final grade), commenting on other students' blogs (10%) and the final part should be working on the unit - (practice and review) by our students at school or by our colleagues (30%).
We have chosen Facebook, of course, but it is hard to come up with a subject as we (the member in my group – total of 3 teachers) teach different subjects to different age groups. Any way we agreed on (my suggestion!!) planning the unit based on the timeline the Facebook has to offer. Now if I think of that, it will best suit to teach History, as the pupils can enter many data, pictures, videos, presentations and more on a specific topic, on the specific date and year!  As the Facebook gives you the ability to choose the date for entering any information, thus if I decide to teach about the Great Fire of London, I will post all the information in the year 1666 and I (as a pupil) can choose the day as well.
But I am sure I can find more useful things to it such as (just come up to my mind) if I ask my pupils to create a page on Facebook and specify special or/and important events in their lives, such as birth, parties, first kiss, first boyfriend/girlfriend etc (I am sure they have other events they consider to be meaningful) There is still a lot to think aboutJ
Let's move on. Another course offers the Second Life environment. Now that is a tool I just don't get!! I HATE it! I don't see the point in it (I can see it, I just don't like what I see!) and I can't seem to understand the implantation of it in my esl classes. It is basically a virtual world parallel to ours and you can travel to other countries, places, meet new friends/old friends, chat, talk and maybe learn a bit. The problems that I see are:
1)        Teaching this environment will take ages. Especially to kids in elementary (which is significant for my work)!
2)     Pupils can easily "forget" it is meant to be a learning tool.
3)     Teachers should LOVE the tool they teach with.
4)     To make a video, you need to teach a different tool which takes more time
5)     Don't Worry!! I will think of more reasons why I don't like that tool (game)
Well, okay – I have got to finish I still have to take a shower and finish some other things (like paying the utility bills) and be at the college at 13:00 (it is 9 am)
Oh, another thing I will love to hear what you think about Second Life.. (if you know it of course)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Postcards to Brazil

This year my 5th graders send postcards to peers in Brasil. They write about themselves and one of the holidays.
Read part of the letter I send to the teacher in Brazil:

The postcards we sent contain Jewish holidays images such as apples and honey, a dove (a symbol for freedom), Hamsa (the hand – people believe that it saves you from the 'evil eye') and more. Some of the cards have Hebrew words on them such as שנה טובה  - happy new year.

In our postcards we wrote about one of the 4 first holidays we have.
Rosh Hashana - the Jewish New Year
Yom Kippur – we fast for 24 hours (no water or food) so people will forgive our sins. On Yum Kippur it is not allowed for cars to be on the road so all the kids ride their bicycles, skates etc on the road with no fear. We can walk instead of on the curve on the road and no car is driving by.
Succot – this holiday symbols the hard way our ancestors had to go through on their way to Israel. (They walked by foot from Egypt)  In this holiday we build a Succah (it's like a tent – see the picture below) and we sit in it for 7 days (we eat there, sleep, play and more…) the Succah is built in the garden, yard or in a balcony at home. The kids have a great time making decoration and they enjoy sleeping there together.
Simchat Torah – this holiday is celebrated when the religious people finish reading the whole bible (they read the bible throughout the year in the synagogue – which is like a church only for Jewish people) Once they finish the reading and they have to start all over again (it always happens at the same time of the year) we celebrate the beginning of the reading.

All those 4 holidays are celebrated at the same month one after the other, so we have 2.5 weeks off school, usually at the end of September – middle October.
The kids also wrote about themselves and some of them added pictures and decorated the cards. Most of the boys didn't decorate so nicely but I am sending you all the cards.

Here are some photos to help you better understand what a Succa is:
This is my Succah. This is how it looks like from the outside (I built it in our balcony at home)
This is while building it


 play time

 dinner time
Hope you learn a bit about the Jewish holidays and traditions..

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Makeover Updates

If you have read my Class Makeover post or the Angels in Bar-Lev one, you know I was waiting for my posters to be printed out.... It wasn't so easy as I thought... Every time I went to the workshop, it was either closed or full and I couldn't print my posters and cards. More over I was waiting for the tables to arrive (for the library and the computer corners) and so when they arrived 2 weeks ago, I had 2 new tables which I haven't ORDERED!!! They have sent me the wrong tables!!! Because I was so nervous BUT keen and excited to start using my new classroom, I have decided to keep the 2 tables and order another one (as the tables were too small for my need) - which I am still short of !!
Anyhow and to get things moving... I placed one of the tables in the library corner and the other at the computers area and along with the other table I am supposed to get in the next couple of days (wishful thinking) there will be 2 medium rounded tables instead of only one large table.

So going back to what I started with.... I went to the workshop yesterday after calling and making sure I will be able to work and start printing out the posters...

It is so so exciting looking at something you design - at home - late at night - on your computer - comes alive!!
Oh.... the joy I felt! I can not even describe it in words....

Drawing on the computer
Printing and laminating the poster


This is how it looks like in my classroom:
This is the library:


Wednesday, October 3, 2012


It is almost "end of the holidays" here in Israel. After a month and a half where there was a holiday nearly every day - food, traveling, meeting friends, writing blog posts, reading blog posts, spending quality time with family and more,,, This camp is about to end!
It is time to go back to what I really long for and it is called: "ROUTINE".
This is the time for me to think about new ideas and interesting tools to teach the teachers at my computer course (I like the sound of it... teach the teacher :).
So, while I search the interenet, search all the web 2.0 websites, blogs, books - reading articles and tiring myself and my brain... I suddenly remembered GLOGSTER. My old friend from long ago... We met during one of my interent traveling and fell in love!
Meet Glogster!

I am not talking about Glogter Edu (education), but the regular Glogster. The one opened for everyone.
Use Glogster for a variety of things:
* Creative Writing:
- talk about your vacation (see my example)
- talk about yourself
- talk about your favorite movie/ book/ friend etc
- Write a book report
- talk about your pet/ parents/ family
- talk about your school
- Write bibliography
* Photo Album...
- Make a photo poster
- Make your own poster
* Posters
- Make the abc poster
- Make a school poster
- Make a poster about your class trip
- Make a poem poster
and more and more....
There are endless ideas, but what I like the most about it, is that every kid - brings his own creativity to the work.
You can even open a class Glog. Why not make a Glog during the lesson? If you have a white board or even only an over head projector everyone can share their own ideas on the Glog.
You will have a class poster to hang on your classroom wall/ gift it in the end of the year/ parents day etc....
Glogster is also so easy to use! Open one, save it and share it to any social network, your blog, your site, print it out and also share it with people you don't know - get likes and comments.
So what do you think of Glogster?