A visit to Gan Gani Hebrew immersion preschool in Chicago

Gan Gani is a Hebrew immersion preschool program in which children engage in constructiveness curriculum promoting development of gross and fine motor skills through manipulative play. Their experiential, hands-on programming allows the students to be partners in their own learning process. Through pretend play, singing songs, integrating with one another, and creating art projects, as well as through many other activities, students are immersed in both Hebrew language and Jewish culture.  The Teachers at Gan Gani are enthusiastic, dedicated and committed to the kids learning Hebrew as well as establishing that connection and love for Jewish Holidays and Israeli life.

The physical space at the preschool is a mini Israel.  So much care is given to each space in the school and immersing the students and parents in Israeli culture and the Hebrew language.

gangani2 gangani3

 

Two pictures from the lobby of the school which is inviting and inspiring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

gangani1The gym also serves as a place of learning with velcro walls and artwork about the story of creation.

During the visit we also saw the morning circle time which includes the entire school ages 1 to 5.  All 70 kids sat around singing Hebrew morning songs.  Next, some of the teachers and older students acted out the classic Hebrew story  (אליעזר והגזר) Eliezer and the carrot by Levin Kipnis.    gangani4

The school founder and director of education, Etty Dolgin is and inspiration to all heads of school and teachers.  She created an inviting, inspiring and loving environment to teach the love of Israel and Hebrew to preschool children.  Yasher Koach!

Project based learning – Art, Hebrew and Jewish Studies

Sukkot – In my Jewish Studies classroom we learned about the seven special biblical guests (Ushpizin in Aramaic) who are said to visit our Sukkah during the holiday of Sukkot.   For our Ushpizin project,  each student picked a biblical or modern Jewish hero and wrote a short summary about the hero.  The summary was based on questions from the Hebrew TaLAM curriculum.

Art – Earlier in the year the students learned how to create a 3/4 view self portrait in Art class.  They used their face mapping skills to draw a portrait of their chosen Jewish hero.

21st Century skills – The students recorded their drawing using the Time-Lapse option on the iPad.  Next they imported the video into iMovie and recorded their Hebrew summary.

Thank you to Mrs. Gutterman, our art teacher, for  helping with this project.  The final project is creative, informative and was so much fun to create!

The next step is to share our projects with other learners and educators.  My students posted their projects on their individual blogs.  PLEASE read and leave them a comment.  They would LOVE it!

Elliana’s project on Miriam the matriarch  

Madelyn’s project on Miriam the matriarch

Evan’s project on Jacob the patriarch 

Jacob M.’s project on Jacob the patriarch

Jacob G.’s project on Jacob the patriarch

George’s project on King David

Nava’s project on King David

Sam’s project on Moses

Masha’s project on Moses

Talia’s project on Nechama Leibowitz 

Maya’s project on Simeon Peres 

Lily’s project on Golda Meir 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using TinyTap to enhance Hebrew immersion (or any foreign language acquisition)

For the past two years I utilized an app named TinyTap with the following goals:

  • Create authentic tasks to help my students improve grammar and verbal skills,
  • Enhance conversational opportunities
  • Differentiate their learning

Also,

  • when the students create, they own their  learning and retain and internalize the vocabulary much more
  • they take pride in their achievements
  • they are able to share their learning with other students
  • learn from their peers

 

iTunes“TinyTap is a social platform which empowers families, teachers and students to learn from each other by creating their own personalized learning apps and playing thousands of new ones shared daily by a worldwide community of educators and learners.” http://www.tinytap.it/

 

To read my blog post about the process of creating TinyTap games with my 3rd grade, click here

When introducing TinyTap to my 5th grade students, I asked them to play some of the existing TinyTap games which teach a foreign language before they began creating their own.  This is their reflection:

 

Next we went over the TinyTap tutorial which can be found on the TinyTap website.  Finally each students picked a grammar concept that they want to teach and began designing their game.

 

Here are some examples:

Saylor’s game using the Ask a Question feature

Eliana’s game using the Cut a Shape Puzzle feature

Daisy’s game using the Cut a Shape Puzzle feature

Josh’s game using the Tap ‘n Type feature

 

For more games created by me and my students, please download TinyTap and search for Liat Walker

Enhancing Torah lessons with Ed Tech tools

This year the Chumash (Torah) unit for 5th grade was the six chapters in the book of Shemot (Exodus) which cover the Ten Plagues.  Eser Macot WB title pgOur school uses the TaLAM curriculum which provides posters, flash cards, a workbook and a guided book with all of the p’sookim (verses) from those six chapters.

 

All of my students have prior knowledge of the Ten Plagues since we discuss them every year at the Passover Seder.  One of the goals of this unit is to enhance the students’ understanding of what happened during each of the plagues, how it affected the Pharaoh, the Egyptians and the Israelites.  And of course the role of God in the Ten Plagues.

 

Screenshot_2_10_16__7_36_PM  I created a chart on google docs with the same four basic questions for each of the plagues and shared it with my students.  The students were asked to answer each question twice.  First before we began each lesson (to check their prior knowledge & assumptions) and the second time at the end of each lesson.  This served two purposes. I was able to assess each student and they could assess themselves.  After each unit the students wrote a blog post reflection about the plague using this chart and other guiding questions.  (See separate blog post:  Blogging about Chumash.

 

 

 

JI studio

I also utilized the iPad app JI Studio to assess understanding, comprehension, attentive listening and reading fluency.  At the end of each lesson, the students picked the most important verse or verses about the plague and illustrated them on the JI Studio app.  Next they added the verse in Hebrew and recorded themselves reading the verse.

Please click on each image to listen to the student reading the verse in Hebrew:

 

 

 

 

 

Third graders reflect on learning Hebrew via Tiny Tap and VoiceThread

My 3rd grade project for the 2014-15 school year was to better use iPads and other forms of educational technology tools on an ongoing basis to stimulate and encourage more conversational Hebrew both inside and outside of the classroom.  By the end of the year each student created two Hebrew games on TinyTap and reflected in Hebrew using several prompts on VoiceThread.

My original blogpost from July 2014 about the beginning of the project can be found here 

My slideshare presentation of the implementation, successes and challenges of the project can be found here

This is what my students wrote on their blog at the end of the year.  To read their blogs go to http://mjgds.org/students/#tab4 or click here

They also wrote about it in their Hebrew biography booklets:

 

 

 

Improving_my_Hebrew_Using_TinyTap_and_VoiceThread_«_Elliana_s_Amazing_BlogGeorge_is_a_awesome_guy_______»_Blog_Archive_»_Speaking_Hebrew

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucy_s_Blogfolio_»_TinyTap_and_Voicethread

 

Speaking_Hebrew___LILY_S_BLOGFOLIO

My year long project to integrate ongoing 21st Century learning in the Jewish Studies Classroom

In July 2014 I had an amazing professional development opportunity, which led to creating a yearlong project and culminating in May 2015 with the sharing of the project with 35 of my peers. In July 2014 I spent two weeks at the Rothberg School at Hebrew University. During the two-week period I began to develop a project that would pave the way to integrate ongoing 21st century leaning into my Jewish Studies classroom. I have utilized educational technology tools in my classroom for the past few years to create end of unit projects, assess comprehension and practice reading fluency. The vision for this project was to better make use of iPads and other forms of educational technology tools on an ongoing basis to stimulate and encourage more conversational Hebrew both inside and outside of the classroom.

My original blogpost from July 2014 about the beginning of the project can be found here 

The following is my presentation of the implementation, successes and challenges of the project

my vision.pptx

 

 

 

 

 

 

TinyTappage.pptx

 

 

 

 

 

To see the entire presentation Please click here