What did I learn at the 2 day Teacher Institute reunion?

I learned to annotate a video to use in a flipped classroom or blended classroom.

My 5th grade students read Megillat Ruth in Hebrew in class using the TaLAM Ruth book.  I took the Megilat Ruth video from BimBam and added questions about the content as it relates to what they learned in class.  Within a 40 minute PD session, I learned about the importance of flipped classroom, saw examples from a few teachers, was introduced to playpostit.com and given time to began “playing/creating” while the instructors were available for questions.


I learned Tractate Berachot 3b in collaboration with a group and demonstrated our  understanding via a visual presentation.



The Rabbi, his son and the 7 head demon

During an Open Modified Space Technology I brainstormed with a group of teachers:

How do we teach complexity about Israel – starting in gan
How do we start in the younger grades? – needs to start from the ground up.

Here are some of our notes:  Our Jewish community is changing – this is a crucial question. We have to be at the forefront of figuring this out

Millenials want to talk about themselves – Need to teach seniors about their identity. How to access resources about ME is a wast of time. Need to focus on what will leave them thinking bout situation. Don’t tell them how to think? Has to be authentic from both of their sides. Discussion. Identity.

Hugging and Wrestling with Israel (JNF) – MS/HS curriculum

Younger kids – start developmentally appropriate.
Trying to teach an emotion
Need to provide forum already in 3/4 to talk about issues, cause they know about it already

Founding of USA v Founding of Israel (5th)

Who are our teachers? Their needs, emotions, backgrounds? We have to figure this out as adults first!

Makom – how do you connect to Israel?

Bialik School — Israel Interactive Center = recreate the realities of Israel in different grades

Putting the question to the kids; looking for their responses. Hard for a teacher

What made US love Israel?

We need curriculum with a trajectory, not just independent incidents

Michal Gutman The question of 67


I Collaborated with a group of teachers to create a presentation based on a system scale of Problem – Theory – Vision


Theory –  If learning is personalized, students will find the learning meaningful and relevant to their learning styles and interests. Therefore, students will be inspired, engaged and learn more both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Teachers, too, will feel successful and empowered to reach every student.




Critical Thinking


Vision –  Schools will gradually shift from teacher-centered to student-centered classrooms. The schools, in partnership with Legacy Heritage, will provide professional development, training and ongoing support to staff. Personalization will become a school-wide initiative. Some of the techniques that will be employed include, mentoring, peer-observations, shared planning, in house experts, external consultants, differentiated instruction, technology and PBL.

Partnerships and communication facilitate appropriate, ongoing, professional development, essential for growth, learning and change. Professional learning communities enhance school culture and cultivate positive climate and growth. Consistent and supported, planned but flexible professional development and ongoing reflection and collection of feedback and data, keeps the professional development goal oriented, purposeful and sustainable.



Torah in 3D printing

What does the Torah portion have to do with 3D printing?

In the 3rd grade Parashat HaShavua (weekly Torah portion) curriculum,  each Parasha (Torah portion) features a symbol presented as a riddle; through the study of the Parasha the students discover the link between this symbol (which is the central message of the portion) and the Parasha.  At the end of each Parasha lesson the students illustrate a coloring page with the Parasha symbol.   At the end of each Chumash unit, the coloring pages become a booklet.

This year the students are also creating a 3D printout of the Parasha symbol/shape.   Students used the app, Morphi, to draw the symbols and turn the illustrations into 3D printed pieces. All the shapes were placed on a key ring. Students have a visual representation of the central messages from each Torah Portion.  They are able to recall the central message of each Parasha by playing the with 3D symbols on their keychain.  The message from each Parasha came alive to the students because they created their symbol, were able to touch it, play with it and share what they learned with others.


This is a statement from a 3rd grade parent:

“I wanted to commend you on this. My son LOVED doing this project. He went through each image from the 3-D ring as well as all of his pictures to explain each Parasha to me, explaining why/how the symbols and his pictures represented the weekly Parasha.  It was a very effective lesson for him.  Thank you for helping him be excited about his Hebrew class.”


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


  • 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