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  1. Tech Tools: Classroom Screen

    Tech Tools: Classroom Screen
    Written by Debbie Harris, Tech Tools brings you excellent technology tips to inspire you and add creativity to your teaching.

    The Technology

    Classroom Screen is a free website that provides several really handy tools for you to use in your classroom. Some require that you have a projector or interactive whiteboard, but others are useful even without one. To use Classroom Screen, simply open the website, wait a couple of seconds for it to load, and get to work. There is no account for which to register, and no money to pay (although the author does invite contributions). Classroom Screen works on a computer or tablet.

    My favorite Classroom Screen tools are:

    • Work symbols. This allows you to post an icon on screen that tells students what their voice level should be during your lesson (whisper, working together, silence, or ask a neighbor)
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  2. Tech Tools: Illustrate A Concept Quickly with Animated GIFs

    Tech Tools: Illustrate A Concept Quickly with Animated GIFs

    Welcome to Tech Tools, our new newsletter feature. Written by Debbie Harris, this column will bring you excellent technology tips to inspire you and add creativity to your teaching.

    The Technology

    Animated GIFs - those short little videos that are usually just a few scenes long - are all over social media, and they are a fun way to demonstrate a project, give a few directions or share an idea. 

    Draw Island is a website that can help you make your own animated GIFs. It allows you to create multiple drawings, and then creates the animation. 

    To create your set of drawings, you can draw freehand within the website, or choose from the provided menu of pre-drawn shapes. You can also add text to your drawings or upload your own photos to the site.

    After you have completed each drawing, click the “Save to animate” button, and it

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  3. How to Use Hebrew in Harmony App with Small Groups

    When Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle adopted Hebrew in Harmony last year, educators wanted to ensure that the students had access to the rich content of the app in class. With more students than ipads, the school turned to small groups as a strategy.

    Stacey Delcau, director of education at the school, invested in headphones and splitters so two students could be on an iPad at the same time.

    Teachers in grades four and five devised small-group stations for students to rotate through during their lessons. While a teacher worked on reading with a small group, students at other stations worked on assignments in the Hebrew in Harmony journals, or related art projects, while other students practiced their Hebrew reading or watched the videos explaining the meaning of a prayer on the iPad.

    “We’ve had success with stations and small groups using this curriculum,” says Delcau. “It gives teachers one more tool at their disposal to mix

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  4. Should I Buy a Chromebook?

    As the digital director at Behrman House, I’m constantly asked many questions about hardware and software.  What’s the best phone?  Should I update my operating system?  Am I going to get the latest virus on my computer?

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  5. Online Learning Center Wow

    Imagine it's August: A family calls a school asking for help. Their son has no prior Hebrew education and yet is determined to have a bar mitzvah -  in just a few months. 

    That's the call Rabbi Rena Rifkin, director of the religious school at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City, received last summer. The boy wouldn't be starting school until September, and Rifkin knew there was a time crunch, so she offered the family another option to jumpstart his learning - the Online Learning Center.

    The OLC is tool that provides students access to digital materials to extend learning and offers opportunities for extra practice. Rifkin set up the student in the OLC as his own class, so he could use 

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  6. Five Steps to Using the Online Learning Center with Confidence

    Whether you’re new to the Online Learning Center or a seasoned user, sitting down to set up your virtual synagogue for the new school year doesn’t have to be intimidating. We’ve gathered some helpful tips and tricks so you can master the Online Learning Center and guide your students with success.  

    1. Know there’s a learning curve
    Be patient with yourself. Any new technology takes time to understandand each and every user started somewhere. We’ve got several resources to help and you can always contact us along the way if you run into any bumps in the road.

    2. Know wha

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  7. Motivation and Reinforcement Strategies to Get the Most from the Online Learning Center

    With students back and classes getting underway, now is the right time to set your expectations for student participation in the Online Learning Center, however you choose to use it. Reinforcing those expectations often are key to a successful, engaged year.

    Set Expectations

    For Hebrew especially, ongoing regular practice is a large part of a successful Hebrew learning experience. When you set clear expectations early on in the school year, you give students and parents guidelines and an idea of how the curriculum will work.

    We recommend early communications with families to establish your expectations. A presentation -- perhaps at back-to-school night -- that outlines your expectations also provides

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  8. Special for Education Directors: Sticky Tech Situations and How to Solve Them

    We hosted a Ed Tech Solutions gathering at Behrman House headquarters this week, giving local educators the opportunity to learn about tech trends and tools to engage students, play with some learning apps, and get help for their digital learning needs.

    One session, led by Terry Kaye and designed especially for education directors, focused on tech trouble spots. Here's what you need to know to work through common tech challenges.

    I want to use digital apps but we don’t have reliable wifi in our building.

    1. Make it a priority to get reliable wifi. Advocate for it! Research the options. Demonstrate to your education committee and/or board the digital learning tools students will be able to use in class, especially in small groups, to enrich the learning. Explain the benefits (improved decoding skills, greater in-class e

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