Wednesday, November 13, 2013

way of practicing ivrit conversation with older kids

Whew, I must have been wiped out last night!  I came down and last night's blog post was accidentally still unpublished.

I read Orthodox Jewish educational message boards like Lookjed.

This is from mifgashim.  It's the kind of idea that I think is terrific, but I probably won't do because I'm a lazy unschooler.  But if my kids ever told me they wanted to beef up their Ivrit speaking skills, this is exactly the way I would create the lesson for them.

 Increasing Hebrew conversation time in class

I've found a very easy idea for bringing conversational Hebrew into a classroom. The goal here is to create a natural and authentic experience of Hebrew conversation. I have a class of 11th and 12th graders in our evening program, but this would work well in a day school, too.
I begin with a list of conversation starters. You can get them from many sources: on line, board and card games, or, as I do, from an app called Table Topics. I've divided the class into groups of 5-6 students and posted a listed of group leaders and the questions for the two coming months.
This week's question was, What is more important, justice or mercy? Next week we will ask, Is your cup half full or half empty?
The leaders are responsible, not only for introducing the question, but for keeping the conversation moving through follow-up and probing questions. Each student has a slip of paper to give him/herself a grade. (I don't take those grades too seriously, but they do insure that students participate well.)
I do NOT participate or even sit with the students; I want the conversations to be natural and unmonitored. They usually last about 30 minutes. From across the room I can see that students are intensely engaged, laughing, arguing, looking surprised, telling interesting stories, interrupting each other, more concerned about communicating than about learning Hebrew — which is exactly what I want. The leaders and participants are highly motivated, and the students are very excited about the activities each week. 
This part of the lesson is also very easy for a busy teacher to prepare. 
Yosi Gordon

Basically, from what I understand, we would choose an interesting conversation starter.  I think I would also write up a bunch of phrases on cards or on a paper that have to do with the topic or the main vocabulary words that have to do with the topic, so that the students can glance at them when they get stuck on a word or phrase.

This is the kind of lesson plan that has me daydreaming of going to my high school principal and asking to teach an Ivrit class, to see if a semester of conversational starters like this get the students more comfortable with speaking Hebrew.  Then I think to myself that, hey, I homeschool, I can do this with my kids.  But that takes a lot of preparation and I tend to be more fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of homeschooler.  But if any of you are more the type who prepare lessons, let me know how this works!

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