Back to School: Ideas for the Start of the Year

By: Racheli Blum 6, September 2015

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The start of the new school year is always full of emotion; a mix of excitement and apprehension. It’s a time of change and renewal that can often stimulate feelings of anxiety in our students related to the unfamiliar and the unknown. A new teacher, new classmates, maybe even a new school.
In anticipation of these fears, the teachers in our school, The Special Education School at Beit Issie Shapiro, prepared activities to help the students become acclimated to their new classmates, staff, and classrooms. Below you can see examples from an interactive activity for the iPad created by one of our teachers, Anat Rizenman, using Tiny Tap. The activity was meant as a refresher for returning students and as a tool to help new students become familiar with their new environment. It includes photos of significant places in school and photos of significant staff accompanied by recorded messages introducing themselves.


“Welcome to Beit Issie Shapiro School”


“Hello, I’m Anat, your new teacher.”


“Every week we go to the pool to swim.”

In addition, the teachers created an “Attendance Game”, also using TinyTap.  They use it at the beginning of each day before the first lesson, allowing the children to take part in checking who came to class that day.  For new students it helps them to become familiar with their peers.

“Who came to the purple class today?  (Hebrew is read from right to left)”

“Who came to the purple class today? (Hebrew is read from right to left)”

Each page has the name and photo of the child with an “x” or a check.

Each page has the name and photo of the child with an “x” or a check.

These games can be played with the class as a whole or can be shared to individual iPads for children to play with on their own time and with their families, allowing them even more time for familiarization and communication with the family.

Together with their parents, the students can create personal stories, also using TinyTap, or any other story creator app, that can be played in class, allowing children to introduce themselves to their classmates.
Happy New Year
For those of our readers that celebrate the Jewish Holidays, the beginning of the school year also brings with it a season of holidays that includes the Jewish New Year. Following are a few tips for including the iPad in the festivities.

  • Drawing and photo apps can be used to create personalized new year cards to share or print.
  • Interactive greetings can created on TinyTap and shared with those who have the app, or screenshots can be printed and sent.
  • Holiday concepts and traditions: There are many apps in the App Store that can be used to become familiar with holiday traditions. A short search revealed the following:

icon175x175A simple but wonderful app. By blowing into the microphone you can create the different sounds of the shofar (teki’ah, shevarim, teru’ah). The different sounds can be a bit complicated to create, but the app can definitely be used to work on blowing skills and the feedback is great. It works even if the blowing is somewhat weak. The shofar will also sound by touching the screen, making it accessible for children who have trouble blowing.
icon175x175This is an interactive story game for Rosh Hashana available both in Hebrew and in English. The central character tells the people and animals in her life all about the new year, and enlists the child’s help in doing so by asking them to blow on the shofar (into the microphone). The story is cute but is accompanied by background music that can be distracting.  There is no option to turn it off.  Despite the music, we still recommend downloading this app because of the shofar blowing feature.  As opposed to the previous app, in this one you choose the different sounds of the shofar by tapping the screen and then blowing into the microphone makes the sound you chose.  It’s a great way to learn about the different sounds of the shofar.

As usual we suggest you search the galleries in both TinyTap and Bitsboard for ready-made games and activities for Rosh Hashana, or try making some yourselves.

The following games are those we created using TinyTap. They are in Hebrew and are appropriate for those with a basic understanding of the language. The games can be played both on the app and computer version of TinyTap. Once you download a game to your TinyTap app you can alter certain features to suit your needs, such as changing the recordings or deleting irrelevant pages.

חגי תשרי
ימגLearn all about the Holidays of Tishrei with Chagi and his family.
סופרים בראש השנה
צכח A basic math skills game for Rosh Hashana.



Wishing a successful new school year to all our readers, and a Happy New Year to our friends who celebrate Rosh Hashana.


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