This Week in Lower School 12/11/2020


Learning the Story of Hanukkah K - 5


As part of our Hanukkah unit, our Kindergarten - 5th grade students have been busy learning about the story of Hanukkah in their Jewish Studies classes. Our students progress from Kindergarten - 5th grade by participating in a variety of activities that help them learn important details and the overall story of Hanukkah. As students progress each year, we introduce them to deeper concepts about the story. Here are a few of the ways in which our students learned about Hanukkah in Jewh Studies and Hebrew classes this week. Next week we will highlight how we celebrated Hanukkah and integrated the Holiday into our General Studies curriculum. 


Our Kindergarten students decorated Hanukkah cookie boxes for their Hanukkah symbol cookies. They learned the Hebrew vocabulary for each symbolic shape, as well as the Hebrew letter that the symbol starts with. In 1st grade, they learned the Hanukkah story through role play in Hebrew. They focused on distinguishing what was said by the Greeks and what was said by the Jews. The 2nd grade students analyzed the Hanukkah story through the feelings of the different characters. They identified how there were good times and difficult times for the Jewish people throughout the story. They are in the process of making 3D projects showing the different scenes and writing about their feelings in association with the specific scenes that they were assigned. 3rd grade students read a Hebrew story about a boy that cooks for Hanukkah.


The students learned the vocabulary of the ingredients you need to make the traditional Latkes. To spark their creativity, students were assigned to make their own Latke recipes and they presented them in Hebrew using their hand made props. Our 4th grade students have been working on the laws of a Kosher Hanukkiah and have been constructing their own Hanukkiot - Hanukkah Menorahs from Clay. The 4th graders also practiced their problem solving skills by taking parts of the Hanukkah story, discussing the problems, and making suggestions to help resolve the problems. In 5th grade, the students read the Hanukkah story through a diary of a boy living at the time when the events took place.


The students took a more modern approach by presenting their own Vlogs (video blogs) and pretending that they were living in the times of the Hanukkah story. All our classes enjoyed lighting the Hanukkiah, reciting the blessings, and singing traditional Hanukkah songs as we are entering into the second night of Hanukkah. We are looking forward to many more fun educational Hanukkah experiences next week.


The Preschool has been learning about the story of Hanukkah as well. Here is a highlight of what the 2’s program has been learning over the past week. 

2’s Program learning about Hanukkah. 

A long time ago a great miracle happened. All week, the 2’s Green Team engaged in learning about the miracle of Hanukkah and why we keep the Hanukkah traditions going today. Our topics were: the Hanukkah story, Judah the Maccabee, working together to rebuild the temple, miracle of oil, eight nights, songs and Hanukkah symbols.  For example, the children explored oil through activities that encouraged children to transfer oil with pipettes into water and then challenged their cognitive skills to hypothesize, experiment, and to come to conclusions. Did it mix together? Did the oil and water stay separated? These open-ended questions encouraged children to explore possibilities and to see if their predictions were correct. 


The Green Team has also been learning about respectful choices and actions. These teachings strengthen a child’s social-emotional well-being.  Last week we read, ‘How do Dinosaurs say ‘Happy Hanukkah'?’ The story teaches the traditions that we celebrate during Hanukkah.  The story captures the polite choices that the dinosaurs made while celebrating their Hanukkah traditions. A few small group peer building activities the children enjoyed were sorting dinosaurs by color, size and species, dinosaur dig, and they especially enjoyed creating a dinosaur volcano science experiment. 


Through music, the children learned about Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, a great miracle happened there. The children became spinning dreidels while dancing to the festive song, “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel,” and in dramatic play, the children found creative ways to make and eat yummy latkes and sufganiyot.  


One of the children’s favorite activities this season was to replicate a Hanukkiah by using blocks to create the outline of a hanukkiah. This activity was a great way to build problem solving and critical thinking skills. Bringing their math skills to an art activity, children counted as they glued candles on their hanukkiah, including the Shamash candle. Adding one candle at a time, one by one, the children practiced counting with one to one correspondence. Lastly, the children show pride in their work, when they take their handmade hanukkiah home to share with their family. We discuss the importance of this symbol for Hanukkah and how they can proudly display it in their own home.


This year the 2’s created an individual Hanukkiah using materials such as tiles or craft sticks.  Painting with blue and adding sparkles or gems, children decorated their masterpiece to how they felt inspired to create. We look forward to continuing the celebration next week. 

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