Sunday, February 3, 2013

Channukah, The Festival of Lights

Every winter in Kindergarten, we learn about different holidays people celebrate during winter.  One of those holidays is Channukah.  In my quest to find a cute Channukah center, I discovered that there weren't many blogs featuring fun Channukah ideas.  I decided to blog about some of the creative ways to teach young children about Channukah.  In addition to fun craft projects, I like to cook latkes (potato pancakes) with my students...this always goes over well!  What's not to like about a pancake made from shredded potatoes?!? 
In Social Studies we learned about symbols of our country, so in the winter when we are learning about different holidays, we identify symbols of those holidays.  When we learn about Channukah, we discuss symbols such as the menorah, latkes, candles, dreidel, and Channukah gelt (aka chocolate coins).  After reading a book about how people celebrate Channukah, we made a menorah using construction and tissue papers.
Then, we learned about a special game people play during Channukah.  We played a game of dreidel and used math objects (unifix cubes or two-sided counters) instead of gelt (money).  I always give students a piece of chocolate gelt (a chocolate gold coin) after they play the game. 
After we have learned how to play the game, we follow directions to make a dreidel (a spinning top)...that we can eat!!  The best part?  The flavor combination of milk chocolate and fluffy marshmallow with the crunch of a pretzel stick is the PERFECT union of sweet and salty!  Start by getting 1 chocolate kiss, 1 marshmallow, 1 pretzel stick, and some chocolate frosting.  To assemble, "glue" the chocolate kiss to the marshmallow with a small dab of chocolate frosting.  Then, poke a pretzel stick into the top of the marshmallow.  Finally (and believe won't have to tell them twice), eat and enjoy!
In writer's workshop, we did shared writing to list the steps to make a candy dreidel. Then, students write independently to describe how to make a candy dreidel. Their favorite part?? Eating it, of course! 
In literacy centers, students made 3-dimensional dreidels.  They traced and cut out four paper dreidels.  After decorating them, we folded them in half, glued them together and attached a piece of yarn on the top.  Older students would likely be able to assemble the dreidels independently.  Although, if I had done this in my years as a first grade teacher, I likely would have helped most/all of them with the assembly. 


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