Saturday, 21 January 2017

Shemot- Girl Power!

As I began teaching perasha, Ruti got excited and announced Pesach was near. The confusion regarding the story of Pesach versus Pesach is not unusual. Because the next few perashot are taught well at that time, I decided to focus elsewhere.
We did begin construction on Pitom and Ramses, enjoying the mortar.


 Paroh was bossy!





We reviewed the story of baby Moshe. Then we changed focus.

"Moshe saved all of the Jewish people, right?" I began.
"Right! He was the best!"
"Totally," I agreed. "Who saved Moshe?"
"What?!?"
Then we worked through the fact that Moshe would have been nothing if he had not been saved by Yocheved,Shifra & Puah, Miriam, Batya, ans Tziporah. Many women were responsible for Moshe's early life. Each woman showed great, unique strength.
Our girl power project at home involved making silhouettes and writing things about our individual strengths.





With the 3rd grade girls, I covered the same theme, with a different project.
The girls placed tongue depressors in a pot of boiling water and then we discussed the power of women. For most of the girls, this was a eye-opening topic.
Then we retrieved the wet sticks and gently bent them, fitting them inside of cups. Some girls did not have the ability/agility/patience to complete the task, but most did.


 Leave the cups overnight to dry. Remove. Paint. Pretty bracelet.
Aaron turned his wooden stick into a snake, with Hashem's help. We turned our sticks into bracelets.

The persaha ends:

22Each woman shall borrow from her neighbor and from the dweller in her house silver and gold objects and garments, and you shall put [them] on your sons and on your daughters, and you shall empty out Egypt." כבוְשָׁאֲלָה אִשָּׁה מִשְּׁכֶנְתָּהּ וּמִגָּרַת בֵּיתָהּ כְּלֵי כֶסֶף וּכְלֵי זָהָב וּשְׂמָלֹת וְשַׂמְתֶּם עַל בְּנֵיכֶם וְעַל בְּנֹתֵיכֶם וְנִצַּלְתֶּם אֶת מִצְרָיִם:

We always get the jewelry!




Friday, 13 January 2017

Hands On Vayechi

"Hands On Vayechi" is a pun because I am passionate about experiential learning, hands-on learning, but in this case, I made two projects which involved children tracing their hands.  Both projects were related to Yaakov blessing his grandsons, Menashe and Efraim.

Project one was completed by my offspring and pre-K class after learning about Yaakov switching his hands. 

Step one: Trace hands on flesh-tone card stock.

 Step 2: Cut out.
 Step 3: Color picture of the brothers, Menashe on the right, Efraim on the left.


 Step 4: Use a brad to attach the hands over the boys heads.
 Now the hands can more back and forth, as Yaakov switches them.


Project 2: Same theme, but I did it with a class of boys.  We talked about the men mentioned in regular Tefilah. They enjoyed figured out who was mentioned where in davening. Then I mentioned the prayer said to them on Friday night by their fathers. Not every boy knew what I was talking about, so we discussed it further. Then I asked why it is Efraim and Menashe who their parents invoke on their head.  The students had not learned about it previously and I had the pleasure of explaining that it is in the merit of these two not giving in to sibling rivalry (we reviewed each prior generation) and not being negatively influenced by the surrounding culture, These remarkable traits all parents want their sons to emulate. I wanted the lesson to 'stick' with the boys, so they made fridge magnets. (I hope this might inspire homes where it is not currently said, and inspire all the boys who glance at it to keep their sibling rivalry in check).


 1) Trace the oval magnet around the words of the prayer and cut out.
 2)Trace your hand inside of the cut oval

3) Decorate with colored pencils
 4) Glue onto magnet.

I need to add pictures of the finished product. They were lovely.


Friday, 6 January 2017

Vayigash- Say it before you go!

The ultimate resolution and denouement occur in this week's perasha.  It is all very happily ever after (for a little while) but there is a dearth of perasha projects on Vayigash.

I looked at Yaakov's preparation to leave Israel for Egypt. He brings a sacrifice and then has a conversation with Hashem.  I connected this with Tefilat Ha'derech, the prayer we say before travel.

In school we talked about travel. We played, "I'm going to Mitzrayim and in my suitcase I packed...". The kids really enjoyed it. Then they voted on how they thought Yaakov and his family traveled to Egypt. They were disappointed that 'car' was incorrect.

In pre-school, 3rd grade, and at home, we made tefilat hadrech cards/key chains! (And talked about sacrifices not being allowed on airplanes).

On the back they glued a poem I wrote

"Before I travel a long way
I take a moment to stop and pray
Like Yaakov, when he went away
Tefilat Haderech is what I say"


1) Cut out words and glue to cardstock ( I found pre-cut ovals).
2)Decorate paper.
3)Poke hole in top and laminate.


4) String beads onto a zip tie. (I love zip tie beading, like we did here for Vayetzei)


 Tada
 Rocking it, with Tefilat Hederech on my handbag!





My initial plan was to focus on the social emotional pieces, as they are more intense than anything we generally face. I read some blogs about the best way to say 'I'm sorry', and made an action plan. I gathered the family, and the whole plan collapsed with too many emotional pieces for me to contain! The little girls stayed and made these, but the concept was too hard for them.  (Sometimes people ask me how I come up with so many great ideas. Sometimes I come up with great ideas that just don't work out,)

May Hashem help keep our failures small, our successes huge, at home and on journeys!



 This was a neat image puzzle that spelled out 'Tell the Truth" we pretended it was hieroglyphics. When I find the link I'll share it.





Saturday, 31 December 2016

Miketz- Full of Feelings.

I have always loved Miketz; the action, hashagachat prati, and the ultimate cliffhanger.  Three years ago we enjoyed reading this perasha at Thanksgiving time, with my family here.  Five years ago was this really cool project.  Because it has been so long since I actively taught my girls perasha, the younger children really do not what happens in the Torah.

We have been making our way through the 'Yosef story'. On Shabbat afternoon, I tell them the story of the coming week's perasha. Sometime we act it out.  This time Cohava (who knows it all and then some), was with us.  I told the story until the brothers come back from Egypt the first time, then we acted out the perasha, with the children choosing their roles.  Cohava was Yosef, Ruti was Binyamin, Tova was Yaakov, and I was the other brothers. Cohava went into the kitchen and loaded school bags with granola bars and crackers to give to the hungry brothers.  Cohava stopped Ruti and I as we carried our bags, accusing us of stealing a very special cup.  Ruti said, "Oh no! There was a theif! Thieves are bad. But we are not thieves." When she discovered Abba's kiddush cup in her bag she balled! I don't mean cried, I mean flung herself to the floor and was inconsolable for 10 minutes.  I had a variety of emotions as I consoled her.  One of them was my awe at the raw emotions of the Torah that we often become jaded towards as we read it each year. One of the countless reasons I love teaching preschool is observing the emotions, newness, and wonderment of children gaining knowledge.

I planned to make granola, like the grains in the storehouses, but because the cup was so pivotal to Ruti, we decorated special wine cups.

With beads, wine, and permanent markers we made our wine glasses extraordinary.







 May each sip of Torah be fresh, meaningful, and impactful for you.