Monday, December 2, 2013

Hanukkah for the Clueless

If you're like me, you know about Hanukkah and you respect and love the Jewish culture, but you know basically nothing about the actual holiday.  Sound about right?  Good.  You're in the right place.  Each year I teach, I learn a little more and am able to share new tidbits to my classes.  This is what I've put together about Hanukkah so far:

**As in all things I don't know much about, I rely heavily on youtube to fill in the gaps**

For my younger kids, I show this Sesame Street clip about Hanukkah.  It's funny and tells the story of Hanukkah.

For my older kids, History Channel put out a 4 minute video with better visuals and a bit more history:

There are a couple of great Hanukkah songs out there on youtube (probably more if I had time to find them).  Two favorites from my class are "Candlelight" by the Maccabeats, and "Miracle" by Matisyahu.  The Maccabeats also do a version of Matisyahu's "Miracle" that's pretty cool, too.

"Candlelight" is a remix of the popular song "Dynamite," so the kids LOVE it!


Matisyahu's "Miracle" video is appropriate for school, but there are some scenes (like the one pictured below) that might be difficult to explain to kids (why is Santa in jail?).  I do like this guy, though, because he makes the beard and the long sideburns look cool.


The Maccabeats' version is educational and more. . . light hearted?  I suppose?  I still show Matisyahu's in my class and my kids love it, but here's the Maccabeats' version just in case you prefer it:



These will link you to many other Hanukkah inspired videos for your class to enjoy.  I saw a Rock of Ages one that looked pretty funny, too. . . .

Whenever I talk about different cultures, I like to pull out Google Earth (yes, it is a free program and you do have to download it) and "take" them there.  Today, I took my kids to the Western Wall in Jerusalem and told them about the last remaining wall of the Jewish temple that the Jews hope one day to rebuild.  All the little tiny squares that look like Polaroids are pictures people have taken in that location.  Seriously, what did we do before this great resource?

Finally, I like to have the kids split into groups and play dreidel.   A few years back, I went in with a couple of teachers and bought a pack of 100 dreidels.  The whole thing cost $35, but my part was less because I only took 25 with me.  I figured that was more than enough.  I never have more than 5 groups going at once and the rest will make up for any possible sticky fingers that I may encounter.  


I do not have the money to buy chocolate coins every year for 400 kids, but I did find a bag full of Halloween plastic ring toppers that we use for our gelt.  I also changed the rule that says you are "out" if you run out of gelt.  I just tell the kids to stay in the game and spin on their turn.  They may get Gimel or Hay and win some gelt back.

One day, I will paste music notes on one of my dreidels like this lady and add a music note dreidel to my music centers on a regular basis. Nun is a quarter rest, Gimel is a whole note, Hay is a half note, and Shin is a quarter note.  The picture below has an eighth note because she doesn't use dreidels to play the game, rather she has an awesome use for them with the orff instruments.  Check her out!


Anyway, these are my main Hanukkah resources outside of the regular curriculum that our district provides. Please share in the comments section what you use!



*****EDIT******

Just discovered today that there is a Shalom Sesame.  I found it through youtube's offering of "Extreme Temple Makeover".  This spin on Extreme Home Makeover is a hilarious retelling of the Hanukkah story.  It was too cute not to share:




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