Saturday, December 12, 2015

Hanukkah- Oil The Good Things

First the students enjoyed the story of the oil miraculously lasting for eight days.
Then they used 'real' clay to make their own small [oil] pitcher. 

Hopefully yours made it home. They were VERY delicate. It is truly miraculous that even one survived in the Beit Hamikdash.

Then we explored oil.
The students compared three very different types of oil, using their five sense.

The students like olive oil, but were most impressed by the "sesame noodle one".

Then we did a science experiment with the oils.

The students examined a vessel of water. The students discussed many of the properties of water, where it is found, and the many ways water is needed. Everyone enjoyed naming another living creature that needs water. "And for swimming lessons!" Michal added. "We NEED water for swimming lessons."

We looked at oil and discussed its properties. Everyone said it was important for cooking. "But I don't want the sesame noodle one in a cookie. That wouldn't taste right," Chaya pointed out. 

Each student got a cup with a small amount of oil. They selected a food coloring bottle and added 3 drops to their oil. 

The students gently stirred the color and oil.
Then it was time for the magic.
Using a pipette, the students dropped their solutions into the water. 


The colors slowly disperse, in a very beautiful way. 

We used the remaining oil and food dye to make art. They dripped the color onto sevivon shaped papers.

The squeezing is great for artistic fun, fine motor coordination, and muscular development in pincher fingers. 

We ended the day by eating oily bumuelos. Only the real Sephardi kids liked them. Many kids wouldn't try them and those who did threw them in the garbage after a bite. :(. 
I can teach many topics, but not taste. :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Black Ice Fun

All grown ups are terrified by the prospect of driving on black ice.
But children love playing on it!
When I first realized there was ice on the playground, I worried about safety. But instead of forbidding the area, the children were cautioned so they had the opportunity to experience and learn.
First they were hesitant.

Then they loved it.
Then they fell.
No one cried from their fall because they were informed and prepared for the danger.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Parasha Plays

These parshiyot of Beresheit, recounting the stories of the avot and imaot, are very dramatic. I used to teach them as a dramatic performance, acting out different roles with small costume changes. Although the classes always learned and enjoyed, this year I switched it to hand puppets. Then I left a puppet theater and my puppets out for the students during free play. The results were amazing! They love performing the stories from the parasha. They prove their interest, retention, and love for Torah every time they reach for a puppet or sat raptly in the audience. 

 This interest in puppets will be extended by sending home the same puppets for use at home as well as introducing another sort of puppet to the class. The new puppet will be highlighting social emotional growth.

We also explored sulam Yaakov, Jacob's ladder in many ways.
Here we took turns rolling a die and adding its number as popsicle stick rungs to the ladder. In this was we practiced many mathematical principles, like number recognition, counting, and one to one correspondence. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Nail vs Screw

I find it irksome when people use the words 'screw' and 'nail' interchangeably. Apparently I am not the only one.
"Chana! It is called a 'nail'! That is not a screw!" Yochanan exploded. Chana was busy playing on the tap tap board and was confused by his outburst.
"I know because..." she started to explain.
"Yes they are the same," Yitzy argued back. "They are both for building things."
I decided it was time for me to explain this important distinction in hardware and construction.

 "Yitzy, you are right that both nails and screws are for building. But like Yochanan said, they are not the same. You keep making your beautiful work. I am going to borrow something from Mr. Brown to show you the difference."

 I returned with a handful of assorted nails and screws in different colors and sizes. I showed them the smoothness of a nail versus the inclined plain of a screw. I encouraged them to feel them and sort them.

The distinction between the two was clear to some, like Yochanan, but others struggled to sort based on that feature. They wanted to sort on size or color.

Some students tried to hammer in the screws. Everyone had fun comparing the two. I added giant plastic screws into the mix to make the comparison clearer.

During this play time we built a lot- including our vocabulary of building equipment.