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.