Friday, April 15, 2016

Chametz Versus Pesach Food

Distinguishing between chametz and food which can be eaten on Pesach is an important skill, beginning when we are young and continuing forever (Sorting is an important component of daily executive function. Knowing which foods are acceptable for Peach is a yearly issue.) 
We began sorting our plastic foods in the sensory table. I removed the corn and other kiniyot for the sake of simplicity and they began sorting.
"I don't like to eat this, so can I say it isn't okay for Pesach?" asked Judah. 
 "I want to eat cookies on Pesach," remarked Pooky.
"Are potato chips okay for Pesach?" asked Yochanan.
"If they are just oil and potatoes and marked okay for Pesach, yes," I replied. The wheels in his head were spinning. 
"Then french fries would be okay too!" he exclaimed. Congratulations on a making a gezerah shavah, Yochanan! 

This sorting was fun, but we made it much more fun in the multi-purpose room.

We split into two teams, Pesach versus Chametz. At first Chametz was worried that they were considered bad, but I explained that eating the Chametz is a big mitzvah before Pesach. 
I poured the plastic food on the floor and handed each team a broom. They had to select a food item which matched their team name and use the broom to get it to their finish line. 

Loads of fun, gross motor coordination, Pesach learning. Now they are ready to help sweep your house and prepare the food for Pesach!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Beginning of Slavery

Teaching Pesach incorporates two main areas; Yitziyat Mitzrayim (the historical events celebrated on Pesach) and the way we celebrate Pesach (cleaning, matza, seder, etc.). The students were asked which topic they would like to focus on first and they chose Yitziyat Mitzrayim.

Today we began our life as slaves. Everyone remembered Paroh from the parshiot in Sefer Shemot and had varied emotions about seeing him again. Today he was not quite as mean as we remembered, as he supplied us with all the materials we needed to build cities for him. 
 Paroh gave the slaves bricks (foam blocks) and mortar (shaving cream). With a tool (popsicle stick), the students spread mortar onto the bricks and got to work.
 The slaves were not particularly unhappy about construction.
 In fact, they really enjoyed this variation on building.
 Spreading is an important fine motor skill, using coordination,  guiding of support hand, and muscular development.

 The mortar was a fun sensory experience.
 The blocks stuck together in a unique way, allowing more building opportunities.

 It also fostered communication skills, as pairs attempted to build together. The team of Chana and Michal initially struggled with each builder following her own individual vision.  In a very mature way, they eventually compromised and created a shared vision.

Paroh does not use lashon tov (we spoke about using kind speech yesterday in connection with Parashat Tazria) so he didn't have anything nice to say about their work. But I was very impressed.

 Selfies with Paroh!

Unfortunately, slavery is not always so fun. It is about to get harder...

Friday, April 1, 2016

Kelsey Creek Farm

Our day on the farm was wonderful! The weather was fantastic, the children were delightful, and the animals were engaging.

 The children asked the animals to show us their hooves so they could see if they were kosher.
 Almost all the animals obliged them.
 They delighted in the sheep's feet and fur.

 The disappointment in lack of split hooves on bunnies was quickly replaced with excitement over their general cuteness.
 "Chickens don't have split hooves and chew their cud so how can they be kosher?"  Elisha sagely observed.

 The pig refused to show us his hooves, but that was okay, because he might have tried to convince us he was kosher.
 "That is not a cute pink pig," Lainey observed disappointingly.

 When the horse showed us his hooves the children were disappointed.
 "You are not kosher, but you are beautiful," Chana informed the horse.
 The horse tails were braided. "They are Elsa horses!" Michal exclaimed.

We are experts in kosher animals and had a wonderful day!

Since there were no cows on the farm, we had a cow to milk in class the next day.