Monday, September 17, 2012

Introducing the Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah:

This week we started our discussion of the Jewish holiday called Rosh Hashanah. Because the children in my class are just turning 3-years-old, I have to lay the foundation to introduce them to this holiday. Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the Jewish New Year and the World’s birthday. We celebrate this holiday by hearing the Shofar, a hollowed out ram’s horn, blown every morning. We gather as an entire school to share this ritual. We wish our friends and family a sweet new year by saying, "L’Shana Tova." We also eat sweet things during this time like apples dipped in honey. We spend the majority of our time discussing apples in depth throughout the week. Apples and honey symbolize a sweet new year during the holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

The first activity we did is an apple taste test. Each child was given one piece each of red delicious, golden delicious, and granny smith apple to try. The children were then asked to decide which apple they liked the best. We gave them small pieces of white paper, encouraging them to write their names on the paper with markers and put them on a chart above the apple they like the best. This activity encourages children to begin to attempt to write their names, count, and begin to become familiar with graphing. Once everyone had voted, we counted as a group to see how many of each apple they liked and which they like best.

Next, we looked at various types of fruits that grow on trees that the children are familiar with. We read the story, A Star in My Orange written by Dana Meachen and discuss the different shapes we might find in the foods we eat. Before we cut the fruits in half, we had the children guess what shape we will find inside each fruit. We cut a red and green apple in half and found a star. We cut a banana in half and found a triangle. We might cut a yellow and green pear in half and find another star. From reading the story, they also knew that we could cut an orange in half and find a star!

Green Apple
Yellow Pear
Lastly, we made stained glass apples using Con-Tact® paper, Colorations® red, yellow and green tissue paper and construction paper. The children each cut an apple shape with a hollow center from the construction paper. We then placed the apple cutout onto the Contact® paper. We encouraged the children to put as many pieces of tissue paper onto the apple cutout as they want. However, they quickly learned that if they put on too many they will fall off. Eventually they figured out that putting one piece on at a time will work best. This activity helps the children make a connection with the apples, fruit and shapes we have been studying while allowing them to express their creativity.