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newsletter12

November 2009, Cheshvan 5770   [email protected]   

Written by Nechama Retting, Director of Education for Shlock Rock   

Welcome to Shlock Rock Educator’s Newsletter Volume 12. Our goal is to give you some new ideas for teaching about Mitzvot & Middot, Torah, Israel and the Holidays. Visit our website at www.shlockrock.com. 

Adult Learning: This month we will learn about Rosh Chodesh (the New Hebrew month – literally head of the month). During biblical times, there were no calendars to tell us when all the holidays we were commanded to follow took place. So the people needed to watch the phases of the moon (as was commanded in Parsha Bo).  No moon meant it was the end of a month; a sliver shaped moon was the beginning of the month, full moon was the middle of the month, etc…

When the Rosh Chodesh moon was spotted in the sky by at least 2 people, the shofar was sounded and fires were lit on mountain tops to make sure everyone knew it was a new month.  There were special prayers said (Hallel) and special gift offerings to Hashem on Rosh Chodesh. Even today, we say Hallel monthly for Rosh Chodesh. 

It was customary for women to rest on Rosh Chodesh as their reward for not participating in the sin of the Golden Calf. Some communities still follow this tradition and have special monthly Rosh Chodesh Woman’s Groups. The original book clubs!  Rosh Chodesh is a great time for renewal, self reflection and inspiration!   


Recommended SHLOCK ROCK songs: “New Moon” from Learning is Good, “ReJewVenated” from the CD of the same name, “There are 12 Months” from Shlock Rock for Kids Vol. 1,  “Hallelu” from Shlock Rock for Kids Sing Together, “Rosh Chodesh” from Shlock Rock for Kids Vol. 3 We’re in the Band. To hear the songs click here or here then click on the CD, then the song you want to hear. You can download songs to your computer or IPod and burn a CD for only $.99-$1.25 per song just click here!   Fabulous! Cheaper than Starbucks!  How can you go wrong??
 

Suggested Activities to try with your students or family:

At the start of each new month have a Rosh Chodesh party! Decorate special t-shirts to wear each month on Rosh Chodesh.

This can be a special time when the children can share things with the class and have special self reflection time.

Make a special moon shaped snack to eat (bread and cheese cut into a crescent shape, crescent rolls, make pretzels and shape them like the moon, sugar cookies shaped like the crescent moon, etc.

You can sing special New Moon or Rosh Chodesh songs, also sing There are 12 Months to reinforce the names of the Hebrew months.

Read special moon related stories (see below).

Decorate your room so the kids know as soon as they come into the classroom that it is Rosh Chodesh!
Blow the Shofar!!
 

BOOKS:  (I have never seen an actual Rosh Chodesh book, these are about moons and they are cute :)

Why the Moon Only Glows by Dina Rosenfeld

When the Moon Smiled - a math and counting book by Petr Horacek

Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me by Eric Carle

Moonbeam Bear by Rolf Fanger and Ulrike Moltgen

 

ACTIVITY: Since Rosh Chodesh was a time of rest and refection, make Rosh Chodesh a time when you assess the children. Each month have the children create a representational drawing (Rosh Chodesh related or a self portrait) to keep in a portfolio. With the passing of the months, you can really see their progress and bind it into a Rosh Chodesh progress book to share with their families throughout the year. Be sure to label them with the Hebrew month.

 

PROJECTS:

Create a phases of the moon book. You could have each child draw the pictures, and create individual books per child or create one all together to keep in your book corner or both!

Create a Rosh Chodesh chart for your classroom wall. Have the children cut out a circle from poster board and all the phases in the cycle of the moon. (Crescent, half moon, full moon, half moon, crescent). Paint the circle black or dark blue. Or you could use a paper plate painted black.  Make an arrow attached with a paper fastener to point to the correct phase.  Make sure you pay attention, it changes weekly!

On black paper, make a picture of Rosh Chodesh complete with crescent moon and decorate the paper with stars and glitter, etc…  Label the picture with the name of the new month. 

Paint with moon and star stampers.

Create a crescent moon from clay or play-doh.

Take a piece of black paper and cut a slit in the center of it the long way.  Cut out a circle from yellow paper and attach it with a paper fastener at the slit. Slide the moon in and out of the slit to show the phases of the moon. Decorate the paper with stars and glitter, etc.

 

GAMES: Make a special box with moon related activities in it to take out only on Rosh Chodesh. Make some moon shaped lace-up cards, moon related puzzles, shofar, Moon books, star and moon stampers and stencils, make a phases of the moon matching game, etc… Some Dollar Stores have glow in the dark moon, star and planet plastic decals that are designed to go on a ceiling, use these for tracing, painting, counting or patterning games as well.

 

MATH: If doing the calendar is part of your morning, make sure you have Rosh Chodesh marked on the calendar and count the days until the holiday (or the reverse count down until the holiday).


 

Rosh Chodesh, Jewish Leap Years, Adar II, and Joy