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newsletter9

June 2009, Sivan 5769 [email protected]
Written by Nechama Retting, Director of Education for Shlock Rock

Welcome to Shlock Rock Educator’s Newsletter Volume 9. 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 focus on the land of Israel. There are many names used to describe Israel – The Promised Land, Eretz Yisrael, the Land flowing with Milk and Honey (Eretz Zavat Chalav U’dvash), The Holy Land, and it is also the Homeland for all Jews and Biblically it was called Canaan. Teaching about Israel should happen on a regular basis, not just for Yom HaAutzmaut. Creating a strong connection to Israel should begin with our youngest learners!! When teaching about Israel with your students, always use the verbiage “When you go to Israel…” thereby letting the children know that Israel is a real place, not just a place from the Torah; a place where they can go and visit or maybe even choose to live one day. The capital of Israel is Jerusalem (Yirushalayim) where the Kotel is. The Kotel is the last remaining wall that surrounded the Bet Hamikdash (the Holy Temple). During the 3 pilgrimage holidays (Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot) everyone in Israel brought the first fruits and grains harvested (Bikkurim – see last month’s newsletter) to the Temple to the Kohain gadol, (the High Priest) who cared for the temple, and gave the offerings to G-d. In the Torah, Israel is described as the land flowing with milk and honey (chalav u’dvash). See Shemot 3:17, Devarim 6:3, 8:1 and 11:8 for a few examples. Israel is also known for the Shevat Ha’minim, the 7 species, specifically wheat, grapes, barley, olives, dates, figs and pomegranates. (See Devarim 8:6-8).

Recommended SHLOCK ROCK songs: “Eretz Zavat Chalav U’dvash” and “Where in Israel Shall We Go” from Shlock Rock for Kids Party Time!, “Eretz Yisrael” from Shlock Rock for Kids Sing Together, “Israel Rap” from Shlock Rock for kids Volume 3, “Aleph Bet Rap” and “Yisroel is Our Land” From Shlock Rock for Kids Volume 1. The CD Osher v’Osher is full of fun Hebrew music too. To hear the songs click here or here (click on the CD, and then the song you want to hear). Any of these songs can easily be downloaded to your computer or IPod; each song costs about the same price as a package of stickers from the Dollar Store! Kids songs are $.99 and all other songs are $1.25! Amazing!!  Where else can you find such a bargain??

Suggested Activities to try with your students or family:

Websites: Although CAJE has closed its doors, they still have great resources available. Check out this wikispace link from CAJE (Connecting to Israel) or the Israel connection article written from the school where I work for this same publication. (That’s me in the jean skirt!) Check out these articles by Sue Remick Topek of SAJES related to teaching about Israel 24/7 . If you teach older students, check out www.ads4israel.com. They have ads showing all the cool technologies Israel has developed to help the world. Learn as much as you can about Israel! Teach something new to the children every day so they will feel a connection to the land of Israel. Check out www.jpost.com or www.israel21c.org even for your own adult learning! It is easy to teach a connection to Israel when you have your own connection!!

Discussion/Connection to Israel: During different times during your day, point out to the children what is going on where you live vs. what is going on in Israel. Example for East Coast time: At 10:30am when we are having snack, it is 5:30pm in Israel and they are getting ready for dinner. On Fridays, at 10:30am when we are practicing Shabbat in school, in Israel it is Shabbat (in the winter months anyway). When we are having lunch at school, the children in Israel are getting ready for bed, etc… Israel is 7 hours ahead East Coast time and 10 hours ahead West Coast time. Of course you have your floor map of Israel suggested in November’s newsletter too, right? This should be used at least once a week!

The “At Home” Connection: Create an “Israel Bag” for your classroom that children take turns bringing home with them to share with their families (if your class is big, make 2 bags to share). Use a canvas photo bag (available at www.orientaltrading.com), put pictures of Israel into the photo pockets on the front of the bag. (Use pictures from one of your trips to Israel or from the Internet). Inside the bag have items from Israel for the children to explore, i.e. Story books in Hebrew, a CD in Hebrew (I have Shlock Rock’s Osher V’Osher in my Israel bag, it has fun, lively music in Hebrew, or you could put a copy of Shlock Rock for Kids Party Time in the bag as it has a lot of Israeli traditional music on the CD) add a description of some simple Israeli dances too, a game in Hebrew, some Israeli money (shekelim), a picture matching/memory game (Lotto) made from 2 sets of photos of different Israeli sights that you can get from a Google Images search (Kotel, Menorah, Knesset, Dome of the Rock, Israeli flag, Dead Sea, Camel, etc…), a recipe for an Israeli snack for the family to make together, etc… Use your imagination!

Housekeeping: In your housekeeping corner, have pictures of the Shuk (marketplace) hanging on the walls. (Email me if you want copies of some of the pictures I took when I went to Israel.) Create your own shuk using your play food, cash registers and play shekelim. Take turns being the sellers and the buyers. Practice husking corn (a great fine motor activity) with the children, then cook and eat it. See more ideas in the CAJE Israel Connection PDF suggested above.

Project: Learn about different Israeli artists and have the children try and create their own work similar to the artist. Check out this link for ideas.

Science: Compare and contrast the different fruits and grains from Israel (7 species). Have some fruits cut open to reveal the seeds. Can you match the seed to the fruit? Sort and categorize all the different seeds in a pomegranate, fig, olive, date, grapes, wheat and barley. Try to plant the seeds. Make 7 species salad! YUM!

Book idea: Create a “touch and feel” book about Israel for you book corner. I used a piece of thin sponge (it was packing material that I recycled!) to cut into the shape of Israel, I found fabric that looks like tan bricks for the Kotel, fuzzy blue fabric and pop up fish stickers for Eilat, sand paper and a camel for the Negev, and burlap and textured fabric for a date palm tree. My last page was the map of Israel and I wrote: “L’Shana Habah Yerushalayim – Next year in Jerusalem!” Use your imagination!

Game/Math Activity: Create a board game using a poster board with the map of Israel drawn on. Create a path to travel through Israel to visit different areas. If you use a colored pattern for the path, then you can use a color spinner from an old board game that you have but no longer have all the pieces for (more Recycling!!) or you can buy a color spinner at a Teacher Store, or use a die (or 2 dice). Example: I started at Mt. Sinai, then to Eilat and write things like: Take a ride on a glass bottom boat – move ahead 2 spaces, lead up to the Negev and write: stop to rest in the shade of a Date Palm Tree and miss a turn. Go up to Masada, over to Modi’in (remember to point out the Judean Mountains of Modi’in where the Macabees lived!) and over to Tel Aviv. Then go north to a Kibbutz and milk and cow then go to Tzfat and visit the artist colony and up to Mount Hermon where you go skiing! I ended my game in Jerusalem at the Kotel. Use Google images to find picture of each place to glue onto the game. Laminate the game and use little people for game pieces or old game pieces from a game that you no longer have all the pieces to. Bottle tops can also be used (like from water or soda bottles – if you have too many tops the same color, write a Hebrew letter or put a sticker on them so each is different).

Other: Study Torah together! 4 out of the 5 books of the Torah are about getting to the Promised Land! Remember to make the bracha on learning Torah (Baruch atah Ad-nai E l-haynu Melech H’olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav vitzivanu la’asok b’devrei Torah.) Check out www.torah4kids.com for a great parsha book (Morah, Morah Teach Me Torah!) for Early Childhood and Lower Elementary school Educators. It contains all 54 parshiot in the Torah plus activities that incorporate the multiple intelligences. Also, www.Aish.com has great supplemental coloring pages for each parshiot (not that we should be encouraging our children to use coloring pages but they are nice visuals for teachers to use during circle time or when telling the Torah stories!) :)

 

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