Monday, December 2, 2013

Hanukkah, and December Currently!

In December, we study winter holidays - specifically, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas. Since there are three weeks of school this month, this works out pretty well to give us one week for each holiday. This week we are studying Hanukkah. We are reading I Have a Little Dreidel by Maxie Baum during circle time this week to supplement our curriculum text, playing the dreidel game during leisure time, and tomorrow we will be making latkes during cooking class.

We were meant to have art class today, but our art teacher was out and had no sub (which we didn't discover until we were in the art room at our scheduled time and there was no teacher!)...enter an on-the-fly art project that turned out rather well, if I do say so myself!
Using our curriculum text, "I Have a Little Dreidel," and some google images, we looked at a few examples of menorahs. We talked about how they all have nine candles, and also how an important color for Hanukkah is blue (it's hard to tell from this photo for some reason, but the menorah and candles are light blue).

We used this as a following-directions activity as well as an activity to practice cutting skills. Students were each given a piece of black construction paper, and a piece of light blue paper. They were instructed to cut a strip of blue paper from the "long side," then snip a short piece off the end of this strip. They glued the long piece and the snipped piece to their paper to form the base and stand for their menorah.

Then, they were instructed to cut 5 strips from the "short side" of their blue paper, and then cut each short strip in half. They now had 10 short strips. Since menorahs only have 9 candles, they were to count out 9 short strips and glue them onto their menorah (the leftover one was recycled). Finally, they dipped a finger into yellow paint to make the candle flames.

Worked pretty well for an unplanned, off-the-cuff activity when our schedule unexpectedly changed! I may have the students extend this activity later in the week by selecting and adding some icons that have to do with Hanukkah/symbolism of the menorah to their projects. And in fact, we might just do something very similar with the kinara when we study Kwanzaa next week!

Now, one of my favorites each month - Currently!
Listening - While I steadfastly avoid Christmas music before Thanksgiving, the day after I'm all over it!

Loving - My brother and sister-in-law finally announced to the extended family over the holiday that they're expecting! I've known since mid-October so it's been a hard secret to keep! I'm so excited to be an aunt for the first time - though I'm a surrogate aunt to my cousin's kids, this is the "real deal" and I couldn't be happier!

Thinking - I'm going to have my first-ever student teacher beginning in February. I'm kind of a control freak about my classroom, so I'm kind of nervous about the whole "giving the classroom up" part of it! Any suggestions and/or advice from those who have had student teachers before is very welcome!

Wanting - House cleaning is not my favorite - at all...Especially vacuuming. I will do laundry all day long, but I can't stand vacuuming. Would love someone to do it for me!

Needing - I don't have tons of Christmas shopping to do, but I hate leaving it for last minute! I need to get started!

Favorite Tradition - Ever since I was little, my family has had two Christmas morning breakfasts: one early, when we first get up, is a buffet-type casual thing with coffee cake and fruit. Then we open gifts...and then have a second breakfast of my mom's amazing French toast! Needless to say, we do not eat lunch (and have a very late dinner) on Christmas! Love our breakfasts. We have continued this tradition even now everyone is grown...just wouldn't be Christmas without them!

Go link up with Farley for your own Currently:


  1. I had my first student teacher last year, and am most definitely a control freak also! It went better than I thought, though. I don't have much advice, just know in advance that it's not going to be exactly the way you do things- and that's ok! It will be as much of a learning experience for you as it is for them!

    School Days with Smith

  2. I have never had a student teacher....I was just thinking about it today...not sure I would like that. I LOVE my ALONE time during lunch. Sounds silly but I have 3 children of my own and I need some time to myself!

  3. Congrats on being an aunt! You will love it! I don't know how I would feel about a student teacher either. I can't wait to hear how it goes.
    Fun in ECSE

  4. Today, we were going to work on our November scrap book pages as part of a weekly arts period in my room. When I went to print the pictures, I was almost out of black ink, and the photos came out all washed out. Ugh. I had to think real quick and come up with an art activity, and prep it, in the 20 minutes I had available to me and I was at a loss until I remembered your Hanukkah activity and how you had done it on the fly. Since we are doing ULS and the topic was holidays, this was perfect. I also prepped another short activity, a paper strip Christmas tree with q-tip snow, and we were all set. We completed both in the 40 minutes I had available and they turned out really well. So thank you for posting and for the inspiration, as it really saved my bacon.

    1. Jannike, I loved your story! I'm so glad you were able to use the menorah activity in a pinch! Those unexpected activities are sometimes the ones that work out the best. Thanks so much for sharing! :)


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