Last week we officially began our holiday unit. I make it a point to really hit holidays other than christmas on the first week of this unit, as we spend so much of the next couple weeks doing Christmasy activities. One of the holidays we focused on last week was Hanukkah. The kiddos really loved this lesson and enjoyed learning some of the vocabulary that goes along with this holiday. Most (if not all) of my students celebrate Christmas, so it is important to give them a glance at some other holidays. I really wish we had more time, but I feel like we got a lot out of 1 week.
I started out our lesson by reading this book by Tomie de Paola.
This book is perfect for teaching the basics of Hanukkah to little readers. (I make sure to point out that Hanukkah/Chanukah can be spelt 2 different ways…although that is really confusing for 3 year olds.)
In the years past, I have brought in my menorah and candles into class so that we could pretend to use the middle candle (also known as the shamash) to light the other candles. This is a great way to incorporate counting and one-to-one correspondence with holidays.
The vocabulary words that stuck with my students are Hanukkah, Shamash, Gelt, Dreidel & Latke. This is a very small list of words, but it was perfect for my 3 year olds. These words are ones they can relate to (I mean, what 3 year old does not like treats, games & holidays?! I think I covered the basics.)
I was (and still am) pretty surprised at how well my class caught on to these words. I still have students telling me what Shamash means today! FYI- It means “helper” candle!
This year I decided to make a goodie bag for my students to send home in hopes that this will allow parents to begin a discussion about Hanukkah. Each student received a plastic baggie with 4 candles, 2 gelt (chocolate coins) & 1 dreidel. I also added a mini-handout for parents.
Following is what I typed up to put in each bag:
Here is a photo of the 3 items put in each baggie:
Click the photos below to see where you can purchase each item. It may be pricey, but these purchased items last for a few years as I buy it all in bulk.