July 16, 2024
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JKHA First Graders Focus on Chanukah

The JKHA Lower School incorporated Chanukah into their classroom learning throughout the week.

As part of the third grade unit of Or Chanukah, the entire grade joined together for a lesson comparing the mitzvot of lighting Shabbat and Chanukah candles. The students worked in groups to compare and contrast the two mitzvot. They considered factors such as what time of day they are lit, when and how many brachot are recited and the purpose of the lighting, then charted their results onto a Venn diagram. The students realized that the mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles is unique in many of its laws in order to highlight the importance of remembering the miracles of Chanukah. To reinforce the differences between the mitzvot, students played several interactive games, including movement and Smart Board activities, which challenged them to remember and apply their knowledge.

During the second grade Chanukah celebrations, the students reviewed the details of the Maccabim and the Pilgrims and identified important similarities and differences within the two stories. The details that the students remembered from both stories were rich and quite impressive, as was the common and unique threads they noticed that ran through each story. Finding connections between Jewish and American history helps the students develop a stronger sense of who they are as American Jews. Studying these different groups’ struggles for freedom and the actions taken to guard those freedoms strengthens their understanding of history and the nature of the human spirit.

First grade utilized Chanukah in their math learning including introducing subtraction by blowing out Chanukah candles and seeing how many were left. They also spun dreidels, tallied how many times it landed on each letter and calculated which had most and least. In their Hebrew classes the students played Hebrew matching games, interactive Chanukah lessons on the Smart Board, and so much more.

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