July 20, 2024 |

Grade 3-5 Elective Update

Posted on November 10, 2017

Week 2: November 14 and 15

This week the electives focused on the miracleS of Hanukkah – yes, there were multiple miracles.  

We first reviewed one of the blessings said after we light the candles and watched a video of the Jewish acapella group singing this blessing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0K9M6lCeZw

הַנֵּרוֹת הַלָּלוּ שֶׁאָנוּ מַדְלִיקִין,

עַל הַנִּסִּים וְעַל הַנִּפְלָאוֹת וְעַל הַתְּשׁוּעוֹת וְעַל הַמִּלְחָמוֹת,
שֶׁעָשִׂיתָ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְּמַן

We kindle these lights to commemorate the saving acts, miracles and wonders which You have performed for our ancestors, in those days at this time.

In the book of Maccabees the reason for the celebration of Hanukkah is because of the military victory – a military miracle!  In this historic account there is no mention of oil lasting 8 days.  The miracle of the oil (described as a spiritual miracle) first appears in the Talmud which was compiled by Rabbi’s.  Students compared these 2 texts in havruta and then sketched emojis for how the Maccabees might have felt when they witnessed these miracles (winning the war against the Syrian-Greeks or seeing the oil last for 8 nights and days).

In reviewing the story of Hanukkah, we noted that the winter solstice is mentioned at the end of the Hanukah story and asked the kids to think of why Hanukkah coincides with the winter solstice.

This week in the food elective we continued the conversation about miracles and how we can be a miracle for other people. We began our conversation talking about how the Maccabees showed courage fighting against the big Greek army for what they believed in. Students then worked as a team to organize and pack treats to send to soldiers to enjoy.  Students learned that since Veterans Day was this week, it was an approriate time to do this project.  Students also made cards and wrote meaningful notes to the soldiers to thank them for service to our country.


This week in our art elective, students had the opportunity to paint the wooden board which will be the base of their mosaic project. Students thought about what colors would best help them to represent their idea of a “miracle”. While students waited for their boards to dry, they each made a sketch of what they envision to be their finished product.

First, students chose the miracles they would like to represent using Legos: biblical (parting of the red sea during Exodus), the Hannukah story, or a modern-day miracle (Patriots win during Superbowl LI). Next, each team drew four scenes to illustrate their chosen type of miracle.  Once the scenes were drawn, third, fourth, and fifth graders began using Legos to represent their scenes.   Each team used creativity, problem solving, and communication skills to accomplish their goals – all while learning about miracles and having fun!

Week 1: November 7 and 8

This past week we started our grade 3-5 elective unit.  Each afternoon begins with Havruta learning (small group study) before the kids break out into their electives.

Our focus this week was one first talking about what it means to be an active partner – and how each person in the small group needs to participate equally.  We used an oversized rubber band to make equilateral triangles to illustrate this idea.  In order to create the equilateral triangle each participant in the group needs to contribute.  In traditional Jewish learning the text being studied plays an equal role and the students were encouraged to “listen” to the text and also think about what the text had to say.

Our learning began by looking at 4 different blessings/prayers we say on Hanukah and noticing all were about miracles.  With their havruta/learning partner, students created a list of miracles that they have heard about or witnessed.  They then defined miracle and compared their definition with a definition from wikipedia.  Before heading to electives, as a means of reflection each student sketched an emoji for the word miracle.

Something to Think About: The Hebrew word for miracle is nes (נס).  Nes (נס) also means “something that is raised up or elevated”. For example, a flag, banner or streamer that is raised is called a nes (נס).  So a miracle is an elevated and elevating event.  It is something extraordinary that happens, where we see God’s hand clearly.

Tech Elective: Neal, Sarah and Bar are excited to be working with your kids as they explore aspects of Hanukah including a focus on miracles and courage.  

Here is the padlet


 used where students created emojis to introduce themselves; after creating the post, students explained what each emoji meant – https://padlet.com/Neal/aboutme

Here is the flipgrid. https://flipgrid.com/8c121c

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Lego Elective: In the Lego elective, “Your Lego Miracle”, students chose one miracle that they wanted to portray from each of the the three time periods (Biblical, Chanukah, and Modern Times). We then created a storyboard for each of the three miracles, and narrowed each story into approximately four scenes. Next week we will begin building each scene with Lego, continually incorporating details that we learn from our Havruta groups into our stories.  (Jeff and Tali)