Thursday, March 11, 2010

Going from Slavery to Freedom

A Look At This Week:

With Pesach (or Passover) only three weeks away, we started our three week theme about the holiday when the Jews were slaves in Egypt and were able to make an exodus to freedom. We started the week by talking about what the Jews were expected to do during their slavery lives. Our main focus was on pyramids. We felt how heavy a single small brick was and then talked about how they used much bigger bricks to make pyramids. The children really enjoyed all the pyramid activities. Int he block area they used our large Lego like blocks and tried to build a pyramid. The children made paper pyramids and then counted the "bricks" they used and wrote the number next to each line of bricks. We used the light table this week to let the children explore with the magnetic shapes. Some children used the triangles to make pyramids and others used the squares to make the walls of the pyramids. In art the children were able to make a brick rubbings so they could see the rough texture in the bricks.

We also talked about how it felt to be slaves. We discussed how sore and tired their feet probably were and the children were then able to trace their feet and cut the tracing out. They then used their paper feet to measure things around the room. We also enjoyed a very special snack to represent how the slaves may have eaten! The children received a couple of crackers and one cup of water. Then we pretended to be royalty and moved over to pillows and more comfortable chairs so they could eat their fruit (the rest of their snack for the day) reclining. We had a great conversation about how "yucky" the crackers were and how "yummy" the pears tasted! The children all chose to be royalty by the end of this snack!!

After discussing the slavery of the Jews, we moved on to other parts of the Passover story. Some children chose to play with the frogs and water bucket (frogs being just one of the ten plagues). Some children chose to go to home living where they put our doll (temporarily named Moshe) into a basket and pretended to send it down the river. And we also painted a paper blue, drew our family on another paper and then attached the two (with the blue paper cut in half). This represented when the water was parted so the Jews could cross over to safety. Please check out our bulletin board display as the children really took pride in making their families, talking about how many people were in their families and then sharing with their classmates!

One additional project that we started this week and will continue through the next week or two was our Pesach Number Books. In this book we are using the numbers that are important to Pesach and writing them and then using the numbers to represent an aspect of Pesach. We are also adding other items to our books to represent the meaning on the number for the holiday!
Listening in to conversations:
I am always happily amazed when the children get excited about things in the classroom! It was so nice to hear the children exclaim that they want to go to specific learning centers when I explained what activities we were doing. A number of time I heard, "I want to go to the ...." as soon as I explained what to do at that center. And if too many children were already there, when we chose our second activity they would ask me again if they can go to the center they wanted originally. It was very nice! And the children also really took to the conversations about the frogs as I frequently found at least one child hoping around the classroom like a frog!
One child hurt his tongue this week. All the other children kept coming up to him and asking if he was alright. Although at times the children may argue with each other, they all really care about their fellow classmates as well!
Looking at next week:
As we continue to talk about Pesach, we are going to spend this week focusing on matzah. Now that we know that we had to leave Egypt quickly, we are going to learn more about that special unleavened bread that was made. The children will be pretending to search The Gan for chametz (leavened breads). They are going to pretend to make matzah as well as talk about numbers 1/4, 1/2 and 1 as we work on making our own afikomen (the dessert matzah) case.

Finding out how heavy a small brick feels!

Working on a Lego pyramid

Building pyramid walls at the light table

Tracing her foot to use to measure things around the room

Frogs, Frogs and more frogs (at least we can play with these!)

Making a paper number pyramid

Drawing their families

Working on her Passover Number Book

Eating crackers and drinking water for snack

Sitting like Royalty with a pear for snack!

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