HANUKKAH SONG: HANUKKAH CANDLES
Here is an easy song for Hanukkah. It is sung to the tune of TEN LITTLE INDIANS:
- One little, two little, three little candles.
- Four little, five little, six little candles.
- Seven little, eight little Hanukkah candles,
- And the Shamash too!
(The Shamash is the “helping” candle that lights all of the other ones).
HANUKKAH GAME: DREIDLE
The Hanukkah game of dreidle is played with a special “top”–a dreidle, that has four Hebrew letters on the side.
- Each student starts off with a pile of small items to “bet” with–they can be anything, pennies, candy, pretzels, etc.
- They all start by putting one item in the “pot”, or “kitty” in the middle of their circle.
- Each time the spin lands on one of the sides, they do one of the following things:
- NUN = nothing happens
- GIMEL = they take everything in the pot
- HAY = they take half of the pot
- SHIN = they put in one
HANUKKAH FOOD: POTATO PANCAKES (LATKES)
Your students participation in the exercise is dependent on their age, of course. This is a great time for parents to get involved!
- 4 potatoes
- 1 onion
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- Wash and peel the potatoes. Then grate them and place them in a bowl of cold water. (This keeps them from turning brown while you work on the other steps).
- Peel and chop the onion into very small pieces.
- Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped onion, salt and pepper, and flour.
- Drain the potatoes in a colander and squeeze the excess water out with your hands. Add the potatoes to the other ingredients and stir until well blended.
- Heat half of the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Drop the potato mixture in by the tablespoon and cook until browned on both sides.
- Drain on paper towels. Continue making latkes until the mixture is used up, adding more oil as necessary.
- Serve warm with applesauce or sour cream as a topping.
Submitted by,KATHY MANDEL
VALLEY CITIES JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER
LOS ANGELES, CA
no e-mail isted
A FUN AND PUN HANUKKAH PLAY
Here is a short play that your students can do as a “Reader’s Theater” or act it out. Within the play, the students can learn about the various customs and beliefs of the Hanukkah holiday.
- an empty stage
- Shamash (acts like a director)
- Candles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
SHAMASH: Okay people, it’s time to get our Hanukkah play together. Now remember, each of you is a different candle. You all stand for something very special about Hanukkah. Each of you will come out here and tell the audience the special thing that you represent.
CANDLE 8: I stand for the presents!
SHAMASH: Get back in line! You are not the most important thing about Hanukkah!
CANDLE 8: Well I think that I’m important!
SHAMASH: Candle #1, what do you represent?
CANDLE 1: (Dramatically), “And Mattathias called out to the people after he killed the Syrian and the Jew who bowed down to the idol and said, ‘Whoever is for God, follow me!'” I represent the devotion to God which brought a victory to the few over the many.
CANDLE 2: And with that victory, we won our freedom from the Syrians–freedom to live as Jews in our own land, just like today. I stand for that freedom.
CANDLE 8: And I stand for the presents that they gave each other after their victory!
SHAMASH: They didn’t give each other presents! Get back in line and wait your turn. We have more important things to go over first! Candle #3?
CANDLE 3: (Struts out as a “muscular” person) I represent the heroes of the story. Judah the Macabee, his brothers and father, Hannah and her seven sons, Batman.
SHAMASH: What? Batman?
CANDLE 3: Well you didn’t have to say that they all had to be Jewish heroes.
SHAMASH: Let’s get serious, this isn’t a Purim play! Candle #4, what part of Hanukkah do you represent?
CANDLE 4: I represent one of the most important parts of any Jewish holiday, the FOOD! Latkes with applesauce; gooey sufganiot!
CANDLE 8: I like my latkes with jelly or honey. I eat them right after I open my presents.
SHAMASH: Number 8! Now, number 4, as you were saying, the food. For those one or two in the audience who do not know what latkes and sufganiot are, can you explain what they are in English?
CANDLE 4: Sure. Latkes are potato pancakes which is an American and European Hanukkah food. Sufganiot are jelly doughnuts which is an Israeli Hanukkah food. I eat them both on Hanukkah.
SHAMASH: That sounds delicious! Moving on. Candle #5, tell us about the part of Hanukkah that you stand for.
CANDLE 5: “Oh Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, a festival of joy!”
SHAMASH: Yes, we know it is. But what do you represent?
CANDLE 5: “Who can retell the things that befell us?”
SHAMASH: Obviously not you. You can’t even retell your lines. As your director, I want you to tell the audience what you stand for.
CANDLE 5: “Rock of Ages, let our song, praise Your saving power!”
SHAMASH: Yes, as director of this play I know that I’m powerful–and call me SHAMASH, not Rock of Ages. Once again, what do you represent?
CANDLE 5: I represent all of the fun songs of Hanukkah; the music that makes the holiday special.
SHAMASH: Now I understand. Why didn’t you just say so? Candle #6, it’s your turn.
CANDLE 6: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8–like Hillel. Not 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1–like Shammai.
SHAMASH: Why do I feel I don’t know what is going on? Candle 6, what are you talking about?
CANDLE 6: I represent the Hanukkah menorah and the lights. The great rabbi Hillel said that one lights one candle on the first night, two the second, and so on until there are eight candles lit on the last night. The great rabbi Shammai said the opposite–that one lights eight candles on the first night and only one candle on the last night. We follow Hillel’s ruling, not Shammai’s.
SHAMASH: Well, that sheds some light on the subject.
CANDLE 8: We always light the candles before we open our presents.
SHAMASH: The presents are the last thing that we will talk about! Get back in line! Now, Candle #7, what do you stand for?
CANDLE 7: Well, I had a little dreidle.
SHAMASH: That’s interesting, any special kind?
CANDLE 7: Yes, I made it out of clay.
SHAMASH: Didn’t that make it a little hard to spin?
CANDLE 7; No, you see, when it was dry and ready, THEN dreidle I would play. I represent the famous Hanukkah game, dreidle. Nes, gadol, haya, sham–a great miracle happened there. The four letters on the dreidle, nun, gimel, hay, shin, represent those four words!
SHAMASH: If we can get through this play without any more bad jokes, I’ll say the Israeli version–nes, gadol, haya, po!
CANDLE 7: The Israeli version, nes, gadol, haya, po?
SHAMASH: Yes, a great miracle happened here.
CANDLE 8: Is it time now?
SHAMASH: Yes. I hate to call on this last candle, but Candle #8, you’re on.
CANDLE 8: Thank you. I love to get Hanukkah presents. But I also love to give them. I love the smile I get when I give a present.
SHAMASH: I’m surprised–I wasn’t expecting this seriousness!
CANDLE 8: Sure, even giving presents can be a serious and important business! Why every Hanukkah, I take one of my many presents and give it to a Jewish orphanage, or to a poor Jewish family–to a child who doesn’t get any Hanukkah presents! It makes giving and getting presents even more special!
SHAMASH: That’s really nice to hear–I’m proud of you and all of your friends up here today. Well folks, that’s all the time we have for now. So, from eight little candles shining bright–we say Happy Hanukkah and good night.
© 1985, by Scott Mandel, all rights reserved. Originally published in Shofar Magazine, Volume 3, Number 3
Submitted by,DR. SCOTT MANDEL
PACOIMA MIDDLE SCHOOL
LOS ANGELES, CA
MAKING “GINGERBREAD” HOUSES
This is an extremely fun and creative project to do with your students the week before Winter Break.
- 1 box graham crackers (regular)
- 1 8 oz. milk carton (as they use in school)
- 1 sheet of stiff cardboard or wood, at least 1′ by 1′ square
- 1 lb box of confectioners’ sugar
- candy for decorations: small gumdrops, m & m’s, sprinkles, candy corn, candy canes, etc.–
- small and colorful.
- white frosting
- food coloring (to use with the white frosting)
- aluminum foil
- Cover cardboard with foil.
- Mix confectioner’s sugar with warm water, until you have a paste-like consistency.
- Measure 1″ up from the bottom of the milk carton. Cut this part off of the carton, so that you are left with the bottom and 1″ sides.
- Setting the bottom as a perfect square in front of you, cut through it twice, in perpendicular lines, top to bottom, left to right. You should now have four equal-sized pieces…each piece containing a corner of the original milk carton, and two 1″ sides. These will serve as the corners of your “house”.
- Take four graham crackers. Two will be used horizontally, as the long sides of the house. The other two will be used as used as sides, and roof supports. USING SCISSORS, carefully cut from the middle of the long side of the cracker to the midpoint on top. SEE EXAMPLE 1 BELOW.
- Take the graham crackers, and use the sugar mixture to cement these “walls” to the corners of the house. (The cardboard corners should also be cemented onto the foil). SEE EXAMPLE 2 BELOW.
- Build the house with a roof, using the “sugar” glue. Be very careful not to break the graham crackers.
- Once the basic house is built, and given about an hour to dry, decorate it (and the cardboard base) with the candy and frosting, using the glue mixture.
+++++++++++++ + $ + ++++ = graham wall + $ $ + $$$ = area cut + $ $ + + $ $ + + $ $ + +$ $+ + + + + + + + + + + +++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++ +00000 00000+ ++++ = graham wall +0 0+ 000 = cardboard corner +0 0+ + + + + +0 0+ +0 0+ +00000 00000+ +++++++++++++++++++++++++
Be sure to warn the students that this takes time and patience! The house MAY break or fall several times before they get it right! But the end result is a beautiful gingerbread house that can be taken home and enjoyed!
- Submitted by,
LORNE STREET SCHOOL
LOS ANGELES, CA
RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER
- butcher paper or large pieces of paper
- glue or stapler
- Have the children trace their feet with their heels together and their toes pointed out in a V Shape. Trace around the outside of both feet. Do not trace the inside V of the feet. You should end up with rounded out upside down triangle. This is the head
- Have them trace their hands. To extend this into a math activity have the children number their fingers from 1-10. These are the antlers.
- Glue or staple the hands onto the triangle shape.
- Color eyes and a mouth onto the reindeer.
- Glue or staple a red pom-pom onto the face for the nose.
Submitted by,LUCIA GOODWIN
ST. MARK THE EVANGELIST SCHOOL
WHITBY, ONTARIO, CANADA
HANDS DOWN FOR RUDOLPH
- brown paint
- red paint
- black paint (make sure all are washable tempera)
- fabric (such as unbleached muslin) or brown butcher paper/grocery bag
- paper plates for each child
- soap and water for cleanup
- Spread brown paint on paper plate.
- Put dabs of red and black on another plate.
- Give each child a piece of fabric/paper that is about 15″by 12″ or so.
- Have child take shoe off and press bare foot onto the paper plate of paint.
- Make sure foot is covered with paint and then press it down on the paper/fabric.
- Using a finger fill in the spot where the arch of the foot is so that you have a solid foot. This is the basic shape of Rudolph’s head.
- Press the right hand into the paint and then press it down on the right side of the head – spreading the fingers out to form antler.
- Using the other hand make an antler on the other side.
- Using the thumb in black paint – make two eyes – and using the thumb in red paint – make Rudolph’s nose.
- This project is great – especially if you have others in the room to help you. It also works if the students are working on another project and you call them over to make Rudolph one at a time.
Submitted by,AMY RODGERS
UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA
no city listed
- construction paper–different colors
- black marker
- Have the children trace one foot on (brown) construction paper=BODY
- Trace both of their hands on (yellow) construction paper=ANTLERS
- They cut out 1 red circle=NOSE and 2 white circles=EYES
- They glue it together and can draw in the eyes with black markers
- They turn out really cute and the kids really like them and they look great in the room!! I’ve also used GREEN for the body instead of brown to look more like Christmas colors.
- Submitted by,
SARA (no last name listed)
no school listed
KWANZAA: A FAMILY PLAY
- a modern American home
MOTHER: Come children, help your father bring in the last bags. Kwanzaa is tomorrow and we have to start getting ready.
GIRL: Mother, after dinner tonight, can we decorate?
MOTHER: Yes, children, you may decorate–I made some special streamers over there.
GIRL: Oo–here’s black for the color of our people.
BOY: Red for our continuing struggle.
GIRL: Green for the hills of Africa.
MOTHER: Don’t forget green for the hope of our children. Speaking of children, hurry and go help your father. I must start to prepare for the karamu, the feast tomorrow evening.
THE NEXT EVENING
FATHER: Children, remember what tonight is for. Remember, our ancestors of old in the motherland of Africa.
BOY: Here is the basket of crops for our thanksgiving, as our ancestors used to bring.
GIRL: Here are the two ears of corn, one for each child in our house.
FATHER: And here are the gifts which you will get on the last night of Kwanzaa. Your mother and I have decided that you have earned these gifts by keeping all of your promises throughout the year.
MOTHER: Now let us eat, we must get up early for breakfast.
BOY: That’s the one thing I hate about this holiday–no eating from sunrise to sunset!
FATHER: Before we eat, let’s light the first candle of Kwanzaa. Black tonight, red tomorrow, then green. Now, what is the first of the seven Kwanzaa principles?
BOY & GIRL: Harambee!
FATHER: Harambee! Unity! On this first night of Kwanzaa, let us remember the importance of unity in the family. Let us love one another and stand up for one another. Let us honor our ancestors by celebrating our past.
MOTHER: Pass the unity cup.
FATHER: I pour a little of the liquid in the direction of the four winds–north, south, east and west. Now let us all take a sip.BOY: Now the best part–let’s eat!
MOTHER: Black-eyed peas for good luck; greens for prosperity.
GIRL: Mother, what does the fried chicken, catfish, sweet potato pie and peach cobbler symbolize?
MOTHER: They symbolize that I’m a great cook! let’s eat.
© 1994, by Scott Mandel, all rights reserved.
- Submitted by,
DR. SCOTT MANDEL
PACOIMA MIDDLE SCHOOL
LOS ANGELES, CA
A reader, Sue Minick (firstname.lastname@example.org) suggested a book to use with elementary students when teaching about Kwanzaa. She writes: “It is a paperback book titled: Kwanzaa – An African American Holiday by Sharon Gayle. It gives background, Kwanzaa words to know, seven principles of Kwanzaa, gifts to make, foods to prepare, word search, crossword puzzle, matching quiz, a really good book to use with elementary students.”
ART PROJECT: KWANZAA KENTE CLOTH
I did this project with my students and the results were quite impressive. The weaving and design looks almost like the cloth from Africa. It can be used as a wall hanging or table decoration.
- colored construction paper: red, green, orange, yellow, brown, black
- crayons in an assortment of colors
- Cut black sheets of construction paper into 9×12 pieces. Cut the remaining colors into strips 1/2 inch by 12 inch strips.
- Fold the black construction paper in half horizontally, and make cuts approximately 1 inch apart. Do not cut all the way to the top. Leave approximately 2 inches at the top.
- Weave the other colors as tightly as possible to form a checkerboard design.
- Glue down the ends so that the weave does not come apart.
- Have the students use the crayons to make designs in the squares. It is helpful to have a real piece of kente cloth, or a book of African Patterns as an example.
- After the project is completed, the student then takes a pair of scissors and makes fringe on the long sides of the paper.
- As is the tradition during Kwanzaa, ears of corn can be drawn by the students and glued to the kente cloth. This of course is optional.
- The designs can then be displayed.
Submitted by,BARBARA SONEK
no e-mail listed
AN EASY HOLIDAY RECIPES: EASY NO BAKE PUMPKIN PIE
This is a great idea to use during the fall theme, pumpkin theme, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. It is a good idea to make up a batch ahead of time and let the kids mix up a batch in class. Then they can assemble their own pies. One recipe makes enough for 20-25 kids depending on the size of the scoop.
- 1 large package of vanilla instant pudding
- 1 small can of pumpkin
- 2 1/2 cups of milk
- 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.
- 1 package of graham crackers or Nilla wafers
- 1 container of Cool Whip (canned whip cream can also be used.)
- Mix the first four ingredients together in a bowl. Put in refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Place 1/4 of a graham cracker or 1 Nilla wafer in the bottom of a small cup.
- Add one small scoop of pumpkin mixture.
- Top with cool whip. Enjoy!
Submitted by,LISA GUTTRIDGE
CHARLES MACK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL