Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Unique sukkah decorations

Sukkot (Sukkos) is a Jewish holiday of giving thanks for the harvest, as well as the commemoration of the forty years of traveling in the desert after Sinai and living in temporary dwellings. 

 Here is a look at some sukkah decorations I have been working on to donate to our shul's sukkah. 
Confession: since these will be hanging in our shul's sukkah, my perfectionist side took the better of me and I didn't let my girls help me. Hopefully, we will have some time on Sunday for them to make their own fabric hangings for our sukkah.

Much of my inspiration came from this lovely site.

I spray painted the canvas fabric with glittery gold spray paint. Makes for a really nice effect in the sunlight, but used 2 cans of spray paint on one 30in x 30 in canvas and wasn't going out to buy anymore.
Here's another one:
 And one more:

 I am not an artist, far from it. So how did I get such perfect lettering and images? By using my new best friend, the Silhouette Cameo Cutting Machine

This machine is pricey, but educators do get a 20% discount and that includes homeschoolers as well. 

So with the help of my husband we figured out how to get the Cameo to work with Hebrew fonts and viola perfectly printed signs. 

I printed my text/images on freezer paper then ironed it down onto the fabric and used the stencil for painting.

I should also mention that I glued the hems down on my fabric with fabric glue- so easy and no sewing required.

I then used acrylic paint, glittery gold and silver spray paint, and wooden dowels to create the signs. 

Another great idea: Ribbon Sukkah Chains
Not sure why I haven't seen or heard of this before, but it's genius.  Your choice of colors and styles is limitless and it will last through any possible rain showers. 
I was inspired by Birkat Chaverim who posted about cutting up fabric to make sukkah chains, I then decided to go with ribbon instead since the width is already pre-cut. I used fabric glue to attach the chains.

              Lastly, here is a site with a comprehensive list of sukkah decorating ideas:  http://www.amotherinisrael.com/guest-post-easy-inspiring-sukkah-decorations/

                       Would love to hear about other people's unique 
                     Sukkah decorations. Please share in the comment    
                                            section below: 


Friday, September 21, 2012

Jonah and the Whale Activity and Craft

Since we read the story of Jonah (Yonah) on Yom Kippur, I introduced my girls to the story today.

We started with this coloring book that includes a simple overview of the Jonah story:
In the Footsteps of Yonah HaNavi, Coloring Book
Available at The Judaica Place

We targeted these concepts:
-teshuvah means feeling sorry for something and trying your best not to do it again 
-Hashem loves all his creations and wants every one to do teshuvah to get closer to Him.

I then made this milk jug whale for them to play with:

The girls loved snacking on these:
They are kosher and a pretty appropriate snack for your little ones on Yom Kippur.

We then did a quick and easy math activity:
Place the appropriate amount of whales into the ocean.

Check out this cutie pie telling the story of Jonah:

FYI: If you do a search in youtube for any Torah/Jewish story, you will most likely come across a nicely put together cartoon version of it. Many made by Christians and many staying true to the p'shat (the literal meaning).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hebrew and English Phonics

We are spending a few minutes each day on some phonics work. Using chalk board paint, magnetic letters, and a cookie sheet (use one without a coating or bare metal from a hardware store), we created our phonics work station.  

Rust-Oleum 206540 Chalkboard Brush-On, Black, 30-Ounce
I bought this paint, but check out this super easy way to turn your favorite color paint into a chalkboard.

Magnetic Hebrew Letters Set (Over 90 Pc!) -Affordable Gift for Your Little One!

Right now we are at the phonemic awareness stage which is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in a word. 

Photo Source

Here ares some things we did:
Match the beginning Hebrew sound. Worksheet source
learn to read Hebrew language
Photo Source
Btw, this is a Hebrew reading program I have heard good things about, but have not personally seen or used  
Circle the word that starts with... or ends with...

Matching letters in sight words (not exactly phonemic awareness work). Got these worksheets from this great resource for teacher made materials 

Working on word families by changing the first letter and practicing reading the word. Also taking turns making rhyming words.

On my to do list:
Word family eggs
photo source

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Parshat Nitzavim and Geography Project

So I haven't actually had time to do a parasha lesson with my girls this week, but I still wanted to post this idea for future reference.

"He will bring you together again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. Even if your outcasts are at the ends of the world...And the Lord your God will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed" (Deutoronomy 30; 3-4)

This is a great conversation starter for what it means to live in the Diaspora and the significance of the Land of Israel.

It's also a great place to introduce a geography lesson and expand it into a lesson on Jewish culture across the globe. 
I love the idea that the Montessori method uses by incorporating geography boxes. 

Since we didn't actually do this yet, here are links to some people who have:

Click here for great visual geography lessons 

And for a Jewish spin on the topic, Click Here

Monday, September 10, 2012

Yom Kippur: Scales and Weights

Continuing on the theme of the High Holidays, we discussed the concept that the month of Elul is a significant time to reflect on who we are and on our actions. Many use the metaphor of a scale to help us understand that we want our good deeds to outweigh our bad ones.
Photo Source

So we started our day talking about scales in general:

We weighed ourselves.

We weighed our food and watched the numbers go down as we took parts away from the fruit.

We weighed our toys using this homemade scale. Got the idea from this great site
Targeted vocab: heavier, lighter, equal, compare
Targeted Concepts: bigger doesn't mean heavier, neither does more pieces.

Then tried to piece this all together with Yom Kippur, but my girls were not feeling it. So I completed the craft myself just to share with you guys:
Used pipe cleaners to add a weight to our "nice" and "not nice" action cards.

 Will leave this hanging around so we can revisit the concept of wanting to do more "nice" actions. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Blog Recommendation for Montessori and Holiday Activities

Anyone looking for ways to incorporate a Jewish Montessori style education into their home should check out one of my favorite blogs: http://jewishhomeschool.blogspot.com.

She also has holiday activity packs that she created: http://jewishhomeschool.blogspot.com/2012/08/high-holidays-activities.html

And check out the right side bar on her site for more holiday and parasha ideas!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Jewish Farm School

Today we got to visit a real Jewish farm in Putnam Valley, NY.
They run a program for homeschoolers and today's session focused on the life of a seed.
The girls made a seed ball of dirt, water and seeds that will be used for planting.
They then made edible seed balls by mixing peanut butter, sunflower seeds, oats, and sugar.
They helped plant and water a blueberry bush.
They enjoyed running around a chicken coop and holding a fresh egg.

More fun on the farm:
Finished the day rocking out with their improv band. 

If you would like more information about the farm check out their website: http://www.jewishfarmschool.org/

FYI: They are having a festival this Sunday that is open to the public. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Parashat Ki Tavo: B'rachot and Painting with Food

"You shall take some of every first fruit of the soil, which you harvest from the land..." and give it to the priest in charge in that time (Deuteronomy 26:2).
Photo Source
In addition to the above commandment of bikurim, this week's Torah portion also has a long list of blessings and curses that would be bestowed upon the people of Israel depending on their deeds on Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal.
Photo Source
So we combined the idea of crops and blessings into a lesson on blessings we say when we eat vegetation.
Thank you to my best friend, Natalie, for sharing this link with me  which inspired our food stamping craft.

While my little one napped, big sister sorted through the fruits and veggies by placing them in separate bowls. 
 We started with veggies dipped in finger paint.
We painted on pieces of sand paper to add texture to our "soil".
We then dipped fruit in paint. 
The weird shape on the left is a potato I cut to look like a pomegranate since Rosh Hashana is approaching.

We stamped the fruit onto a tree I outlined.

Notice the pomegranates in the center.

Our B'racha Mural:

 When the mural was complete we reviewed the b'rachot we say for the foods that grow on trees and for the foods that grow on the ground.

When our little one woke up, I incorporated her into our lesson on vegetation by having her sort fruits and veggies by color. 
 I've been trying this with her for a while and today she finally got it. 
Sorting is such am important critical thinking skill. You can have your kids sort by categories, function, color, texture, etc. Very helpful when it comes time for putting away toys and clothing.

Since I was so excited to see her sort, I searched through our pantry to find other objects for her to organize. I pulled out these cans and a ton of accidental learning ensued.
They sorted by color    
Made patterns
Divided cans evenly among the 3 of us 
Built a castle
Introduced the word cylinder and discussed why it rolls

This was all so great and was another reminder that kids really don't need so many toys. I own color toys, pattern toys, math toys, building toys, shape toys, but NONE of them engage my girls as much as these cans did!

And to finish off our day talking about fruits and vegetables, we make rice krispy apples (also in honor of Rosh Hashana).
 As cute as they are, making these was super messy. My girls spilled rice krispies on the floor and then proceeded to walk all over them. Needless to say, after vaccumming and sweeping, I still feel the snap, crackle, and pop when I walk through my kitchen. On that note, good night!

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