Sammy Spider's First Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah starts on September 9th this year and it's never to early to start making plans for how you'll celebrate.  Little kids can help with the festivities too.  They can make cards for the people in their families. Check out this cute, little card made by Jeremy.

Rosh Hashanah Cards

When I taught preschool years ago, I tried to keep my lessons short and sweet.  Little children have little attention spans, you know!  My preschool lessons often followed the same pattern:
  1. a short, age appropriate story
  2. focus lesson and class discussion
  3. center time with one center dedicated to a follow-up craft or activity

1. Sammy the Spider's First Rosh Hashanah

When choosing a story for preschool children, you need a story with bold pictures and a story line they can follow.  Sammy Spider's First Rosh Hashanah (affiliate link to Amazon) has both. 

Sammy Spider's First Rosh Hashanah

From School Library Journal: 
PreSchool-Grade 1. Another successful collaboration between the author and illustrator of Sammy Spider's First Hanukkah and Sammy Spider's First Passover. In this story about the Jewish New Year, Rouss repeatedly uses concepts of size (large, middle-sized, and small) in the narrative. Mother Spider explains the holiday customs and symbols to curious young Sammy, including Rosh Hashanah greeting cards, challah bread, apples and honey for a sweet year, and special synagogue services. Sammy is endearing, but mischief-prone. Despite Mother Spider's insistence that he must remain a respectful observer to the festivities, Sammy manages to celebrate Rosh Hashanah in his own way. This gentle tale should appeal to youngsters of all backgrounds. The colorful collage illustrations are both instructive and cheerful.

2. Focus Lesson and Class Discussion

After reading Sammy Spider's First Rosh Hashanah with the children, it was time for our focus lesson.  What did I want my students to learn about Rosh Hashanah?  For this particular lesson, I wanted the children to learn that apples dipped in honey are a traditional food of Rosh Hashanah.  We looked back at the pages on which Sammy had tasted apples and honey and wondered aloud what apples dipped in honey would taste like.  We talked about the colors-- apples are red and honey is yellow-- and that apples and honey are very sweet.  Of course, at snack time, we sampled some apples dipped in honey.  Yum!

Apples and Honey

3. Making Rosh Hashanah Cards

When working with young children, sometimes simple projects are best.  As a follow up to reading Sammy Spider's First Rosh Hashanah, we made cards.These cards were extremely simple to make and the parents and grandparents adored them!

Things you'll need:
  • paper to draw on
  • marker to write down what the children say
  • a variety of yellow crayons (Yellow is for honey.)
  • a variety of red crayons (Red is for apples.)
  • a variety of red and yellow pom poms, ribbons, buttons, etc.
  • glue
The process is simple:
  1. Let the children draw on the papers.  Do not interfere with their drawings.  Talking to them out the story and what they learned.
  2. Ask the children:  Who the card is for?  What do they want it to say?  Write down the exact words they say.
  3. Help the children embellish their cards with the pom poms, buttons, ribbons, etc.  Help them put the glue on the objects, but let them decide where the objects go.
  4. When done, talk about the card as if it were a masterpiece!  Praise the color choices.  Repeat the mantra Yellow is for honey.  Red is for apples.  
  5. Set aside to dry, then send home.
Rosh Hashanah Card

As you can see, I'm all about letting children explore, create and use their imaginations.  I found out later that Jeremy's grandmother loved her Rosh Hashanah card.  She loved its authenticity.

What other books about Rosh Hashanah would you recommend?  Share them in the comment section below?
When the Chickens Went on Strike

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