Lag B’Omer! Here’s a quick glimpse at what we did…
I wanted my K – 3 classes to “embody” the connection between Passover and Shavuot via the Counting of the Omer, to use their bodies to travel from Passover—where the Israelites became a Free Nation, to Shavuot—where the Israelites became a Holy Nation.
First, we crossed the Sea of Reeds and became a Free Nation. On the floor were 49 steps toward Mt. Sinai on the opposite side of the room. See Mt. Sinai up there, far away?
On step #33, we paused to shoot a Lag BaOmer arrow at a target:
We kept walking on the numbers till we stood on #49 at the foot of Har Sinai (an upturned pool liner) in the shadow of a giant Ten Commandments.
Each student got to “receive the Ten Commandments” at Sinai: mini versions made from chocolate. Ta da! Now, we were a Holy Nation.
After the Omer Walk, we made edible bonfires. I brought a ring of real stones and sticks for visual reference:
Here’s my version of edible fire:
And here’s a pic of some kid-generated edible fires:
After we assembled, blessed and ate our edible fires, there was still time for bow and arrow practice. I had two sets of foam arrows, but brought a bunch of hand-held pump rockets and an extra target, too. Thus, we descended into chaos, but by golly, it was thematic chaos.
I felt pretty good about today’s educational content until, on the way out the door, I overheard one First Grader tell her mom, “Today, we made burning bushes!”
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HOW I MADE STUFF:
Edible Fires: See post, here.
Ten Commandments, BIG: An Elmer’s corrugated cardboard display tri-fold, trimmed, painted. The letters are 4″ diecut from laminated paper.
Ten Commandments, SMALL: Cheap plastic molds accept chocolate as well as plaster, and I used both. Some grades got chocolate (wrapped to take home), and some grades got plaster. And wouldn’t you know, they had NO IDEA WHAT PLASTER WAS. Several kids tried to eat it. So, I said, “you know, like CHALK.” And then they were happy. Note to self: cast something in plaster with these kids.
Sea of Reeds: I’ve used empty fridge boxes before, but for this event, it was easier to use two plastic road hazard sawhorses, draped with blue paper and a blue tablecloth, clamped. I stuck fake reeds in the corners, and taped paper fish here and there. The older kids pretended to put up with this fakery knowing that I had made it for “the little kids,” but they loved it. Some of these older Israelites did the Limbo through the Sea of Reeds, which was fine with me. They were playing along, they were THERE, and they got it.
The Omer Walk numbers: Well, these turned out a bit more fragile than I wished. If we could do this activity outside, I’d just chalk the numbers on the concrete, and make #33 special with color, etc. Anyway, I used a 4″ diecut circle for each number, from one to 49, and in groups of seven. Each group was a different color. Why? Shavuot means “weeks,” and the period between Passover and Shavuot is a total of seven weeks. I taped the circles onto a roll of mystery paper (it had feed hole margins for some obsolete office machine) and then laminated, two-up to save lamination surface area. I taped it to the carpet with my favorite blue painter’s tape, but such things only hold up well for dainty Omer Walking, not chaotic bow and arrow wars.
For more about Lag Ba’Omer, see my post with details about the holiday, about recreating it with LEGO minifigs and such.
P.S. It is no accident I spell Lag B’Omer four different ways. On the one hand, I’m trying to appease the search engines and the variable spelling of those who search. On the other hand, I haven’t decided which Authority to follow.
P.P.S. All this lesson plan stuff is incredibly simplistic, I realize. We’d been studying the Omer, and I had props on hand, such a bunch of dried barley stalks, in order to make the antiquated concept a tad more concrete and understandable. Here’s a three-part diorama for the same lesson.