I told the story of Jonah and the Dag Gadol (a.k.a. the Whale) today using one simple origami prop: the paper boat that, with a sleight of hand, becomes a giant pair of jaws (the Whale). Jonah was a pompom, which the sailors tossed into the sea (the floor), and which was then swallowed by the whale, only to be spewed later onto Dry Land. I had SO much fun with this.
Before class, I made the boat model, which easily transforms into a whale mouth. (see origami note below). My Dry Land Target was already in the room: I’d made it for my Whale Popper toys. I had read the JPS version of the story the night before, so I could paraphrase the high points into a pithy tale suitable for K, 1, 2, and 3 classes. The only other thing I needed was a machzor.
A machzor is the prayerbook we use for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and I wanted to introduce it to the kids. Remember, my classes are 25-30 minutes long, so I had to be satisfied just to show it, say it, and tell them that our services are in there, that Jews all over the world use a machzor for RH and YK, and that in every machzor is the same story: Jonah and the Big Fish, read in its entirety on the afternoon of Yom Kippur. I asked them to start thinking WHY that one story would be so important to read on THAT day. And then I told the story.
My favorite part was that every class “got” the story. They figured out why Jews would read that story on Yom Kippur. I gave their answer the Hebrew name: Teshuvah, which they won’t remember, but they might remember the story was all about messing up, being truly sorry, asking for forgiveness and being forgiven.
Origami How To:
JAWS: The pattern I used is “Jaws” from one of my favorite origami books: Paul Jackson’s Incredible Action Origami (ISBN: 978-0737305166). Amazon link. Everything in the book moves and/or makes noise.
His Jaws isn’t online, but here’s the same pattern over at PaperCrafts. It’s kinda hard to see because they don’t use white-backed paper for contrast. Do skip the artist’s last step adding teeth and decor.
SNAPPER: Here’s a similar pattern (without the lips and it uses a rectangle instead of a square): the “Snapper.” Origami-fun has a printable PDF, here. They just show the snapper, but opened up, it’s a boat, too.
Also, I found a “Jonah Origami” video that wordlessly shows the construction of the Snapper model and both uses: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCwnxL7Gwdo.