We did this Sunday and it was crazy and it was wonderful.
And so much more meaningful than making yet another tchotchke out of paper. Please allow your students to GET REAL. Let kids experience real things before you ask them to re-create real things out of paper and felt and whatnot. Continue reading →
We burned a bush in Third Grade today. As in, the Burning Bush. My goal was to make the Torah story more personal, memorable. Goal met. My goal was not to make the entire school wonder if the building was on fire, or to make our police office hunt me down, but that happened, too.
Count the omer with swim noodles! I needed a BIG omer counter for a classroom (and maybe the school entrance, too), and this is it. I love abacus-style omer counters because it is a pleasure to slide something across something: I feel like I’ve counted, I’ve moved, I’ve gone from here to there. All the more so with swim noodle “cookies” and my beloved PVC pipe. The two materials create just enough friction. Continue reading →
Posted on04/11/2015|Comments Off on Rainbow Loom Omer Counter
Rainbow loom omer bracelet: one rubber band per day
I made this today just to feel what it would be like to count the omer via Rainbow Loom. It felt fiddly, but worthwhile. Mindful. I had to pay attention and I had to make decisions about color coding. Some kids will like this, some kids will flee in the opposite direction. My own child preferred to watch Pokemon rather than experiment with me, but hey, Pokemon. Continue reading →
LEGO omer counters. I couldn’t find any, so I made some up. LEGO is ideal for an omer counter because it is inherently irresistible and in any decent-sized LEGO bin at home are bound to be 49 somethings with which to mark each day of the count. Continue reading →
I have post-seder ennui—worse than the usual Passover prep hangover—and I need a new challenge: an omer counter. I’m looking for a design that is group-friendly, and that doesn’t require us to buy any materials. Ideally, I want BARLEY in it: real barley groats, real barley stalks to remind us of the omer origins. I already have both. But kids aren’t going to be pushing each other out of the way for the chance to open a matchbox to grab . . . a groat. Continue reading →
I nearly called this post “Passover Carnival,” but was afraid you’d get the wrong idea. The wrong idea is a spree with lice races, chocolate matzah painting, origami frogs, and crafts. Continue reading →
Posted on04/01/2015|Comments Off on Open the [LEGO] Door for Elijah
Open the [LEGO] door for Elijah
At our school’s Walk Through the Seder Steps program, two toy tableaux sat at the Hallel station. Hallel is the step where, appropriately enough, we sing Hallel and other songs of praise, and also when we open the door for Elijah. Continue reading →
Posted on03/16/2015|Comments Off on Lulav Brush for Passover (one more lulav re-cycle)
small lulav leaf brushes for bedikat and biur chametz
This quick DIY takes longer to explain than to make. It’s a wee brush for the night and morning before Passover: a riff on the traditional repurpose of using Sukkot’s lulav for the pre-Passover Search and Destroy mission. Continue reading →
A seder plate the size of a hula hoop—because it is a hula hoop—makes an unforgettable project and display. Kids can learn or review the symbolic foods and traditional placement thereof; work individually or in small groups; and create a teaching prop that gets noticed even in cavernous synagogue social halls. Continue reading →
From JOANNA BRICHETTO:
My goal is to help kids and grownups spend time together making Jewish things. I like stuff that is hands-on, attractive, non-fussy, cheap and real, and so fun no one realizes it's educational.
The value is in the doing, not just the being done, and in the conversations and questions that happen along the way. Every project comes with helpful and (hopefully) pleasant chatter, because my native compulsiveness and enthusiasm means that I’ve given the meaning, function, and possible permutations a lot of thought. You won’t need to do much planning, because I’ll have done it for you.
LEGO minifig Passover seder table
Defining the Terms
Balabusta, n. (bal-eh-boos’-teh)
Yiddish for female boss of the home,
a praiseworthy Jewish homemaker.
Bible Belt, n.
where I am, and where most Jews aren’t.
For details, see "Nu?"
It doesn’t matter if you don’t live in the Bible Belt. The geographical modifier is a flag to indicate that the author is used to being outnumbered, without resources, and thus able to do just about anything from scratch. Newbies welcome. I used to be one, long ago.