This week in our inquiry study about holidays and celebrations around the world, students focused on Hanukkah. We discussed the importance of knowing about other people’s cultures and traditions even when we do not share their beliefs. Students shared prior knowledge and questions they had about Hanukkah, then went off to research the traditions and backstory of the holiday. Together, we made dreidels, learned how to play the dreidel game, and learned to sing and dance to “O Hanukkah, O Hanukkah.”
We read Patricia Polacco’s “The Trees of the Dancing Goats,” a story about a Jewish family who cares for their sick neighbors by bringing them Christmas trees decorated with dancing goat ornaments they made for Hanukkah. Later the neighbors bring them a menorah to thank them and then they eat latkes together. Our class celebrated the heart of the story by creating dancing goats to hang on our book tree and cooking (and eating!) gluten-free latkes.