Melissa Johnson

4th or 5th grade


Unit Goals

1. Students will understand why Hanukkah is important to the Jewish people.

2. Students will be able to recognize that symbols and customs have meaning in celebrations. They help us remember what we are celebrating.



Background Information

Lesson Plan Ideas

Children's Literature and Other Media



Hanukkah Background Information







Nun= no win

Gimmel= take all

Heh= take half

Peh or Shin= lose what you deposited.

*When no pennies are left in the kitty, each player adds one. The game is over when a player has won everyone's pennies!*


Lesson Plan Ideas




GOAL # 1

OBJECTIVE: Students will identify what they already know and what they'd like to know about Hanukkah.

MATERIALS: a piece of paper for each student, chart paper, marker.


Brainstorm: Have students list as many words, facts, and ideas, about Hanukkah as they can come up with in a short period of time. Ask students what some of the symbols are that are used during Hanukkah. A symbol is something that represents something significant.

K-W-L: When the students are finished brainstorming, record their ideas on a peice of chart paper. These recorded ideas will become the "K," or "What We Know," part of the KWL chart. Next, ask the students to think of questions they have about Hanukkah. This will become the "W," or "What We Want to Know," part of the KWL chart. Later, at the end of the unit, the class will complete the "L," or "What We've Learned," part of the KWL activity.





OBJECTIVE: Students will demonstrate a knowledge of the history, symbols, and vocabulary associated with Hanukkah by making a "Hanukkah Glossary."

MATERIALS: Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights from the web, paper to record glossary


Read: Share Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights available at http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson040.shtml with the students. This story should help to acquaint the students with the general storyline of Hanukkah. Following the story, ask the listening comprehension questions (provided by the author of the above web site) to find out how well they understood.

Make a Glossary: Organize a Hanukkah glossary that your class and other classes might use. As the students learn about Hanukkah, record new words and Hanukkah terms. Type the completed glossary and make copies for the students.




GOAL # 2

OBJECTIVE: Students will conduct research and orally present information on the symbols of Hanukkah.

MATERIALS: reading material about several symbols of Hanukkah, cooperative learning group materials (paper, job assignments, etc.)


Jigsaw: Divide the class into three cooperative learning groups. Assign each group to a topic, and provide each group with reading materials on that topic. The topics include: menorah, dreidel, and Hanukkah foods (latkes, sufganiot). Each group is assigned to read about, discuss, and take notes on their topic. When enough time has gone by, divide the class again into groups of three so that each symbol is represented by someone. Allow each member of the group to presesnt information about their symbol to the rest of the group.




GOAL # 2

OBJECTIVE: Students will participate in a hands-on game and in doing so, will gain insight into some of the games or celebrations associated with Hanukkah.

MATERIALS: materials for making dreidels, dreidel rules


Hands-on Learning: Once the students have studied and learned about the symbols of Hanukkah, play the classic dreidel game that is often played during Hanukkah. Students will create their own dreidels and learn to play the dreidel game. Directions and patterns for constructing dreidels are available online at Chanukah On the Net -- Dreidel Pattern or Make a Dreidel. Students can also make dreidels from milk cartons or boxes, following the directions at Hanukkah Crafts & Recipes: Dreidels. After students create their dreidels, have students learn the rules for the dreidel game. These can be found at : Chanukah On the Net -- The Dreidel or The Dreidel Game Rules Variation: If Internet access is available to everyone, students can play an interactive dreidel game at Cyberkids: Fun & Games: Holidays -- Dreidel.




TIME: 2 HOURS (can be split into 2 days)


OBJECTIVE: 1. Students will participate in making traditional Hanukkah food. 2. Students will discuss various traditions their families have and how they relate to symbolic celebrations. 3. Students will analyze what they have learned about Hanukkah by completing the "L," or "What We've Learned," part of the KWL chart.

MATERIALS: Grandma's Latkes by Malka Drucker, KWL chart, ingredients for potato latkes (see recipe below)


READ: Share the story Grandma's Latkes with the students. Upon finishing the story, ask students to discuss special foods they eat with their families at special times. Discuss how traditions, such as food traditions, add unity to celebrations. For better accountability, this activity can be integrated into Language Arts by having the students write about their families food traditions.

LATKE TREAT: As a culminating activity, make potato latkes with the students.


Ingredients: 5 large potatoes, peeled 1 large onion, 3 eggs, 1/3 cup flour, 1 tsp. Salt, ¼ tsp. pepper, ¾ cup oil for frying

Use: 10-inch skillet Yields: 4 to 6 servings

Grate potatoes and onion on the fine side of a grater, or in a food processor; or put in a blender with a little water.

Strain grated potatoes and onion through a colander, pressing out excess water. Add eggs, flour, and seasoning. Mix well. Heat ½ cup oil in skillet. Lower flame and place 1 large tablespoon batter at a time into hot sizzling oil and fry on one side for approximately 5 minutes until golden brown. Turn over and fry on other side 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from pan and place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Continue with remaining batter until used up, adding more oil when necessary.

Serve with applesauce on the side.


FINISH KWL: As the students munch on their latkes, draw their attention to the KWL chart they began at the beginning of the unit. Ask volunteers to share what they have learned about Hanukkah.




Children's Literature

For children age 7-9


Other Books & Media



Clegg, J. (1997). Celebrations Mini-Unit: Subtopic Hanukkah. [Online]. Utah State University. Available: http://www.teacherlink.usu.edu/TLresources/longterm/LessonPlans/Byrnes/HANUKKAH.htm

[2002, February 25].


Cromwell, Sharon. (2001). [Online]. Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights. Available: http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson040.shtml. [2002, April 9].


Drucker, M. (1996). Grandma's Latkes. Harcourt.


History Channel. (No date). Traditions Hanukkah. [Online]. The History Channel. Available: http://www.historychannel.com. [2002, February 25].


Instructional Materials Center. (No date). Hanukkah: Festival of Lights. [Online]. University of Missouri-Kansas City. Available: http://www.umkc.edu/imc/hanukkah.htm. [2002, February 25].


Kramer, A.J. (1998-1999). Hanukah: Origins. [Online]. Available: http://www.everythingjewish.com/Hanukah/origins.htm. [2002, February 25].


Lewis, Lois. (2001). [Online]. Hanukkah Fun: The Dreidel Game. Available: http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/00-2/lp2251.shtml. [2002, April 9].


Virtual Chanukah. (2001). [Online]. Chanukah Latkes. Available: http://www.chanukah99.com/lights/recipeindex.html. [2002, May 2].