As a way of combining Hanukkah fun and the social curriculum, the 4th graders were asked to sculpt themselves into a human Hanukkiyah (the special 9 branched menorah used for Hanukkah)and then, in two groups, into dreidls (spinning tops used to play a Hanukkah game). However, the challenge was to do this without any verbal or written language. They needed to work cooperatively without talking and only using hand signals. When they first sculpted themselves into the Hanukkiyah, one student was the definite leader who used his vision to make it work. While it was accomplished within the time limit, the other students did not feel that they truly contributed in ways that worked for them. When they were broken up into two groups to make the dreidl, each group took the time to work more cooperatively, and there was not the same sense of one person taking the authority upon him or herself. At the same time, it was a ‘messier’ process that required more time.
Besides being a fun activity, the students were able to learn a number of different skills and lessons: efficiency vs. inclusivity of ideas, communicating ideas through non-verbal means, and different ways of working in a group. Below are the pictures of them being a Hanukkiyah and the two dreidls.