A Passover Lesson on Freedom to Use Right Now
What do the words “slavery” and “freedom” mean to you? What do slavery and freedom look like?
Passover offers many opportunities for learning - about Jewish history, asking questions, home and holiday observance, and the core values of Judaism.
And yet, “we consistently … focus an enormous amount of energy imparting bits of information and creating hands-on, experiential, fun learning projects,” writes Nachama Moskowitz in the introduction to The Ultimate Jewish Teacher’s Handbook. Passover activities, for example, often include crafts such as making matzah boxes or afikoman bags or a personalized haggadah. There is a place for these activities, of course, however repetition of them year over year only “encourage the teaching of surface knowledge – a mile wide and an inch deep.”
Consider focusing on the big ideas of the holiday, such as freedom, to make best use of your limited time and attention spans to create rich learning.
One way is to use art as a lens to examine the big idea, and think of the word "art" expansively: painting, drawing, drama, music, storytelling, poetry — all of it. This example comes from Make, Create, Celebrate: Jewish Holidays Through Art:
1. Study the artwork by Moshe Castel using guiding questions. Here are some more questions you can explore using this painting:
• What do you see in this work of art?
• What do you think the artist is trying to portray?
• What is the connection between the two panels?
• How did the artist use color and line to connect the two different scenes into the same work of art?
This See/Think/Wonder Routine is based upon Harvard University’s Project Zero. Elizabeth Diament, the Senior Educator at the National Gallery of Art and consultant for Make, Create, Celebrate, has written that, “Thinking routines have the capacity to activate student’s deep thinking by privileging their own ideas as a valuable source of information, getting them personally involved, and using questions to drive learning and uncover complexity.”
2. Create your own piece of art that reflects a time when you personally felt constricted and a way in which you feel free.
The companion Lesson Plan Manual includes at least two full lessons per holiday. Here’s a chance to try something different to prepare for this Passover: Download a free lesson from Make, Create, Celebrate: Lesson Plan Manual. Download the student pages for the lesson.
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