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Chankkah - A Tradition of Innovation

Some like to refer to Chanukkah as a “Tradition of Innovation” – Why you might ask? One reason is that it is the first holiday that was added to Jewish practice without originating in the Bible. After their victory over the Greeks, The Maccabies decided to declare the 25th of the Hebrew month Kislev as a new holiday of rededication. There are historians who will argue that the reason this celebration took eight days, was because the Maccabies were determined to celebrate Sukkot and Sh’mini Atzeret (an 8-day holiday) in Kislev, instead of Tishrei when they were banned from doing so for three years.

In the spirit of Maccabies and innovation, at IRDS we declared our first ever Elementary School Maccabiah Games that will culminate this coming Wednesday as part of the elementary school’s family Chanukkah celebration. The goal is to get into the holiday spirit by celebrating the light your children spread around us every single day. The light when they sing and dance, the light when they compete with admirable sportsmanship, and the light when they share their love of learning with you in the individual class programs.

At IRDS we believe in innovative learning styles, and therefore students started exploring Chanukkah through varied modalities. According to Dr. Howard Gardner, reaching all students can be done only when the learning process touches upon eight different intelligences. “The theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University. It suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on I.Q. testing, is far too limited. Instead, Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults.” (Armstrong, 2012)

Linguistic intelligence ("word smart")

Logical-mathematical intelligence ("number/reasoning smart")

Spatial intelligence ("picture smart")

Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence ("body smart")

Musical intelligence ("music smart")

Interpersonal intelligence ("people smart")

Intrapersonal intelligence ("self-smart")

Naturalist intelligence ("nature smart")

(For more reading:

Reading the Chanukkah story and sharing ones opinion limits a child’s learning to the Linguistic Intelligence, and therefore at IRDS as we learn about Chanukkah, as we do with all our learning and celebrations, it looks different:

ECE – Exploration of light and shadows, Dreidle making, painting with oil, Maccabie Me, number concepts with Menorahs, flashlight dance party, Hebrew letters on the dreidel, Holiday cooking. (Multiple multiple intelligences!)

G/K - Creating their own Hanukkah board games (Spatial, logical and interpersonal intelligence).

1st - Connecting to the reasons we are proud to be Jews (Intrapersonal intelligence).

2nd – Finding the miracles in our life and sharing them with the class (Interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence).

3rd – Acting out holiday traditions and some cooking (interpersonal, logical intelligence).

4th – Learning new facts about the Golden Menorah through drawing and leaf collecting. (Spatial and naturalistic intelligence)

5th – Sharing the light each class member adds to the class community (Interpersonal intelligence)

All – Dancing, singing and performing holiday songs. (Music, and Kinesthetic intelligence)

All – Competing in Maccabiah sports games. (Kinesthetic, naturalistic and interpersonal intelligence).

Even though Chanukkah is still two and a half weeks away, we all feel it around campus and can’t wait to share are innovations with you. Looking forward to celebrating with you this Wednesday (ES parents) and Friday (ECE) parents, but until then, you are welcome to enjoy some of the light we are experiencing by looking at the pictures on the next page.

Chag Sa’meach,


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