Haggadah Pesach (Unit 2)

  • 40 minutes
  • Grades: 7-8
  • Lesson Plan
  • by: Laura Notowitz and Alison Hurwitz of Milken Community Middle School

This unit was designed to help students learn more about the Haggadah and how to actively participate in the Pesach Seder. The unit uses “A Different Night: The Family Participation Haggadah” as the central text. This lesson deals with the four children.

Resources & Equipment needed

  • Teacher’s guide to textbook
  • Students’ copies of A Different Night (compact edition –red).
  • Print out the worksheet: My Interpretations of the Four Children (see appendix).

Procedure

Prompt (10 min):

Ask the students, what kind of a learner are you? In our class, there are different kinds of learners. Take the VAK (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic) quiz.

(See for example, http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/vak.html)

Students share their results.

Introduction (5-7 min): 

Teacher’s transition from known to unknown: remember from the last lesson that you mentioned the different elements of an excellent lesson: games, singing, food, etc. (2-3 min)

Explain that different types of learners benefit from different modes of instruction:

e.g. A kinesthetic leaner will learn more from playing a game (dipping the wine for each plague) than listening to the plagues recited.

e.g. An auditory learner will learn more from songs to remember information than reading the information.

e.g. A visual learner will learn more from looking at different visual representations of the 4 children than getting oral descriptions.

In the Haggadah, the midrash about the Four Children is there to teach us the importance of teaching “each child according to his or her own need,” taking into account individual differences between children and different personal learning styles. The questions in the midrash are quoted from the Torah, but in some cases the author of the midrash composed new answers to the questions. In fact, only in the midrash and the Haggadah were the questions labeled with the different categories of the Four Children (see A Different Night teacher’s guide (brown), p.55).

Teacher First asks: If you were the wise one, what kinds of questions would you ask? Act it out….how would you look….body language? Take responses about how a parent would answer Continue with wicked as the model:

If you were the wicked one….? Act it Take responses

If you were the simple one….? Act it Take responses

If you were the one who couldn’t ask…..? Act it Take responses

Activity One (5-10 min):

Now, let’s see what is attributed to each child in the Torah. Locate appropriate verses:

Bemidbar 6:20-25 – The Wise Child

Shemot 12:22-27 – The Wicked Child

Shemot 13:11-14 – The Simple Child

Shemot 13:7-9 – The Child Who Does not Know How to Ask

Then look at the Haggadah and see how the authors of the Haggadah answered the questions (see pp. 20-22 in A Different Night).

Activity Two (10-15 min):

Altogether, students look at illustrations of the 4 children in A Different Night, pp. 24-33 (see http://www.lookstein.org/resource/four_children.pdf).

For example, on p.29 or 32 – Label the 4 children and explain why you have labeled them that way. What symbols? Animals? Expressions? Differences in personalities – Haggadah p.29 – Each is a different animal, face, posture/body language.

Ask: why can we give different interpretations for one symbol?

Suggested answer: Different people learn differently, interpret differently, and are labeled differently.

Say: The seder is for all types of learners!

Extension/Discussion Questions:

  • Why did the rabbis come up with these categories?
  • What’s good about categories?
  • What’s bad about categories?
  • Stereotypes vs. diagnosis (leads to treatment) (p.19 in A Different Night– pitfalls of labeling)
  • What’s a chacham?
  • What’s a rasha? Synonym? Positive? Negative?
  • Why are people silent?

Homework:

Choose a picture that wasn’t discussed in class and give possible interpretations for who’s who (wise, wicked, simple, doesn’t know how to ask). Photocopy the appropriate pictures and staple them to your interpretation. This will be shared at your seder, after the section on the Four Children.

Appendices

Related Lessons

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