Instilling a Love for Israel on Yom Ha’atazma-ut and Everyday
Yesterday, Thursday, April 19, we celebrated the Independence Day of the State of Israel. This small country that is so near and dear to all of us is now 70 years old!
Preparing for this special day, I thought about what would be the best way to convey the importance of this day to our learners.
I decided that the learning about Yom Ha’atzma-ut should not only happen on the day itself, but in the weeks leading up to it, as well. I also wanted our students to take real ownership of the activities of the day.
Research shows that the best way to teach second language acquisition is through the use of authentic materials. These materials will help our students understand the richness of the language, the Israeli culture, and most of all, that Hebrew is not only the language of our history but a living language spoken in Israel today.
I want our students to love the Hebrew language and the culture and country of Israel. I also want them to understand that language and culture go together.
The authentic study of Hebrew and Israel does not not only occur between the classroom walls, but also in all the events that are held at our school and wherever they engage with the language.
Therefore, our preparation for Israel’s Independence Day involved engaging our students in the authentic study of Israeli culture. The students worked on projects related to Eretz Israel, which included: the places, the innovations and inventions, the poetry and singers, the army and Israel’s important personalities. Learning about Israel was driven by curiosity and resulted in a discovery of self. In the end, we presented everyone’s work in an exhibition.
Additionally, 5th and 6th grade students designed and ran stations for our celebration with the entire community. They had a chance to take a leadership role and, in so doing, the responsibilities associated with it. Everyone had a great time and the campus was buzzing with a deep sense of community and connectedness here and abroad.
Yom Ha’atzma-ut is a very special day in our calendar, and even more so on this momentous 70 years. We hope that this day, and every other day of our school year continues to instill a love of the land of Israel, its culture, and its language in our children’s hearts.