Monday, September 18, 2017

Family Chores, Siblings, and Writing Fun

My new book, Koala Challah, illustrated by Maria Mola, is about three sisters. The older two sisters have important jobs to help their family get ready for the holiday of Shabbat—the Jewish day of rest, which occurs each week and is a special time to enjoy being with family. Lila, the youngest sister, wants to help too. But every time Lila tries to help, she ends up making a gigantic mess!

This book can be used in the classroom to encourage your students to reflect and write.

After reading Koala Challah out loud, here are some activities to try:

1)    What jobs do you do every week, or every month, to help your family? Do you put away dishes? Feed pets? Take out the trash? Are there any jobs you would like to try? Have you ever tried to help out your family and then ended up causing more problems, like Lila?

2)    Lila is the youngest of three siblings. Do you have any siblings? If you have older siblings, are you jealous of how much they get to do, like Lila is in the book? If you have younger siblings, do you see them trying to copy you, like Lila does in the book? If you don’t have any siblings, how do you think that changes the way your parents treat you? Do your parents expect you to do more to help out, because you are the only kid? Do they play with you a lot, since you don’t have siblings to play with, or do they expect you to read books and find other ways to play independently?

3)    In Koala Challah, Lila shows a lot of persistence. She keeps trying to find a job to help her family. And after she settles on a job—baking challah—she keeps trying until she perfects her recipe. Can you think of a time you showed persistence in your own life? Did you keep trying and trying until you learned how to do the monkey bars on the playground? Did you keep working and working until you could shoot a basket, or solve a Rubix Cube? Write about a time you persisted until you accomplished your goal, or write about a goal you have and how you plan to be persistent until you accomplish it.

4)    In Koala Challah, Lila is helping her family get ready for the holiday of Shabbat. What holidays or rituals do you celebrate with your family? What is your favorite type of family celebration? How does your family prepare for this holiday or celebration? Do you have any special job to help your family get ready?

5)    Koalas live in the wild in Australia. Where do other animals live in the wild? Pick an animal and research where that animal lives in the wild. Or pick a country that you are interested in and research which animals live in the wild in that country.

6)    Challah is a braided bread that Jewish families eat on Shabbat. What are special foods for your family? Do you ever help make those foods? Would you like to try?

If your school allows students to bring in homemade food, encourage them to help make foods that are special to their families and then bring those foods in to school to share! Have a tasting day! If your school does not allow homemade food, students could still help make special foods at home and then bring in pictures and/or recipes.

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