Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.
So much of the holiday season is about sharing family traditions. In my class today, we were very excited to have one of my student’s mom share their family’s Chanukah celebrations.
Most of the students in my class had heard of Chanukah, but didn’t really know what it was all about. The mom started with a story called, "Chanukah Lights Everywhere" by Michael J. Rosen.
She told them that sometimes Chanukah is called the "Festival of Lights." She brought in two Menorahs, and explained about the eight nights of lighting the candles. The children loved hearing how the oil lasted for eight days, when the people thought it would only last for one. They were interested and engaged, and asked great questions!
Her description of the potato latkes made our whole class hungry! We learned about the blue and silver colors, the Gelt chocolate coins and the dreidel game. All the children got a colorful dreidal and game directions to take home.
I think the author of the storybook summed it up best. The child in the story was admiring the Christmas window lights at his best friend and neighbor’s house, and comparing them to his own Menorah lights. His dad told him that "Chanukah is also about the joy of different religions sharing a street."
I think my students will be looking at the lights in their neighborhood in a different way. Happy Chanukah!