Sunday, September 28, 2008

Potential vocabulary to date

Note - some of this is explicit in the past lessons, some only implicit. Some is with vowel markings, some without.

כּי-טובki-tovfor good
the object marker
the light
דרך derek
גמלgmol recompense








Whole verses that the children have heard
Deuteronomy 6:4
שְׁמַע, יִשְׂרָאֵל: יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, יְהוָה אֶחָד
[shema Israel, Adonai Elohenu, Adonai echad]

Genesis 1:1
בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ
[b'reshyt bara elohym et ha-shemaym v'et ha-eretz]

Genesis 1:4
וירא אלהים את-האור כּי-טוב
[vayare elohim et ha'or ki-tov]

Genesis 2:4
בְּיוֹם עֲשׂוֹת יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶרֶץ וְשָׁמָיִם
[beyom asot (adonai) elohym eretz vshamaym]

Psalm 34:2
אֲבָרְכָה אֶת-יְהוָה בְּכָל-עֵת
['avarcah et-(adonai) becol-`et]
I will bless יְהוָה at all times

Psalm 34:3
גַּדְּלוּ לַיהוָה אִתִּי

[gadolu la'adonai 'iti]
magnify - make great - יְהוָה with me.

Psalm 34:8
טעמו וראו כּי-טוב יהוה
[ta`amu ureu ki-tov יְהוָה]
Taste - ta-'amu, and see ure'u, that is good ki-tov the LORD.

Psalm 119:17
גְּמֹל עַל-עַבְדְּךָ אֶחְיֶה
[gmol al-avdeka eheyeh]

Psalm 149:2
יִשְׂמַח יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּעֹשָׂיו; בְּנֵי-צִיּוֹן, יָגִילוּ בְמַלְכָּם
[yishma Israel be'osayiv, beni-tsion yagilu bemalkam]
Let Israel rejoice in his Maker; let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.

Flash cards - develop
Spell the letter names (without looking at the diagram they have).
Fill in the blanks in the table above

Achieving our first objective

This morning, I was asked to do a few minutes in Sunday School - after the Kyrie and before the sermon (which I didn't want to miss) so I embarked on the next letter daleth, ד.

As a small amount of preparation, I had thought of using ד is for דרך [drk=way] since 'way' is a common word and similar to a couple of English words - direct and Derek - giving a slight advantage in memory. But those letters are notoriously difficult to see and distinguish - but why make it easy for young eyes!

Anyway, apart from this preparation, I had no other props, so for the first time I got the children to find the letters among the blocks. This too is not an easy task, but in a trice, their fingers and eyes were up to the job.

There they were heads down, gathered in a huddle around the pile of blocks that have their home in a small tray. My first questions were review - find the alef, then the bet, then the gimel. This is a substantial exercise. One has to pick up each block and search around the four faces with Hebrew letters and recognize the shape. They learned that the letters used in English are the Latin alphabet and they soon learned to ignore these ones. They were successful in finding several alefs, bets, and gimels - congratulations to all for the achievement of a joyful first objective:
At the completion of this course, the student, given an example, should be able to find the equivalent in a pile of blocks!
I think there were some students who had missed several prior lessons, but they also seemed to be happy with the others in their focused scramble among the blocks.

Then the new letter - where is a daleth? This proved harder. Vav and zayin were frequent confusion, but dalet and resh ר and the kaf-sofit (one of five letters with a special form for the end of a word) ך came up from the pile and formed the word דרך. I explained the differences in the letters - the stroke sizes (distinguishing from vav ו and zayin ז ) , the sharp and the round edges of ד and ר, the different kafs ך and כ - a tricky problem in seeing.

Then I even added a few letters to the front (back - upside down!) of the word to make 'the way' הדרך, and בדרך in the way or on the way. Too much learning at once? No - too much fun. I said to them that they are learning what they do not yet know, but that as we continue through the season at 10 minutes (I was late for the sermon) a week for the next six months, they would be surprised at how much they knew and they would have a deep joy in discovery. Then one asked me - do you know the Hebrew for joy? I said there was more than one word, and I couldn't remember the exact word - but I said I would substitute the first word of the psalms - Happy אַשְׁרֵי. [asheri]

(You can see the psalm in Hebrew and English here - you can listen too. Notice the word דרך in the second line).

To come: a summary of the vocabulary we have seen so far, all of it in a Biblical context.
Then: a reasonable objective for the whole year - can we begin to read a psalm? Will we try some vocabulary quizzes? Could there be some memorization of verses in Hebrew and English? Flash cards - here we come.

For joy - try Psalm 149:2,
יִשְׂמַח יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּעֹשָׂיו; בְּנֵי-צִיּוֹן, יָגִילוּ בְמַלְכָּם
Let Israel rejoice in his Maker; let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
[yishma israel be'osayiv, beni-tsion yagilu bemalkam]

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gimel cookies a success

They loved the cookies. We began with a reminder of which language we are learning - and the response was 'it's very hard'. It's hard not just because it sounds different but because it's a new writing system too. Well, that was the cue to bring on the cookies - a complete surprise to everyone (since they don't do blogs yet).

To keep life very easy, I had already set up two words with the blocks, גדל, גמל [gdl - great and gml for recompense, reward - see this note for the verses]. The children were quick to point out the matching shapes and the letter that the cookie matched. We noted how גמל spelled the letter also.

We could have gone on about the reward in today's lesson (Matthew 20:1-16 the parable of the labourers in the field) but we didn't. We could have talked about גמל in modern Hebrew - as in the phrase 'he got what he deserved', but we didn't need to. Wisdom is knowing where to stop.

During Sunday school, the cookies were eaten. Later in the lunch time after the service, there was a tendency for some to lick off the gimel first, then forget the less sweet biscuit under it! So in the end, they decided that the letters are not hard, but rather sweet.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Letter Gimel

Gimel is for growth (גמל) and greatness (גדל). Both these can be gained by eating cookies. So here are the gimel cookies.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Beauty of the Bible

I came across this set of posts on Genesis 1:1 and the pictograms that preceded the use of the aleph-bet. Very creative...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The letter Bet

Next lesson is
Bet ב begins the text of the Bible. It also begins the second word.