Interactive education is good education–and Mrs. Gail Lee’s 7th grade English class knows that firsthand.
As they dove into their current reading, The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen, Mrs. Lee sought ways to make the book come alive. The material was standard and familiar enough: a novel about the Holocaust as told by a Jewish girl in the 1980s who time travels to a concentration camp in 1942.
The book opens with a Passover celebration, so Mrs. Lee determined that her class would participate in a Seder meal, a traditional Passover meal that includes “rituals, Scripture reading, worship songs, and food” and is observed and “celebrated by people of the Jewish faith to recall their redemption from slavery in Egypt.”
Mrs. Lee would read about the rituals, such as the duties of first- and lastborn, who would break bread, and when to eat which food, as the students participated. As the students ate and conversed, they, much like the protagonist of their book, took time to ponder how the customs of the past translate to the present and how they relate to us as 21st-century Christians.
“To truly comprehend the events of the first two chapters, it was important (the students) understand what a Seder meal (is),” Mrs. said. “Not only did this help our students connect to the book, but it also helped them understand the significance of Judaism to the roots of Christianity. Both are rooted in history and in Scripture to show God’s fulfillment of his plan of salvation.”