Hi again! As we near the end of the year, I wanted to share my notes from my closing session with my 6th graders. Some of this is content from the original Lev closing curriculum and some of it is new.
Introduce the concept of a siyum – a celebration marking the end of a unit of Torah study or a book of the Mishnah or Talmud. Tell group that we will be having a siyum of sorts to mark the end of this year of Rosh Hodesh. We will be:
- Having a celebratory meal
- Honoring members of the group
- Reflecting on the past year
- Looking ahead to next year
Monthly Update/Roses and Thorns
Everyone shares one good and one not so good thing that happened in their lives this month. [Note: We spent about 40 minutes on this because a few of the girls brought some big news to the table.]
Light Rosh Hodesh Candle and sing blessing.
Hand out origami paper to participants and lead them in creating an origami box.
[Note 1: I didn’t tell the girls what we were making and they had fun trying to guess along the way! “We’re DEFINITELY making a crane!”]
[Note 2: If we had more time, I was going to ask the girls to choose three colored origami sheets to reflect a challenge they experienced this past year: one color representing you before the challenge, the second color during the challenge, and the third after the challenge. Then they could present why they chose the colors they chose. For instance, if the challenge was taking a big test, I might pick the color dark blue to represent that I stayed up late studying, the color red to represent anxiety during the test, and a cool blue or cheery color to represent my relief after finishing the test].
After the box is complete, tell group that this is an “admiration box.” Have each participant take a few sheets of origami and on each sheet, write something you admire about someone else in the group. Then fold up the piece of paper and put it in that person’s box. Continue until you’ve written something about each member of the group.
[Note: I wrote something about each of the girls in the group ahead of time so that I’d have time to prepare for the next activity. Also, I made a box for the one member absent from the group and asked the girls to each write something for her as well.]
Ice Cream Party
While the girls are writing their admiration slips, set up ice cream and toppings (or have host parent do so). Write up a list of all ice cream options and toppings.
Tell girls that, to honor all of the sharing and listening in which they’ve taken part throughout the year and all the sharing/listening that they will be doing in Rosh Hodesh next year, they will be making ice cream sundaes for one another. Divide girls into pairs and, within each pair, ask girls to take each others’ sundae orders. Stress that in order to get exactly what they want, the girls must communicate clearly and listen carefully. Encourage them to write down the orders on paper.
Looking Back and Looking Forward:
While eating the ice cream, pass out envelopes, each with one of the following questions sealed within in:
- What was the best thing that happened to you this year? The worst?
- What is one way you feel you’ve grown this year?
- What advice would you give someone who is starting 6th grade next year?
- How has your relationship changed with your parents, friends, or siblings this year?
- What is the best thing about being a girl? The worst?
- What is something you’ve learned about the world this year?
- What has been your favorite part of Rosh Hodesh this year
- What is something you’re looking forward to about this summer or next year?
Additional Fun Riddles:
- I’m tall when I’m young and I’m short when I’m old. What am I? (a candle)
- I’m round, but not always around; I’m bright sometimes and dark other times; Everyone
- wants to walk all over me; What am I? (the moon)
Reflect to girls some of the changes that you have noticed in them as a group this past year as well as the hope that they’ll continue next year.
Together, blow out the candle, encouraging everyone to make a hope or wish for the coming year.
[Note: at the end of the meeting, I gave each girl a moon pendant as an end of year gift. My intention was to give each of them a photo of the group in a frame that they would decorate this session, but I did not have a picture of everyone to give out! :-(]