History of Hanukkah

Kathryn Gregory
Multiple Subject Teacher

Students will read a passage about the history of Hanukkah and “talk to the text” to understand the story better. Students will answer questions individually and then with a partner to understand the text better.

Grade Level: 4 - 7th


Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes

Common Core Alignment

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.3 - Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

Objectives & Outcomes

Students will understand the history of the Hanukkah celebration. Students will discuss history in a collaborative setting with partners. Students will explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

Materials Needed

  • History of Hanukkah reading from History.com
  • Individual reading worksheet
  • Partner reading worksheet
  • Dictionary
  • Pencil


Opening to Lesson

  • Teacher will ask students what they already know about Hanukkah.
  • Ask if there are any students that celebrate Hanukkah in the classroom and if they are comfortable, have them explain how it is celebrated in their household.
  • Optional: Speaking about religious holidays could be controversial in a classroom: I suggest you explain in this way:
    • Many different religions celebrate different holidays that are based on historic events that are important to that group of people. Everyone, regardless of your background, can acknowledge and learn about this history.  For example, in the United States we celebrate the Fourth of July to celebrate our independence, but people in Canada and Mexico don’t celebrate that day simply because they have different independence days to celebrate. While these holidays may feel more important or more personal to some, everyone can respectfully learn about the history of the holidays of different religions to be more culturally aware.

Body of Lesson

  • Pass out the worksheet “The History of Hanukkah” and have students read it silently while talking to the text (see attachment).
    • Talking to the text: Have students circle words that they don’t know and underline or highlight interesting/important words or phrases.
  • Re-read the text as a class or in partners.

Independent Practice

  • Pass out the Individual Reading Worksheet and have students complete it individually (see attachment).
  • Give students about 15 minutes to complete the worksheet and answer the questions.
  • Partner students and have them re-read the selection together.
  • Have students discuss their answers to the questions and write any new ideas that the conversation sparked in the space provided.
  • Have each partner write 2 questions about the passage and discuss the answer with their partner.


Students can share their findings in small group or whole group discussions. Give students a chance to ask questions, that way you can clear up misconceptions.

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Assessment & Evaluation

Teacher will use the worksheet as a form of assessment.

Modification & Differentiation

The teacher can provide mini-lessons to those students who need help comprehending. Teacher can also break down the reading for those who need extra assistance.

Learn more on teaching about holidays and history here.


Download Attachments

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