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Congregation Dorshei Tzedek


January 24, 2021


The 4 Keys to Stellar Cooperation

1. Make your classmates look brilliant!

2. Listen to understand (instead of listening to blindly respond and say your piece).

3. Allow others to express their ideas and then build on them.

4. Embrace trying new things, even if they scare you.


Show Yourself If

This is an ice-breaker to help participants who are meeting for the first time to connect with one another and see what things they have in common.


  1. The host begins by asking everyone to stop their video.

  2. The host then states a prompt that begins with “Show yourself if…” and can be followed by whatever you’d like. Ask participants to start their video if the prompt is true for them. Example prompts include:

    1. Show yourself if you have a pet

    2. Show yourself if you are you the oldest sibling

    3. Show yourself if you like ice cream

  3. Once the participants have shown themselves, pause a moment to allow all participants to take in everyone who has shown themselves. Then ask everyone to stop their videos again.

  4. Repeat for as many times as you’d like. Once you have done several rounds, you may choose to ask other participants to provide their own prompt. Feel free to give them the option to do so vocally, or to type their prompts in chat where you can then read the prompt out loud for them.



Word Ball

1. You may choose to have participants do this activity all together in the main session, or if you have a group larger than 10, you may choose to split them up into breakout rooms.

2. Assign a number to each of the participants and ask them to rename themselves by placing their number in front of their names. This creates an order -- essentially a “virtual circle”. We find it easiest if the host assigns number 1 to themselves.

3. The host holds an imaginary ball and “passes” the ball to the next person in sequential order by throwing the ball directly into the camera. When passing the ball, the host says a word.

4. The next person “catches” the ball, repeating the word that was passed to them by the previous person. They then pass the ball to the next person, saying the first word that comes to mind.

5. This continues until the last person catches the ball and then passes their new word ball to the first person. The cycle repeats for as many times as you wish.


Notes: This activity should be done quickly. When people play this game for the first time, they may want to spend a lot of time thinking of the “right” word. It’s helpful to remind them the right word is the first word that comes to mind and the objective is to be as quick and spontaneous as possible.


Story Spine                            

The Story Spine is an effective framework for telling an engaging, cohesive story. When used as an activity for students, it helps keep students focused and playfully co-creating, which in turn helps to establish a sense of community and trust. You can either keep the stories general or incorporate themes and content from class.


  1. Ask the students to rename themselves by placing a number in front of their name, from 1 to 9. It's also helpful to paste the Story Spine in chat so that students can easily follow along.

  2. The first person will start off with number 1, "Once upon a time" and finish the sentence with whatever they like.

  3. The rest of the students continue in order, each adding on a line from the Story Spine (Everyday..., But one day..., etc.) until they reach the last line of the story, number 9.



Story Spine:

  1. Once upon a time...

  2. Everyday...

  3. But one day...

  4. Because of that...

  5. Because of that...

  6. Because of that...

  7. Until finally...

  8. Ever since then...

  9. The morale of the story is...   



  • This activity can also be done in smaller groups, pairs, or even solo. 

  • You can easily adapt this exercise for Jewish learning content. You can choose to keep this openly based on a theme (Purim for example), or can seed the first line of the story (“Once upon a time there was a queen named Vashti who refused to dance for the king” for example). 

  • You can make the story as long as you want by adding more "Because of that..." lines in the middle of the story.



Remember Our Trip?

Two students are going to recall an imaginary trip that they took with each other. 

The location of the trip can be set in either modern times or in the past. This exercise gives students an opportunity to imagine themselves in these locations and create a personal relationship with them in a fun, engaging way with others.

  1. Firstly, choose a location for this imaginary trip. For example, let’s say the location is present-day Israel.

  2. In breakout rooms of 2 students each, one student will start. To make it easier to determine who goes first, you can specify that the person with the longer hair goes first or the person whose first name starts earlier (or later) in the alphabet goes first. The first student will start with “Remember our trip to Israel?” 

  3. The second student will respond with “Yes, and…” and finish the sentence with whatever they’d like.

  4. The first student responds to that with “Yes, and…” and finishes the sentence with whatever they’d like.

  5. The two go back and forth like this until the end of the breakout room session. 3-4 minutes tends to be a good amount of time for this activity.

  6. If at any point one of the students feels like the story has come to a close, they can say “Yes, and next time let’s remember to bring the rubber ducky” and that will end the story. They can then begin a new one if there is time. 




This is a great way to harvest information from the class at the end of a session. The goal is to have students reflect on what they learned that day, what they’re taking away from the time spent together, what they noticed, or something they appreciated about an activity or person(s) in class that day.


1. It’s helpful to start with a question for the group. For example: What is one new thing you learned today?

2. One person at a time will pretend to reach for a piece log next to them and will throw it towards the camera as if throwing it into a fire. 

3. While throwing the log, they will share a learning from class that day.

4. After each person shares, the whole class will rub their hands together as if warming them by a fire and say “ooo, ahhh”. This is important! It’s very gratifying and affirming to see and hear your contribution being acknowledged in this way.

5. This activity is usually done “popcorn style” so there isn’t a particular order students participate in, but rather jump in when they have a thought to share.

1. One person starts by holding an object up to the camera. 

2. Everyone else holds up a nearby object that “matches” the original object. This can be a realistic match or your own interpretation of a match (think Apples to Apples, if you’re familiar with that game).

3. The original person chooses which object they feel best matches theirs (can be true or silly, it’s up to the individual).

4. The person whose object was declared the “best match” finds a new object in their space and holds it up to the camera.

5. This process repeats.

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