Playing with Passover

(with Behrman House)

ACTIVITY DESCRIPTIONS

March 2021

The 4 Keys to Stellar Cooperation

 

1. Make each other look brilliant.

2. Listen to understand.

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

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

I Need Three Things

 

This activity is great to do at the beginning of a session. It gets students focused and engaged while warming up their listening skills. It also helps them to exercise their spontaneity and imagination muscles. It's important to have a simple warm-up activity like this one before jumping into other activities that might require a bit more involved imagining/storytelling.

1. One person starts by saying "I need" and follows with a list of three things. These things can be anything -- they can be related to each other or not.

2. The next person continues by saying "I need" and follows with a list of three things. The one requirement is that the first item of this list is the last item from the list of the previous person.

3. For example:

      Person 1: I need a car, a key, and a steering wheel

      Person 2: I need a steering wheel, a cow, and a bus

      Person 3: I need a bus, a baby, and a bullhorn

      Person 4: I need a bullhorn, a stadium, and a crowd

Note: This exercise can be done in pairs as well as in small groups.

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. (See page 66 of Behrman House's Make, Create, Celebrate: Jewish Holidays Through Art for inspiration.)

  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. 

Live on Location  

                        

We want our learners to understand WHY we celebrate our holidays, not just how to do it. Emotional connection is key to that. Live on Location casts each learner as a news reporter bringing us directly to a scene. This is a great way for students to put themselves in the shoes of the characters they’ve learned about. Doing this activity will help the students to develop an emotional connection with the content which will then help them internalize the learnings and build a personal relationship to it. (For inspiration and ideas for prompts, see page 71 of Behrman House's Make, Create, Celebrate: Jewish Holidays Through Art.)

 

  1. Start by getting 4-6 people to volunteer

  2. Ask everyone else to turn off their videos. Alternatively, you can choose to spotlight the individuals that are participating. 

  3. Give them a location and/or scenario that they will be reporting from. For example, reporting live from Noah’s Ark.

  4. One person will start by saying “Hi my name is _______ and I’m live on location at ______.” They will then improvise a 1-3 sentence description of where they are. 

  5. They will then pass it off to another person by saying “Over to you [name of new person].”

  6. The new person will then follow the same script as in step (4) and will pass it off to another person when they are done. The students can choose to follow the storyline/location of the previous person, or start a new thought/story/idea in a different location.

  7. This continues until every person gets a chance to have a turn at least once. Feel free to keep it going for a while if you have the time. It's a great opportunity for students to not only think creatively and develop a relationship to the material, but also wonderful for developing camaraderie with one another as they engage in this process of co-creation. 

 

Example:

  • Person 1 (Alex): “Hi this is Alex live on location at Noah’s Ark. There are a ton of animals here running around like crazy. It’s absolutely crazy here folks! Over to you, Ari.”

  • Person 2 (Ari): “Hi this is Ari and I am live on location here in the reptile area of the Ark. The snakes are slithering up the walls and it’s quite packed in back here. There appears to be 2 of every single reptile back here and it’s giving me the creeps. Over to you Shana.”

  • This process continues until every person has gotten a chance to go at least once. 

 

Note:

  • It is helpful to have the class brainstorm in the chat beforehand everything they know related to the topic. This will help all students feel supported knowing that when they are playing a reporter, they can rely on glancing at the chat for inspiration and guidance. 

  • Don’t be afraid to let them riff. Even if the story gets wild, it helps them build emotional connection both to one another and to the material, and of course you can always debrief a bit at the end to review the actual facts.

Group Narrated Drawing

 

The group will be drawing a picture together. Every student should have a piece of paper and a writing utensil available. (For inspiration and guidance, see pages 66-67 of Behrman House's Make, Create, Celebrate: Jewish Holidays Through Art.)

 

  1. Depending on the group:

    1. You can announce what the theme of this drawing will be (e.g. “A seder table”, “Crossing the Red Sea”, etc.)

    2. You can also solicit suggestions from the students as to the theme.

  2. In turn, students will specify an element to be added to the picture. When doing so, you will coach the students to specify the element to be added as well as the location in the drawing that the element ought to be drawn.

  3. Depending on the SIZE of the group:

    1. If the group is relatively large, the teacher may call on students in turn to contribute.

    2. If the group is relatively small (and/or you are doing this activity with adults), people may contribute at random, popcorn style.

  4. Once you are ready to end the activity, ask someone to name the drawing, and have everyone write the name of the drawing somewhere on their paper.

  5. Now it’s time to share what we’ve drawn! This can be done a couple ways. You might ask each person to share theirs, one person at a time. You might ask a small group of people to share theirs together at the same time so everyone has a chance to appreciate the similarities and the differences between each drawing (using Zoom to “spotlight” multiple people at the same time is great for this).

  6. At the very end, you can also ask everyone to hold their picture up to the camera and take a screenshot which you distribute to everyone after class.

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