TEMPLE EMANU-EL, DALLAS

ACTIVITY DESCRIPTIONS FOR

WORKSHOP #3 (December 6, 2020)

Sound 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 makes a sound and a gesture to go with the sound. The sound can be anything (e.g. “kerplunk!”, “shwomp!”, “eeeeeeeeee”), and the gesture can be anything as well. The sound and gesture can range from being quiet and simple or to being loud and goofy. 

  4. The next person “catches” the ball, repeating the sound and gesture that was thrown to them by the previous person. They then pass the ball to the next person, making the first sound and gesture that comes to mind.

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

 

Notes: 

  1. Again, this can be played all together in the main session, or can be played in breakout rooms of as small as 2. When played as a large group, this can be a great warm-up activity at the beginning of a session to get students focused and present. It also serves to loosen up the “vibe”, so to speak. When students are engaged in being silly and creative in a space where they can see other students also being silly and creative, it establishes the virtual classroom as being safe. Safe learning spaces lead to greater participation and connection with others.

  2. When this activity is done in small groups, and especially pairs, it can do wonders for establishing a sense of camaraderie between the students. This exercise can be especially useful for pairs of students who may not necessarily get along. When someone receives the sound ball by repeating the sound and gesture, they are acknowledging to the sender that they have been heard -- that their offer has been accepted into the space of the relationship between them. This is a crucial step in terms of breaking down walls that may have formed between them in their relationship.

 

 

Group Narrated Drawing

 

The group will be drawing a picture together. Every student should have a piece of paper and a writing utensil available.

 

  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.

 

 

Gibberish Talk Show

 

We’re going to be hosting a talk show. One person will play the guest who only speaks in gibberish, one will play the translator, and another will play the host. The rest will be the studio audience.

  1. Before you begin, you may find it helpful to coach your students on what gibberish sounds like. gibberish sounds like you're speaking a language with a range of words and sounds. Gibberish doesn’t sound like “blah blah blah” or “dah dah dah dah dah”, where you’re simply repeating a sound over and over. Instead it may sound something more like “Gabbo sinklesi varolly hoom”. Everyone’s gibberish is going to sound different, which is great! It’s helpful to take about half a minute or so to have everyone practice their gibberish together as a group at the same time.

  2. Choose the character who will be the talk show guest. The character could be a person from biblical times or even more modern times. The character could even be an inanimate object or a concept (e.g. a mezuza, maror, Hanukkah, etc.). The teacher may predetermine who that character will be depending on the lesson they plan on teaching that day. If this activity will be done toward the end of class, or of a unit, the teacher might solicit suggestions for a character from the students based on what they have learned so far.

  3. The teacher will solicit students to play the talk show guest, the translator, as well as the host. For the first few times you do this activity, it’s helpful for the teacher to play the role of host. Once folks have had a chance to get a feel for this activity, the teacher might choose a student to play the host. This often feels like a treat for students!

  4. The host will start off the talk show something like this:

    • “Welcome everyone to our talk show. We’re very excited to be speaking with our guest today. It turns out that our guest can only speak in gibberish. Fortunately they have brought their translator with them today who can help us translate between English and gibberish. Let’s give them a round of applause!”

  5. The host will then ask a number of questions to the guest. Try to be as playful as you can when asking these questions. We want to avoid making this feel like a test for the students. One of our goals is to have the students relate to the subject matter in a fun and engaging way. If the guest is a chanukiah, you might ask questions like “Where do you live right now?”, “How do you like the family that you’re living with?”, “The last night of Chanukah is coming up -- how do you feel about that?”

  6. The order of play:

    1. Host asks a question.

    2. Talk show guest answers question in gibberish.

    3. Translator translates answer to English. This process repeats.

  7. Once the host has asked a few questions, they might then solicit questions from the rest of the class. For instance, “Now, let’s take a few questions from our studio audience. Does anyone have a question they would like to ask our guest?”

  8. At the end of the questions, don’t forget to thank the guest and translator for appearing on the show: “That’s all the time we have for today -- I want to thank our guest and our translator for taking the time to be with us today. Let’s give them a round of applause!”

NOTES:

  1. Even if a student speaks another language fluently that the rest of the class doesn’t understand, encourage them that they still ought to speak in gibberish.

  2. You might coach the translator that they want to reflect both the tone and the physicality of the guest. Not only does it help the guest to feel that they are being heard and that their gibberish offers are being accepted by the translator, but it’s also very gratifying for the audience to see as well!

 

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 “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. 


Guess who?

 

This is a favorite among students. One person will be the ‘guesser’ and 3 other people will be characters that the guesser is trying to identify by asking a series of questions. Everyone else will be the studio audience (with their cameras off). 

 

  1. Choose a genre together, or as the teacher, you can assign a genre. Some examples include: animals, Disney characters, professions, characters from the story of Purim, or even inanimate objects (I’ve had a lot of fun using the genre of “kitchen appliances”).

  2. Send one student to the waiting room (easiest option), or to a breakout room by themself. This will be the guesser.  Encourage the guesser to come up with 3 questions that they would like to ask the characters. The questions should be aimed at uncovering the identity of the characters. 

  3. While the guesser is gone, ask for 3 students to play the characters to be guessed.

  4. Ask the 3 players if they have an idea already for their character, or if they’d like suggestions from the studio audience. 

  5. Once the players have confirmed the character they are playing out loud, bring the guesser back in. 

  6. The guesser asks their questions in three rounds. In the first round, the guesser will ask the first question to each of the players in turn. The second and third rounds are played similarly. Encourage the players to take on the physicality of the character they are playing to help it come alive. They can even use a certain voice that feels like it fits the character. 

  7. At the end of the 3 rounds, you, as the teacher, can coach the guesser to  guess the characters that they feel confident about first. If they are stuck, allow the player to give one final, revealing hint to help the guesser. Remember, we want to work together here, not try to stump each other. Everybody's goal, including the players, is for the guesser to guess correctly.

  8. If the guesser still can't figure out the character, it’s nice for the teacher to use language like “Okay, give us the big reveal!” to the player who hasn’t been guessed. This type of positive language will remind the student that they didn't do anything wrong, and shouldn't feel negatively about not being identified correctly.

  9. Remember to celebrate and applaud the guesser and each player as they are guessed!