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Unread 07-27-2009, 10:07 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Teaching Parsha to Girls on Shabbos

Every Shabbos, I teach a class on the parsha (or upcoming yomim tovim, etc) to elementary-age girls. Most of them come from MO backgrounds or more, so they already know the basic storylines, mitzvos, etc. but usually need to be reminded, especially in the summer when they don't learn it in school.

This class is actually less of a class, meaning we don't sit down and learn, but rather we play games and do activities that have to do with events in the parsha and age-appropriate ideas in chassidus/lessons we can learn from the stories. The basic structure of the class every week is: 1)introduce one main idea from the parsha by showing them a short skit (which usually involves me and a friend acting out a cute story with a message), 2)discuss/summarize the other things that happen in the parsha, 3)play games or do activities that illustrate important concepts. My question is, how do I summarize the basic ideas of the parsha at the beginning of each class (that's step #2)? I've found that just telling it to them doesn't work, because they tend to lose interest, especially if it's a long or complicated parsha. But they need to know what's going on in order to understand the other activities that we do. So...how can I teach it to them in a creative way?

Also, if you have any other ideas for creative games and activities we could do, please post them. Keep in mind that this is on Shabbos so our options are limited...

Thanks!!
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Unread 07-28-2009, 12:28 AM   #2
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Every Shabbos, I teach a class on the parsha (or upcoming yomim tovim, etc) to elementary-age girls. Most of them come from MO backgrounds or more, so they already know the basic storylines, mitzvos, etc. but usually need to be reminded, especially in the summer when they don't learn it in school.

This class is actually less of a class, meaning we don't sit down and learn, but rather we play games and do activities that have to do with events in the parsha and age-appropriate ideas in chassidus/lessons we can learn from the stories. The basic structure of the class every week is: 1)introduce one main idea from the parsha by showing them a short skit (which usually involves me and a friend acting out a cute story with a message), 2)discuss/summarize the other things that happen in the parsha, 3)play games or do activities that illustrate important concepts. My question is, how do I summarize the basic ideas of the parsha at the beginning of each class (that's step #2)? I've found that just telling it to them doesn't work, because they tend to lose interest, especially if it's a long or complicated parsha. But they need to know what's going on in order to understand the other activities that we do. So...how can I teach it to them in a creative way?

Also, if you have any other ideas for creative games and activities we could do, please post them. Keep in mind that this is on Shabbos so our options are limited...

Thanks!!
Do you have The Little Midrash Says? That works for my group.
I just talk to them, no skits, even though my group is younger than yours- I find that they are happy to listen to stories. However, talking by itself if you are not telling a fascinating story does not work- you need to make it a question-answer session, with immediate nosh rewards.
Also, they do not need to know everything that happened in the parsha; just focus on one or two main points that are not covered in school.

We play "sleeping beauty" with middos a lot: a girl (or a pair and sisters are separated) has to act out a good midda that we learned, and we have to guess which good midda it is.
Another one is the ring game, you probably know it.
Sometimes I tell the girls a story from the Parsha, and they have to act it out, this works well with well-known stories like Bilam.
Hatzlacha!
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Unread 07-28-2009, 12:43 PM   #3
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I guess I could try doing more stories...and it's true, they do like asking questions. It gets them a lot more into it. That's good because there is a big age difference between some of them, so then they can all ask questions and feel included, which is often a challenge. And of course, the magical powers of nosh....

What do you do with the Little Midrash Says? Meaning do you read it directly to them or
take ideas/stories from it?

I like the sleeping beauty idea, and they LOVE acting things out...

Which ring game? (I probably know it by a different name...?)

And thank you!
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Unread 07-28-2009, 04:49 PM   #4
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I guess I could try doing more stories...and it's true, they do like asking questions. It gets them a lot more into it. That's good because there is a big age difference between some of them, so then they can all ask questions and feel included, which is often a challenge. And of course, the magical powers of nosh....

What do you do with the Little Midrash Says? Meaning do you read it directly to them or
take ideas/stories from it?
Nosh is great, but remember to use it as a reinforcer. I give them a candy just for attending, and after that they get a candy as they answer questions, then they get a candy when they leave. On average, a girl should get four small candies in my group.
I would never read aloud from a book, not unless forced to. The kids are miserable when that happens, they prefer my inarticulate imperfect explanations from memory for some reason. Try it, you'll see.
You can show them the pictures as you tell the story. Like, "Does anyone know who this is a picture of?" Someone will say, "A giant!" You say, "right, that's Og and he was so big, his crib was as big as my whole house!" then start off with the story about where he came from and how he was killed by Moshe Rabbeinu.
If you feel up to answering questions, that would be really fun, but even the little ones manage to stump me so make sure you're prepared to limit them. I meant that you should ask the questions- prepare them by difficulty level, and only reward those who answer by raise of hand so that you can pick the ones who rarely know the answers.
Also, after you've been doing it for a few weeks, you can start review games. "Who remembers this picture? Who was this person? What happened?" Review games are especially good in Sefer Devarim where everything is repeated, mishneh Torah.
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I like the sleeping beauty idea, and they LOVE acting things out...

Which ring game? (I probably know it by a different name...?)

And thank you!
One girl pretends to drop a ring into all the girls' hands, then the girl looking over her shoulder has to guess into whose hands it fell.

BTW, I'm looking for a nice quiet outdoors game this Shabbos, and would like to connect it to Pirkei Avos. Do you have any ideas?
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Unread 07-28-2009, 05:24 PM   #5
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I would never read aloud from a book, not unless forced to. The kids are miserable when that happens, they prefer my inarticulate imperfect explanations from memory for some reason. Try it, you'll see.
That's what I thought you were talking about...there are some people who can read from a book and actually keep the kids riveted to their seats, but I'm not one of them. I always dread reading aloud and instead prefer storytelling.

I like the idea of asking them the questions, I just need to find a way to make it not seem too "babyish" for the older ones, as there are two big sisters, going into 5th and 6th grade, who still like to come. I think that dividing them by difficulty level will do the trick.

Another thing is, how do I get the younger or shyer ones, or the ones with less background, to raise their hands? I feel like they are always feeling "overshadowed" by the loud girls who seem to "know everything".

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Also, after you've been doing it for a few weeks, you can start review games. "Who remembers this picture? Who was this person? What happened?" Review games are especially good in Sefer Devarim where everything is repeated, mishneh Torah.
That's a great idea. I hope they remember it....sometimes they forget things five minutes later.


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BTW, I'm looking for a nice quiet outdoors game this Shabbos, and would like to connect it to Pirkei Avos. Do you have any ideas?
Hmmm...that's tough...how old are they? It looks like a theme in this week's PA is Torah learning...maybe do something with that? What types of activities do you usually do with them?
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Unread 07-28-2009, 06:33 PM   #6
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That's what I thought you were talking about...there are some people who can read from a book and actually keep the kids riveted to their seats, but I'm not one of them. I always dread reading aloud and instead prefer storytelling.
Same here.
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I like the idea of asking them the questions, I just need to find a way to make it not seem too "babyish" for the older ones, as there are two big sisters, going into 5th and 6th grade, who still like to come. I think that dividing them by difficulty level will do the trick.

Another thing is, how do I get the younger or shyer ones, or the ones with less background, to raise their hands? I feel like they are always feeling "overshadowed" by the loud girls who seem to "know everything".
Say "I want to see some new hands" and smile at them.
You could try telling a girl something beforehand, and then just happening to ask about it in relation to the parsha.
Also, try to pick out stories and information they don't learn in school.
And you can ask thinking questions- "Why didn't R' Yose Ben Kisma want to go with the man to his town?" "How can we be dan lekaf zechus?"
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That's a great idea. I hope they remember it....sometimes they forget things five minutes later.

Hmmm...that's tough...how old are they? It looks like a theme in this week's PA is Torah learning...maybe do something with that? What types of activities do you usually do with them?
Re memory- ime most kids will remember Og was a giant, if nothing else. What makes it hard for me is that there will be always be one who can repeat every single word you said; ask her the toughest question you can think of. (I have 3 kids like that, sometimes they tell the story over for the other girls, or have to get together to act it out. I also have 3 really young kids, one of whom is stronger in Yiddish than English, so they just watch the proceedings and ask them the really easy questions.)
Also, you could decide on a theme of the day. Like if today you're teaching about Dan Lekaf Zechus, have them all say it together out loud before you start, at intervals, and before they leave. A song or chant is even better, but I did not do this because it took too much time. If you're good at it there is no better way to guarantee they will remember.

They range in age from 4 to 12. Some are even older.
I'm not too good with activities, so we usually play some variation of skit games like sleeping beauty. (I really need more ideas.) I just thought it would be nice if we could do something outside (we have an eruv but I'm not sure a ball would be appropriate for Shabbos.)
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Unread 07-28-2009, 07:04 PM   #7
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Say "I want to see some new hands" and smile at them.
You could try telling a girl something beforehand, and then just happening to ask about it in relation to the parsha.
Also, try to pick out stories and information they don't learn in school.
And you can ask thinking questions- "Why didn't R' Yose Ben Kisma want to go with the man to his town?" "How can we be dan lekaf zechus?"
Thanks for all the suggestions..we should definitely keep comparing and sharing because it seems like our groups are similar...and I often have no idea what to do! Sometimes I'm so desperate I actually just go and ask the girls what they would like to do...which usually works because then I know they will like it (or if they don't they can't blame me ) And I always like thinking questions because then no one is wrong, and plus it's always good to think.

We do a lot of skit games...we do charades (for parshas Noach it was act out an animal), one time I gave them a scavenger hunt where they had to find all the objects on a list, and then at the end use them all as props in some kind of presentation (like a play, story, "museum exhibit" on something in the parsha, etc.) There's also the Jumping Game, where everyone starts on the "start line" (usually imaginary but could be the edge of the grass or something), and you ask a question to each person on their turn. In this case, maybe it could be a general Torah question because of this week's perek. If she gets it right, she gets to jump as far as she can in one leap. The point is to get to the finish line first, but if you don't want to make it a competition then it can ust be how long it takes for everyone to finish. If you like the idea of playing a game like that, I have a whole binder full of them.
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Unread 07-28-2009, 07:24 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the suggestions..we should definitely keep comparing and sharing because it seems like our groups are similar...and I often have no idea what to do! Sometimes I'm so desperate I actually just go and ask the girls what they would like to do...which usually works because then I know they will like it (or if they don't they can't blame me ) And I always like thinking questions because then no one is wrong, and plus it's always good to think.
Yes, I think we're doing almost exactly the same thing (except yours is probably a wider range religiously.)
I also often don't know what to do... last week I was so desperate I let them shmooze at the end, I think they come for the social part to a great extent anyway during these long hot Shabbos afternoons. Maybe I'll offer them time to shmooze before they go home as an incentive this week.
I tried asking my girls what they want to do but they didn't have any ideas.
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We do a lot of skit games...we do charades (for parshas Noach it was act out an animal), one time I gave them a scavenger hunt where they had to find all the objects on a list, and then at the end use them all as props in some kind of presentation (like a play, story, "museum exhibit" on something in the parsha, etc.) There's also the Jumping Game, where everyone starts on the "start line" (usually imaginary but could be the edge of the grass or something), and you ask a question to each person on their turn. In this case, maybe it could be a general Torah question because of this week's perek. If she gets it right, she gets to jump as far as she can in one leap. The point is to get to the finish line first, but if you don't want to make it a competition then it can ust be how long it takes for everyone to finish. If you like the idea of playing a game like that, I have a whole binder full of them.
The jumping game sounds perfect! What is this binder?
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Unread 07-28-2009, 07:48 PM   #9
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My group likes to shmooze too, but we try to save it until the end - we have Shabbos Party right after the class where they can nosh and talk all they want.

I made it by compiling all the games and activities that I've done for the class and filing them into a binder...people were always saying that they would be good for something in the future, and I use it sometimes to look back on for ideas. If you want I can post some of them.
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Unread 07-28-2009, 07:59 PM   #10
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My group likes to shmooze too, but we try to save it until the end - we have Shabbos Party right after the class where they can nosh and talk all they want.

I made it by compiling all the games and activities that I've done for the class and filing them into a binder...people were always saying that they would be good for something in the future, and I use it sometimes to look back on for ideas. If you want I can post some of them.
That's great.

I would really appreciate that.
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Unread 07-28-2009, 09:04 PM   #11
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One thing I did, which took some time but was really good, was wrote one of those stories where the characters come to dilemmas and then the girls get to decide what the character chooses (e.g. Once upon a time, Miriam went to her friend's house. Her friend opened the door and let Miriam in. What did Miriam say? If she said hello to her friend then go to page 2. If she said something not nice then turn to page 3...then on whichever page they choose, the story continues according to the results of their choice until there is another dilemma and so on.) The one that I wrote was for parshas beshalach and was from the point of view of a girl experiencing krias yam suf. They wanted to do it over and over until they had heard what would happen according to all the choices.

Another game which I made but we never ended up doing was for something in pirkei avos, I think it might have even been this week's perek which had to do with remembering what you learn, so it was a memory game. Basically there was a paper with a bunch of random words on it, which they would look at for 30 seconds and memorize, then see how many of the words they could actually remember. Then there was another paper with pictures on it where they had to do the same thing. The game itself really doesn't teach anything but it serves as a good segue into discussing the mishnah.

I've also drawn pictures of objects which, in some way or another, have to do with the parsha or with that Shabbos, and they have to look at the picture and guess how it relates. This would only work if they already knew what the parsha was about so I usually save it for the school year.




Other games:
  • 20 questions where each girl picks a card with a character from Chumash, and the other girls have to guess who she is by asking yes-no questions
  • Crown game: Make "crowns" out of paper, and write an adjective on each, like "smart", "talented", "annoying", "talkative", etc. Each girl puts on a crown so that everyone else can see what it says except her, then the girls have to interact with each other as if they were the adjective on their head (treat this girl as if she was the smart one, treat this one like she's always annoying), and based on how people treat her, each girl has to guess what her own crown says. It's good for teaching the effect of labeling people or speaking LH.
  • Write a bunch of questions on flash cards and spread them around the room or put them on the floor, then everyone takes turns finding one and answering it. You can do a lot of things with questions, like playing a familiar game but before each turn, the person has to answer a question, or after they answer a question they get a picture of one of the keilim from the mishkon, then at the end we set the keilim up according to what part of the mishkon they were in...
  • Doll fashion show: for tznius, or teaching how our clothes send across a message - get some dolls and doll clothes and divide the girls up into teams. Put the clothes in the middle and give each team a doll. Think of categories, for example, "looks ready for school", "dressed for Shabbos", "princess," "funniest", "just got out of bed", etc. and have them dress up their doll according to the category. Then put all the dolls next to each other and have them vote on which one best represents that category. It shows them how what you wear can really tell something about you.
There are probably some more which I can't think of/find right now..
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Unread 07-28-2009, 09:16 PM   #12
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One thing I did, which took some time but was really good, was wrote one of those stories where the characters come to dilemmas and then the girls get to decide what the character chooses (e.g. Once upon a time, Miriam went to her friend's house. Her friend opened the door and let Miriam in. What did Miriam say? If she said hello to her friend then go to page 2. If she said something not nice then turn to page 3...then on whichever page they choose, the story continues according to the results of their choice until there is another dilemma and so on.) The one that I wrote was for parshas beshalach and was from the point of view of a girl experiencing krias yam suf. They wanted to do it over and over until they had heard what would happen according to all the choices.
Amazing! You're very talented B"H.
Quote:
Another game which I made but we never ended up doing was for something in pirkei avos, I think it might have even been this week's perek which had to do with remembering what you learn, so it was a memory game. Basically there was a paper with a bunch of random words on it, which they would look at for 30 seconds and memorize, then see how many of the words they could actually remember. Then there was another paper with pictures on it where they had to do the same thing. The game itself really doesn't teach anything but it serves as a good segue into discussing the mishnah.

I've also drawn pictures of objects which, in some way or another, have to do with the parsha or with that Shabbos, and they have to look at the picture and guess how it relates. This would only work if they already knew what the parsha was about so I usually save it for the school year.

Other games:
  • 20 questions where each girl picks a card with a character from Chumash, and the other girls have to guess who she is by asking yes-no questions
  • Crown game: Make "crowns" out of paper, and write an adjective on each, like "smart", "talented", "annoying", "talkative", etc. Each girl puts on a crown so that everyone else can see what it says except her, then the girls have to interact with each other as if they were the adjective on their head (treat this girl as if she was the smart one, treat this one like she's always annoying), and based on how people treat her, each girl has to guess what her own crown says. It's good for teaching the effect of labeling people or speaking LH.
  • Write a bunch of questions on flash cards and spread them around the room or put them on the floor, then everyone takes turns finding one and answering it. You can do a lot of things with questions, like playing a familiar game but before each turn, the person has to answer a question, or after they answer a question they get a picture of one of the keilim from the mishkon, then at the end we set the keilim up according to what part of the mishkon they were in...
  • Doll fashion show: for tznius, or teaching how our clothes send across a message - get some dolls and doll clothes and divide the girls up into teams. Put the clothes in the middle and give each team a doll. Think of categories, for example, "looks ready for school", "dressed for Shabbos", "princess," "funniest", "just got out of bed", etc. and have them dress up their doll according to the category. Then put all the dolls next to each other and have them vote on which one best represents that category. It shows them how what you wear can really tell something about you.
There are probably some more which I can't think of/find right now..
Brilliant! Thank you so much!
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Unread 07-28-2009, 09:26 PM   #13
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Brilliant! Thank you so much!
You're so welcome! As I come up with more I will IY"H post them. I've been looking online for ideas like these for a while but couldn't find very many, so it's good to have a thread where other people can find them in one place. So...what are you going to teach this Shabbos (besides for pirkei avos)?

Last edited by Shabbos; 07-28-2009 at 09:27 PM. Reason: typo...I should proofread before I post :(
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Unread 07-31-2009, 04:59 PM   #14
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You're so welcome! As I come up with more I will IY"H post them. I've been looking online for ideas like these for a while but couldn't find very many, so it's good to have a thread where other people can find them in one place. So...what are you going to teach this Shabbos (besides for pirkei avos)?
First I will say a short story about Pirkei Avos from Mimaayanos Hanetzach (it always has the best Pirkei Avos stories).
Then we're going to focus on the Parsha. We'll have the usual Q-A-Story session, and then comes the game.
I love your jumping game, so I made Q and A cards about the parsha, I will give them out (how they get divided depends how many kids come, but it will be random. They're color coded so everyone will know if they got a question or an answer.)
Then, the kids will all line up outside. One kid will read a question, and the kid who has the answer reads the answer. Then they both get to jump as far as they can. Whoever gets to the goal first gets a candy and starts to go back, when she gets back she gets 2 candies.
Then we'll go back in and have a short recess to eat their good-bye candy before they go home.
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Unread 07-31-2009, 05:29 PM   #15
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I love the idea of giving one the question and the other the answer! I never would have thought of doing it that way but it's so much more interesting then just asking them all the questions! I like it! I'm definitely going to do it like that next time. By the way, how long does your class last? Mine is an hour long. I'm wondering because I might have to change things around if we do the Q/A thing, since we often run past the time we're supposed to have anyways.

I just remembered another activity to add to the list, that's good for pirkei avos - The dan lechaf zechus game. Basically 2 or 3 girls get up and act out a scene (either improvised, or I give them a script to act out) where it appears that one of them has done something wrong. For example, Rochel asks her friend Chaya to meet her after school near the water fountain. Then, after school, Rochel is standing impatiently by the water fountain waiting for Chaya, who should have showed up 15 minutes ago. "She probably forgot about me," says Rochel. Then the "actors" freeze. The "audience" must think of a way to judge Chaya lechaf zechus - everyone gets a turn to say a way that really it is not Chaya's fault, that she didn't really forget about her friend. After everyone has taken a guess, they get to see the end of the story - that there were TWO water fountains, and Chaya had gone to wait by the OTHER one. The two friends walk off happily. We usually do a few of these, so everyone who wants gets a turn to act out the story.
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Unread 08-01-2009, 10:46 PM   #16
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I love the idea of giving one the question and the other the answer! I never would have thought of doing it that way but it's so much more interesting then just asking them all the questions! I like it! I'm definitely going to do it like that next time. By the way, how long does your class last? Mine is an hour long. I'm wondering because I might have to change things around if we do the Q/A thing, since we often run past the time we're supposed to have anyways.
We go an hour. But I guess because it was Shabbos Nachamu and most families go away, a grand total of 2 kids came (we usually have at least 10-15) so we very quickly changed the lesson, and instead of that fun jumping game, we played matching from memory. They enjoyed it immensely, and learned an enormous amount due to the attention they were getting.
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I just remembered another activity to add to the list, that's good for pirkei avos - The dan lechaf zechus game. Basically 2 or 3 girls get up and act out a scene (either improvised, or I give them a script to act out) where it appears that one of them has done something wrong. For example, Rochel asks her friend Chaya to meet her after school near the water fountain. Then, after school, Rochel is standing impatiently by the water fountain waiting for Chaya, who should have showed up 15 minutes ago. "She probably forgot about me," says Rochel. Then the "actors" freeze. The "audience" must think of a way to judge Chaya lechaf zechus - everyone gets a turn to say a way that really it is not Chaya's fault, that she didn't really forget about her friend. After everyone has taken a guess, they get to see the end of the story - that there were TWO water fountains, and Chaya had gone to wait by the OTHER one. The two friends walk off happily. We usually do a few of these, so everyone who wants gets a turn to act out the story.
Wow, that sounds like fun. It's amazing how you think of all these things BH.

Isn't it labor intensive? I imagine you have to write out all those scripts (I would have to write out 5-7 scripts to make sure every one of the older kids could have a chance to be part of it.)
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Unread 08-01-2009, 11:24 PM   #17
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We go an hour. But my mazal, I guess because it was Shabbos Nachamu and most families go away, a grand total of 2 kids came (we usually have at least 10-15) so we very quickly changed the lesson, and instead of that fun jumping game, we played matching from memory. They enjoyed it immensely, and learned an enormous amount due to the attention they were getting.
I didn't end up playing the game either... I ended up going away last minute this Shabbos. I'm sure we can tie it in to something else, though. The questions can really be about anything.

We've had only 2 kids a few times...but B"H it always seems to be 2 kids who get along really well. And they like that they get so much attention.

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Wow, that sounds like fun. It's amazing how you think of all these things BH.
I don't want to take credit for something I didn't think of... I got the idea for that game from chinuch.org, where I found a whole set of these kinds of skits made for older girls and women, so I just adapted the idea and a few of the skits for younger girls.

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Isn't it labor intensive? I imagine you have to write out all those scripts (I would have to write out 5-7 scripts to make sure every one of the older kids could have a chance to be part of it.)
Writing out 5 whole scripts is a lot. I don't think I could ever do that...so what I would do is either let them improvise (especially the older kids), or write out the basic idea of the skit on an index card and have them make up the skit on their own. The time that we played that game, we got by with like 3 actual scripts. Even that took a while to write...but it was worth it.
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Unread 08-02-2009, 08:34 AM   #18
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I didn't end up playing the game either... I ended up going away last minute this Shabbos. I'm sure we can tie it in to something else, though. The questions can really be about anything.

We've had only 2 kids a few times...but B"H it always seems to be 2 kids who get along really well. And they like that they get so much attention.
How do you tell the kids if you go away? I basically stay home but sometimes I miss going away, and it's hard for me to tell the kids I won't be there when I know they'll be losing out so much by missing it.

Yep.
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I don't want to take credit for something I didn't think of... I got the idea for that game from chinuch.org, where I found a whole set of these kinds of skits made for older girls and women, so I just adapted the idea and a few of the skits for younger girls.
(would you mind linking?)
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Writing out 5 whole scripts is a lot. I don't think I could ever do that...so what I would do is either let them improvise (especially the older kids), or write out the basic idea of the skit on an index card and have them make up the skit on their own. The time that we played that game, we got by with like 3 actual scripts. Even that took a while to write...but it was worth it.
I see. It's still a lot.

Last edited by existwhere?; 08-02-2009 at 04:14 PM.
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Unread 08-02-2009, 06:30 PM   #19
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How do you tell the kids if you go away? I basically stay home but sometimes I miss going away, and it's hard for me to tell the kids I won't be there when I know they'll be losing out so much by missing it.
It is hard, and I don't go away so much. They usually announce the details of the class in shul, so people find out that way if I'm there or not (I just have to make sure someone in shul knows.) I do feel bad though that they are missing out so I try and get a substitute when I can.

The skits can be found at http://chinuch.org/item_details.php?mid=644.
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Unread 08-04-2009, 08:25 PM   #20
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Another game: the box game. Take a box and cut a hole in the top big enough to fit a hand (and the objects used in the game) through but small enough that it's hard to see what's inside. Then gather a bunch of items that somehow have to do with the parsha. For example, for parshas Eikev, I might put in a toy cow because Moshe rebukes B"Y for the cheit ha'eigel, and a honey jar because the parsha mentions eretz yisroel being , and a mezuzah (or picture of one) because the second paragraph of shema is in this parsha, etc. (Some parshiyos are better than others for this game, and I don't think I would be able to think of enough objects for this week.) Then, the girls take turns sticking in their hands and picking an object, and each one has to guess its connection to the parsha (I still give them points for creativity if they guess something different than intended.)
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Unread 08-08-2009, 10:27 PM   #21
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Another game: the box game. Take a box and cut a hole in the top big enough to fit a hand (and the objects used in the game) through but small enough that it's hard to see what's inside. Then gather a bunch of items that somehow have to do with the parsha. For example, for parshas Eikev, I might put in a toy cow because Moshe rebukes B"Y for the cheit ha'eigel, and a honey jar because the parsha mentions eretz yisroel being , and a mezuzah (or picture of one) because the second paragraph of shema is in this parsha, etc. (Some parshiyos are better than others for this game, and I don't think I would be able to think of enough objects for this week.) Then, the girls take turns sticking in their hands and picking an object, and each one has to guess its connection to the parsha (I still give them points for creativity if they guess something different than intended.)
That's very cute.

B"H we had a big turnout this week. I hadn't had time to prep before SHabbos, so I just stuck paper clips into the part of the Midrash says, Artscroll Children's Pirkei Avot, and Little Midrash says instead.

I want to teach them more about davening, I see that many of us are not inspired enough, including me. Do you have any ideas of games?
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Unread 08-09-2009, 08:25 PM   #22
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I want to teach them more about davening, I see that many of us are not inspired enough, including me. Do you have any ideas of games?
Davening....I think we have the same problem. I know I do personally. Do they know the basic meaning of the tefillos? If not maybe you could go through that with them first, maybe learning one tefillah per week and discussing how it relates to something in their lives or something like that. This can help them to get inspired if they know what they're saying and why it's important.

In terms of games, you could always adapt one of the other question games to questions about davening. Also, you could do a matching game where they have to match a card with the name of a tefillah on it to a fact about that tefillah (e.g. match "Ashrei" with "comes from Tehillim and praises Hashem") which will help them learn what they're saying. That would work for teaching pirush hamilos, but how exactly do you want to approach this? Do you want to teach them what the specific tefillos mean or something more general?
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Unread 08-10-2009, 07:05 AM   #23
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Davening....I think we have the same problem. I know I do personally. Do they know the basic meaning of the tefillos? If not maybe you could go through that with them first, maybe learning one tefillah per week and discussing how it relates to something in their lives or something like that. This can help them to get inspired if they know what they're saying and why it's important.
I think some of them do, some of them don't know the meaning. Also, due to the age range, a lot of them don't daven everything.
The problem is I don't even know where to start. What tefila could I teach them that relates to their lives? I guess the format would be tefilla- story- meaning- another story.
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In terms of games, you could always adapt one of the other question games to questions about davening. Also, you could do a matching game where they have to match a card with the name of a tefillah on it to a fact about that tefillah (e.g. match "Ashrei" with "comes from Tehillim and praises Hashem") which will help them learn what they're saying. That would work for teaching pirush hamilos, but how exactly do you want to approach this? Do you want to teach them what the specific tefillos mean or something more general?
I love that idea of matching! That is very meaningful. I also want to teach them something more general- to appreciate their connection to Hashem. SOmething I myself struggle with.
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Unread 08-15-2009, 08:57 PM   #24
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The problem is I don't even know where to start. What tefila could I teach them that relates to their lives? I guess the format would be tefilla- story- meaning- another story.
You could pick a tefillah that they all know, like Shema. Go over the meaning for the younger kids (maybe the older ones can help you), and pick out the main points (Oneness of Hashem, we should love Hashem, we should think of Hashem wherever we go, etc.) Then ask/tell them how they could apply this to themselves. They can probably relate to the idea of how they love their Tattys. Then you could explain to them that Hashem is a Tatty for all of us and He loves us and gives us everything we need, and we are His children who love Him too. You could do this with other tefillos and with other ideas that are in them.

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I also want to teach them something more general- to appreciate their connection to Hashem. SOmething I myself struggle with.
When we learned about davening (or being thankful to Hashem, I don't remember) in second grade, my teacher took a tissue box, and went around the classroom asking each one of us what we really really wanted to get as a present. When we named something, he gave us the tissue box and said, "here you go, this is your _____(whatever we said we wanted.)" After he had "given" each of us our "present", he pointed out that not one of us had thought to say thank you....and that led into a discusion of hakoras hatov, and realizing that everything is a present from Hashem.

You could do something along those lines to teach them about why we daven (Maybe not this specific activity - I would never be able to pull it off myself, it's just not my teaching style, but something about teaching us that everything we have comes from Hashem so we should be grateful.)

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Unread 08-20-2009, 10:33 PM   #25
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Just thought I'd add another game that we will IY"H play this week for parshas Shoftim-
After learning a little about the different mitzvos in this parsha, we pick a few people to be the "shoftim", and two other people to come in with a pretend "case". They tell their case to the Shoftim, and based on the halochos that they together know (obviously nothing too confusing or obscure), they decide on the "din" for these people.
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