Ending The Year with Hebrew Language Games

May 27, 2021

Source: Gen Ed Torah Blog 


The school year is coming to a close in the northern hemisphere, and in-class parties (to the extent they are not on Zoom) have begun. A sine qua non is food, of course. But the typical end-of-year rituals include more than just treats: award ceremonies, outdoor fun in the fresh air, time capsules (lots of pandemic memories to store away for a later date), a recap of the past year, or sharing of summer plans.

A Hebrew teacher in one of my schools ended the year in a most atypical way. She used the last week of school to continue teaching…but with games. Here are three of her favorites and the reasons why these games were my favorites too–even though I was only invited to observe, never to play.

Game #1: Two Truths, One Lie

Game #2: Taboo

Game #3: Pictionary

Like most Hebrew teachers, this one had one goal all year: to encourage her students to speak more and thereby gain confidence and fluency. Her assumption was that the best way to do this was simply to give students opportunities to speak more frequently. But unlike most teachers, this teacher didn’t have the students speak to her but to each other. She was focused less on correcting mistakes than on encouraging output, speaking, talking, chatting. Hebrew had a communicative function and it was social. Many of her learning activities like Two Truths, One Lie, and Taboo were collaborative. Classmates built on each other’s guesses and clues and talked to each other.

On the last days of the year in this woman’s classes, Hebrew music played in the background, and Hebrew speaking filled the foreground–not between the students and the teacher, but between the students and their peers. Not a word of English could be heard in the classroom; that was the common rule for every game. It was a fun and instructive way to end a year…and, truthfully, to bring into the next year too!

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Updated: Jun. 22, 2021