Friday, December 29, 2006

1 vs. 100

NBC's latest game show is a great fit for your Hebrew School classroom. I recommend you check out the rules at 1 vs. 100 and watch an episode of the show before playing this game in your classroom. The Hebrew name for this game can be "Achad Neged Mayah."

Set Up:

1) Supplies: A piece of paper and pencil for each student, a bag of M&M's
2) Figure out a way to pick students to play the part of the main contestants. You can pick names out of a hat, or award students who have excelled during that days' activities.
3) If you want students can take on the profiles of characters from the Torah, Jewish History, etc. I only suggest this because the show brings together different groups to serve in the mob as part of the 100.

Let's play Achad Neged Mayah!

The main contestant stands in the front of the classroom. He is competing against the rest of the students in the classroom. The rest of the students in the classroom are to serve as the mob.

Give the class a review question and tell them they have fifteen seconds to answer it on their paper. Tell them the first question is worth four points. On the show the questions are multiple choice, but the game will also work with open ended questions.

When the time is up check if the contestants answer is correct. If it is correct then see how many of the students "mob" got the question right. For every student in the mob who got the question wrong the contestant gets four points. These students are now out of the game. For example, if three students missed the question the contestant gets 12 points in the bank.

The contestant is now given the choice whether or not he would like to walk away with his earnings or try another question.

If the contestant wishes to continue, repeat the process with the mob students who are left. Increase the point value by four points each time you give a new question. The questions should get progressively harder.

The game ends if the contestant decides to take his winnings and leave, all the mob is out of the game, or if the contestant gets the answer wrong. If the contestant answers a question wrong then the mob who are left split the points in his bank account.

The points can then be turned in for M&M's
You should be able to go through a few different contestants during one game session.

Have a good idea about what to do with the students who get out of the game early send me an e-mail at

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hollywood Squares

Although most students were not born when this famous game show aired, they will catch on to this game quickly. This is also an easy game to set up.

1) Draw a Tic Tac Toe board on the blackboard

2) Use nine of your Hebrew School game pieces with magnetic backing and put one in each square. (Pictures of Jewish figures from the Torah, Jewish history or Hebrew letters, prayers, values..etc) I love it when the students yell out Ben Gurion for the block! This is a great example of how the students will learn and identify with game pieces

3) Split the class into two teams. Use birthdays, boys vs. girls, back row vs. the front, to split the class up.

Let's Play Jewish Hollywood Squares

Explain to the students that they are playing Tic Tac Toe. If they choose a square and get the review question correct then they get the square. However, if they get the answer wrong the other team gets the square. Alternate questions between team. Keep score of games won in the corner of the blackboard.

Deal or No Deal

Deal or No Deal or how I like to call it Brit or Lo Brit. I know Brit means covenant and there are other modern Hebrew words for deal, however I found that this was a great way for students to remember the word Brit. Every time you play the game you can remind the students about the covenant between the Jews and Hashem. This is also a popular game show that will get kids excited.

If you do not know how to play Deal or No Deal I recommend watching an episode on TV before trying this game.

Set Up:

1) Draw and number boxes on the blackboard 1-20. Boxes can be opened by your magnetic Jewish game piece characters.

2) Make a list for yourself giving each box a point value: 10, 30, 50, 100, 150, 300, 500, 750, 1000, 1500, 2000, 3000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 250,000, 500,000, 1,000,000. Make a list of these numbers on the side of the blackboard.

3) Give the students a goal of how many points they need to get to earn a prize. For example, 200,000. They can accumulate points every time they play Brit or Lo Brit.

4) Determine an order of when each student will take their turn.

Let's play Brit or Lo Brit

As a class the students choose one box from the black board to be there box. This box is taken off the board and drawn into the corner.

Now it is the first students turn. Give them a question if they get it right they get to choose a box from the board to open. The box is opened and and you erase the number of points that was in the box

If they get it wrong erase the box with the highest number of points still on the board.

Proceed to do this three times with three different students. Then the class receives an offer of points. This is where it gets a little tricky. Just give your best guess on what the point value offer should be. Maybe someone can figure out the formula and e-mail me.

If the class goes No Brit. Give two more students questions and have them pick from the boxes left if they are correct. If they get the questions incorrect erase the highest point boxes.

Give the class another Brit to consider. If they still refuse go through the process of questions and picking boxes two more times. Then offer a Brit.

Continue this until it gets down to five boxes. Then give them an offer after each box. When the students finally make a brit or are left with one box give them the points and play again.

Things to think about:
1) Figuring out the Deal or No Deal Math offer formula
2) Creating a good Hebrew school figure or name for the character who gives the offer. I was toying with using Hashem, but it didn't feel right.

Hebrew Baseball

Hebrew Baseball is a classic Hebrew School review game.

Set Up:

1) Split the class into two teams
2) Give each team half a minute to decide on a team name. The exciting thing is now students can choose from teams in the Israel Baseball League.
3) Decide how many innings you want to play depending on how much time you have. Announce this to the class so it is clear.
4) First team quiet gets to choose if they want to be up to bat or play the field
5) Arrange team batting order by how the teams are sitting.
6) Draw baseball diamond on blackboard.

Time to Play Ball!

The first student up to bat gets a question. If they get the question right the team gets a man on base. Each question is a single. Use your game pieces to denote who is on base.

If the student gets a question wrong the team gets an out.

Strikes and balls can be awarded if the teams complain about a call by the Ump (you) or if they are too noisy.

For example, if the team up is too noisy give them a strike and if the team in the field is noisy then award the team up a ball.

Three strikes equals an out and four balls means the team up gets a walk and puts a man on first base.

Playing Pieces

First thing you need to do before you start playing the following Hebrew school games is to make Jewish game pieces. Every great game has great game pieces. For example, Monopoly from the thimble to the hat, Risk with the cannon and horse, and Battleship with the array of ships.

After using these pieces to play games each class for a semester, students will end up recognizing the game pieces before most of the material you have covered in class. Therefore, be strategic when picking game pieces. For example, when I was teaching the Tribes of Israel I used each tribe as a game piece. In the past my game pieces have consisted of characters from the Aleph Bet (print and script), prayers, holidays, Torah figures, and people from Jewish history. I crack up every time a student yells out that hey want to be Eliyahu Ben Yehuda (founder of modern day Hebrew)

How Do I Make These Pieces You Ask

Very Easy. Just print out pictures from the computer. Search images using Google image search. You can draw characters or cut them out of magazines. The key is attaching the magnetic tape to the back so you can use them on the black board.


As Hebrew school teachers we strive to make our curriculum come alive. One of the best ways to do that is through games. Here are a few Hebrew school games to play with your students. I recommend using them as review games to use at the end of each class. Hopefully these games will make your students excited to attend Hebrew school and help them pay attention in class.

Here are a few things to note:
  • This blog gives instructions to how to play the games but leaves you the teacher with the responsibility to come up with appropriate questions and tasks for each game. This allows you to match any of these review games with any of your subjects.
  • In the past I have allowed students to take notes throughout the class in a "Machbaret" notebook and I have allowed them to use whatever they have written down as part of the game.
  • Small Prizes for the winning team helps encourage kids to participate in the games. However, most students are inspired by the feeling of competition.
  • Warning: Some of the more risky sounding games may need fine tuning.
Please feel free to e-mail me your games and feedback on these games at

Hannukah BubblePly