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Building Kehillah: Strengthening Classroom Community and Socialization Through Hebrew Games

How to Create Social Opportunities in your Hebrew School classroom.

Studies by the American Psychological Association prove that game-based learning aids cognitive development. In an article by Linda Pope in the Journal of Sustainable Education, she writes, "Kids learn by playing games, until... they go to school. Then the games stop, and so does learning".

Photo: Students playing the Hanukkah Headbands game.

​The Benefits of Games in Hebrew School Classrooms

Game worksheets can make the learning process more playful and less intimidating. It can be particularly beneficial for younger students or those less confident in their Hebrew language abilities. This can increase motivation and engagement in the learning process.

I've seen firsthand how integrating Hebrew literacy and vocabulary into games like Shofars & Ladders, Fly Trap, or Guess the Character, in Hebrew became a naturally motivating form of entertainment. My students remained engaged over longer periods of time, enhancing their learning and social experiences.

Games Require Peer Interaction

Bringing learning games into Hebrew School classrooms goes beyond language learning. They bring ruach into the room, creating organic opportunities for peer interaction.

When students work together, they build relationships through social interactions. During play, students bond through collaboration, communication, and teamwork. They learn to share, take turns, and lose graciously. These components are essential to a healthy classroom environment.

Why Build a Classroom kehillah?

When we create a classroom kehillah, our students feel a sense of belonging. Students who feel they matter to their teachers and peers are more likely to find joy in their Hebrew School experiences.

Hebrew Games Appeal to a Variety of Learning Styles

Learning to decode Hebrew from a book does not appeal to the visual learner, just as listening to the teacher's instruction doesn't to the kinesthetic learner. Hebrew games provide language practice across a variety of areas, including conversational, listening, and reading. In general, students learn new skills more effectively by participating in an activity where all learning styles are combined.


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