Activity Overview

Starting a unit or lesson with the key vocabulary that students will see in their readings or presentations aids in overall comprehension and retention. In this activity, students will create a storyboard that defines and illustrates key vocabulary related to the study of Judaism. They will create a spider map of 3-5 terms at the teacher's discretion. Each cell will contain a term, the definition, and an illustration that depicts the meaning. When students define and illustrate each term, they master the application of it and retain it as part of their lexicon.

Vocabulary for Judaism

Ark of the Covenant: the chest containing the Ten Commandments, written on stone tablets, that the Hebrews carried with them during their wanderings after their flight from Egypt.

covenant: an agreement or promise.

descendant: a daughter or son, granddaughter or grandson, and so on.

Diaspora: communities of Jews living outside of their ancient homeland.

Exodus: the escape of the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery.

gentile: non-Jewish.

menorah: The menorah is a candelabra that is a symbol of Judaism and is used in Jewish worship, especially one with eight branches and a central candle holder that is used at Hanukkah. The menorah is described in the Bible as the seven-lamp ancient Hebrew lampstand made of pure gold and used in the tabernacle set up by Moses and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. Fresh olive oil was burned daily. It is said to symbolize the burning bush through which God spoke to Moses.

mezuzah: a parchment inscribed with religious texts and attached in a case to the doorpost of a Jewish house as a sign of faith.

mitzvah: A Mitzvah is a precept or commandment as well as a good deed done from religious duty. These good deeds are intended to help one's fellow neighbor and spread peace and kindness. An example of a mitzvah is visiting the sick or elderly.

monotheism: the belief that there is only one God.

plague: a terrible disaster affecting many people and thought to be sent by God as punishment.

prophet: a person who speaks or interprets for God to other people.

rabbi: a religious teacher who studies and teaches others about Jewish law.

Sabbath: The seventh day of the week to be used for rest and worship, according to one of the Ten Commandments.

sacrifice: a gift of an animal for slaughter as a way to honor gods.

synagogue: a place of Jewish worship.

Talmud: a text finished around 600 CE that is a collection of oral teachings, debates, and commentaries about the interpretation of the Hebrew Bible and Jewish law.

Ten Commandments: The ten laws said to be given to Moses by God.

Torah: The first five books of the Hebrew bible that tells of the origins of Judaism. (These are also the first five books of the Christian Old Testament)

yarmulke or kippah: A head covering or skullcap that is a sign of respect for God. Orthodox Jewish men always cover their heads by wearing one while Liberal or Reform Jews see the covering of the head as optional. The Hebrew word is kippah while the Yiddish word is yarmulke.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a spider map that illustrates and defines key vocabulary relating to Judaism.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the title boxes, identify the key terms you have chosen.
  3. In the description boxes, write the definition of the term.
  4. Create an illustration for each term using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  5. Save often.

Requirements: Must have 3 terms, correct definitions and appropriate illustrations for each that demonstrate your understanding of the words.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)

Type of Assignment Individual

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/3] Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/4] Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/6] Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Define and illustrate each of the key terms.
7 Points
4 Points
1 Points
The vocabulary words are correctly defined.
The meaning of the vocabulary words can be understood but it is somewhat unclear.
The vocabulary word is not clearly defined
The storyboard illustrations clearly depict the meaning of the vocabulary words.
The illustrations relate to the meaning of the vocabulary words but it they are difficult to understand.
The illustrations do not clearly relate to the meaning of the vocabulary words.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out.
Work shows some evidence of effort.
Work shows little evidence of any effort.

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