Once Upon a Purim Shpiel: Digital Tools to Encourage Creative Writing

| By Yonah Kirschner, Project Manager, Digital Content and Communications


When you think of Purim the first thing that comes to mind is probably costumes, but what sets the holiday apart is the special custom of performing a Purim shpiel. Going back centuries, Jewish communities have worked together to write hilarious and satirical Purim shpiels. Last year we wrote about how your students can get involved in this custom by creating a video. This year we’re taking a step back to the first task of making an engaging Purim shpiel: spending time doing some creative writing for the script. With such a busy schedule, many students don’t have the opportunity to sit and brainstorm and just write for fun. We’ve collected some EdTech tools and resources that will encourage this kind of creative writing and will also help students delve into learning about the Purim story at the same time.


Book Creator

With this tool, students can write their own interactive Purim shpiel script. The tool’s simplicity makes it a great option for younger grades. Learners will be able to practice putting events in sequence as they write a short play. The ability to add text, images, audio, and more into their scripts will help them visualize what their performed shpiel would look like. Thanks to the app’s ease of use, young learners may be able to work independently, leaving you free to circulate around the room to work individually with students who need support.


Writing Prompts

Created by a teacher, this website has creative writing prompts on a wide range of topics. Since the prompts aren’t specifically related to Purim, they present a great opportunity for students to write some humor and comedy into their shpiel script. Students can scroll through and choose a prompt they like or use the Random Prompt Button to be presented with a writing prompt.



Storybird uses artwork to spark students’ creativity. Younger learners can use a picture book template to begin their scriptwriting, while students in higher grades can write longer pieces. As StoryBird’s website says, “starting with pictures is powerful” and indeed starting with pictures of their imagined Purim shpiel will serve as a great starting point for your student’s storytelling.


Writing Challenge

This game-based app is designed to inspire creative writing. Once students press the Start button, the app will give them their first prompt and then additional prompts at timed intervals. Students can use the prompts to generate ideas for their scripts, develop characters and dialogue, and establish settings for scenes in their play.


Plot Generator

This fun tool will help learners establish some of the details of their scripts before beginning to write. Students can either type in their own ideas or click the Suggest buttons and the generator will provide random options. Most helpful for the Purim shpiel project will be the Short Story, Movie Script, and Story Ideas Generators as well as the Character Generator. This tool will challenge students to weave a funny Purim story together with potentially disparate elements.


Writing Exercises

This is another tool that students can use to get ideas for their scripts. The site features dozens of generator tools that students can experiment with and use to develop their plays. The sheer number of generators here might be overwhelming for younger students (and might be a rabbit hole for older students) so we recommend the teacher choosing a few specific generators for students to explore.


Related Reading:
Eight Digital Tools for Students to Create Original Purim Shpiel Videos
Beyond Ma Nishtana: Four Digital Tools to Encourage Student Questions​

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