The Purim Players
Lesson Plan Sections
0 Ratings
Add to Favorite  

The Purim Players

Categories Purim 
Tags: Language Arts 

Lesson Summary:

The Purim story, with its valiant Queen Esther and evil Haman, is a perfect tale to help students understand the importance of standing up for what one believes. In this lesson, students will read about and discuss the story of Purim, relate significant events, and explore the qualities of major characters in terms of those associated with heroes and villains.

Furthermore, this lesson will explore what makes a story so compelling, focusing on the importance of vivid words and details. Students will then have the opportunity to craft their own narratives to relate the story of Purim and its major characters through vivid words and details.

Enduring Understandings:

  • The story of Purim relates to our lives today. It is a reminder of the importance of taking action and standing up for what one believes. 
  • Our community and Jewish identity are an important part of who we are and for what we stand. 
  • Rich adjectives and details bring a story and its characters to life. 


Students will:

  • Retell the story of Purim 
  • Describe characters, settings and major events in the story of Purim, providing relevant details. 
  • Write a short Purim narrative to summarize a significant event or short sequence of events and include details to describe actions, thoughts and feelings as characters responded to these events and challenges.
  • Explain why the Purim story continues to have relevance today.

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

For the educatorJewish Thought, Text, and Traditionsmore

Jewish every dayIncorporate Jewish Valuesmore

Materials and resourcesmore


Ask students to tell you what they know about Purim. Who are the major characters in the story? Why is each important?

Read aloud one or more of you favorite children’s books on the story of Purim, or consider the versions below or check out some of the books on listed here.

The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale, by Eric Kimmel. This dramatic story shows how it was only because of Queen Esther's cunning and courage that evil was brought to justice and many threatened lives were saved. Told for many thousands of years, her story is still thrilling and inspiring.

The Queen Who Saved her People, by Tilda Balsley. This time the story is about Esther who succeeds in convincing the King to stop the evil Haman. Puns and slapstick humor along with the natural suspense of the plot entertain both groups and single readers in this Purim tale.

Theses version can be printed and illustrated by students, or paper can be made into a scroll so that it looks like a Megillah 
Sylvia Rouss' Retelling of the Purim Story for Young Children
The Book of Esther For Young Children

2. Review what is means by the word “adjective.” Select a short scene from the story and have students help identify the adjectives in it. Repeat having them find details in a specific scene which make the story more interesting.

3. Encourage students to write a brief narrative that includes a summary of the story of Purim to include details and adjectives which describe one or two main characters. How do they react to important events in the story?

4. Cluster the words “hero” and “villain.” What adjectives would they use to describe a hero? List these in the appropriate clusters. ---Which characters in the story of Purim would they consider heroic? Add these characters’ names to the appropriate cluster. Discuss what details from the story made them describe the characters in this way.

---Which characters would they consider to be villains? Add these characters’ names to the appropriate cluster. Discuss what details from the story made them describe the characters in this way?

Who Am I? Masquerade Party!

---Have students select a character from the Purim story and create their own unique masks to represent this person. Consider using JTeach's Purim Mask activity  to help you. Upon completion, have the students flip the mask over and list several adjectives and several details that describe their character and what he/she did.

---Who Am I? Have students put on their masks and one-by-one introduce themselves by giving one of the adjectives or details listed on the back of the mask as a clue. Encourage rest of the class to determine who the person is. (More “clues” can be given as necessary.)

---Bake Hamantaschen! What party is complete without something good to eat? Involve students in this simple classroom cooking activity with your favorite recipe or this “cheat” to make it easier. As they enjoy eating their Hamantaschen, go around the room and have each student provide an adjective to describe their gastronomic creation!


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

"Wanted" Posters
Working individually, in pairs, or small groups, have students pick a character from the Purim story and create a “Wanted” poster. (Explain that “Wanted” posters were used in the past to help the police find people who did something wrong. However, their posters can also be used to help find people who did something good so that they can be thanked.)
---The student should draw a picture of the character in the top center of their paper.
---Underneath, the student can write a short explanation of what the character is wanted for doing (this can be something good or evil, depending upon the character).
---This narrative should include a physical description (adjectives) of the person and details of what happened in the story to support or reflect the student s’ analysis of the chosen character.
When the students are finished, allow time for each to present his/her work to the class. Display posters around the room or common areas of the school.

Parody Players:
To the tune of a favorite song, have them create lyrics to describe their “hero” and what he/she accomplished.

Music Connectionsmore

List of All Songs

Purim, Purim by Lisa Baydush



Group students by the Purim character they selected, and direct students to present the song, using the pictures they created to add a visual prompt when that character’s name is said.

Present the lyrics to the class. Identify the adjectives the songwriter chose. Do the students agree or disagree with the word choice?
Based on the heroes students selected in “After” Activity, group students accordingly.


Purim, Purim by Lisa Baydush

Lyrics (with suggested movements)
(each verse builds on the previous verses)


Purim (snap), Purim (stamp 2x),
Purim (slap legs 4x), Purim (clap 2x)! (repeat)
In (snap), this tale (stamp 2x),
this crazy mixed up tale, there was a nice Jewish girl named Esther who became Persia’s queen!  (twirl and curtsy)


…a foolish king, Ahashverosh, (twirl fingers in circles near ears)

…a banished wife named Vashti, (hand to forehead, look up at ceiling dramatically in an annoyed way)

…a wicked advisor, Haman, (hands behind back, lean forward menacingly, make meanest face)

…a proud Jewish guy named Mordechai, (hands on hips, shoulders back proudly, smile)

…plots and intrigues all around (make mask with fingers over eyes)

Evidence of Learningmore

  • Students will be able to retell the story of Purim.
  • Students will be able to describe the characteristics of heroes and villains and identify Purim’s heroes and villains.
  • Students writing and discussion will reflect their ability to use adjectives and details.


This lesson provides a great segue for parents and/or grandparents to discuss their childhood heroes with their children. Encourage them to speak to their children about people they admired and why, with a discussion geared towards the character traits that made their heroes particularly brave or noble.

literature connectionsmore

TitleAuthorIllustratorBook Summary
The Better Than Best Purim Naomi HowlandNaomi HowlandPurim is coming! It’s time for the little old lady to bake better-than-best hamantashen. But when she asks her pets to help, they’re all too busy. What could they be up to? Soon the little old lady will find out! Author-illustrator Naomi Howland’s bright artwork perfectly illustrates this sweet Purim tale.
The Purim Superhero Elizabeth KushnerMike ByrneNate loves aliens and he really wants to wear an alien costume for Purim, but his friends are all dressing as superheroes and he wants to fit in. What will he do? With the help of his two dads he makes a surprising decision.
The Queen Who Saved Her People Tilda BalsleyIlene RichardThe story of Megillat Esther, with captivating illustrations, rhyming verse and simplified language to help students share and understand the story of Purim.
Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale Barbara GoldinJames ZollarsPurim is approaching and Hershel, the only blind boy in the village, wishes he could help his mother prepare hamantashen for the holiday. If only I could see, he thinks, I could help my mother more. That night, Hershel dreams of a winged angel descending a sparkling ladder. She says, "Make what you see. You see when you close your eyes. You see in your dreams." With new courage, Hershel learns to trust his dream and creates something more beautiful than anyone in the whole village can imagine.
On Purim Fishman, Cathy GoldmanMelanie W. HallOne of the best of the books on holidays created by Fishman and Hall, this combines evocative illustrations with a narrative that is sensitive to the paradoxes of a holiday in which God's name is never mentioned.
* PJ library Books
Lesson Contributors

Lauren Davis, Beth Am Day School, Miami, Florida