I made this xtranormal video for my middle school grades. It's a flipped class assignment for their weekly Parshat Hashavuah task, which is teaching the parsha via 2D cartoons on www.toondoo.com. A bit of humour, some creativity, and specific directives - you can get great results this way...
One of the things I noticed when I started teaching in middle school was how a number of schools taught Kabbalat Shabbat, in a manner that in no way resembled the real thing. From personal experience, Friday night and Kabbalat Shabbat is the high point of any davening during the week. You've made it through another week, you get to shul, see old friends, and plug into this wonderful tfillah that is part joy and part exhaustion - in fact, falling asleep during Lcha Dodi is a common occurred for this blogger.
Here's what you will often see in a school. Siddurim come out. A perfunctory Lcha Dodi is sung, maybe a stanza from Shalom Aleichem, students sit in their individual desks, and sliced challah is passed around to suddenly ravenous students, like rice off of the back of a UN supply truck in a war-torn refugee camp. Then it's recess. No feel, no depth to it.
I may be still learning how to be an effective teacher, but I did put in place what I think is a winning formula for how to do Shabbat and Kabbalat Shabbat in a community day school, in as authentic a fashion as possible. So much so that my students will claim that their Kabbalat Shabbat time on Friday is their best part of the week! Remember, characteristics of Authentic Learning Activities are that they have real-world relevance, are collaborative, and value laden (among others).
A note of caution - doing this right takes time, students need to learn the routine. Here's my formula:
Shabbos candles (everyone, boys and girls, light candles and make the bracha) + Shabbos tish (all class tables come together to form one long table, with students facing each other) + Tfillot / Zmirot (the high points of Kabbalat Shabbat, Arvit and Shalom Aleichem, accompanied by niggunim AND vigorous hand drumming) + Kiddush (all students hold their dixie cups the chassideshe way and say kiddush) + washing stations and hamotzi (silence, bracha, and challah is torn and tossed to students) + divrei torah (students share something they learned about the parsha or something they learned in Judaics over the course of the week) + birkat hamazon = Authentic Kabbalat Shabbat Experience, one your students will look forward to every week.
Total time: 40 - 45 minutes, or one full period. For the record, for tfilla, we do Yedid Nefesh, Lchu N'ranenah, Lcha Dodi, VeShamru and then Shalom Aleichem.
Try it with your students, let me know what type of reaction you get!