Welcome to the coloured glass classroom! We hope to provide you with lots of creative ideas and resource links to help you engage the young people in your religious and Christian education classes. This blog is sponsored by the Anglican Schools Commission of the Anglican Church Southern Queensland.

7 December 2017

Learning about the Stolen Generations



A new Stolen Generations interactive website has been launched. It provides resources to help people learn about the story of the Stolen Generations. It includes interactive maps and the testimonies of witnesses. 

Of particular interest to religious educators is the section with teaching resources linked to the National Curriculum. There is also a large list of additional resources worth exploring in this section.

16 November 2017

What did the nativity smell like?

One way of helping students to engage with the text of the Bible is to get them use their imagination and senses.

A simple Y Chart can be helpful for this.




Provide students with a copy of the infancy narrative from Luke 2.1-21. As they read it have them fill out a y chart. The headings: feels like, sounds like, looks like, might be used to help students explore the mood and details of the events expressed in the text. Alternatively looks like, smells like, sounds like could also be used. Encourage students to use their imagination and to think about the sights, sounds and smell they would experience if they were there.


An alternate way of exploring the infancy narratives would be to bring some things into the classroom to touch and smell such as hay and lambs wool. 

2 November 2017

A Very Angry Christmas Quiz Part 2



As a follow up to "A Very Angry Christmas Quiz" checkout this video "Retooning the Nativity" which highlights the differences between the traditional popular nativity scene and what we find in scripture. I always make sure I say to children that it doesn't matter if there were three wise men or more. It doesn't matter that we flesh out the story a bit in our imagination. The important thing is to go to the heart of  what it is about: Emmanuel - God with us.

26 October 2017

A very angry Christmas quiz


It is that time of year when I begin to post Christmas resources. This is one of my favourites.

This quiz has circulated around the internet for a long time. I have used it with a variety of age groups. I have often found that students get a bit angry and incredulous when the answers are revealed. They find it outrageous that the 'facts' they know about the Christmas story don't really appear in the Bible but are the result of tradition. In fact while many of the things we have added in tradition may be reasonable assumptions this quiz is a good reminder to us all at Christmas to go back to the source of the nativity stories. Children can find this quiz confronting and I have even had students say to me: Do you even read the Bible?!?!

This is a great opportunity to get students interested in reading the nativity narratives and looking at the closely. Have fun and be prepared for the wrath of your students.

The Questions

1. How many wise men were there?
a. 3
b. 4
c. The Bible does not say.

2. Did Joseph meet the wise men?
a. Yes
b. No
c. The Bible does not say.

3. What animal did Mary ride to Bethlehem?
a. Donkey
b. Small horse
c. Llama
d. The Bible does not say
.
4. The Holy Family named the child "Jesus" because:
a. An Angel told Mary to use the name.
b. An Angel told Joseph to use the name.
c. All of the above.
d. None of the above.

5. What type of building was Jesus born in?
a. Stable
b. Cave
c. Inn
d. The Bible does not say.

6. What animals were present at the Nativity?
a. Cattle
b. Sheep
c. Doves
d. All of the above
e. The Bible does not say.

7. Who besides the wise men saw the star?
a. The shepherds
b. King Herod's astrologers
c. The Bible does not say.

8. How did the star compare in brightness with the other stars?
a. Brighter
b. Equivalent
c. A faint glow over the horizon.
d. The Bible does not say.

9. How soon after Joseph and Mary reached Bethlehem was Jesus born?
a. Within minutes.
b. That night
c. The Bible does not say.

The Answers

1. How many wise men were there?
c. The Bible does not say.

Although tradition suggests there were three wisemen, as in the carol "We Three Kings of Orient Are," the Bible actually does not give the number of Magi. Go to Biblical account of the Magi in Matthew).

2. Did Joseph meet the wise men?
c. The Bible does not say.

Matthew writes that the magi found the Child with Mary, but makes no mention of Joseph. Matthew 2:9-11. Of course, as a good parent, we would probably expect Joseph to have been there.'

3. What animal did Mary ride to Bethlehem?
d. The Bible does not say.

Although it would be a long walk for a pregnant woman from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the Bible does not mention what animal, if any, Mary rode. Luke 2:4-6

4. The Holy Family named the child "Jesus" because:
c. All of the above.

In Luke, the Angel Gabriel tells Mary to use the name "Jesus." Luke 1:30-31 . In Matthew, an angel tells Joseph to use the name. Matthew 1:20-21

5. What type of building was Jesus born in?
d. The Bible does not say.

Although Luke tells us that the baby was placed in a manger, there is no mention of where the manger was located. Luke 2:6-8

6. What animals were present at the Nativity?
e. The Bible does not say.

Despite the line in Away in a Manger that "the cattle were lowing, the poor baby wakes," there is no mention of which animals were present at the Nativity. Luke 2:6-8

7. Who besides the wise men saw the star?
c. The Bible does not say.

Check Matthew's account.

8. How did the star compare in brightness with the other stars?
d. The Bible does not say.

Check Matthew's account.

9. How soon after Joseph and Mary reached Bethlehem was Jesus born?

c. The Bible does not say.

Although every Sunday school Christmas pageant has Mary deliver a baby moments after Mary and Joseph are turned away from the inn, the Bible does not specify a time period. Check Luke's account.

19 October 2017

Religious Short Film Prize


Applications are now open for the Religious Short Film Prize run by the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. The prize is $5000.

This is a great opportunity for Christian schools to encourage their media students to show case their skills and at the same time explore religion and spirituality.

See last years winning entry below


12 October 2017

Diaries of Reflection


Diaries of reflection are a regular opportunity for students to acquire and practise the skill of quiet reflection with others and focus on some of the deeper spiritual and moral aspects of human life.

In an established atmosphere of disciplined quietness, the students are presented with four unfinished sentences.  By reflecting on them and completing them, it is hoped that they will become more alert and aware of their own insights, values and beliefs.

Stilling is an art and a skill that requires practise. 
As an art, it can be an experience of worship.  It is worship through:
  • shared silence
  • an orderly approach to a focussed and shared activity
  • reflection on some of the things which are of the greatest worth in our experience of what it means to be human.

This non-threatening approach to worship has deliberate connections to Christian worship that may not at the first instant be obvious. 
They include:
  • Thankfulness for the blessings of life (praise)                 
  • sorrow and regret for the way we often mess it up( penitence)
  • Concern for those in need (intercession)                                 
  • Commitment of self and the community to uphold good values (dedication)                                                                                                    

Diaries of Reflection must be used only when they are taken seriously, and the following points are followed faithfully.

Diaries of reflection seem to be most effective when:
  • Writing the diaries is a regular, disciplined exercise.
  • The statements or on the board before the students enter the room . . . or
  • The statements are dictated, reflected upon and written in silence.
  • From time to time, teachers feel free to substitute their own topical or other ideas for reflection, responding the moment or context for that day.Confidentiality is respected, and no pupil’s reflections are read beyond themselves, UNLESS permission is given.
  • Students cover their diaries attractively with their own choice of cover.
  • The diaries are known to be valued and stored securely by the teacher and no unauthorised access is possible.
Here are some examples of starter sentences:
  • If I was to thank any one today it would be . . . for his/her . . .
  • I think people say “I don’t care” because
  • The biggest differences between someone in their 80’s and me is . . .
  • Some of the people who are most different to me are . . .
  • I think that the worst kind of evil is . . .
  • One charity I would always like to support is . . . because . . .
  • I think every one should be more responsible about . . .
  • The best thing I have given away was . . .
  • The best gift I have ever received was

Originally Contributed by Richard Browning

5 October 2017

What is the Bible anyway?


The Bible Project is an amazing Youtube channel with short videos exploring the books of the Bible including their structure and  literary themes. The grand narrative of the Bible is also explored along with thematic elements. This one below is called: What is the Bible?