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.

20 November 2018

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Sometimes all you need is a really beautiful picture book to make any lesson a huge success. Picture books, lift the flap books and pop up books can enchant and inspire. If you have left your Christmas book shopping a little late – don’t worry. Pop down to Koorong and see what they have available.

Here are some of my favourites.

The Fantastic Christmas Stable opens up to create a delightful 3D play scene, complete with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, angels, shepherds, Wise men and animals!

There are plenty of interactive books to choose from, so fill your classroom with these colourful books and spread the Good News!

If you have time to share these stories and activities with your students, you are going to allow them to explore the Christmas story in a creative and engaging way.

If you want some ideas for teaching students about Christmas Gifts, remember to have a look at our other blog, A Few Smallish Fish.

12 November 2018

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem

There are so many fabulous videos that you can watch with your students this Christmas time but here are a few that are a little different! Thank you to St Paul's Church in Auckland. These videos are truly magical!

Some children can't imagine that Bethlehem is a real place. Try watching this video and discussing the key themes that are introduced. It might spark a discussion about the current issues in the Middle East as well as questions of peace now and then! This is for older students!

If you are interested in responding to Christmas using drama and role playing in your classroom, this might be just the inspiration you need!

While you are in this Christmas mood, the creative and generous Chaplain Steph from Churchie shared this favourite song. It might be just the song you are looking for this Festive Season!

And for the younger students, a lovely story book with rhyme and rhythm so that the students can read along with the story!

Enjoy the end of the school year with your students as you share the Good News!

3 November 2018

The True Meaning of Christmas

It is November, so I confess. I have started watching Christmas movies on Netflix already!

As Term 4 is such a short term, teachers will need to start showing Christmas movies at school too or you won’t have time to see all the great videos that are available.

For slightly older primary students, make sure you take time to enjoy Superbook – The First Christmas. It is a rather modern take on an ancient story! It explores the true meaning of Christmas.

There are lots of themes to explore, from selfishness to sacrifice, from cruelty to compassion and from bravery to blessings. Students will be captivated by the 'super book' super hero character and the modern perspective on an ancient story. 

Perhaps explore the concept of 'change' during your reflection time. 

How did the characters change in the story? 
How has the birth of Jesus changed history? 
How can celebrating Christmas change our lives? 
Has the way we celebrate Christmas changed over time? 
Should we change the way we celebrate Christmas? 
Why would this story change the hearts of people who hear it?

Enjoy your Christmas movie time with your students. Remember that students, like us, enjoy seeing movies more than once, so do not worry if they say they have seen a movie before. Watching certain movies can become a part of your Christmas tradition with your students.

Merry Christmas!

28 October 2018

Who was the first person to design and print a Christmas Card?

Quizzes are such a powerful way to engage your students.
Don't forget to have a glance through all the Christmas resources on the Request.org.uk website.
There are many fabulous resources for all ages including a Christmas Quest.

You will also find a range of videos for different lessons and ages on the same website.

You might also like to try The Christmas Bible Quiz from What Christians Want to Know. It has great questions and all the answers too!

Perhaps make class sets of quizzes and laminate them to use with all your classes. Some students may wish to develop their own quizzes. Prizes for winners might include Christmas decorations!

If you want to do some online quizzes, then remember to use Garden of Praise. Click on Children's Bible Lessons.  Choose the appropriate story. Read the story and then do the online quiz. It will be marked immediately and the students will get their results. It is great fun.

Try Garden of Praise - Mary the Mother of Jesus. Read the story and then let your students complete the online quiz and other activities.

Students tend to really enjoy doing the online activities collaboratively. I think the Online Word Scramble is fabulous for fostering better Bible literacy and encouraging the students to look at the Bible stories more closely. See what your students think.

For younger students, try The Big Christmas Quiz. It is great fun! I think this would work best on you IWB with the whole class enjoying the fun. Maybe divide the class in to teams to play?

Let the fun and games begin! 

23 October 2018

Who is Santa Claus?

Now this is a tricky question for all teachers in Term 4!

How you answer this will depend on the age of your students. Tread carefully. If you need a hand, try using the resources from ‘What’s in the Bible?’

There are lots of great resources and funny videos to use with students of all ages!

Maybe use this video as way to introduce The True Story of Christmas.

Your students are sure to have many questions, such as , 'Why do we call it Christmas?' or 'Why do we have Christmas Trees?'

These and many more questions can be answered by watching episodes from What's in the Bible? You can buy the entire collection from Koorong!

18 October 2018

Christmas - Carols and Creativity

What place can actually claim to have shaped the modern spirit of Christmas?

According to Kendall Hall, who wrote the article, ‘Enduring spirit of a Christmas Carol’, published in the Weekend Australian 22-23 September, Oberndorf may be just the place. This small Austrian village just north of Salzburg is famous for being the home of Silent Night!

“In 1818, Mohr, now a Roman Catholic curate in Oberndorf, visited his teacher friend Franz Gruber on Christmas Eve. He brought with him a six-verse poem he’d written; he wanted Gruber’s help setting it to music for that evening’s Midnight Mass. After the endless winter, his parish needed a pick-me-up. A cause for hope.’

Now, to set the scene a tad more fully – things were not going well for the village or the priest. It was freezing cold and church organ was broken! 1816 was the ‘Year Without Summer’! ‘The cataclysmic eruption of Indonesia’s Tambora volcano cast a dense pall of fog over half the world for 18 months! Crops failed, citizens rioted, typhus and cholera raged, many starved or froze to death.’

Silent Night has been a part of history and tradition since 1818. It is the carol that the soldiers sang during the Christmas Truce of 1914. Churchill and Roosevelt sang it in the White House Gardens in 1941 and the song itself is on the UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Perhaps you could look at the history and meaning of this famous Christmas Carol with your students.

Ideas to follow up might include encouraging your students to write their own poem or carol, find Austria on the world map and look at how Christmas is celebrated in other countries, or create some art work to go with this famous Carol.

You may even wish to explore resilience, problem solving or creativity. The lessons you could create based on Silent Night are endless!

15 October 2018

Was Jesus a Real Person?

If you are teaching students about Christmas, you may be asked whether Jesus was in fact a real person.
In case you need a little help with this question, you may wish to refer to the excellent Be Thinking website.

Be Thinking is a helpful website and certainly worth considering as a resource for older students. There are many articles and resources about the 'big questions' of faith.