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.

3 June 2019

Chuck Knows Church - Pentecost and More!

There are lots of great resources to help you with this story. Here are a just a few!
I adore Chuck!

Gracelink is perfect for little people!

And there is always The Bible Project for the older students!

For a fabulous idea for Assembly - try the Barnabas in Schools website.

17 May 2019

Shoo Grumpers Shoo

1 Thessalonians 5:16 Always be joyful.

Looking for a fresh look for your lessons? Remember that you can use a whole range of wonderful story books to teach Religious Education. Bible stories are fabulous – but do have a wander through your library for other sources of inspiration.

There are so many wonderful picture books to help you teach inspiring and engaging lessons. Imagine you want to teach your class about “joy”. Perhaps you are working on the Fruit of the Spirit? The picture book, Shoo Grumpers Shoo, by the incredibly talented Josh Lawson, is a delightful romp through the daily dramas of a little one who is having a bad day. Filled with lots of good advice, this is a book that you could use for a fun lesson about how to be joyful. Ask your students what they do when they are having a bad day or feel grumpy. Talk about strategies for maintaining a positive and joyful attitude.
Focus on the Family have some lesson ideas for the Fruit of the Spirit. Have a look at “What is Joy?” 

Children’s Ministry has a great lesson idea, featuring a basketball and a tennis ball! 
Here is a part of their lesson.
  • What happens when you’re in a rotten mood at home? 
Say: Pretend this basketball is you in a really bad mood. And this tennis ball is your friend who’s in a fine mood. But then your friend starts hanging around with you.
Take the two balls and hold them with the tennis ball on top of the basketball, putting one hand under the basketball and the other hand on top of the tennis ball. Release them simultaneously. When dropped at the same time, the tennis ball should bounce off the basketball and fly into the air.
  • How was what happened to the tennis ball like or unlike what happens when you spread a good or bad mood? 
Say: In our experiment, the energy from the basketball transferred to the tennis ball. This is just like your attitude. The longer people hang around you, the more your attitude transfers to them.
  • What happens to others around you when you have a good attitude?
  • Tell about a time you were a positive influence on the people around you.
 While you are thinking about using story books for your lessons, don’t forget to have a look at StorypathThis is an amazing website for all teachers.
I just opened up Storypath this morning and the first book I saw today was The Pout Pout Fish and the Bully Bully Shark. It would also fit in with a lesson on the Fruit of the Spirit. Storypath provides you with a way to link the story to theology. In this case, it explores ideas about children being created in the image of God and issues of injustice. There are also questions with every book.

Faith Talk Questions:
  1. How does this book illustrate the difference between what is good behaviour and what is bad behaviour toward another person?
  2. What does the Bible tell us about being a bully?
  3. Does the Bible demonstrate for us how to stand up to injustice? In what ways?
Just for fun – here are some hilarious videos that go with the Pout Pout Fish.

 Linking literature to the Lectionary will give you so many amazing ideas. Be creative and enjoy exploring the Word through stories.

7 May 2019

Creative Colouring as part of the Curriculum.

Silence and Stillness form a fabulous part of the Religious Education Curriculum in Anglican schools. Teaching your students about prayer and meditation can lead to all sorts of meaningful experiential learning. I have always loved Praying in Colour. This is a great way to work with students.
There are now plenty of colouring books you can use in class and you can buy them from Koorong and the St John's Cathedral shop.

I bought 3 books this morning and would recommend you consider having a look at these. They have a great introduction, explaining the benefits of allowing ourselves to calm down with God. I know a few students - and teachers - that would so appreciate the chance to quietly focus on God and sit in His presence. The books suggest that the colouring gives us a chance to 'pause and let go'. Use these books with your students in class or in Prayer Spaces.

The first book is Spiritual Wisdom and Divine Light. This could be used as part of a unit on 'Light'. I was in St John's Cathedral this morning as the sunlight streamed in through the stained glass windows and lit the altar in a glowing rainbow. It was stunning. 

The second book is Thankfulness. 
"Thankfulness is the quickest path to joy."  Jefferson Bethke.
Each page has a quote and it can be so worthwhile to develop a unit on gratitude with your students and this would be a great resource. You could examine a quote each day.

The third book is Praising God with St Francis. In this book there is a short introduction to St Francis, but there are plenty of great books about St Francis you could read to your class. 

This is a great book to read to your class.

Enjoy some peace and colour!

1 April 2019

Christian Character

What determines your character?

Here is a great video to help you explore character with your students. It looks at the science, but you can bring in the theology that sits alongside the concepts. The video discusses 24 character strengths and how focusing on our strengths can lead to a happy, successful and meaningful life. Challenge your students to think about spiritual ideas or faith and how our beliefs contribute to our happiness.

"The Science of Character - The Future Starts Here"

Reflect on the teachings of Buddha, Socrates, Aristotle and Plato - and see what your students think. As Maria Montessori says, "Character Education is just as important as reading, math and science."

If you are interested in developing character education with your students, why not look at the extraordinary work coming out of Scotland. Have a look at Inspiring Purpose.

There are excellent lessons in the teacher manual and great resources in the student guides. This is worth looking at! Everything you need is on the website! If you teach at an IB  or PYP school, these ideas will align so well with your Learner Profile. 
Take these ideas and with your Anglican lens look at how these character strengths align with the teachings of Jesus or concepts surrounding the character of God. This could support your Religious Education in so many ways!

19 March 2019

Let me see your personalised handshake!

So you want to teach your class about generous hospitality!
Well, you might like to start with explaining how important it is to welcome people in to you home, your class and your school.
A super fun way to focus on welcoming students is to develop your own handshake with each student. This might be tricky if you teach more than one class! Imagine a whole lesson where students develop handshakes.
If you do this, why not film it?

You can introduce the Jewish tradition of welcoming as well.

This is a great way to lead in to a unit on Generous Hospitality in the Old Testament.
Have fun!

11 March 2019

Generous Hospitality Jewish Style

It is that time of Term One when many teachers are looking for ways to engage students in the Biblical story of Easter.
Why not start with a bit of the back story first? As a part of our Easter story of The Last Supper, we really need to understand Passover first.

Enter my favourite Guide on the Side or Sage on the Stage, the hilarious Mayim Bialik  and her great video on Passover. (Older students for this one! Watch it first and see what you think!)

Don’t forget to check out other videos by Mayim Bialik. (She has really thought provoking videos that are wonderful for students. It is great that she is a neuroscientist in real life too - as this adds a little weight to her comments!)

Why not try linking the Archbishop’s Theme of Generous Hospitality to your studies on Judaism?

Here is a quirky but great little video to get you started. This one is for the little people but it is super cute!

May you offer warm and generous hospitality today!

26 February 2019

102 Doses of Inspiration

Probably the most common request I get for help is from people who need resources.

A colleague recently heard Glen Gerreyn speak at her son’s school. She showed me his books – and I thought – wow – we could use his books in our schools.
Why not try “Oxygen 102 Doses of Inspiration” by Glen Gerreyn. You can google Glen and even listen to him preaching at a range of churches.
Glen encourages people to memorise Jeremiah 29:11 -  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

To help our students prosper, Glen has created this wonderful work book that I think could be used by religious educators. It is a powerful resource!
Each chapter has a quote or a Bible verse, some information and then a challenge for the reader.

There are 102 chapters. Enough for one a week for at least 2 school years!
Topics include:
Good vs. Great
Handling Criticism

In our year of Generous Hospitality, let me tell you a little about the chapter on Generosity.
It opens with a quote.
“I have found that among other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” Maya Angelou.

The author then tells a story about World Vision – and I know that many of our schools sponsor children through World Vision.
This chapter includes Your Generosity Challenge. It offers some suggestions, and there is a space to write your Daily Deliveries of Generosity.

This book might teach your students how to be intentional in choosing to flourish and live a positive life full of hope, courage and power.

As Glen writes in Inspiration #75 – “Life is short. If we live to 85, we will have just over 30 000 days on this planet. If you are 16, you have already used up 5840 days.
If you are 20, you have about 22700 days left before your 85 birthday. Spend your time on the planet doing what you love. Make every moment count. Life has no guarantees so why not love what you do each and every day.”
As a teacher, if you have this book on your desk, you have 102 lessons ready to go and 102 ways to inspire your students.

Maybe show this great video as a way to introduce your lesson on Generosity. I think this could appeal to any age group! Even I like it - and I am super old!!

Have you been 'generoused' today?