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.

28 October 2011

Values and Ethics in World Religions

Topic:  World religions / morality / codes of behaviour
Year Level: could be adapted for upper primary, middle school and senior
Phase: Introductory
Duration: between 30minutes and 80 minutes (depends on the research phase)

Often students need to be in the control-seat in order to engage with a topic.
Use the Jigsaw (Innovative Teachers’ Companion:  Primary Edition 2012, page 104, or see www.itcpublications.com.au ) in your RE classroom to respond to a challenge like the following:

Question: Right or wrong?
Compare and contrast different ideas of morality in human societies. 
Design a new set of commandments, taking into account the teachings of the world’s major religions.

Step 1:  form “home groups” of 4 and allocate a number for each participant.

Step 2:  introduce the challenge:
Design a new set of Commandments, drawing on the teachings of 4 of the world’s religions.

Step 3: each member of the Home group goes to their expert group (numbered 1,2,3 or 4)
Expert teams would look like this:

1.      Explore Christianity’s teachings on morality
2.      Explore Islam’s teaching on morality
3.      Explore Budda’s teaching on morality
4.      Explore Hinduism’s teaching on morality

Step 4:  Research the topic within your expert groups: organise a range of materials for each workstation beforehand. Depending on the complexity, the research phase could take between 10 minutes and 2 lessons.

Step 5: all “experts” return to their home groups, bringing their notes on their expert research. Report on their findings to the home group and contribute to producing the final list of “commandments”.

Following this:

Consider using a Publish:Circle:Refine process (Innovative Teachers’ Companion:  Primary Edition 2012, page 100, or see www.itcpublications.com.au) to avoid the need for “feedback”. Involve all students at once, have them publish their group’s work, circle the room to view others and return to their home group to refine their ideas.

27 October 2011

Five ways to add value to your RE classroom

Let’s face it, sometimes RE is the last lesson students think about with unabashed joy!

In our RE classroom, more so than the class rooms of other curriculum areas, relationship with students is paramount to drawing the best out of staff and students.
  • Start on time EVERY time – create the expectation that you need to make the most of every second available.
  • Start with a 5 minute session of brain gym or a trivia game with questions based on the last lesson. Make sure you have a small prize for the winner. That way, students who dawdle will know they’ve missed out on something special.
  • Plan the homework and get students to write it down early – part way through the lesson, not right at the end when it may get lost. We all feel better if we’re well organised and prepared, and have had time to clarify tasks. Perhaps have it written in a particular section of the board.
  • This means you can spend the last few minutes of the class time on relationship building games, taking questions about the content.  Make a regular session of the last 5 minutes of each class. Students can pack up and participate in a quiz re-cap of the topics covered, a role play, have a regular appearance from a “guest” puppet who asks students tricky questions, or to whom students can fire questions.
  • Engage with your students when you see them outside the classroom – whether it be playground duty or a school camp. Establish those relationships and take every opportunity to build on them, even small things count – sometimes if you smile at a student, it might be the only smile they get all day.