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.

30 May 2012

RE Online

REonline is a portal site that seeks to provide information and resources to those involved in religious education in England.

It has information and resources for a variety of age groups on a range of different religions including Christianity. There are lesson plans and other resources for topics such as baptism and worship. Actually there are far too many resources on this site to begin describing them in this blog. The best thing to do is go there and check it out.

The site is easy to navigate and despite being based around an English context has plenty of ideas and resources that can be adapted to RE in Australia.

14 May 2012


Strand(s):  n/a
Year level: Middle school,Senior School
Phase: Synthesise
Time: 1  lessons
Summary:  A way of helping students see and vocalise what they have learnt.

The following is a thinking tool called "bunching". It is best used at the end of a course to facilitate the synthesis of knowledge and encourage students to vocalise and consolidate their learning. Bunching is one way to help students think reflectively as they look back and over their work.

Towards the end of the semester's work on Year Ten ethics, the students word-stormed all the key concepts that had been an important part of the course/

Trust, power, consequences, Nietzsche, balance, responsibility, individual, collective, fair respect, challenge, conscience, situation, punishment, honesty, decide, learn, communicate, compromise, choice, free will, integrity, learn, ethic, morality, reason/reasoning, character, act, knowledge, reason, justification, punishment, justice, compassion, wrong, right, should, ought, natural law, utilitarian.

The students were instructed to 'bring an object' to the next class. Any object? Yes. There was a key, a shoe, a half eaten sandwich, a flower and many other things. These objects were placed in the bunching circle along with the words above. The entire class sat in a circle around them.

Instructions: Pick three or more things from the table. String them together with a few sentences and help us all to see how they might be connected. 

The following are real student examples. They are not earth shattering. But what is important is that they are the manifestation of a students thinking at the end of a course..

Bunch 1 (words: respect, act, consequence. Object: flower)
"When you  respect nature it mean you must act. Every action has consequences. We must act to help things grow and be sustainable.

Bunch 2 (words: balance, individual, collective)
"There must be a balance between the needs of the individual and the collective. One cannot be emphasised at the expense of the other."

As the bunches accumulate and student confidence grows, the students build on each others word and provoke each other further.

Bunching is a way for students to voice what they think and how they see, making both visible to others.

Contributed by Rev Richard Browning

1 May 2012

Religious Education with Girls

Strand(s): Values, The Affective
Year Level: Middle School and Senior Secondary
Phase: Introductory, and others as appropriate
Time: varies
Summary: what is it all about with girls? Relationship!

I grew up as a happy product of the state education system in Queensland, my first teaching years were spent in the state education system and I began my foray into the Anglican Schools network at a co-ed school. This provided a great background for many aspects of teaching. However, when I first started at a girls-only secondary school, I was completely unprepared for the phenomenon where girls in a girls’ school so completely “own the zone”. Perhaps it exists in just that one lovely school, but I hazard a guess that it exists wherever girls are encouraged to be themselves and to respond freely to challenge and are supported in that process. From beginning to end, this was all about relationship.
Creating genuine relationships with girls in any sort of ministry requires a high degree of honesty and openness, admission of vulnerability and personal sharing. Teaching Religious Education in a girls’ school offers abundant opportunity for developing ongoing positive relationships with students. My experience in those first few weeks as I settled into this new planet showed that girls were amazingly open to discussion and to my initial horror, personal disclosure!!  It was all about the relationship with those teenage girls. They were unrelenting in their need to know about me. I was in their Religious Education classroom, the new teacher on the block, and they wanted to know who I was. In our question sessions, they wanted to know my thoughts on creation, evolution, sexuality, promiscuity, divorce, trouble with parents, trouble with friends, theology!
I was delighted by the relationship building opportunities, but I also realised the need for balance in the relationship between staff and student. Taking this slowly seemed the best idea and so I found several ways of sharing personal stories that allowed me to go slow with the relationship building, get an idea of the culture of the school and the personalities of the individual students in the room. The aim is to honour the need for connection while keeping the distance needed for professionalism.
Some examples:
  • Use storytime with a twist: Work up some personal stories that illustrate a point. Make sure these are stories you are happy to share, and spend time imagining your responses to the most unexpected questions – they will come.
  • Consider bringing in some personal photos from your youth – the worse the fashion, the better for building relationships. Spend time thinking about the event depicted, what you wore, the names of people also in the picture, and what they are doing now. “I was sorting through photos on the weekend and thought you’d get a giggle out of ...”   Ultimately the point of this exercise is to prove that life goes on: Your best friend (the one in the purple jumpsuit in that photo) moved over to Germany to study but you are still close and visit whenever possible, and she, by the way was the one who invented the "tim-tam-slam".
  • Remember phrases your parents used over and over again. “Not dressed like that you don’t!” “Be home by ten or heads will roll!” (or was that only MY parents?) Challenge everyone to come up with 3 of their parents’ faves and offer yours too.
  • Bring a favourite book from your younger days and share snippets each lesson. It doesn’t really matter what the book is, just as long as it resonated with you. Be prepared to discuss why it meant something to you then, and why you still think of it today.