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.

19 September 2012

Hollywood Jesus

The use of popular culture as a way of engaging students in religious education is on the increase. It is a proven strategy  to heighten student ownership and engagement. Movies have become the dominant form of story telling of our age and many films are replete with spiritual and religious imagery and themes that are worth exploring. 

The Hollywood Jesus site gives a teacher all the fodder they need to use examples from movies, TV and comics in their teaching.

10 September 2012

The Bible - Drama in Six Acts

Strand(s):  The Bible and Theology

Year level: Upper Primary, Middle School, Senior School

Phase: n/a

Time: n/a

Summary: A way of helping students to grasp the overarching Biblical narrative.

In recent years there has been an increase in the number of resources that focus on teaching the overarching narrative of the Bible, as opposed to focussing in on smaller sections of the story. This may be due to dwindling time that churches and religious educators get with young people. Either way it is very helpful to gain an understanding of the big picture of the Bible.

One way of exploring the Bible as narrative is by considering it  as a drama in six acts. Using this method the story might look something like this.

Act 1 - Creation

In this act the drama is opened, the scene is set and the actors are introduced. We are witness to creation, Adam and Eve, and the perfection of God's world. This act is covered by Genesis 1-2. This is a short act, but important in understanding the rest of the story. There is more in this act than first meets the eye.

Act 2 - The Fall

Things go wrong in this act and the relationships between people and God and creation are damaged and disrupted. From this point on much of the narrative is about the consequences of human sin and God's work to restore relationship. Genesis 3 - 11 covers this section.

Act 3 - Covenant and Israel

In this act we see the beginning of God's action to restore relationship with people, how this evolves and humanity's continued sin, disobedience and failure. This is by far the largest act and includes the entire Old Testament from Genesis 12 through to the book of Malachi. 

Act 4 - Jesus

With the coming of Jesus, the drama, after a long and twisted path, introduces the one who will bring resolution to the conflict and tension that emerged at the Fall. This act is covered by the four Gospels.

Acts 5 - The Church

In Act 5 we have an opening scene which provides us with a picture of the early church and then the Biblical narrative stops. The Book of Acts and the Epistles provide us with the script for section.

Acts 6 - Eschaton / The End

The final act in the Book of Revelation reveals to us how all things will come to their conclusion.

There are many ways that religious educators might use this model to explore the Bible with students.Here are a few:

1. Explore each "act" with the class to help them understand the whole "drama:

The following books are useful resources for this task. They both use creative and innovative ways of approaching the topic. The one by Jenny Baker doesn't use the drama in six acts division but a similar twelve part one.

Through the Bible in Twelve Weeks - Jenny Baker
Enter the Story - Mike Novelli 

2. Create and play with a  drama act/timeline

Using pictures and/or words create signs that designate the six different acts. Spread them out in order across the ground. Have students write the name of a story and character they know from anywhere in the Bible on two pieces of the paper. Get students to place their pieces of paper where they think they go on the timeline. Some work might need to be done is helping them do this or it could be used as a culminating activity. Alternatively the timeline could be a permanent part of the class. As student learn about parts of the story they can add things where they belong.

3. Help student understand that they are part of the story

Act 5 is mostly empty. We have the first bit and we know what has happened since the end of Acts, but the story continues and we are in it. Thinking this way can help students understand how they are part of the story and what role they might play in it.