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.

17 April 2013

Children's Story Books - Exploring Concepts

When this blog first began one of the first things written about was the use of children's story books as an entry point to talking about God with primary aged children. In that post I mentioned the Children's Literature: A Resource for Ministry website that links children's books with the readings from the lectionary.  Each week a children’s story book is reviewed which include a summary, key literary elements explored, a link to scripture and theological ideas and a list of faith talk questions. The book is also categorised according to age, themes and biblical links. This is an excellent site.

Another great site coming from a slightly different angle is Teaching Children Philosophy. 

This site also uses children's books but this time to explore philosophical concepts - many of which are highly relevant to the study of religion and Christianity. There are well over a hundred books with a brief module attached including a summary with guidelines and questions  for philosophical discussion.

Both these sites are great places to begin exploring how to have faith and philosophy conversations with students.

2 April 2013

Icon Prompt

Strand(s):  Ethics and Values

Year level: Middle School, Senior School

Phase: Any

Time: n/a

Summary: A method for engaging students in debatable topics by focussing on a few key elements.

The Icon Prompt (Innovative Teachers’ Companion: Secondary Edition 2012, page 228, or see www.itcpublications.com.au ) is ideal for helping students explore topics that may be controversial. In particular it would be useful in units exploring ethics or values. The main benefit of this strategy is to assist students to see beyond the superficial elements involved in the topic.

Examples of topics in the Religious/Christian education classroom could include:
  • Banning sportspeople who display bad behaviour
  • Preventing religious activities from occurring in State Schools
  • Taxing people who are overweight to cover medical costs
  • Banning the wearing of Islamic headdress for women in public

An Icon Prompt involves answering four questions. These can be placed in a box divided in four. The Icon Prompt is named because each question has its own picture.

Smiley Face: Who stands to gain? (Who is happy with the current situation?)
Sad Face: Who stands to lose? (Who is unhappy with the current situation?)
Dollar Sign: What are the financial issues? (How much will it cost? Who will pay?)
Question Mark: What are the unanswered questions and issues? (Are there any other issues linked to this topic?)

As suggested by the Innovative Teachers’ Companion ( Secondary Edition 2012, page 228, or see www.itcpublications.com.au ) A fifth icon  of a heart can be added to represent “How does this affect me?”