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.

26 September 2013

Tony Blair Faith Foundation

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation website is well worth having a look at. It would definitely be a useful resources when engaging students with the topic of world religions.

"The Tony Blair Faith Foundation provides leaders with the knowledge and analysis to understand the impact and complexity of religion in the world. We empower young people with the knowledge and skills to understand religion, opening their minds to respect and not fear difference, and to resist extremist voices. The Foundation works in some of the world’s toughest situations where we offer bold, practical and innovative solutions where there is real need."

There are at least three things that would be of great value to religious educators on this site:

1.  Faith Stories

"Faith Stories is a collection of personal stories of faith, friendship, conflict and dialogue from across the world. We’ve interviewed people from every continent, looking for honest and insightful reflections on people’s own faiths and their encounters with people of other religions."

This is a useful resource for helping students to engage with some of the issues that are occurring around the world for people of faith from a very personal perspective.

2. Face to Faith

"Face to Faith brings students of different religions and cultures together using digital technology to connect schools in 19 countries."

This is an amazing initiative using current technology to get students from around the world and from different faiths talking.

3. Face to Faith Learning Resources

"We think that it is very important to remember that, by giving students the opportunity to explore ideas of faith, belief and identity in a safe, supportive and open environment, where they learn to respectfully encounter others, teachers are giving them the skills that they need to protect their students from the voices of extremism later in life."

The Face to Faith program also provides learning resources for registered schools.

18 September 2013

Movie Making as Bible Engagement Part 2

Need a way to get students interacting with the Biblical text that is engaging both in terms of content and strategy?

Okay, we’ll get to that.  First off, have you seen that app that is gaining great popularity amongst phone users called Vine?  This app allows users to create a six or seven second video that can be uploaded to other suers of the app or through Twitter. 

People are using this app to make videos that are everything from comedy skits to social comments to fake trailers for films to ...whatever you can think of.  If you google “best Vines compilation” you’ll be able to watch numerous examples to get an idea.

The point for us as teachers is that the idea of a seven second video as an interesting way to communicate has now become accepted amongst secondary students.  So....

The next time you want students to engage with a story from the Bible why not have students:

  • Examine the Bible story and identify the “story beats” as a F&TV teacher would say. 

For instance, Noah’s Ark? 
a.    People are being pretty bad and God is upset
b.    God picks Noah  and gives him instructions
c.    Noah builds the ark and his neighbours pick on him
d.    Noah loads the animals into the ark
e.    Rain starts and the flood ensues
f.     The ark is safe for forty days
g.    Noah receives the message that land has appeared again
h.    God makes a promise to Noah
  • Divide your class into groups, one per story beat.
  • Have students create a ‘vine’ for their story beat.  It might be one that

a.    Captures the emotion of their part of the story, or
b.    Actually recreates their part of the story
  • Now re-read the story acting as a narrator and play each vine at the appropriate moment on the class data projector so that all can see.You can use the app to do this though you don’t need to if that would be a problem.  If it is then students can film with their normal phone cameras and message the video footage to you, or alternately, just plug each phone in to the class technology at the appropriate moment.  Or you can collect the video footage, assemble it together with Windows Movie Maker or iMovie  in a minute or two and play it next lesson with your narration.

 Guest Poster: Jonathan Sargeant

10 September 2013

Movie Making as Bible Engagement

This is a fantastic little video! It would be great to see students creating movies like this in Religious Education classes. It has the potential to be a powerful way of engaging students with Biblical texts. Not only does it get them to pay close attention to what is happening in the narrative but it gets them thinking about how they might present it and therefore which bits are important. Even the selection of music to play in the background requires students to think about the mood of the narrative at each point. Taking a text and turning it into a film naturally requires some degree of interpretation and contextualisation. A great activity for students from upper primary to senior school.

4 September 2013

ABC - Religion and Ethics

The ABC Religion and Ethics page is a good place to find articles and opinion pieces relating to religious affairs within Australia. This could be a useful source for topics of discussion in senior school religious or Christian education classes. 

The article in the picture above which can be found here talks about how religious Australian's former Prime Ministers were. This opens up a whole range of issues for discussion. For instance the topic of religion vs spirituality. Are they the same thing? What does it mean to be religious? Can you be a Christian and not religious? What is the role of religion and politics? Should a Prime Minister bring their faith to their decision making?

The author comes up with eight criteria for assessing the religiosity of the former Prime Ministers. They include:
  • Theology
  • Evangelism
  • Moral courage
  • War and peace
  • Egalitarianism
  • Social conservatism and a righteous private life
  • The respect of one's peers
  • Racial tolerance
Do you students think this is a good list of criteria for judging someone's faith? Why or why not? What else should be there or should be left off?