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.

27 January 2015

RE Today Service

The RE Today website: www.retoday.org.uk is worth checking out. The newsletters which you pay to subscribe to look to be of good value with lots of different ideas and articles inside. There is a sample newsletter on their website.

RE Today Services "works nationally and internationally to support Religious Education in schools. It is committed to the teaching of the major world faiths in Religious Education, and to an accurate and fair representation of their beliefs, values and practices in all its teaching materials."

They have a searchable database of classroom activities with some great ideas for engaging students.

20 January 2015

Respond to human need by loving service

What does mission look like in the 21st century?

The Anglican Communion has five Marks of Mission that answers this question.

They are:
  • To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
  • To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
  • To respond to human need by loving service
  • To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
  • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth 
This year in conjunction with the Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane's message to schools  we have produced a series of learning activities focused on the third Mark of Mission - to respond to human need by loving service.

They could be used as a series of lessons or as a basis for something more extensive.

They can be found on the Anglican Schools Office site ascqld.org.au or accessed directly here.

The individual learning activities follow this plan:

  • Lesson One What’s your mission?
  • Lesson Two Whose mission?
  • Lesson Three What do people need?
  • Lesson Four Responding with loving service
  • Lesson Five The Church responds
  • Lesson Six We can respond 

12 January 2015

The Voice of the Child

Children often hear stories from the Bible with very different ears to adults. When they retell a story they may add in some of their own theology as they go. I think this happens naturally for young people because they haven't been taught to stifle their imagination or treat the text in a fearful way. For this reason we should provide young people with opportunities to explore and retell Biblical narratives as a way of helping them to engage with them. Sometimes this leads to the adults gaining insights they may not have had before. 

When my wife (who is a religious educator) showed me the video above, apart from laughing, a few things sprung to mind:

1. What a creative way to retell the story.

2. The children who retold the story really got what it was about.

3. There is an opportunity here to engage children and young people with the Bible.

4. Imagine the children who told this story watching the video after it was made.

5. Current memes can provide the means for Bible engagement (there are a lot of these videos on-line)

I think if I had the opportunity to play with this style of video I would be engaging two year levels across a school. The lower lever to explore some stories and retell them, maybe with the older students doing the recording. The upper year level would work on exploring the story for themselves and doing the acting and video work. They might like to take some direction from the younger year level.

Some may see this as frivolous but if it achieves the task of engaging young people with the Bible in a thoughtful way, enables them to play and use a 'language' they are comfortable with (video) then it may in fact be doing something quite profound. Why not give it a go?