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.

31 October 2016

A site for RE professionals

The website of the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education in the UK has plenty of resources that might interest Australian teachers. It is a subscription site but there are free resources as well.

Amongst the free resources there are a number of pages along the lines of Ten Ideas...For example Ten Ideas for Better Visual Learning. I love this sort of thing becuase there is always at least one idea of value.

26 October 2016

A Very Angry Christmas Quiz Part 2



As a follow up to "A Very Angry Christmas Quiz" checkout this video "Retooning the Nativity" which highlights the differences between the traditional popular nativity scene and what we find in scripture. I always make sure I say to children that it doesn't matter if there were three wise men or more. It doesn't matter that we flesh out the story a bit in our imagination. The important thing is to go to the heart of  what it is about: Emmanuel - God with us.

24 October 2016

A Very Angry Christmas Quiz


It is that time of year when I begin to post Christmas resources. This is one of my favourites.

This quiz has circulated around the internet for a long time. I have used it with a variety of age groups. I have often found that students get a bit angry and incredulous when the answers are revealed. They find it outrageous that the 'facts' they know about the Christmas story don't really appear in the Bible but are the result of tradition. In fact while many of the things we have added in tradition may be reasonable assumptions this quiz is a good reminder to us all at Christmas to go back to the source of the nativity stories. Children can find this quiz confronting and I have even had students say to me: Do you even read the Bible?!?!

This is a great opportunity to get students interested in reading the nativity narratives and looking at the closely. Have fun and be prepared for the wrath of your students.

The Questions

1. How many wise men were there?
a. 3
b. 4
c. The Bible does not say.

2. Did Joseph meet the wise men?
a. Yes
b. No
c. The Bible does not say.

3. What animal did Mary ride to Bethlehem?
a. Donkey
b. Small horse
c. Llama
d. The Bible does not say
.
4. The Holy Family named the child "Jesus" because:
a. An Angel told Mary to use the name.
b. An Angel told Joseph to use the name.
c. All of the above.
d. None of the above.

5. What type of building was Jesus born in?
a. Stable
b. Cave
c. Inn
d. The Bible does not say.

6. What animals were present at the Nativity?
a. Cattle
b. Sheep
c. Doves
d. All of the above
e. The Bible does not say.

7. Who besides the wise men saw the star?
a. The shepherds
b. King Herod's astrologers
c. The Bible does not say.

8. How did the star compare in brightness with the other stars?
a. Brighter
b. Equivalent
c. A faint glow over the horizon.
d. The Bible does not say.

9. How soon after Joseph and Mary reached Bethlehem was Jesus born?
a. Within minutes.
b. That night
c. The Bible does not say.

The Answers

1. How many wise men were there?
c. The Bible does not say.

Although tradition suggests there were three wisemen, as in the carol "We Three Kings of Orient Are," the Bible actually does not give the number of Magi. Go to Biblical account of the Magi in Matthew).

2. Did Joseph meet the wise men?
c. The Bible does not say.

Matthew writes that the magi found the Child with Mary, but makes no mention of Joseph. Matthew 2:9-11. Of course, as a good parent, we would probably expect Joseph to have been there.'

3. What animal did Mary ride to Bethlehem?
d. The Bible does not say.

Although it would be a long walk for a pregnant woman from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the Bible does not mention what animal, if any, Mary rode. Luke 2:4-6

4. The Holy Family named the child "Jesus" because:
c. All of the above.

In Luke, the Angel Gabriel tells Mary to use the name "Jesus." Luke 1:30-31 . In Matthew, an angel tells Joseph to use the name. Matthew 1:20-21

5. What type of building was Jesus born in?
d. The Bible does not say.

Although Luke tells us that the baby was placed in a manger, there is no mention of where the manger was located. Luke 2:6-8

6. What animals were present at the Nativity?
e. The Bible does not say.

Despite the line in Away in a Manger that "the cattle were lowing, the poor baby wakes," there is no mention of which animals were present at the Nativity. Luke 2:6-8

7. Who besides the wise men saw the star?
c. The Bible does not say.

Check Matthew's account.

8. How did the star compare in brightness with the other stars?
d. The Bible does not say.

Check Matthew's account.

9. How soon after Joseph and Mary reached Bethlehem was Jesus born?

c. The Bible does not say.

Although every Sunday school Christmas pageant has Mary deliver a baby moments after Mary and Joseph are turned away from the inn, the Bible does not specify a time period. Check Luke's account.

19 October 2016

For a better world


Following up on the video from earlier in the week these beautiful videos featuring the Pope might be very helpful in exploring with students the concept of the Kingdom of God, how Christian's imagine it and what we might do to participate in what Jesus has called us to do.

Here is one on Respect for Women

17 October 2016

Goals for a better world


You may be aware that the Millennium Development Goals have been replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals. While these goals may be superficially secular they do reflect the kind of world Christians should seek to build in being citizens in the Kingdom of God. They also connect with the Five Marks of Mission that Anglicans use to think about mission.

The 2030schools.com website has lots of useful resources for exploring these goals with students and there is also a connected website called "The World's Largest Lesson". There are lesson plans, posters and all kinds of good stuff on each and every goal.

12 October 2016

Aurasma in Education


How are you using digital technology in RE classroom? A big shout out to Lana who told me about how she is using the Aurasma app in her classroom.

Aurasma is an augmented reality app. It works in a similar way to Pokemon Go except you create the content that appears though the phone or ipad. Lana is getting her students to create the content. A lot of fun and engaged learning could happen with this app. Here is a great prezi about Aurasma.

One way this kind of technology could be used is to bring classical paintings of Bible stories to life but your imagination is the only limit here (and access to technology).

Have a look at the videos below to get some ideas.


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10 October 2016

What is the Bible?


A great little video with lots of background information about the Bible (read in a lovely accent).



And while we are in this territory here is another useful video about how the Bible came to be.


And one more....but this one is the story of the Bible in three minutes. As a matter of interest go to YouTube and type in  Bible in three minutes. A useful array of videos.

5 October 2016

Australian Religious Short Film Prize


The winner of the Religious Short Film Prize was announced earlier in the year. 

"[The Reverend] Dr David Millikan, commented, “The film is a story about a chance encounter between a young Jewish woman and a Palestinian child in time of war. It takes place in a dilapidated Christian church. With such elements and many issues of belief, ancient hatreds and violence are at play. The film made its way with restraint and insight.”"

It might be useful as an introduction to any unit exploring the politics of religion in the middle east.


3 October 2016

RE Handbook Online


The Religious Education CPD Handbook has lots of useful information for religious educators.

Sections include:

  •  A short history of religious education
  • Religious traditions and beliefs
  • The religious education curriculum
  • Approaches to teaching, learning and assessment in religious education.
This list doesn't however do justice to the volume of information and ideas available on this site.
The section on approaches is particularly interesting and may provide some new ideas for engaging students.