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.

21 March 2018

Jesus Christ Could Have Been Ugly

Well – at least that is the headline on the 12 March from the Daily Star in the UK.

This controversial idea has been suggested by Professor Joan Taylor of King’s College in London. The general idea is that Jesus may have been rather ordinary looking, hence the lack of descriptions in the Bible.

This could be a fabulous place to begin a discussion on the historical Jesus with your students or indeed an opportunity to introduce an exploration into our identity in Christ.

It is also a fabulous way to look at religious art through the ages. Two great websites with plenty of resources are:-

1. Rejesus.co.uk – Faces of Jesus

Perhaps finish off your Unit or lessons with this great activity. Let your students draw or paint their own depiction of Jesus. They can look to the internet for inspiration. Try using these time lapse drawings to help them. There are many to choose from. Find something that will engage your students and let them create.

15 March 2018

A well-timed question

There is an art to asking useful questions and an even more refined art to allowing students time to process and respond. We’ve all been in situations where the speaker finishes, hastily asks “well, what do you think of that?” and then proceeds to “ok, no ideas? Must be my turn again!” This approach helps the speaker lose their voice, and frustrates listeners who know they have good ideas, if only they had time to formulate them!

Given time, most students will come up with ideas in response to questions, but we often misjudge just how much time they need. Here are a few steps as a refresher:

  1. Alert students that a question is coming up and that you will randomly select respondents.

  2. State that you will give everyone 30seconds to think quietly, and that jotting notes or scribbling concept maps is fine during this time.

  3. Ask your question, clearly and concisely, and record it on the board for easy reference.

  4. Read or view any stimulus material you have, eg the Bible story in the example below.

  5. Restate the question.

  6. Actually give that 30 seconds you promised (some will be counting!) in silence, without giving in to the temptation to fill it with your voice, or further instructions.

  7. Allow people to keep their pens active during the feedback time, as they add the ideas of others to their own.

  8. Choose people to respond, moving quickly so no one feels they bear the full responsibility.

  9. Follow up the process with an exercise where students place themselves along a line of opinion. E.g.; Human Continuum (see http://www.itcpublications.com.au/)

An example for the "Teaching the Bible" strand.
Tell a story about Jesus, eg: the episode where Jesus drives the moneychangers from the Temple:
· Mark 11: 15-19; 11: 27-33
· Matthew 21:12-17; 21:23-27
· Luke 19:45-48; 20:1-8
· John 2:13-16

Possible questions to start with:
  • What surprises you about this story?

  • What do you think made Jesus angry?

  • What do you think about people using a place of worship as a place of business?

  • Think about our would. Where do you see religion and money mixed together?

Possible questions for the Human Continuum:
  • Should we be surprised that Jesus acted this way? Why/why not?

  • Should Jesus have become angry in this situation? Explain.

  • Should people use a place of worship as a business centre?

  • Should money be a big part of religion?

7 March 2018

How interested are you?

Making connections in a classroom can be a challenge for teachers who have many students and teach many classes. However, it is worth it.

Students who believe you genuinely care about them and are interested in them as people, will blossom in your class.

A super simple way to get to know your students and tap in to their interests to help you make a connection is to ask students to write an INTEREST INVENTORY.

This can be a simple and quick lesson with any class or group.

Ask every students to write down 5 things that interest them.

Always set guidelines about respect and appropriate sharing.  Be explicit and clear in this regard.

Try asking the students to write each interest on a separate Post It Note and then stick them all over the room.  Then let the students sort them. You don’t have to name them at this stage.

A great game is to guess ‘who wrote what’ as the students walk around the room reading the Post It Notes.

Move in to a circle for sharing. Students can take turn to share their interests and even arrange themselves in groups of common interests or groups where no one has anything in common! Ask the students with nothing in common to come up with one thing they all like! You might be amazed. You could get answers that range from gelato to glaciers!

Teachers should join in. Write your own interests that are appropriate to share.  This might be a great time to mention God or the Bible.

At the end of the lesson, reinforce the ideas of belonging, acceptance and respect. And try to use what you have learnt about the students to develop positive relationships and greater interest and engagement in the classroom.

So, start thinking. What are 5 things you are interested in?

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

1 March 2018

In defense of religious education

A few years ago the Anglican Schools Religious Education Development Committee wrote a document called: "Precious Cargo:The Value of Religious Education in the Formation of Students in Anglican Schools" The purpose of the document was to challenge schools to see the importance of Religious Education and to resource it the way it deserves.

The document also had a list of recommendations for lifting the standard of RE. Read it here.