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 February 2019

102 Doses of Inspiration

Probably the most common request I get for help is from people who need resources.

A colleague recently heard Glen Gerreyn speak at her son’s school. She showed me his books – and I thought – wow – we could use his books in our schools.
Why not try “Oxygen 102 Doses of Inspiration” by Glen Gerreyn. You can google Glen and even listen to him preaching at a range of churches.
Glen encourages people to memorise Jeremiah 29:11 -  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

To help our students prosper, Glen has created this wonderful work book that I think could be used by religious educators. It is a powerful resource!
Each chapter has a quote or a Bible verse, some information and then a challenge for the reader.

There are 102 chapters. Enough for one a week for at least 2 school years!
Topics include:
Good vs. Great
Handling Criticism

In our year of Generous Hospitality, let me tell you a little about the chapter on Generosity.
It opens with a quote.
“I have found that among other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” Maya Angelou.

The author then tells a story about World Vision – and I know that many of our schools sponsor children through World Vision.
This chapter includes Your Generosity Challenge. It offers some suggestions, and there is a space to write your Daily Deliveries of Generosity.

This book might teach your students how to be intentional in choosing to flourish and live a positive life full of hope, courage and power.

As Glen writes in Inspiration #75 – “Life is short. If we live to 85, we will have just over 30 000 days on this planet. If you are 16, you have already used up 5840 days.
If you are 20, you have about 22700 days left before your 85 birthday. Spend your time on the planet doing what you love. Make every moment count. Life has no guarantees so why not love what you do each and every day.”
As a teacher, if you have this book on your desk, you have 102 lessons ready to go and 102 ways to inspire your students.

Maybe show this great video as a way to introduce your lesson on Generosity. I think this could appeal to any age group! Even I like it - and I am super old!!

Have you been 'generoused' today?

18 February 2019

Room on our Rock

There are two sides to every story - and if you read, Room on our Rock, by Kate and Jol Temple, you will be amazed and delighted at what you and your students will learn.

This special teaching tip to share this wonderful book comes from Chaplain Steph from Churchie. This story provides a fabulous insight in to the concept of Generous Hospitality

Why not ask your school Librarian to suggest other books that would work well with an inquiry in to Generous Hospitality? I know that the Churchie Library staff were always putting aside books for me to use in my classes as they found them.

Room on our Rock will invite all sorts of discussions about concepts such as inclusion, welcoming, fear, empathy, hope, despair and sharing with others. Link this in to what Jesus taught about these matters and see what happens.

It is a fabulous opportunity for children to appreciate that there are two sides to every story.  Enjoy this marvellous book!

There is a great website with plenty of resources at Lamont Books. I have copied some ideas for you directly from the website.


Room on our Rock is a powerful allegorical exploration of the emotions and fears that drive exclusion, persecution, and rejection of refugees. Read conventionally, it tells the tale of a group of seals who fear the approach of a strange pair of seals, one a child, whose rock is being overwhelmed by the sea. The group of rock-dwellers refuse uncategorically to entertain the possibility of allowing the desperate and terrified pair to take refuge with them, stating that there is clearly no room. 

Seeking only safety the endangered pair go from hopeful to despairing over the course of the story. 

However, there is more to this book than a simple one-way reading can reveal, for if you start reading at the back of the book, and read all the pages in reverse order, it becomes an uplifting tale of acceptance, encouragement, and hope. In the mirror-story, the seals on the rock welcome the struggling refugees, assuring them that there is plenty of room for them all, and encouraging them to leave the small beleaguered rock and to come share the much larger and safer one. 

Read either way, Room on our Rock is a heart-wrenching tale of fear and danger, and the seals exemplify the differing attitudes that can be found within human communities to the plight faced by many refugees these days.

1) As a class discuss the cover illustration and title. What do you think might be happening in the story? What does it mean when it says, There are two sides to every story?

2) Read the story from front to back. As a class discuss the story that is told. Some things to include in your discussion are:
• What is happening to the parent and child seal?
• How are the seals on the big rock reacting to them?
• How do you think the two seals feel?
• Why do you think the rock-seals are saying there is no room?
• What do you think the rock-seals are thinking and feeling?
• How much room can you see on the rock?
• What do you think might happen to the two seals if they don’t find a new rock?
• Do people ever act like the seals on the rock? Why might they act like this?
• If you were one of the two seals in the water, what would you say to the rock-seals?

3) Read the story from back to front. As a class discuss the story, and how it is different from the story as read conventionally. Some things to include in your discussion are:
• What is happening to the parent and child seal?
• How are the seals on the big rock reacting to them?
• How do you think the two seals feel??
• What do you think the rock-seals are thinking and feeling?
• How do you think the two seals feel when the rock-seals tell them there is plenty of room on their rock for them as well?
• How much room can you see on the rock?
• What do you think might be different for the rock-seals that they can act welcoming and
friendly in this back-to-front story?
• If you were one of the two seals in the water, what would you say to the rock-seals?

4) As a class discuss the two different stories in the book. Some things to include in your discussion are:
• How did reading the first story make you feel?
• How did the second story make you feel?
• When you look at the pictures of the rock seals during the first story, what do you think the expressions on their faces mean?
• When reading the second story, do the expressions on the seals faces look like they mean something different?
• Which story do you think is the better one, and why?

5) Individually, choose one seal from the first story. Write and illustrate an ‘I feel’ or ‘I felt’ statement from the point of view of that character sharing what they felt, and when they felt it. Write and illustrate a second I feel or I felt statement from the point of view of the same character, on the same page in the second story. For example you might want to say I felt scared when our rock was swamped by the big wave for your first statement and I was happy that we had a new home when our old rock was swamped by the big wave for your second statement.

Now -  this little youtube clip has nothing to do with the book or story - but you might want to use this with your younger students as part of a relaxation at the end of the lesson. Or maybe you just need some relaxation!

1 February 2019

Let’s Celebrate Generous Hospitality

I absolutely love the 2019 Archbishop’s Theme of Generous Hospitality and look forward to hearing about the ways that our religious educators will share this message with their students.

I know I have so much to learn about showing generous hospitality – so here goes. May the year ahead be filled with much learning and growth and may we all be intentional and generous in welcoming and caring for others.

If you are beginning to teach this topic, perhaps you might start with a ‘debating style’ approach and define the topic.
I would let the students find a range of definitions and compare them. The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘hospitality’ as ‘The friendly and generous reception of guests, visitors or strangers.’

Maybe explore a little Greek as well. Philoxenos – Philo (love) + Xenos (stranger).

For younger students, perhaps create Word Wall of Synonyms. Include all the suggestions offered by the students which may include words such as friendliness, welcome, neighbourliness, kindness, congeniality and amicability.

If we look at the concept of Biblical hospitality, we know that in the ancient world, hospitality focussed on the alien or stranger in need.

Look at the Bible Study Tools website for some great ideas.

“Hospitality took several forms. Acts of hospitality included the humble and gracious reception of travellers into one's home for food, lodging, and protectionGen 18:2-8 ; 19:1-8 ; Job 31:16-23 Job 31:31-32 ), permitting the alienated person to harvest the corners of one's fields Lev 19:9-10 ; Deut 24:19-22 ; Ruth 2:2-17 ), clothing the nakedIsa 58:7 ; Ezekiel 18:7 Ezekiel 18:16 ), tithing food for the needyDeut 14:28-29 ; 26:1-11 ), and including the alien in religious celebrationsExod 12:48-49 ; Deut 16:10-14 ).”

I found one website that posed this question.

“What does Jesus’ hospitality tell us about God’s character?”

You could begin to explore this question by looking at stories about Jesus’ hospitality.

 Some stories about Jesus sharing a meal include:
o   Jesus eating with Zacchaeus
o   Jesus eating with tax collectors at the home of Levi
o   Jesus eating with Martha and Mary
o   Jesus feeding the 5000
o   The Last Supper

So what do we learn about God’s character? Is it the love, grace, friendship and generous hospitality that God extends to us? Encourage your students to make a list of the character traits of God.

Stories of the Bible Jesus Feeds the 5000

The Story of Zacchaeus

Stories  of the Bible Zacchaeus

God's Story Mary and Martha