Friday, 31 May 2013

Nooma on crazy special!

The Nooma series currently stacks up to 24 x 12 minute videos on a hugely varied array of Christian living topics.They're dynamite for getting engaged discussion going in classes or groups.

These videos feature Rob Bell talking about living as a follower of Jesus from angles of interest to high school kids and up to young adult.  The website says they "explore our world from a perspective of Jesus." They've been around for a while but have not dated.

So why bring them up now? 

For the next few days you can buy the whole series for only $20US.  The normal price is about five times that!  The page displayed shows a discount price of $45, but if you type the word "FLANNEL" into the 'coupon' box at the checkout you'll get a further $25 off to receive the whole series for only $20!  This offer lasts until the 4th of June, 2013.

You can then download the videos to your own location and use them whenever you want.  Study guide material is available for each episode free of charge.  Some episodes of the series are terrific and even those that veer towards the average are definitely useful.

Find them here for purchase and you can preview some too to see if they're up your particular alley.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Tea and Philosophy: The Vicar's Blog

Check out the following blog created by Rev Lizzie Gaitskell, Chaplain at West Moreton Anglican College.

Amnesty International Annual Report 2013

The Amnesty International Annual Report 2013 has been released today. It provides information on human rights abuses from around the world for 2012. This is a valuable resource for exploring social justice with students.

There is a video of the report on Youtube that covers a range of issues from around the world.

The report itself can be downloaded as a pdf. It is over three hundred pages long and provides a profile of the human rights abuses of 159 countries. This includes information on such issues as:

  • women's rights
  • the death penalty
  • refugee, migrants and displaced persons
  • police and military violence
  • freedom of expression and media
  • indigenous peoples rights
  • torture and other 
  • violence against women and girls
  • housing rights
  • family violence
If you are looking for an easier to digest format, there are summaries on the Amnesty website shaped around the World by Region or you can look at a report on an individual country. There is also a global update that focuses on key human rights abuses that have occurred in 2013 by month.

One other resource I noticed on the website was a latest facts and figures sheet that would be suitable way to orient students to the topic of human rights abuses.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Bible Quizzes

Hi again,
I was part of a team at a great Trivia Night last Saturday... and yes, I admit we took home the trophy, though we were disappointed not to win for best table theme as well (Garden Gnomes - who could top that?)

It was a lot of fun, and it reminded me that a Quiz is often a nice way to capture kids' attention during an interactive Chapel service or RE lesson. This can be done through either the old "hands up with the answer", or better still, get the competitive juices flowing with a couple of teams up on stage - boys v girls, Yr 11 v Yr 12, etc.

Most sets of general knowledge questions found on-line require payment or subscription, but not so for many of the Bible or Christian versions (thankfully).  You could just create your own set of questions, but why not save time and use one that has (hopefully) been tried and tested with other groups? Needless to say, Rule Number One is to make sure both Question and Answer are 100% accurate and unambiguous. It's also a problem if no one can answer any of the questions, so make sure you start with easy ones and then make them progressively more difficult.

Have fun with it and do let us know if you have any more good ideas about using quizzes to engage students.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Anglican Board of Mission

The Anglican Board of Mission is the national mission agency of the Anglican Church of Australia. It works with people and communities overseas and in Australia.

"We have a holistic view of God’s mission. We work with Anglican Church partners and others to see lives empowered and transformed spiritually, materially and socially.We help the Anglican Church and the wider community realise and respond to the invitation for all to be a part of God’s hope for the world."

The ABM website has many resources worth exploring. There are videos under the resources section exploring the work of ABM in a range of places. A "Tale of Two Sheds" is particularly worth watching. There are also educational resources to be used with simply sharing week.

There is information all over the sight about what ABM does and it is of particular interest that their projects seek to address the UN's Millennium Development Goals.

The Project Book for each year can be found under resources and outlines all the specific project work that ABM is doing in any year.

This site would be useful for exploring the church's mission in today's world or how we can make a difference. There are also prayer and liturgy resources.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The State of the World

Worldmeters: here's a site with a myriad of potential uses for the chaplain or RE teacher...

The About Us section of the site expains what it is:

Worldometers is run by an international team of developers, researchers, and volunteers with the goal of making world statistics available in a thought-provoking and time relevant format to a wide audience around the world. We have no political, governmental, or corporate affiliation.

Worldometers was voted as one of the best free reference websites by the American Library Association (ALA).

Worldometers was chosen as content provider at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), BBC News, and the National Media Museum (UK), and by U2, among others.

Worldometers is cited as a source in over 400 published books, in more than 150 professional journal articles, and in over 125 Wikipedia pages. The website is considered a formidable educational tool and it is shown in classrooms around the world. 

 So what can you use it for?

 Imagine a sermon on christian responses to poverty with the statistics on "Number of people who died of hunger today" updtaing continually.

Or a sermon on peace with the stats on "Military expenditure" on view, updating so depressingly rapidly.

For the RE classroom the statistics are useful for a range of purposes too.  Figures on "Amounts spent on weight loss programs" and "Obesity related diseases" contrasted with the "Number of undernourished people in the world today" are confronting, to say the least  There are also figures on Society and Media ("Number of emails sent today", "Mobile phones sold today"), the environment ("CO2 emissions",  "Desertification") and energy ("Oil pumped today", "Solar energy striking the Earth today").

So much useful stuff here - it's possible you might like to pass this on to other teachers in your school.