Collection of Educational Poems: First Poem: ‘Tis Them’

Since the age of five I have spent my summers down in West Cork. This year I visited the Ewe Garden which is full of quirky and unique artwork and pottery. When I was walking around the garden I found three lovely poem that I immediately fell in love with and took a picture of them so I could use them with my students in religion class.

The first poem I found is called ‘Tis Them’. It is about placing blame on anyone else and not yourself. We are all guilty of it. We say it was them not me, it was their fault not my own. It is a great poem that can be used in a variety of lesson topics such as: Being kind to the environment, bullying, and taking responsibility.

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World Food Day

Tomorrow October 16th 2013 is World Food Day.

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This is a great idea that can be incorporated into any religion lesson plan. Here are a few teaching resources you can use for this day:

Websites:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: http://www.fao.org/getinvolved/worldfoodday/en/

Archdiocese of Dublin: Food and Hunger. This is an excellent link as it provides Youtube videos you can use in class and activity ideas.

http://education.dublindiocese.ie/food-hunger/

 

One Video I used was the Green Shoots East Kenya Food Crisis with an accompanying worksheet.

The Amish Community

Teaching 4th year Religion can be a challenge for many teachers but it can also be an exciting chance to develop new unique and original teaching ideas. During 3rd year teaching practice I was given the task to teach religious education to 4th years. I decided to think outside the box and chose to teach about the Amish community.

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Right from the very first lesson the class were immediately engaged and interested. It can be an extremely educational topic for both you as the teacher and the students. As a subject the Amish community allow you as a religious educator to develop ideas of material and essential goods, things teenagers take for granted in their every day lives and things they might like to change about their lives. It allows them to question the role of religion in their lives…should religion play a bigger part in their daily lives like it does in the Amish community or can the Amish community learn things about our way of life. You can look into the impact we have on the environment versus what impact the Amish community have n the environment. The list is endless.

The students also really engaged with the series called Living with the Amish on Channel 4. Here is a link: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/living-with-the-amish/4od

The program is about the Amish community opening their doors to six teenagers who live outside the Amish lifestyle. It focuses on the main features of the Amish way of life and what the six teenagers can learn about themselves and about their own way of life after living with the Amish community.

I asked the students to pick a teenager from this television program that they identify most with and write about why. This was a very interesting task.

Here are a few useful websites:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/amish.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/subdivisions/amish_1.shtml

World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day. Here is a few classroom activities to build each child’s self esteem, to build confidence and to make them aware of the importance of Mental Health.

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Activity One: Fuzzy-Feeling Chair

Objective:

Build students’ self-esteem by encouraging their peers to recognize and comment on their positive traits.

The Lesson: 

Position the special chair in a special place. You might call the chair the Fuzzy Feeling Chair. Each day, ask a different student to sit in the special chair. The other children in the classroom then take turns saying nice things about the person in the chair. The person in the chair can only say “Thank you!” — nothing else. At the end of the activity, ask the child sitting in the chair how s/he felt when others were saying nice things about him/her.

Over time, students will become accustomed to what it is like to compliment others and to be complimented. They will learn to trust and express their feelings.

Video on Cyber Bullying:
Very powerful moving video about a father who lost his son due to cyber bullying. I believe this is very relevant today in our students lives and communicates the seriousness of the effects cyber bullying has on each individual.

Women in the Islamic Tradition

From personal experience Islam has always been a hot topic amongst a lot of my students. Due to recent events throughout the world Islam has received a lot of unwanted negative attention. Our students pick up and listen to what the media and society say about the Islamic Tradition.

When asked to teach my students about Islam I found a lovely story about the role of women within the Islamic tradition.

This story was written from the perspective of a young Muslim girl and educates students about the dress code of women who practice the Muslim faith. It provides students with a lovely refreshing view point of the Hijab and other aspects of a girl who is part of the Muslim faith.

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The Joker’s Social Experiment

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As religion teachers we are constantly looking for new ways to make our subject approachable and relatable for our students. Moral development is a subject I found students enjoy and relate really well too. Students off all ages also respond well to the use of multi media in the classroom. Here is a video I found useful for teaching about Morality.

Here is an example of how I used it in the classroom:

  • I split the class into two groups. One half of the class represented the inmates on one boat and the other half represented the people on other boat.
  • The teacher will first explain the Joker’s social experiment and the student’s must decide what the outcome will be (according them).
  • They must consider: social stereotypes, age groups of people on board etc.
  • The class then watch the video and discuss the outcomes.

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Tibetan Prayer Flags

During teaching practice I was asked to teach my LCA class about Prayer. One area I needed to cover with the class was forms of prayer used in other faith traditions other than their own. I decided to think outside the box.

As I began to research I found these beautiful images of Tibetan prayer flags.                                    images-2

Introducing Tibetan Prayer Flags allowed the students to learn about Buddhism in a new light, it gave their LCA Religion Portfolio a different refreshing approach to the topic of prayer and it really engaged the whole class. By the end of the lessons the class had created and designed a colorful line of beautiful tibetan prayer flags that they displayed around the school.

Here is a link to all the information I used when preparing power points and information for the students:

http://www.prayerflags.com/download/article.pdf

The Heart of a Teacher

In November I graduate from Mater Dei. It still seems so surreal. After more than 10 years as a student I will enter a new chapter in my life. Sometimes I find myself asking have a made the right decision? Have I chosen the right career path for me? Especially when you look at the current teaching climate in Ireland.

Picture the scene you are full excited standing with an empty bag in your hand staring at all these mouth watering sweets…Pick n’ mix weight watchers worst nightmare! You stand there desperately trying to decide which sweets go in your bag. Will you make the right decision? Yet this excitement is also mixed with some fear will you have enough money if you get just one more strawberry jelly? what if you don’t like the sweets you have chosen?

The same can be said for the way I feel right now. Now imagine those sweets are feelings and my bag is full of mixed emotions. I am happy, I have finally reached my dream of becoming a teacher, I am sad to be leaving such wonderful friends and I am nervous waiting to discover what the future holds for me.

However, amidst all this emotional upheaval I found this poem. It reminded me why I became a teacher and probably why a lot of my fellow classmates decided to follow the same career path as me. When I read this poem my worries disappear and I think of the day when hopefully one day I might have this impact on one of my students.

The child arrives like a mystery box…
with puzzle pieces inside
some of the pieces are broken or missing…
and others just seem to hide

But the HEART of a teacher can sort them out…
and help the child to see
the potential for greatness he has within…
a picture of what he can be

Her goal isn’t just to teach knowledge…
by filling the box with more parts
it’s putting the pieces together…
and creating a work of art

The process is painfully slow at times…
some need more help than others
each child is a work in progress…
with assorted shapes and colors

First she creates a classroom…
where the child can feel safe in school
where he never feels threatened or afraid to try…
and kindness is always the rule

She knows that a child
can achieve much more
when he feels secure inside
when he’s valued and loved…
and believes in himself

…and he has a sense of pride

She models and teaches good character…
and respect for one another
how to focus on strengths…not weaknesses
and how to encourage each other

She gives the child the freedom he needs…
to make choices on his own
so he learns to become more responsible…
and is able to stand alone

He’s taught to be strong and think for himself…
as his soul and spirit heal
and the puzzle that’s taking shape inside…
has a much more positive feel

The child discovers the joy that comes…
from learning something new…
and his vision grows as he begins
to see all the things that he can do

A picture is formed as more pieces fit…
an image of the child within
with greater strength and confidence…
and a belief that he can win!

All because a hero was there…
in the HEART of a teacher who cared
enabling the child to become much more…
than he ever imagined…or dared

A teacher with a HEART for her children…
knows what teaching is all about
she may not have all the answers…
but on this…she has no doubt

When asked which subjects she loved to teach,
she answered this way and smiled…
“It’s not the subjects that matter…
It’s all about teaching the CHILD.”

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