RE Session Six – Assessing and Reviewing Planning

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Religious Education | Posted on February 16, 2014

Within any curriculum subject we have to assess the children’s progress and its the same within RE even though it is part of the basic curriculum. The difference here is that this subject is not assessed using nationally imposed learning goals etc, it has the advantage of freedom within the assessment process. Having this freedom can be construed as hindering the credibility of RE with parents and pupils.

Below I have given reasons why RE can be seen to be hindered as it is not assessed in the same way as other curriculum subjects, but also I have displayed how it can be seen as an advantage.

advantage vs hindered

 

Teachers can assess children in the following ways:

assessing progress

All of these ways are seen to be effective in some way, however when assessing children’s progress the assessment strategy chosen must be appropriate and justifiable.

Within the lesson I looked at three pieces of children’s work and assessed them against the levels used within RE. For two pieces out of the three I found leveling children’s work was quite simple. However, work presented in a certain way was quite difficult to level. I found this quite challenging due to the fact that I marked it quite harshly, therefore I need to become more familiar with the levels and have another go at it.

From my reading I have consolidated my learning in the reasons for assessing children’s progress, therefore here is my findings:

  • It aids future planning
  • It identifies any errors, misunderstandings and misconceptions
  • It gives you an insight into what children already know and what they have learnt
  • It helps to record progress
  • It supports evaluations

Here I have just given you a few justifications into why you should assess children’s progress, however there are many more.

Let me know your views of assessment within RE 🙂

 

RE Session Five – Visits and Visitors

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Religious Education | Posted on February 13, 2014

The National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) believe that schools should respect the contribution religious visitors have on pupils’ learning. Visitors may present their experiences and ideas from their faith and ask children to think about these ideas from their own point of view. Within the lessons religious visitors are valuable as they engage pupils in the learning task. Visitors may be informative, help to develop children’s understanding and they can challenge children to reflect on their own religious views.

Benefits of having visitors
More informative, realistic, eliminates ignorance, answers questions accurately, improves community cohesion

Issues of having visitors
Funding, not trained, may not link to the curriculum, children may be offensive, parents may remove their children, behaviour management, appropriate language

Considerations when planning for a visitor
Pre-prepared questions, prepare the children, meet with the visitor beforehand, time, cost, politeness

An alternative to having visitors in the school is to take children on a trip to a suitable/ appropriate place of worship within the locality. Therefore, I have created a plan for a visit to Exeter Cathedral.

Before the trip – children will look at key Christian celebrations such as weddings, funerals, christenings and an average service.

During the visit the class will be split into four groups where they will focus on different things such as funerals, christenings, average service and the building. Also, throughout the day the children will be given a visit sheet which contains a list of key features of the cathedral which the children need to find and take a photo of – these photos will be used back at school. Cathedral Visit Sheet

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
Funerals Christenings Average Service The Building

The children will go outside and look at the grave stones to find the oldest and youngest people.

The children will look at the baptismal font and then the group will be given time to explore the cathedral.

The children will get the opportunity to look at the prayer mats and the Liturgy.

The children will go outside with a clipboard, paper and pencil and sketch the outside of the building.

After the trip As a class the children will have the opportunity to act out a funeral in a sensitive way, write the obituary and the order of service. This activity will have great cross curricular links with literacy, ICT and drama.

RE Session Four – RE through ICT

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Religious Education | Posted on February 12, 2014

Within RE, ICT can be used in the following ways:

  1. Enhance teaching and learning – this is through using a range of technologies which cater for a range of learning styles and it also enables children to collaborate with others.
  2. Improve administration and planning – this is through using technology to share information and enhancing personal knowledge
  3. Improve assessment and reporting – this is through recording children’s achievement and progress and then communicating electronically with parents

The big question is why use ICT?

  •  Investigation
  • Be creative
  • Facilitate safe communication
  • Access authentic information, insights and resources
  • Bring the world of religion into the classroom
  • Select, critical use and interpretation of information
  • Help pupils to understand important/ complex ideas
  • Organise, record, report, communicate information
  • Enhance quality of presentations

Although ICT is argued to be extremely effective in the subject for all of the many reasons stated above, there is the major issue of keeping the children safe while they are online. This is known as E Safety. Within schools it is crucial to teach internet safety throughout every child’s education as this will ensure all children stay safe online.  To ensure this safety it is recommended to set rules for the children to follow. Even with these rules in place children may still be taken to unsafe websites when searching on google, therefore when using the computers within a lesson I recommend to provide children with a list of secure websites for them to type in and have a look at.

From looking at a range of websites I have found a few that can be used effectively within RE lessons for example:

In my opinion this is a good website for showing children that it doesn’t matter what Jesus looked like, but the importance is what he did. On the other hand, some of the images on this website of Jesus may offend Christians. This website would be a good choice if for example the children were comparing and contrasting pictures of Jesus or even when drawing their own interpretation of Jesus and annotating this with characteristics.

This website is great to use when linking the subject to art as you can choose a piece of art work from the website and use this as a stimulus for discussion. It is also great for appealing to the needs of all learning styles which will look great if Ofsted are watching. The negatives of this website is that it can miss out RE altogether as it is very art related. Also, it is a competition so it encourages winners and losers – this can be a good thing at times but maybe not within an RE lesson.

I found this website quite informative as it explained how schools can get involved with the charity, however this is aimed at more older children as its appearance is not child friendly. I have an issue with showing this to children as the pictures that they use on their website may scare the children. Also, even though this website is about muslim aid it does not mention anything about muslims. In my opinion this would only be used in the classroom as a starter for a volunteering project as it will give children an example of a volunteering charity.

There are many more websites that can be used in RE lessons which include:

http://www.reonline.org.uk – places of worship
http://www.hindugallery.com – hindu gallery
http://www.bbc.co.uk/tellinglives – digital stories
http://www.request.org.uk – teaching Christianity

and there are many more!

 

 

 

Session 2 – Images and Animation

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Computer Programming, Religious Education | Posted on February 7, 2014

Animoto

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Animoto, it is  a software that allows you to create videos using pictures, text and music. The software has a selection of designs for you to select the one of your choice. You can then add in images and text and place in any order that you would like.

Animoto is something that can be used to introduce children to a new topic, or even as a summary at the end of a topic. As a teacher you could also incorporate this into your lessons by allowing the children to use this program themselves. They could create their own video using the information that they have found out from their own research and present this back to the rest of the class. They could also use this software at the end of a topic to summarise what they have learnt. This can be linked with any subject so it is great for cross-curricular links.

But, the point that you need to get across to the children is internet safety; making sure that the information that they are looking for on the internet is appropriate. Therefore, you could possibly write some appropriate websites up on the whiteboard so that they get their content from there instead.

Below are my creations using Animoto, try making your own, and let me know how it goes!

Prezi

Prezi is a piece of software that can be used to display a presentation, it is a step up from powerpoint and you’ll be surprised to hear that you can sign up for free on the website. Creating a Prezi is really simple, firstly sign up on the website, click new prezi, select the frame that you would like, input your information (images, text etc), arrange the slides in the order you wish and click save. See simple as anything!

Below is the Prezi that I have created – this is based on the story of the Good Samaritan.

In my opinion, this is even greater than powerpoint as you do not have to go through the slides in one order, you can click on any slide that you would like to view and then click back to the home page whenever you like. This can be great when presenting your information to children as children will be intrigued due to the fact it is a different way of presenting key information to them. I believe that Prezi will work best with older children (KS2) as they can create their own to present information back to the rest of the class from their research into a topic. I’m sure children will find this software extremely easy to use as children pick things up pretty quickly nowadays.

Photo Peach

Photo Peach is a very simple piece of software which allows you to create a quiz. It allows you to input a variety of pictures and quiz questions into so that it can be used to test children’s knowledge of a certain topic. This will allow teachers to assess the effectiveness of their teaching as children should know the answers to the questions. If children struggle with them, this will provide teachers with the knowledge that they need to revisit a certain area of the topic. It is also a great way to assess children’s progress and allows for targets to be created from this.

Below I have created a Photo Peach based on the 6 keys religions and their symbols within RE. This would be used with the children as a consolidation activity once all 6 religions have been taught. It can be used as a great revision technique to prepare for an individual assessment which will follow at a later date.

This not only can be used for RE lessons, it can be used for any other subject or topic within the curriculum. I believe that this is a great piece of software which can be used effectively within lessons, whether that be for starters, plenaries, assessment purposes etc.

Session 1 – Manipulating Media

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Computer Programming, Religious Education | Posted on February 6, 2014

Within this session we used two apps on the ipad to create two completely different outcomes.

iMovie

The first app we looked at was iMovie, this consisted of making a movie trailor for anything you want to. This app gives you a pre-made template for you to follow, however you need to either take your own pictures or download pictures off the internet before hand and save these into your camera roll. Once you have completed this you can then start filling in your template and adding in your pictures to complete your movie trailor.

Here is our movie trailor, let me know what you think.

This app would most likely be used with key stage two children as it is quite fiddly, however once you get used to how the app works it then becomes quite simple. This app is effective for children as it allows for creativity and imagination to be used when choosing an idea. It also allows children to work together to create a group project and outcome.

On the other hand, this app could be used in key stage one in terms of creating a movie trailor for a story that they have been looking at. For example, the story that may be being looked at is ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’. This story would allow the children to create adventurous movie trailors with the assistance of other adults in the classroom.

Make Dice Lite

make dice lite

The second app that we looked at on the ipad was Make Dice Lite, this consisted of using a pre-made template which then asked you to add six items onto the dice.

make dice lite 3

We decided to create dice that can be used within a religious education lesson. On the first dice we put on each of the main six religions which are taught in primary schools (Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism). Whereas the second dice consists of festivals, dress, symbols, leaders/followers, beliefs and sacred text. This app allows you to have both completed dice on screen, the app can then be shook and the dice move. For example, if the dice lands on Christianity and Festivals, this means that the child who has rolled the dice must give an example of a christian festival.

Using this within an RE lesson consolidates the children’s learning of the aspects of the six main religions and provides evidence of individual children’s knowledge. Therefore, it is an effective means of assessment where the teacher can assess the child’s learning and then create targets for them to improve.

 

This app not only can be used for RE lessons, it can be used within any lesson and any topic of the National Curriculum but I just thought I’d give you a quick example of how it could be used.

RE Session Three – Pedagogy

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Religious Education | Posted on February 4, 2014

Most of this session consisted of  presenting each groups planned activity based on a pedagogy principle given to us in the previous lesson.

The pedagogy principle given to my group was to use AT2 within our activity. We decided to create a short powerpoint based on the story of Daniel and the Lions Den. This consisted of telling the story to the children,  questioning them about who they believe protects them and then asking them about their views on the question ‘Does God protect us?’ This allows for children to discuss their thoughts and beliefs in a controlled setting where respect is involved.

Here is the powerpoint of daniel and the lions.

Creating this powerpoint allowed me to further my knowledge using the pedagogy principle of AT2 as I was unaware of these principle before the previous lesson. It also allowed me to gain knowledge of the story ‘Daniel and the Lions Den’ as this story was unfamiliar to me before hand. Working as a group to create this activity allowed me to gain more confidence in my subject knowledge through the help of my peers.

Pedagogy is defined as meaning different learning approaches to teaching. Within RE there are six key pedagogies, these include:

  • The Phenomena of Religion
  • Experiential religious education: educating the spirit
  • Interpretive RE
  • Concepts for learning in RE
  • Ultimate questions as a focus in RE
  • Pupils’ world views in RE

The above pedagogies have many benefits and limitations, these include:

The Phenomena of Religion – 

This looks at studying Islam through stories, moral behaviour, rituals, beliefs and experiences

  the phenomena of religion

Experiential Religious Education: Educating the Spirit – 

This focuses on using the idea that children have some spiritual capacities of their own

experiential re educating the spirit

Interpretive RE –  

This looks at taking an authentic account if the ways members of religions today practice their faith

interpretive re

Concepts for Learning in RE

This approach takes key concepts from the religions as a discipline and enables pupils to be increasingly reasonable about religion

concepts for learning in re

Ultimate Questions as a Focus in RE

This uses ‘big questions’ of meaning, purpose and truth to explore the impact of religion on life, and challenges the learners to deepen their own ideas

ultimate questions as a focus in re

Pupils’ World Views in RE

This focuses on developing answers to human questions, using religious ideas and teachings as a resource

pupils world views in re

It is crucial to incorporate all of these when teaching RE in schools, however it is impossible to incorporate all of these into one lesson. Therefore, these all need to be included within a unit of work to provide children with high quality lessons.

  

RE Session Two – Pedagogy Principles

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Religious Education | Posted on February 4, 2014

AT1 and AT2

Within this session we looked at the difference between AT1 and AT2 when teaching the subject of RE to children.

AT1 – focuses on “Learning about religion and belief”

AT2 – focuses on “Learning from religion and belief”

 

AT1 - AT2  Learning from religion and belief is broken down in to personal evaluation and impersonal evaluation. Personal evaluation looks at the child making judgements about themselves, whereas impersonal evaluation looks at the child making judgements about truth claims of religion.

For example,

Personal evaluation – ‘Who looks after us?’

Impersonal evaluation – ‘Does God look after us?’

 

The impersonal evaluation is argued to be an effective strategy to use when teaching due to the fact that it deepens their understanding of faith and it challenges the children as it is outside their comfort zone.

 Pedagogy Principles 

When teaching RE there are seven main pedagogy principles, these include:

  1. Remember the child
  2. Start with the particular and help children see connections
  3. Look for similarities between the children’s experiences and the specific religious experience
  4. Acknowledge difference
  5. Draw out themes of AT2
  6. Seek to engage head, heart and hand
  7. Use as many senses as possible

These main pedagogical principles can be planned into the lesson through using a range of resources in the classroom. The spider diagram below gives you examples of the different resources that can be used. This diagram not only gives you ideas of resources to use when teaching the subject but it also justifies and provides you with the reasons  why you should use them.

 

principles into practice 2

RE Session One – The Purpose of RE

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Religious Education | Posted on February 3, 2014

What is RE?

Religious Education is not a part of the National Curriculum but it is a statutory requirement of the basic curriculum. Schools are known to follow the locally agreed syllabus provided by SACRE, however not all schools will follow this agreed syllabus due to them being a faith school or being part of an Academy.
Religious Education is a subject taught to children consistently in their education which starts from a young age (reception). This subject allows children to understand the beliefs and values in a range of different religions such as: Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism. It not only covers the beliefs and values, but also it supports spiritual, cultural, social and moral development.
All children have a statutory entitlement to RE within their education, however parents are able to opt their children out of the lesson if they are unhappy with the content. To prevent this from happening, teachers may bring the parents in to discuss what will be taught, show the lesson plans and discuss any issues that there may be.
The Purpose of RE
  • It provides children with the opportunity to value their own beliefs
  • It allows children to gain an awareness and understanding of the beliefs of others
  • It provides children with the knowledge of religious beliefs, traditions and practices and allow them to understand why these are important to people
  • It provides children with the opportunity to explore important questions of meaning and value

 Ninian Smart’s Seven Dimensions of Religion

When teaching RE in schools, it should include all of the below dimensions as this will provide children with a wide range of views in religion. The dimensions consist of:

  1.  The practical and ritual dimension – this focuses on the aspects of religious life, such as daily rituals
  2. The experiential and emotional dimension – this focuses on people’s experiences and feelings about God
  3. The narrative and the mythic dimension – this looks at religious stories
  4. The doctrinal and the philosophical dimension – this focuses on the basic teachings of religion and the questions of meaning
  5. The ethical and the legal dimension – this looks at the different religious laws, for example the ten commandments
  6. The social and institutional dimensions – this focuses on the meaning of the text and the celebrations of festivals but also the religious rituals into charity work and social gathering
  7. The material dimension – this looks at the objects within the religions, such as holy bibles

In my opinion, I believe that RE should be taught to all children in schools as this subject provides the children with many opportunities to understand and respect other people’s beliefs in the community. If any children have been opted out of the lesson, I would try to involve the parents to ensure that they understand what their child/children will be learning. If this is still a problem then I would offer a compromised activity which will focus on their own religion.

Activity in Today’s Session

In this session we looked at testing our subject knowledge of the six main religions through the use of the strategy ‘snowballing’ (Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism).

Our snowballing activity consisted of:

  1. Splitting the class into six groups
  2. a-crumpled-A4-paper-and-a-snowballEach group was then given a different coloured felt tip pen and a large piece of sugar paper with a religion written in the middle
  3. Each group then had one minute to write down everything they knew about that certain religion
  4. Once the minute is complete, we then had to screw our paper up like a snowball and throw it to the next group
  5. When each group received their ‘snowball’ they needed to read what had been written, underline anything that wasn’t understood, circle anything that they thought was incorrect and then add more information if they had any
  6. This process was then repeated until the religion each group started with got back to them
  7. This information was then discussed as a whole group – this consolidated our subject knowledge

I have had one previous experience of teaching RE to a class of year 3 children, therefore throughout the rest of my training I will continue to build on this experience to gain more confidence in the subject and to build on my subject knowledge. I will incorporate the use of snowballing to experience its effectiveness as I believe it is a fantastic strategy to use when introducing a topic and also when consolidating learning of a topic. This is because it gives the teacher the knowledge of what children already know and what they may need to revisit.