Major Customs and Celebrations of Religious and Other Community Groups (Resources and Learning Experiences for Stage 2)
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BBC - Religion: Religions

BBC - Religion: Religions | Major Customs and Celebrations of Religious and Other Community Groups (Resources and Learning Experiences for Stage 2) | Scoop.it
Guides to world religions and beliefs. Includes Atheism, Christianity, Islam, Paganism, Jainism, Zoroastrian and many more.
Emily Nagle's insight:

This site features a wealth of information about different religions around the world. Students can observe photographs of different places of worship for different religions and gain an appreciation for the vast diversity present in their architectures and styles. The viewing of these photographs can be used to stimulate discussion around the concept of “special places”. Students can point out any of the places of worship they recognise, or themselves frequent with their families. Teacher can talk about what is done when entering a place such as this (i.e., showing respect by speaking softly). The concept of special places can then be developed to encompass the idea that such places can also be somewhere students feel safe or comfortable; the personal concept of a “special place” may encompass a bedroom, park or anywhere the student feels the most comfortable and relaxed.

In workbooks students can create two columns, and list on one side the type of place of worship they might visit with family, and in the other column their own idea of a “special place” and what they do there. Students who don’t visit a place of worship can write about one of the places shown on the website. Students should look for similarities and differences between these two places.

The activity addresses HSIE outcome CUS2.4 of the Cultural Diversity strand, particularly through identifying a variety of religious practices as well as gathering information upon diverse customs. (Board of Studies, 2006)
This activity should give students a greater understanding of the concept of special places; both religious and personal, the intended outcome being that students can understand better the reasons behind attending these places as well instil a sense of empathy and respect for the diverse religions of their classmates and the world.

Both numerical and literacy strategies may be drawn from the lesson; with the use of tables, a graph could be designed to visually depict the students’ findings, while the writing aspect contributes to students’ literacy experience. Assessment may be drawn from how students demonstrate an understanding of the similarities between places of worship visited and those they may hold personally, as well as their responses to those of their peers.

Giving students facilitation to empathetically relate to one and other and their diverse religious or cultural customs can assist in fostering a classroom environment of acceptance. Drawing to mind similarities between engagement with religious special places and those that are simply held close personally to students can foster this environment of relation and understanding. The nature of empathy further assists students in a broader view of the world and people in general and provide a means to further develop social skills of this nature at further times.
As discussed by Salmon (2003), empathy is a critical skill that assists students greatly at school and through life. Utilising opportunities to encourage students to relate and identify with others is something that is of great use when conducting lessons based on diversity of culture and customs, and promoting a sense of acceptance and respect in classroom. (Salmon, 2003)



References

Board of Studies (2006). Human Society and its Environment (HSIE) K-6 Syllabus. Sydney, Australia: Board of Studies, NSW.

Salmon, S. (2003). Teaching Empathy: The Peace Curriculum. Reclaiming Children and Youth. United States: Bloomington.

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URI Kids :: About the URI

URI launches it's first website for kids - and interactive learning tool about world religions
Emily Nagle's insight:

This site is designed to assist young people in understanding some of the key aspects of different religions around the world. Information presented on the site is organised in a simple yet effective manner: images can be scrolled over to see various customs and features of different religions. The site’s philosophy is inclusive and promotes respect and understanding of different religions.

One activity that may be carried out involves students of groups of two or three selecting countries out of a hat. With teacher guidance, they then find out information about their particular country’s prominent cultural ceremony or festival.
The information will be used to construct a poster describing key points about the festival (i.e. statistics, portion of people in country who celebrate it, activities carried out during festival. The construction of the poster should enable students to gain an appreciation for diverse cultures around the world, as well as developing collaborative skills. Upon completion of posters students will give a short presentation outlining the main points they have included regarding their assigned country’s ceremony, and posters will be hung around the wall.

This activity addresses HSIE outcome CUS2.4 of the Cultural Diversity strand, with respect to learning about diversity as well as gathering information relating to celebrations carried out. (Board of Studies, 2006)
Literacy strategies are employed through the researching of celebrations, as well as the development of oral presentation skills. Numeracy strategies are implicit in the collation of statistics relating to assigned country and celebrations.

Assessment may be made based upon students’ abilities to work collaboratively, as well as share their information with the class.
The use of collaborative learning in this lesson is key in that through the discovery of new customs and cultures, students can potentially gain greater levels of insight as they develop their understanding alongside one another. It also further serves to instil a sense of community as they carry out the task collaboratively; fostering such an environment is effective when learning about appreciating diverse cultures as it sets a positive and unified tone. As discussed by Tolmie et al (2009) collaborative learning can promote a more harmonious classroom environment, and fostering of respect and acceptance of all students in class. (Tolmie et al, 2009)

When attributing these effects to learning respectfully about diverse cultures and customs, the benefits of collaborative learning appear to be particularly valuable.


References

Board of Studies (2006). Human Society and its Environment (HSIE) K-6 Syllabus. Sydney, Australia: Board of Studies, NSW.

Tolmie, A.K., Topping, K.J., Christie, D., Donaldson, C., Howe, C., Jessiman, E., … Thurston, A. (2009).
Social effects of collaborative learning in primary schools. Learning and Instruction. 20(3), 177-191. Retrieved from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/

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Aboriginal culture & resources - Creative Spirits

Take a look beyond the stereotypes and discover what Aboriginal life is like today - from arts and land to sport and spirituality.
Emily Nagle's insight:

This website provides an insightful look into Aboriginal festivals and celebrations around Australia, on a state by state basis. It is useful in providing an Aboriginal perspective to the topic of celebration. It also includes a plethora of Indigenous books, films and other resources all with Aboriginal perspectives.
Using the list of Aboriginal festivals and events listed as a stimulus, a lesson may be designed by researching a festival local to the community.

Students look at why the celebration is held, when and what occurs, and then look for parallels in celebrations they celebrate in their own culture. This is to enable students to gain an understanding of there being similarities between their culture and that of others; in this case, Indigenous culture. If possible have an Elder come in and talk to the class about the festival.
Assessment may be carried out based on students’ identification of parallels and observations made regarding differences and similarities between celebrations they are accustomed to and Indigenous celebrations researched.
This activity aligns with the outcome CUS2.3 of the Identities strand, focussing in particular on the indicator suggesting a student “identifies some significant customs, practices and traditions of their local community, beginning with Aboriginal people”. (Board of Studies, 2006)

A numerical strategy may be employed through creating a graph of different Indigenous celebrations across researched in class, compared to those celebrated by students. Literacy strategies may be employed through students writing about the Indigenous celebration researched, making notes of salient aspects of celebrations.
As described by Harrison and Greenfield (2011) embedding learning experiences with an Aboriginal perspective is of great importance for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Where students are provided access to Aboriginal perspectives in the classroom there can result a greater degree of understanding in regards to the diversity of cultures in Australia as well as an overall greater richness in learning experiences. (Harrison and Greenfield, 2011)


References

Harrison, N. and Greenfield, M. (2011). Relationship to place: positioning Aboriginal knowledge and perspectives in classroom pedagogies. Critical Studies in Education. DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2011.536513

Board of Studies (2006). Human Society and its Environment (HSIE) K-6 Syllabus. Sydney, Australia: Board of Studies, NSW.

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Harmony Day 2014 – Talking points | Harmony Day

Harmony Day 2014 – Talking points | Harmony Day | Major Customs and Celebrations of Religious and Other Community Groups (Resources and Learning Experiences for Stage 2) | Scoop.it
Emily Nagle's insight:

In taking a global perspective of customs and religious festivals, the site enables students to gain a better understanding of concepts of tolerance and acceptance.  Using the celebration of Harmony Day, discussion can be facilitated regarding these important subjects. When engaging students in learning of diverse religious and cultural customs, it is importance to ensure students have an understanding of the importance of practicing respect and acceptance of other people and their customs. Fostering learning experiences wherein students have opportunities to develop respect and acceptance for diverse cultures and customs is important in ensuring students are well equipped for both relating to people in the school and community, not only at home but through the world.

Students can talk about the concept of harmony as well as respect and acceptance, and what these concepts mean, looking also at what behaviour is not harmonious, and otherwise disrespectful or unaccepting. Students then create a table with two columns write down some of the things that make them feel respected and accepted in their lives (i.e., letting siblings play with toys, helping parents), and how this makes them feel. Then students list things that don’t make them feel respected and how this makes them feel.
Students then build on this by writing down how they might similarly show respect to people of diverse religious beliefs, and as a class discuss ways to ensure classmates are always treated with respect and acceptance.

The activity addresses HSIE outcome CUS2.4 of the Cultural Diversity strand; covering learning about diversity as well as gaining understanding about lessening discrimination and systemic unfairness, and learning about ways to share and hold different opinions. (Board of Studies, 2006)

Literacy is a focus through the writing aspect of the lesson, while numeracy strategies are present through the construction of the table and subsequent data collation. Assessment may be made by observing how students might list respectful and sensitive ways of showing acceptance and respect to people of differing religions.

With the building of respect and acceptance of diversity naturally can come the formation of the ability to recognise unjust behaviour in a range of manners. This skill is important for students to grow into socially responsible, just individuals. Furthermore, the ability to discern discriminatory behaviours signifies a development of critical thinking: the gaining of skills which would be of great benefit in students’ social and academic lives.

As discussed by Gilbert and Hoepper (2011), taking a critical approach can enable students to relate to issues in a variety different ways, and as a result can provide students with a range of tools with which to engage with their community and beyond. (Gilbert and Hoepper, 2011)


References

Board of Studies (2006). Human Society and its Environment (HSIE) K-6 Syllabus. Sydney, Australia: Board of Studies, NSW.

Gilbert, R. and Hoepper, B. (2011). Teaching Society and Environment (4th ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Cengage Learning.

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▶ Holidays All Around the World - YouTube

To download the song "Holidays All Around the World" as an mp3 to use in your classroom go to www.johnfarrell.net or www.hoperivermusic.com. The song is part...
Emily Nagle's insight:

“Holidays Around The World” is an upbeat song fostering positive relations towards diverse religions around the world and could be used in class as a means to introduce students to ideas of celebrating diversity.
After listening to the song, have students think about what they do for their religious or cultural ceremonies. Students can go home and interview parents or grandparents about religious festivals of their culture, and then write a reflection about this. Following the writing of the reflection, students could sit in a sharing circle and read their reflections to the class. Students make comments or ask respectful questions about the religious customs of their peers.
The activity addresses HSIE outcome CUS2.4 of the Cultural Diversity strand, particularly with respect to learning about diversity around the world and at home. (Board of Studies, 2006)
This can interrelate well with literacy as students produce a short reflective text concentrating on aspects of their cultural practices. Numeracy strategies may be implemented through making mathematical observations of the number of different religious or cultural practices described by the class; this can be done by creating a graph or other numerical representation to depict the number of different practices described. Students might be assessed on their ability to describe the festival and the ways they have done so.
Overall the exercise should provide students with insight about the different cultures of their peers, while the introductory and sharing sessions should instil students with a mentality of respect and that diversity in the classroom is something worthy of celebration, as well as pride for one’s own culture. Teachers should ensure to fully provide all students diverse cultures with the same interest and respect, so students might follow the positive example.
As discussed by Irvin (2010), ensuring teaching is culturally relevant there can be greater opportunities for students to gain understanding of new ideas. This is turn allows students to use their own understanding to engage more meaningfully with topics as they are presented. (Irvin, 2010)


References

Board of Studies (2006). Human Society and its Environment (HSIE) K-6 Syllabus. Sydney, Australia: Board of Studies, NSW.

Irvin, J.J. (2010). Culturally Relevent Pedagogy. Education Digest. USA: Prakken Publications, Inc.

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