Traditional & religious stories about significant people and entities of major world religions
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The Elephant Prince

The Elephant Prince | Traditional & religious stories about significant people and entities of major world religions | Scoop.it
Elephant-headed and big-bellied, mischievous and sweet, the god Ganesh is one of the most familiar faces in the world. But why does he have the head of an elephant?
Andrea Gavrielatos's insight:

“Elephant Prince” is a fantastic resource to use in the classroom when exploring Hinduism and in particular Hinduism as a global religion. This picture book it is a very valuable in deepening students understanding on one of the Hindu Deities, Ganesh. The information is quite sophisticated, especially for students who have not been exposed to Hinduism before however, the language would not pose much difficulty to Stage 2 students. Read as a class this would be a captivating story to students of Stage 2 as the illustrations are very intricate and fascinating, drawing students in. Exposing students to quality literature is one of the most beneficial ways to improve their learning. Children who are exposed to literature are greatly advantaged as reading aloud to children helps to “improve their literacy skills, not only in reading but also in talking and listening” (Spence, 2004, p.146).

 

This is a great picture book to read to your class focusing on the intricate detail in the illustrations, those of which are typical of those in Indian culture. This emphasises the global perspective of Hinduism and could be further explored in the classroom.

 

An extension task or assessment upon reading this book with students would be to find other books about Hindu Gods/Deities and build a collection of them. In addition, students could find non-fiction information about Ganesh and other Hindu Deities and research them in an allocated time slot, (giving them an opportunity to improve their research skills). Students could then be asked to write a factual description of a chosen God/Deity, therefore utilizing this activity to form a Literacy and ICT link. Students would find this intriguing, as there are many Hindu Deities, all of which have peculiar, animalistic qualities that interest students. This then lends itself to many other KLAs such as Creative and Performing Arts, ICT, Literacy, and Numeracy. 

 

Reference:

Spence, B. (2004). Reading aloud to children. N.S.W.: Primary English Teaching Association.

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The Rainbow Serpent

Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories, Story by Dick Roughsey, Narrration by David Gulpilil, Soundtrack by Andrew Vial Photographed and edited by Alexander Cochran, A...
Andrea Gavrielatos's insight:

This Indigenous resource is a reading of a famous, traditional Aboriginal Dreamtime Story. The “Rainbow Serpent” is one of many dreamtime stories which has been put into written form, from the traditionally orally performed stores. This YouTube clip is one of these books being read, with the visuals from the picture book helping the story come to life.

 

This book/story/video abides by the Selection Criteria as the clip is an authentic Dreamtime Story which has been told for many centuries. It is being narrated by an Indigenous Australian which suggests that there has been participation and input by contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and is therefore accepted by them as an accurate document. As this is a story, there is no evidence of sacred photographs/texts/sites etc. being shown, therefore this source would be acceptable to show in the classroom. As shown, this video follows the selection criteria and is suitable to show in the classroom. Furthermore, there are often obstacles faced by teachers when using Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander material. Consulting with Aboriginal parents or communities about cultural “protocols before approaching Aboriginal people and communities” (BOS, 2008, p.10) is beneficial for teachers when choosing culturally appropriate resources to use. Furthermore, it is of benefit to schools and teachers to consult with Aboriginal Education Officers within the schools and communities in order to be aware of specific cultural beliefs so as to not offend or mislead Aboriginal parents.

 

The Rainbow Serpent is merely one of many dreamtime stories. Given that they are traditional stories about well-known animals students in Stage 2 would find them very appealing and interesting to watch. Showing students a variety of animations of Aboriginal dreamtime stories would get there creative nature flowing and would lend itself very well to creative writing and drama. One possible activity which could be undergone by students would be  write a script of their own story in groups before acting it out.

 

Reference:

NSW Board of Studies. (2008). Working with Aboriginal Communities. Sydney: Author. Retrieved11th May, 2012 from, <http://ab-ed.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/files/working-with-aboriginal-communities.pdf>;

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World Religions for Kids

World Religions for Kids | Traditional & religious stories about significant people and entities of major world religions | Scoop.it
This site is dedicated to helping students understand the basics of major world religions.
Andrea Gavrielatos's insight:

“World Religions for Kids” is a fantastic website for children to get an overview of the major world religions. These are the main religions that are to be explored in NSW schools therefore it is a fantastic site to introduce these religions to students. This is important to explore, as students may not have had any exposure to other religions apart of that of their own.

This site is beneficial as it gives an overview of religions as well as exploring each major religion in depth through different pages. This is done in a simplistic manner with the use of pictures, photographs, videos and diagrams, which are a valuable tool when working with students, especially those of Stage 2. The amount of information on this site could be daunting to some, but when read as a class, with the use of the hyperlinks to read specific smaller sections it is useful in improving reading levels of all students. Of course, as teaches we need to be aware of what poses most importance on each page in order to gain the most out of our students. Therefore knowing which parts of the site to pay most attention to would be of upmost importance.

 

Exploring this website as a class would be beneficial as the teacher could make informed decisions as to what information to look at in most depth. In addition, teachers could use “assertive questioning” in order to gain “feedback on the extent of student understanding” (Petty, 2009, p.109).

After exploring the website as a class, one follow up activity which could be undergone by the students is a bingo game in which the teacher reads out a description of a religion or the description of a significant person etc. from a specific religion explored on the website and on the 2x2, 2x3 or 3x3 bingo cards the name of the faith or person would be written (in random order). The first student to get a row or column would get to read out the next descriptions until a student had covered their entire bingo card with counters. Another assessment activity is for students to complete a T-chart of the similarities and differences between the six major religions (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Sikhism).

A literacy link that lends itself well to this website is to write an explanation of a chosen religion. Students in Stage 2 are quite competent in writing at this stage and in particular with modeled writing.

 

Reference:

Petty, G. (2009). Evidence Based Teaching. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes.

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BBC - Religion: Hinduism

BBC - Religion: Hinduism | Traditional & religious stories about significant people and entities of major world religions | Scoop.it
Guide to Hinduism, including gods and beliefs, colourful festivals, life and rituals.
Andrea Gavrielatos's insight:

This site is most useful for teachers to gain a thorough understanding and insight into the main aspects of Hinduism. As teachers, it is important to understand the content of what will be taught in the classroom and prepare in detail. As stated by Marsh (2010), it is important to remember that teachers “never stop learning” and must “show this to the students [we] teach” (p.6). In addition, in many cases, teachers may not be familiar with the content of al religions. This is a very helpful way to gain knowledge about, in this case, Hinduism and all it involves. The BBC does this in a concise way in order for teachers to gain the best and most important information in a short amount of time, through subtitles and succinct information.

Websites such as these are not only beneficial to increase awareness on specific topics but also aid in creating lessons and activities for students, as the content is already broken down into suitable sections.

 

Possible teaching ideas that could come from this website include a class discussion where key terms and phrases would be noted on the whiteboard, computer or Interactive Whiteboard for students to return to when exploring the religion. This is a good idea to do with Stage 2 as not only does it link with the literacy component of Talking and Listening, but this age group are at the stage where talking and expressing their views becomes very central. Comprehension activities such as fill-in-the-blanks are also beneficial when introducing the religion of Hinduism to students in depth. These various means of assessing students gives the teacher a chance to not only “observe the student performance” but also to “record the observation” (Gillbert and Hoepper, 2011, p.126).

 

Reference:

Gillbert, R. & Hoepper, B. (2011). Teaching Society and Environment. (4th ed.) South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia

Marsh, C. (2010). Becoming a Teacher: Knowledge, Skills and Issues. (5th ed.) Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson.

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SACRED - Sacred Stories

Andrea Gavrielatos's insight:

This website of “Sacred Stories” created by the British Library is extremely beneficial in aiding in students understanding of traditional stories of all six major world religions (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Sikhism). It is a very interactive site, heightening the interest of students of all ages. As McInerny and McInerny (2010) make clear it is important to create a teaching and learning environment in which the motivation of students is central. I believe that this website definitely captures the importance of motivation.

To navigate this website the students must click on a religion, displayed as the religious books from that faith, for example The Bible (Christianity) and the Koran (Islam). Once this is clicked on, various sacred stories from the particular religion are brought up on the page and students are able to listen to them, whilst reading subtitles and watching the animations. This is very useful for students in Stage 2 as they are able to gain an in depth knowledge of the major religions through an interesting means, leaving them wanting for more. The use of text, visuals and audio stimuli is an effective way to engage students of this stage. These various ways of engaging students are very important, which is made clear by McInerny and McInerny (2010) who believe using “a variety of teaching styles and resources” and various “strategies to keep students on task” (p.5) are essential.

 

This is a fantastic resource for students who are fast finishers in the classroom. Most classrooms today have a computer (or multiple), therefore, if some students finish their work a little earlier than expected, they can go onto this site and gain a more in depth knowledge about specific religions (if, of course this topic is being studied). This is a valuable tool to use in the classroom as it means that students are gaining educational value in spare time rather than undergoing tasks that are meaningless.

Apart from this use, this resource can also be used as a whole class, with students listening to stories together. This could be then used as a basis to an assessment where students could create a flow chart of the main events in the story. They could be given the written text in random order and be asked to put it in the correct order before illustrating it or vice-versa.

 

It must be made very clear to students that not one of these stories is correct. Although this is a good resource in terms of knowledge and understanding of different religious stories, we must not focus on one in particular but rather explore a variety. Furthermore, it must be acknowledged that many people believe in different religions and we must respect people’s decisions. Religion can be a sensitive topic and as teachers we must be objective at all times when teaching it to students.

 

Reference:

McInerney, D., & McInerney, V. (2010). Educational Psychology: Constructing Learning. Sydney: Pearson Education Australia.

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