Saturday, 6 December 2014

RS Question of the Week - Can You Commit a Crime Against Someone Before They're Born?

Photo: BBC

This week's question of the week is taken from the sad story of a seven-year-old girl born with severe brain damage after her mother drank up to eight cans of strong lager and half a bottle of vodka per day while pregnant.

Three judges ruled that she was not entitled to criminal damages under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme as the damage she undoubtedly suffered was inflicted while she was a foetus, not while she was a person: UK law only recognises crimes against persons.

The key questions I've been discussing with my students are:
  • Can you commit a crime against somebody before they are born?
  • At what point does a foetus become a person?

You can download a poster for this week's question here, and a pdf of a Daily Mirror story (yes, I know) about the case here.

Monday, 24 November 2014

RS Question of the Week - Music to Die For

This week's Questions of the Week come from the news that Monty Python's Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life has become the most popular song at British funerals.

The questions I've asked around this are:
  • Why do people choose music for their own funeral, when they won't be around to hear it?
  • Which song would you choose for your own funeral and why? 

You can download the posters for the QOTW to use in your own classroom here.

My choice would be Otis Redding's Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay, with Nirvana's cover Jesus Don't Want Me For A Sunbeam on standby for any encores. What would you choose?

Saturday, 22 November 2014

RS Question of the Week - Ched Evans

Recently, I've been sticking a few questions up in and on the door to my classroom to prompt a bit of discussion and give me an extra starter task if I need it. This week, I've used the Ched Evans news story as the basis for the questions.

The questions and the story prompted some really good contributions from some of my Year 10 and 11 students, and I was pleased that they were keen to share their thoughts (and their own questions) without me having to prompt them. In fact, one of my students brought along a question from one of her friends, who I don't even teach!

The questions I used were:
  1. Do all criminals deserve a second chance?
  2. Does it matter if they haven’t apologised for their crime?
  3. Should criminals be allowed to work in jobs where they could earn £1000s every week?
  4. What is a "role model", and why do we expect sports starts to act as role models?
If you want to use the questions in your own classroom, you can download the poster here.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

New AFL Teaching Toy

I've been thinking recently about how to improve my assessment, and particularly how to make sure that students have actually done something with the scrawly bits of purple ink I leave on their work, rather than just looking at the grade and filing the rest under "sooo not bothered"!
I picked up some ideas from this excellent blog post on marking, and now have a new system:
  1. When students complete their work, I get them to peer assess each other's work (where possible), writing comments in green ink.
  2. I then take in the work and add my marks and comments in purple ink.
  3. Once I've handed it back, the students are then given a specific prep task to add improvements or corrections based on my what went well/even better if comments. They do this using red ink.
  4. Finally I check these corrections, and if I think they've done enough to go up a grade, they get a purple stamp using my new toy, fresh from Amazon.
I also record the improved grade in my mark book, and it counts towards their term grades.

I've only been using the green-purple-red-purple system for a couple of weeks, but my AS class have responded to it very positively. I'm sure the offer of an improved grade helps! It's been an excellent way of starting a dialogue with students about how they think they've improved and where there might still be gaps in their understanding: for example, today I've realised that one EAL student is confusing a "thesis statement" in an essay with an "atheist statement". Definitely something I will now spend some time clearing up next lesson.

I'd be keen to hear any thoughts on my new system, or what systems you have worked for you in your marking and AFL?

Monday, 20 October 2014

Euthanasia - A Few More Resources Added

I've added a few more resources on euthanasia to the Religion and Contemporary Society Resource Page. Added since last time are some worksheets on the sanctity of life and Christian views on euthanasia, plus supporting video and web links. I'll hopefully get the rest of the unit, plus an outline scheme of work posted up in the next week.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Euthanasia Lessons

I've been meaning for a while to start to post some materials and lessons related to the Religion in Contemporary Society AS module for WJEC, with a view to (eventually) building up a fairly comprehensive set of resources to support teaching the whole unit.

Things get in the way (as they do), so I've not made much progress towards so far, but the first couple of lessons on euthanasia, plus an introduction to RICS, are now up. You can find them on the Religion in Contemporary Society Resource Page.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Form Critical Crafting

My budget doesn't stretch to pearls

My Year 12s were looking at form criticism today, and the idea that the gospels are selections and arrangements of pre-existing chunks of oral tradition. I thought it might be fun to test their understanding with a spot of crafting inspired by Schmidt's "pearls on a string" analogy and my junior school "making stuff out of dry pasta" days. 

The students examined two chapters from Matthew's gospel and turned their analysis of the different gospel forms they found into a pasta necklace, with each colour representing a different form. In the necklace in the photo, the six red pieces are parables, the green piece is a pronouncement story, yellow is a "tale", and the brown pieces are miracle stories.

Next year I might tinker with the activity, not least by using dyed pasta rather hastily-coloured-in-with-markers pasta, but overall I think the results are quite pretty!