News From Counties: Flintshire
Easter is one of those stories taught so regularly in RE that the impact can wear over time. In considering the impact it has had on Christianity and Christians today you can’t over look the resurrection event. The question is how do you teach a story to year 6 or KS 3 learners, one that they may have heard on a yearly basis, with a fresh perspective? I’ll give you my thoughts as to the answer to this question. When I was teaching at John Bright in Llandudno I asked year 9 learners to really think about the characters in the biblical account. By briefly going over the main events of Holy week and Easter Sunday I asked the journalists (year 9 learners) to interview the main characters to try and tease out their thoughts and opinions. These questions were then posed to the characters (also year 9 learners) who in turn had to consider the answers. By digging down to the thoughts and opinions of these characters the students then created a newspaper article. I’ve regularly set learners the task of completing a newspaper article when doing this topic but this final piece of work was the best I’d ever received, learners really started to engage with the variety of opinions the characters would have had on the day, they understood Peter’s guilt and Mary’s Joy. Joseph’s relief of gaining back his tomb for his family was also mentioned.
An opportunity arose this March to target this approach to the Easter story within a transition project between Ysgol John Bright and 5 of its feeder primaries. The day combined more able and talented year 6 and 9 learners, Ipads, community links and of course transition between primary and secondary school.
For 3 weeks a schools worker had been working with year 9 MAT learners as they researched and practiced small dramas to present these characters to the year 6 pupils. St John’s in Llandudno was the location of the Transition day. Each year 6 learner had an iPad uploaded with evidence made to look like the facebook pages of each character with status updates and photographs of the year 9’s in full costume. Tim Gough, the schools worker, became a news director for the day and interviewed key witnesses with short drama’s explaining what happened.
The bloggers (year 6) had to record their questions for each character on the iPad. An evidence box was also presented to them including a fake ear. Once they had researched and created their questions the director then informed them that the characters had been spotted in three locations in Llandudno and they could to go and interview them. The interviews were recorded on the iPads. The pupils worked hard all morning and came back to St John’s for a well earned lunch.
The afternoon started with Mary Magdelene running through the lunch hall shouting ‘Jesus is alive’. The bloggers then attended a press conference with the characters and 3 Christians living in 2013. Again, they had to record questions on their iPads, having an opportunity to ask them and video the responses. The 3 Christians on the press panel aimed to help learners that this story was important to some people today. The day finished with year 6 pupils tweeting as to whether they thought Jesus was innocent or not, and the creation of video blog to comment on the day.
This approach was designed to utilise modern technologies available but also focus on a key part of any religious story, the characters. By asking questions of the characters and blogging the opinions and feelings of the learners it is hoped that this story and the impact it has had on Christians today was understood by all involved.
A video resource of this day will be created to inspire schools to set up similar projects.