Two weeks of Year 3 Religious Education (and English) in, and I'm having a ball. The first week RE went great and English was a disaster. The second week RE was a mess and English was spectacular. So we're doing what we can.
In RE the curriculum currently has us talking about Judaism and specifically Moses. (Can I just say how much I love following lesson plans that I haven't written? It takes out 99.9% of the stress of teaching for me.) We covered The Exodus first and so I grouped them into pairs. Partner one became the slave while partner two became the master for a couple of minutes.
Foolishly, I failed to put in a clause saying "DON'T HIT YOUR SLAVE!"
I know better now.
We then had a group discussion about what it felt like to be a slave (using the interactive white board! Those things are fun.) and what it felt like to be the master. We then talked about how the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt and how even today there are slaves around the world and how sometimes it can be because of totally arbitrary things like religion or race or whatever. I don't remember what we did next but I do know that I enjoy working with 8 and 9 year olds. They're just old enough to have their own opinions and actually have something interesting to say with fascinating links and ties to other subjects.
The first week they let me get away with answering "It's a Bible Story" when they asked "is this TRUE?" The second week they wised up, "Yes, but is the Bible true??"
"Yes, it's true! It really happened."
"Nu-uh! It didn't! It's just a story!"
Well. Look, guys. Here's the thing about religion; some things that some religions believe to be true and factually correct other don't believe to be true. So, yes, for many people in the world they believe that this is true. Many others don't.
"Yes, but did it really happen?"
Right. So these are the 10 commandments, everyone look at the board please?
Here's where RE completely fell apart the second week: I made groups of 4 to collaboratively write 5 commandments for living life well and then make a poster. A few of the groups worked just fine, but the group I had working in French was alternating between giggling maniacally and crying and the group across from them decided that *all* of their commandments would be about who not to fart on. There was so much hooting and hollering going on that I tried 4 different ways of simmering them down and getting their attention: clapping a pattern to clap back, turning the lights off, shouting over them (oops), and quietly saying "if you're listening and paying attention you'll put your finger on your nose" which worked just fine for the groups who were working well already but failed massively with the two groups that were already out of control.
I talked with their teacher afterwards and we mutually decided that the way in which I'd built the groups was...not ideal. So I now have a much better plan for which kids to combine with which kids. Learning, it's all about learning.
Here's the other place it went wrong with the Ten Commandments
Thou Shalt Not Kill
But Miss Casey? What about all the Egyptians that got drownded?
No, no, it's okay to kill Egyptians.