The full file of Curriculum Development projects are on the Religious Worlds of New York website, but I wanted to highlight some of the my favorite projects done by the last cohort group. I also wrote a blog post highlighting my Curriculum Development project HERE!
“If You Can’t Take the Heat”: Jewish and Islamic Dietary Restrictions in America
I love this project because it speaks to kids through their stomachs. Food is something we all encounter every single day and the decisions we make about what to eat, and in some cases what not to eat, define us. This project looks at the theological and lived experiences of kosher and halal, food restrictions of Judaism and Islam. Even though many kids in my school do not practice such food laws, this can still be away to connect to others inter community and it is an easy way to “step” into another’s shoes…or stomachs.
Read more: Jewish Holidays: Foods of Rosh HaShanah
Threads in the Tapestries of Religious Life
This project is made for a World Religions class, something I’ve been DYING to teach, and it allows students to become experts in a recurring theme/thread throughout various religions. At the beginning of the course, students will select from a list of teacher-approved threads, some of which are:
- Ritual food/food rituals
- Sacred sites/pilgrimage
- Health & medicine
- Tools for prayer & worship
As different religions are studied throughout the course, the students will research whatever thread they chose at the beginning; and at the end of each unit, students will present on their thread. The presentation has to also include the diversity within religions traditions, changes over time, and interviews with practitioners. What I especially love about this project is that by the end of the course that student will not only have learned about various religions but will become an “expert” on one personal and very specific aspect of multiple religions. This really allows the student to do unique research, personalize it, and teach the class something new.
Read more: Learning not Converting
Mapping Religious Diversity and Community Involvement in Lexington
This project is about mapping the local religious diversity of your community and is perfect for the start of a World Religions class. Many times students don’t realize the religious and cultural diversity in their own backyards, even in majority Christian neighborhoods there is a ton of variety to choose from!This project has students using digital tools to map out the locations of various houses of worships but also has students look at their mission statements and community outreach. My favorite part about this project is the community involvement research because it shows that religion is way more involved than mere faith, it includes action. This activity forces students to move beyond the “world religion chart” so many teachers are familiar with and gets their (digital) feet on the ground looking at the work these churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques are doing right in their own city.
Read more: Travel Tips: Dressing for Houses of Worship