A Little Context
The context for the focus of my Course 1 Final Project is a Year 3 Religious Education Unit of Study on the Sikh faith. Within the British National Curriculum, Religious Education is a subject which tends to be much marginalised. The entire Curriculum was re-written in 2014, and RE was not included. Instead, the guidance explains that though there is no statutory guidance, schools should locally agree how the subject is included and to what extent.
I lead this subject area in my setting, alongside another non-statutory subject – Philosophy. Students study one world religion per year as they progress through their time at my school, and Sikhism is the religion of choice in Year 3. This website offers a superb breakdown of suggested content, alongside the 2010 RE Curriculum.
Obviously, I am extremely enthusiastic about RE as a subject, even though I am not personally religious. I feel that it offers a wonderful opportunity for children to learn about different cultures, peoples and ways of life. Empathy should be at its heart. It is also a subject which can potentially empower children as critical thinkers. It can elicit debate, encourage creative ideas and be a host for entrancing learning. This is what I hope to bring to Year 3 with this UbD (no pressure)!
The UbD planning format is a new one for me (UbD in a Nutshell). The proforma forced me to rethink the lesson planning process somewhat, but I found the backwards planning process a really rewarding one. It directly ensured that each subsequent section was relevant to the overall objective. I also found that it also encourages the use of practical and truly embedded technology, a key feature of COETAIL Course 1 learning.
Having ambitious aims for our children and questions that rely on deep thinking is also a stellar feature. Including the ISTE Standards helps us empower our students, as active collaborators who make decisions meaningfully – all key parts of Course 1.
I decided on a similar formula for each lesson in terms of how the lessons progress (reflect – independently research – share collaboratively – share on blog), which I hope will allow the children to afford most of their lesson time to learning about the topic at hand and the discussion that hopefully leads from it, rather than on content which does not necessarily link with these key aims. I based each lesson around one or two enquiry questions, as I feel that this will empower the students to think critically and act as a good focus point.
The entire Unit relies on uploading of created content onto a SeeSaw blog, which should bring this learning in line with Connectivist methodology, produce engagement and act as a further source of collaboration. Finally, I decided to ask the children in the last lessons to choose their own digital media options (which they have previously used) and I am really enthralled to see which ones they pick and why.
I am really excited to see how these lessons go in practice and to hear all of the wonderful opinions and findings from the students. My hope is that the technology listed will not only cement understanding of the central aspects of Sikhism, but also allow the children to reflect and discuss their ideas on a much deeper level. I can’t wait to share how it all goes with you all!