Teaching about the Kingdom of God

I love teaching this section in Religious Education. It is always such a nice topic to teach and the students always seem to enjoy learning about the Kingdom of God and the works of Jesus. It can be made interactive and taught in an engaging manner for students. It is  Section B Part Three on the Religious Education syllabus.  As a result of studying this section students should be able to identify the characteristics of the kingdom of God as preached by Jesus and be able to recognise these characteristics in the words and actions of Jesus and his followers, past and present.

There are so many ways the following lessons can be taught, and edited to suit the ability level in your class. There is great scope to embed the New Junior Cycle Six Key Skills into any of these lessons – I just have some suggestions and resources here that worked for me so I thought I would share them with you all 🙂

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The first lesson is an introduction to the topic and students will understand and be able to differentiate what the key words disciple and apostle mean. The students will be able to recognise what discipleship means for Christianity today as part of their awareness of the Christian faith. The students will be able to identify characteristics of the Kingdom of God as preached by Jesus in discipleship. This includes pupils acknowledging the disciples of Jesus and the call to follow and how that call is heard and responded to today worldwide by Christians. When you are describing your learning outcomes for the lesson to students, a useful tip is to use a WALT worksheet. This incorporates the NCCA Assessment for Learning approach in the classroom. For example the students will write ;

  • I want to know about the apostles and disciples.
  • I want to learn about the Kingdom of God.
  • I want to learn about the twelve apostles.

At the end of the lesson, the students can recall the learning outcomes they made at the beginning of the lesson and the teacher writes up on the board

  • I now know about….and the students fill in what they have learned today on their worksheet which relate to the learning outcomes. It is a useful exercise and can be cross curricular.

The topic of focus for this lesson was The Kingdom of God- the disciples and apostles through use of a Powerpoint. I introduced what it means to become a disciple of Jesus and the stories with the disciples in the Bible. We looked at the meaning of discipleship. We looked at all the apostles and had a contest about who can name them all as a form of assessment. I also taught the key concepts surrounding this chapter including terms such as disciple, rabbi, apostle and the difference between an apostle and disciple.

  • Rabbi- Jewish title for teacher of religion.
  • Apostle – close friend of Jesus in a circle of twelve.
  • Disciple- followers of Jesus.

We looked at discipleship today i.e Christians in the world. We discussed discipleship in our community also. Then I put the pupils into groups of four where we had a Table Quiz on Discipleship. The teams had to write down everything that they now knew about discipleship in less than one minute. From the word GO, they had to answer questions 1-6 on the whiteboard. These questions are on page 76 in All About Faith 1.

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I asked the students to complete a worksheet on the ‘Friends of Jesus’ which included a Bible story about the twelve apostles and questions about what the students have learned today. It also included a picture to colour in.  You can download the worksheet here Friends.Jesus.

In the next lesson, the students could identify characteristics of the kingdom of God as preached by Jesus. The students were able to recognise these characteristics in the words and actions of Jesus and his followers, past and present. The students knew and understand what the word ‘Beatitude’ and ‘Golden Rule’ meant within the Kingdom of God and what these words mean. Here is a Bible verses handout that the students can work on relating to the Kingdom of God and sync in with the Powerpoint presentation on this topic Bible Verses handout for Powerpoint on Kingdom of God

In the next lesson, the students were able to identify and know about the miracles of Jesus as a part of the Kingdom of God. The students were able to recognise these miracles in the words and actions of Jesus as a preacher and a healer and his followers, past and present. The students knew and understood the word and significance of these miracles and recognised that miracles still happen today because of our faith in God alone. This again refers to us living within the Kingdom of God. A good resource for testing students or even as classwork / homework is this worksheet from http://www.sermonsforkids.com.miracle_worker_cloze test.jpg

I also did a lesson about the miracles and apparitions at Knock and Lourdes. I asked the students to complete a Diary_Entry L4 which is an account of their very own pilgrimage to Knock / Lourdes and they must describe their feelings when they see an apparition.The students themselves wanted to make a shrine in the classroom called the Kingdom of God where they put their Religious Education work and their diary entries once I corrected them. It was such a beautiful display and added to the students engagement in RE.

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To introduce parables, a suggestion would be to write ‘Parable’ on to the whiteboard and ask the students to brainstorm for answers to the question:

What words or images come to mind when you think of a parable? It is useful to take feedback from the students and note their understanding of parable on the whiteboard.

Present the students with one or more dictionary definitions of parable for example;

  • The Collins Dictionary – “allegory, story with a moral lesson”
  • The Oxford Dictionary – “a story told to illustrate a moral lesson”
  • The Universal English Dictionary – “1. Brief narrative or story, conveying a spiritual or moral lesson, or illustrating some spiritual condition or relation…. 2. phrase with hidden meaning…. 3. Speech….”

This is a lesson based on the parables of Jesus. It is useful after teaching the content of the lesson to ask a series of higher and lower order questions to make sure all students understand the concept and topic so far. Some examples are:

  • What is a parable?
  • What was the main message in each parable about?
  • Who taught through the use of parables?
  • Is the kingdom of God a place?

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I studied the parable of the Prodigal son with the class group I had. I introduced the topic by asking students for suggestions on what their idea was of the parable which I recorded on the whiteboard. I then showed the students a short video clip of the story of the Prodigal son. When the clip was over, I asked the students a series of higher and lower order questions for example;

  • What did the son leave at the beginning of the story?
  • Why did he return home?
  • What is the hidden meaning of the story?
  • What do you think is the most important moment in the story?
  • What do you think is the most important message or meaning in this story?
  • Jesus told this story to explain something about the Kingdom of God. What do you think Jesus is trying to tell us about the Kingdom of God in this story?

Then I gave the students a handout. I asked two pupils to read this page for me. As a class, we discussed the hidden meaning of the parable. I then placed the students into pairs. I asked the pupils to plan a modern day tale of the Prodigal Son. I gave the students an example via PowerPoint to help them. I informed the students that they had three minutes to complete this exercise. I asked three pairs for their modern day versions of the Prodigal son. The students really seem to enjoy this exercise. I find that first years are usually enthusiastic about presenting work so this short exercise goes down well.

Another activity you could do is give students time to read a selection of parables ;

  • The Weeds 13:24-30
  • The Hidden Treasure 13:44
  • The Pearl 13:45-46
  • The dragnet 13:47-48
  • The unforgiving Servant 18:23-34
  • The Workers in the Vineyard 20:1-6
  • The Two Sons 21:28-31
  • Invitation to the Wedding Feast 22: 1-2
  • Man without a wedding garment 22:2-14
  • The ten bridesmaids 25:1-13
  • The Sheep and the Goats 25:31-44

Then you could ask the students to discuss the following questions:

  • What do you think Jesus is trying to say about the kingdom of God in these parables
  • Which of the parables describe God’s nature, qualities, attitudes in dealing with people?
  • Which of the parables describe how we should act if we hope to “enter the Kingdom”?
  • Which of the parables describe people’s relationships with one another and the world at large?
  • Which of the parables describe the future coming of God’s kingdom in its fullness?

In the next lesson,  the students will be able to recall the parable of the Good Samaritan and the students will know the deeper meaning behind the parable of the Good Samaritan. I asked the students to write in their own words what they thought was the deeper meaning of the parable of the Good Samaritan and how the Kingdom of God is portrayed in the parable. Throughout the lesson I will ask the pupils higher and lower order questions on the Good Samaritan. There are so many Good Samaritan Resources online and another website which is useful for resources on the Good Samaritan is Catholic Toolbox.

Here are some quick, easy to print handouts if you are stuck for additional resources ;

Jesus feeds 5000 L3

 

Leper and Jesus L3

 

NB : If anyone is looking for Powerpoint presentations, let me know here or on my Twitter (@5j16MsDignam)and I can email them to you no problem. I am having issues uploading Powerpoints to my blog at the moment.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post. As always, let me know what you think or if you would like me to do a blog post on another section on the Junior Certificate / Leaving Certificate syllabus with resources! 🙂

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Textual Resources

  • New Revised Standard Version Bible
  • Miracles Worksheet Booklet – Wordsearch, Crossword and two colouring pages on the Miracles of Jesus
  • Pilgrimage Worksheet – Account of a pilgrimage
  • New Religion for Living Series Book 1 by Connie Duffy p.p 200-203
  • A Time to Live New Christian Way Series 3 Veritas, pages 59-61, and 98-101.
  • All About Faith 1 Gill and Macmillan Series, pages 74-79, 81-88 and 92-95.
  • Community of Faith Veritas, pages 12-15, 99 and 101-104. .
  • Community of Hope Veritas, pages 34-49.
  • Love One Another New Christian Way Series 1, Veritas, pages 34-40, 101-107, 110-113, and 115-122.
  • Show Us The Way New Christian Way Series 2 Veritas, pages 140-141,146-156 and 215.
  • Teach Me Your Ways, The Light of the World Series 1 – Gill and Macmillan, Chapter 22.

ICT Resources

 

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