We hope that this year of teaching inspires and challenges you, and warms your heart. We encourage teachers to use our curriculum flexibly and to supplement with ideas or content that is relevant and appropriate. We also recognize that sometimes teaching can be challenging when behavioral issues or class dynamics interfere with the class realizing its full potential. Our Director of Children’s Religious Education is always available to assist you. However, we want to also make some resources easily accessible to you in case you want to “go the extra mile,” or explore some new strategies. Below is a list of resources and links that may be useful to you during the year. Please let us know any feedback you might have should you use any of these. You can e-mail Leslie Ross here.
Thank You for Volunteering to Teach!
Each year we are amazed at how our teaching teams come together. You will be one of over 120 teachers this year. Please fill out the following Teacher Volunteer Form and return it to the Religious Education table in the Commons or mail it to FUS c/o RE Program Coordinator. Thank you!
The Soul Only Avails: Teaching as a Spiritual Act
Dr. Barry Andrews, Minister of Religious Education at Shelter Rock, writes “what is important in religious education is not how much you know about children, teaching or even Unitarian Universalism, but how much you are willing to give of yourself, of your soul.” Read more about teaching as a ministry to our children and youth here: http://uua.org/religiouseducation/teachers/framing/15417.shtml
Placing Children at the Center
Tracey Hurd, Children and Families Programs Director at the UUA, writes: “I place working with children at the heart of thinking about adult teacher development. Most people teach because they want to be with children. Children are natural spiritual guides. They are comfortable with the process of seeking. They are immediate in their response to love and injustice. They are forgiving companions for a journey of faith.” To read more about her insights on working with children and on the myriad ways they nourish our own spiritual development, click here.
Tapestry of Faith
The UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association) set out a few years ago to develop new curricula for children and youth that would integrate current understandings of learning processes as well as contemporary ideas about UUism. Tapestry of Faith is a series of programs and resources for all ages that nurture Unitarian Universalist identity, spiritual growth, a transforming faith, and vital communities of justice and love. There are several newly developed curricula for each age group, and they are available on-line for free! Take a look at these wonderful resources here.
Faith in Action
Over the past couple of years, the UUA has been developing new curricula for children and youth. One piece that they’ve included is “Faith in Action.” How do we live our UU principles? How do we engage with the broader congregation and UU movement in ways that are meaningful? The Faith in Action activities offer many ways for your class to move beyond the walls of your classroom toward a broader understanding of our congregation and of UUism. Pick and choose whatever FIA activities fit your age group and your intention. Faith in Action K-1
Faith in Action 2nd-3rd Grade
Faith in Action 4th - 5th Grade
Faith in Action 6th Grade
Faith in Action 7th - 9th Grade
There are lots of great resources out there on community-building, and creating strong classroom communities is a priority here at FUS. Most of your binders contains activity ideas near the front, before the actual curriculum begins. There are also many wonderful resources on-line. Here are a few:
For some very rudimentary information on UU faith development, click here. For more in-depth and generalized description of faith development, James Fowler is often the expert cited. You can read about his theories at http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/fowler.htm or at http://www.usefulcharts.com/psychology/james-fowler-stages-of-faith.html.
Fortunately the past few decades have helped educators to move beyond cookie-cutter models of education and to better understand that children have unique styles of learning. An ideal classroom session will offer something for everyone—the tactile learners, the auditory learners, the spatial learners, and so on. Learn more about learning styles and how you might adapt your lessons here: http://www.education.com/topic/different-learning-styles/.
Positive Guidance and Discipline Strategies
For some good suggestions for working with younger children (First grade and younger), click here. For ideas on behavior management of children ages 5 and up, you can read several articles at http://www.education.com/topic/discipline/. These are geared toward parents but have useful applications for your roles as well.
Terrific Tips for Topnotch Teachers
Three tips on effective and engaging communication with children can be found here.