Video Clips

Blog - May 2008

What a great day! First day of the holidays and the sun shining better than ever. This month marks the second anniversary of the Faitharts Blog, so it's time to take stock. I was pleased to see the blog reviewed in the "Blog Digest" section of last Thursday's Irish Independent, courtesy of Silicon Republic - see the review here.
I've also joined the Edubloggers community (see above) which should help to increase the exposure of the website and facilitate more sharing with other teachers worldwide. Over the summer I hope to add an index/catalogue to the blog so teachers and surfers can find useful material more easily.
At one of the student interviews at the end of Transition Year I was very glad to hear one student speaking of how our study of religious themes in poetry had opened his eyes to the whole idea of religion in poetry, especially in relation to Patrick Kavanagh.

Well, we had our visit from the Diocesan Advisor and I think it went well. The students who had their work on the religion and arts course up to scratch got their certificates. I was really pleased by how many of them did interesting projects. Some wrote poems with spiritual themes, some made crosses in woodwork, some did drawings and for the first time this year a few wrote songs and tunes. Two boys performed their tunes on the day - one did an original guitar instrumental accompanied by a reading (he says he can't sing!) while another did a short three-part instrumental on the last days of Christ's life. Even better they're willing to repeat the performances for parents' night.
As it gets harder to find stuff in previous blogs I'm hoping when holidays come to catalogue previous topics in the blogs, at least the main ones that will be of use to teachers. Planning plenty of other upgrades and improvements also. Suggestions always welcome.

Finding it hard to keep blogging this month - the usual may Mayhem in school! Our Diocesan Advisor is coming next week to give certs to TY students so I'll be getting on to them to get their RE work into shape. Every year I give them an assignment to do a work of art with a religious theme. Results have been patchy but this year it's looking good! Two or three of the lads have written songs, which is great. At least one seems prepared to perform his work on the day.
Stuff I'm looking forward to, apart from holidays: new Narnia film on the way, this month I think; new X-Files movie due this summer also - seems to have a faith theme as many X-Files episodes did (see my article here), though I'm worried about reports that the film will feature a dodgy priest; and just heard the other day that Mary Chapin Carpenter is working on a Christmas album.

Last week I returned to religious themes in poetry with a few more poems. Continued with Patrick Kavanagh from previous class - this time with Advent (text here) and Canal Bank Walk (text here). Advent is complex enough but many of the students were able to grasp the complexities - themes like innocence and the desire to "pray unselfconsciously with overflowing speech". Also got to Journey of the Magi by T.S. Eliot (text here), an excellent poem about a journey - such a powerful motif. It wasn't very seasonal in April, but I stressed the journey symbolism and dealt with Eliot's journey of faith. Got good answers on why the Magi would not have felt at home when they return to their home places, with "an alien people clutching their Gods". Next up, some modern performance poetry, which is great fun as I get the students to act out the poems, to perform them in front of the class, having allowed some preparation time.