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.
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.