During each Religious Worlds institute, our summer scholars develop curriculum projects to integrate the study of lived religion into their teaching on religious diversity. The products of their hard work and creativity are available here, as downloadable resources for teachers.
The projects include lesson plans, course units, and outlines of entire curricula. Some revolve around community-based programs, like site visits to houses of worship and panel discussions with religious leaders. Many include guidelines for assignments, as well as links to relevant videos, texts, and other resources. Feel free to use these projects just as you find them, adapt them to the needs of your students, or just take a look and let them inspire your thinking.
The curriculum projects are grouped in broad themes, by subject matter or pedagogic approach. Click the boxes below to read brief descriptions of over 120 projects, then click on the titles to read and download each project.
Sacred City: Mapping the Shared Religious Homes of New York — Student construct a collaborative virtual map of sacred sites in NYC, reconceptualizing the city as a shared religious space imbued with interlocking sacred meanings. Created by Rebecca Collins Jordan, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York, NY.
Independent Student Explorations of Religious Diversity — Students conduct site visits individually or in pairs, then report back to their peers. Includes handout with guidelines and reflections questions for students. Created by Al Grindon, Immaculate Heart High School, Los Angeles, CA.
EXPOSURES: Worldviews Close to Home — Step-by-step guide for student photography projects at local religious festivals and celebrations. Includes materials to teach religious diversity, photo composition, and fieldwork practice/ethics. Created by Debra A. Cole, The Independent School, Wichita, KS.
Structuring Student Site Visits to Houses of Worship — Provides a clear structure for the academic study of a place of worship, and illustrates this approach with student handouts and other materials for a visit to a local Hindu temple. Created by Jody Madell, Lyons Community School, Brooklyn NY.
Exploring Local Religious Diversity Through a Site Visit Jigsaw — Splits students into mixed-grade groups for site visits to six different religious institutions, with preparation, debrief, and other learning activities. Created by Lacey Vargas, East Harlem School, New York, NY.
Hindu and Buddhist Worlds of New York — Students look beyond their “world religions” textbook and engage with the city as classroom, through site visits, interviews, and presentations to share their research findings. Created by Kate André, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York, NY.
Engaging the Senses at a Hindu Temple in Michigan — Provides guidelines for a visit to a Hindu Temple, with sensory grids for students to fill out during and immediately after. Created by Becky Kraft, Plymouth High School, Canton, MI.
Engaging the Senses at a Hindu Temple in California — Asks students to observe and reflect on the sensory terrain of a Hindu temple and the behavior of worshippers. Created by Ellen Donlin, Notre Dame High School, San Jose, CA.
Engaging Islam as a Modern, Lived Religion — Helps students understand Islam as a lived, diverse religion, preparing them to do field research and discuss the factors that shape contemporary understandings of Islam. Created by Andrea Skafish, Brooklyn Latin School, Brooklyn, NY.
A Tale of Two Temples: Living Buddhisms in Miami — Emphasizes the diversity within all religious traditions through back-to-back site visits to a Thai Theravada Buddhist temple and a Zen Buddhist lifestyle center. Created by Kate Bloomfield, Ransom Everglades School, Coconut Grove, FL.
Exploring Lived Religion through Multiple Lenses — Semester-long research project introduces students to the realities of everyday lived religion through novels, site visits, and a series of interviews. Created by Kris Hale, Riverwood International Charter School, Sandy Springs, GA.
A Trio of Lenses on Religion: Individual, Neighborhood, and Community — Students will learn about religion through individual, neighborhood, and community lenses, encouraging empathy for their fellow global citizens. Created by Kim Leddy, Mosaic Program, Columbus, OH.
The Grand Tour: Student Guides to Local Religious Sites — As part of an inquiry-based unit on the diversity of Sandy Springs, GA, students will create a tour of the many different faiths represented in the community. Created by Liz Cario, Riverwood International Charter School, Sandy Springs, GA.
Exploring Lived Religion in Central Virginia — Year-long research project introducing students to the diversity of local religious life through a series of site visits, leading to creation of a web-based guidebook. Created by Robert Clark, St. Anne’s-Belfield School, Charlottesville, VA.
Hindu House of Worship Fieldwork Project — Through observation and interviews, this project introduces students to the diversity within Hinduism and Hindu communities in the Los Angeles area. Created by Roger De Silva, Notre Dame High School, Sherman Oaks, CA.
Virtual Lived Religions — Uses digital technologies to bring the experience of sacred space into the classroom, without the challenges and potential pitfalls of actual site visits. Created by Sherry McIntyre, Johansen High School, Modesto, CA.
Observing Puja through the Global Intimacy of YouTube — Harnesses the odd global intimacy of YouTube to familiarize students with the lived diversity of Hinduism, and introduce the concept of puja. Created by Jacqueline Richard, School of the Holy Child, Rye, NY.
Mapping Religious Diversity and Community Involvement in Lexington — Using online resources, students explore the geography of local religious life, including the community outreach programs of diverse congregations. Created by Ryan Popplewell, Bryan Station High School, Lexington, KY.
Where in the World ?!? Student World Culture Project — Teams of students (in grades 4-8) develop authentic, “kid-friendly,” multimedia presentations illustrating the cultural life of a selected country. Created by Mary Beth Poole, Intermediate School, Camp Lejeune, NC.
Faith-Based Service in Silicon Valley — Students discover how diverse faith communities participate in acts of kindness and compassion, then gain a lived religious perspective by serving alongside congregants. Created by Steve Pinkston, Bellarmine College Preparatory, San Jose, CA.
Encountering Our Muslim Neighbors Through Service, Scholarship, and a Shared Meal — A week-long collaborative project to build relationships and understanding among students at an Episcopal and Islamic school. Created by John Mark Elliot, Christ Church Episcopal School, Greenville, SC.
Life History and Lived Religion — In this capstone assignment for a semester-long World Religions course, students interview an adult family member or friend about their religious upbringing and the role religion plays in their life. Created by Harry Bernieri, Poly Prep Country Day School, Brooklyn, NY.
Sharing Stories of Religious Lives: Theory of Knowledge Exhibition Practice — Students interview a friend, family member, or community member, then share their story as a way to practice for the IB TOK Exhibition. Created by Paul Moradkhan, Andrew P. Hill High School, San Jose, CA.
Islam as a Lived Religion: In Maine, the United States, and Around the World — Students examine Muslim life both locally and globally, through primary and secondary sources, interviews, and a panel discussion with community leaders. Created by Joel Lesinski, Westbrook High School, Westbrook, ME.
Dissonant Devotion: The Legacy of Contradiction American Religion and Politics — Explores the role of religion in American history and national identity, culminating in a panel discussion with local religious and civic leaders. Created by Manny Martínez, REALM High School, Berkeley, CA.
Oral Histories of Religious Lives — Helps students understand the concept of lived religion and the diversity of religious practice by interviewing persons from a religious tradition other than their own. Created by Ken Emery, Maria Carrillo High School, Santa Rosa, CA.
Misunderstood! Addressing Religious Diversity in the Classroom — Students analyze hypothetical case studies of religious conflict or misunderstanding in a diverse classroom, and develop action plans to help resolve the problem. Created by Jake Sproull, San Francisco Day School, San Francisco, CA.
Learning Together, Locally and Globally — Reframes and expands the resources offered by Generation Global, preparing students with the skills required for successful interfaith dialogue. Created by Patrick Connelly, Aquinas Institute of Rochester, Rochester, NY.
Exploring African Diaspora Religious Traditions: A Panel Discussion — Panel discussion with Vodou and Yoruba-Lukumi community leaders, demonstrating embodied ritual elements to help students understand how traditions are lived. Created by Brandon Roth, Brooklyn Friends School, Brooklyn, NY.
Diverse Muslim Voices in the Classroom — Explores the challenges and opportunities involved in creating a panel discussion with Muslim community leaders, raising issues relevant to any panel discussion with religious leaders. Created by Peter Masteller, Palmer Trinity School, Palmetto Bay, FL.
The Binding of Isaac: From the Biblical Text to Your Neighbors’ Lives — Using the biblical narrative of the binding of Isaac as a starting point, students examine how translation affects meaning, and meaning shapes religious practice. Created by Jennifer Selvin, Lick-Wilmerding High School, San Francisco, CA.
Exploring Lived Religion with Guest Speakers — Helps teachers integrate faith-based speakers into a secular public school classroom, in a way that honors the First Amendment and fosters respect for religious diversity. Created by Tracey Kassin, Wilmington High School, Wilmington, MA.
How Do You Learn About Your Faith Tradition? A Jewish-Muslim Dialogue — Envisions a peer-to-peer dialogue among Jewish and Muslim high school students, exploring their experiences of religious education. Created by Judith May, Schechter School of Long Island, Williston Park, NY.
How Does the Cultural Studies Method Help us Understand Diverse Religions? — This ambitious project includes detailed course units on six religious traditions, following guidelines from the NCSS C3 Framework Social Studies State Standards. Created by Tim Hall, K-12 Social Studies Instructional Specialist, Vance County Schools, NC.
Belief, Behavior, and Belonging: Journaling on the “3 Bs” — In this year-long journaling assignment, students reflect on the importance of belief, behavior, and belonging in their own lives and those of their diverse neighbors. Created by Emily Kuntz, Grace Church School, New York, NY.
Religious Knowledge in Theory and Practice: Optional Unit for IB Theory of Knowledge — Detailed lesson plan with presentation slides introducing the academic study of religion and tensions between religious and scientific knowledge. Created by Patricia Beck, Largo High School, Largo, FL.
Introduction to World Religions — Detailed lesson plan with presentation slides for the first class meeting of a World Religions unit. Created by Anahi Cortes, Cristo Rey New York High School, New York, NY.
Introducing the Study of Lived Religion — Introduction to a year-long World Religions elective, helping students move beyond the idea that religions are static or monolithic structures, easily reduced to a list of “dates and doctrines.” Created by Clay Francis, Hutchison School, Memphis, TN.
Student Questions for the Study of Lived Religion — Students develop and reflect upon a set of questions about religious life. Reflection is centered on discussions of poems and a podcast about local faith communities. Created by Larry Borst, Grand Rapids Christian High School, Grand Rapids, MI.
Religious Studies Unit — Outlines a 17 class period comparative religion unit for a 6th grade global history course, and includes detailed materials for an introductory discussion of the study of religion in US public schools. Created by Luke Bolton, Hamilton Grange Middle School, New York, NY.
Categories for Comparative World Religions — Introduces four comparative categories, used throughout a semester-long course: 1) Beliefs and Practices, 2) Sacred Time, 3) Sacred Place, and 4) Sacred Story. Created by Teresa Davis, Archbishop McNicholas High School, Cincinnati, OH.
The Academic and Devotional Lens For Studying Religion — Introduces middle school students to the essential distinction between academic and devotional approaches to the study of religion. Created by Aaron Bible, Greenville Middle School, Greenville, TN.
Introducing Religious Worlds — Introduces the study of religious diversity by helping students reflect on the unconscious forces that shape their perceptions of reality, as well as their understandings of religion. Created by Leah Oppenzato, Elysian Charter School, Hoboken, NJ.
World Religions and Religious Worlds — Challenges students to pursue the fundamental questions: What is religion? How are religious doctrines enacted in community life? Created by Corey Davison, Newton South High School, Newton, MA.
Defining “Religion” in Global Popular Culture and Current Events — Investigates the cultures of Spanish-speaking, Chinese-speaking, and Arabic-speaking populations to gain perspective on global religious diversity. Created by Amber Allensworth, Cox Mill High School, Concord, NC.
Introducing Religious Worldviews — Through poetry, non-fiction, and video, students will explore religious and secular influences on socialization and the development of worldviews. Created by Tara Rigby, Fossil Ridge High School, Fort Collins, CO.
Visualizing Lived Religion: Placing Doctrine in Context — Introduces students to the concept of “lived religion,” with a conceptual graphic that helps teachers teach both the core doctrines and internal diversity of a religious tradition. Created by Thomas Sharp, Holland Hall School, Tulsa, OK.
Surfacing Implicit Biases about “Religion” — Invites teachers to explore their relationships with religion and spirituality, investigate implicit biases they may hold, and consider how these biases impact their teaching. Created by Sylvia Fagin, Montpelier Roxbury Public Schools, Montpelier, VT.
Engaging Lived Religion in Our Social Studies Classrooms — Works to enrich the study of religion in a K-8 charter school that prioritizes project based learning, multiple learning modalities, and student voice and choice. Created by Tara Seekins, Willow Creek Academy, Sausalito, CA.
Religious Diversity in a Culturally Responsive Classroom — Encourages educators to address and celebrate religious and cultural diversity, to foster an inclusive environment that values student beliefs and practices. Created by Manoj Thadhani, Manhasset Secondary School, Manhasset, NY.
Where do Conversations about Lived Religion Belong in the Classroom? — Encourages teachers to consider where conversations about religion fit into the existing academic and social-emotional curriculum. Created by Elizabeth Markham, Stevens Cooperative School, Jersey City, NJ.
Making Room for Religion in the IB English Language & Literature Curriculum — Helps teachers include an explicit focus on religious diversity in the study of texts that are rich with religious references. Created by Janet Conner, Newbury Park High School, Newbury Park, CA.
Religious Diversity in Springfield: A Professional Development Plan — Initiates an open discussion of the academic study of religion among teachers at a K-8 non-sectarian, independent day school. Created by Dr. Anne-Evan K. Williams, Ridgewood School, Springfield, OH.
What Does the First Amendment Say about Religion in Schools? — Helps teachers develop confidence in classroom discussions of religion, by reviewing the First Amendment Center’s “Teacher’s Guide to Religion in the Public Schools.” Created by Bonnie Cooper, Caney Creek High School, Conroe, TX.
Islamophobia in Local and National Contexts — Students place local responses to a 2019 Islamophobic hate crime in broader national contexts, and design their own yard signs and murals addressing social justice issues. Created by Sara Krueger, Logan High School, La Crosse, WI.
Multifaith Voices for Civil Rights: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel — Students explore religious voices in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, by readings excerpts from major works by Christian and Jewish civil rights leaders. Created by Reynaldo Decerega, George Washington Middle School, Alexandria, VA.
Race and Religion in the Antebellum United States — Students use primary and secondary sources (many included) to explore Christian views of slavery, as well as African-American spiritualities of resilience and refuge. Created by Amanda Pertierra, Cristo Rey New York High School, New York, NY.
Common Ground in a Troubled and Troubling World: Lived Religion and Social Justice Struggles — Using primary source documents, students explore the connection between lived religion and US social justice movements. Created by Nancy Welch, Spruce Street School, New York, NY.
Dear Mr. / Ms. President . . . — Students to write a letter to an elected official from the perspective of a faith community concerned about a social issue. Created by Stephen Arbogast, The National Cathedral School, Washington, DC.
“Liberty of Conscience” in George Washington’s Time and Today — Introduces to students to the principle of “liberty of conscience” through discussion of George Washington’s letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport. Created by Dr. Amber Bechard, JFK Middle School, Plainfield, IL.
“So Help Me God”: The Religious Language of the Inaugural Address — Introduces students to American religious demographics and the role of religion in contemporary politics, using data from the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life, and religious themes in various inaugural addresses.
Imagining Early American Interfaith Dialogue — Students discuss the creation of a “Colonial American Faiths Panel,” by researching relevant faith traditions and choosing historical “panelists” to represent significant faith communities. Created by Danielle Ramirez, Arts High School, Newark, NJ.
Religious Identities in Colonial America — Students explore Native American, African, and European religious experiences in early American history, through both primary and secondary sources. Created by Kelly O’Riley, Western Middle School for the Arts, Louisville, KY.
“Good isn’t a thing you are. It’s a thing you do”: Religion, Culture, and Identity in Marvel/Disney’s Ms. Marvel — Explores Muslim and Pakistani-American identities through representations of a Jersey City superhero. Created by Joseph Braccino, United Nations International School, New York, NY.
Poetic Voices of Religious Identity — Student explore religious diversity by reading a range of faith-based or spiritual poetry and posing philosophical questions about self and other. Includes full texts and discussion questions for suggested poems. Created by Gillian Steinberg, SAR High School, Bronx, NY.
Complicating Consciousness: Jane Eyre, Invisible Man, and the Buddhist Principle of “No Self” — Student think critically about the very idea of “consciousness” by placing Buddhist thought in conversation with classic novels by Ralph Ellison and Charlotte Bronte. Created by Rachel Abernathy, Milton Academy, Milton, MA.
Partition Experiences in Jhumpa Lahiri’s “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine” — Uses a Pulitzer Prize winning short story to introduce the history and legacy of the Partition of India and Pakistan, and experiences of South Asian immigrants in the US. Created by Heather Nordstrom, The Clinton School, New York, NY.
Lived Religion in Contemporary Young Adult Literature — Annotated list of Young Adult (YA) novels, graphic novels, and nonfiction books that speak to the experiences of diverse faith communities. Created by Andrew Cedermark, Stephen Mather Building Arts and Craftsmanship High School, New York, NY.
“Different Ways to Pray”: Using Poetry to Reflect on the Diversity Within Islam — Students learn about Islam by analyzing Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Different Ways to Pray” and completing a reflective personal project. Created by Alice Jackson, Kingsbridge International High School, Bronx, NY.
Amina’s Voice: Countering Islamophobia by Centering Young Muslim Voices — Students will recognize similarities and differences between themselves and the protaganist of a novel about a Pakistani-American Muslim girl in Milwaukee. Created by Anna Schlosser, Greene Hill School, Brooklyn, NY.
“The Faith of Graffiti”: Teaching Comparative Religion through Non-Traditional Literary Forms — Students explore lived religious experiences of graffiti, using primary, secondary, and theoretical sources. Created by Tara Ann Carter, Casablanca American School, Casablanca, Morocco.
Persepolis in Context and Conversation — In a larger unit on Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, this lesson sequence helps students to engage critically and respectfully with women from various Islamic traditions. Created by Joseph Hayden, Liberation Diploma Plus High School, Brooklyn, NY.
Religious Experience in the Short Story — Students explore the varieties of religious experience in the short story: a powerful literary vehicle for distilling critical moments of revelation, love, and faith, as well as confusion, hate, and doubt. Created by Erika Munson, The Waterford School, Sandy, UT.
Felony and Faith: Crime and Religion in Southern Literary Nonfiction — Students engage with religious voices through dicussion of literary nonfiction linking crime to religious beliefs and practices they may find alien or extreme. Created by Chris Watkins, Baylor School, Chattanooga, TN.
Siddhartha in Memphis — Supplements literary analysis of Herman Hesse’s novel Siddhartha through conversation about present-day issues with a Buddhist guest speaker. Created by Sammy Anzer, Kingsbury High School, Memphis, TN.
“This Blessed House”: Reading through a Religious Lens — Students discuss and respond to Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story “This Blessed House,” focusing on religious practices in the story, as well as questions about what it means to be “good.” Created by Luana Uluave, Waterford School, Sandy, UT.
What is Religion? Exploring Diverse Answers in Literature — Asks students to reflect on the fundamental nature of religion through discussions of “religious moments” in novels set in five different faith communities. Created by Brittany Pratt, Station Camp High School, Gallatin, TN.
What’s Your Scarlett Letter? — Students become critically aware of their own perspectives by reading Nathaniel Hawthorn’s classic novel The Scarlett Letter and discussing the nature of “American values.” Created by Jennifer Little, Terra Linda High school, San Rafael, CA.
Debating Religion and Imperialism in Things Fall Apart — Students explore the role of West African religion in Chinua Achebe’s classic novel Things Fall Apart, to gain insight into both pre-colonial African life and 19th century European imperialism.
Religious Life and the Life of Pi — Uses the major themes of Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi as an entry into broader discussions about lived religion and human spirituality. Created by Manny Morelli, History and Humanities Teacher.
Jewish Representation in the Advanced Placement Art History Curriculum — Students explore Jewish sacred arts and architecture, in part by visiting a synagogue to learn how iconography and architectural form support religious life. Created by Anna Robinson, Marlborough School, Los Angeles, CA.
Exploring Mosque Architecture in Classroom and Community — Two-part lesson plan including a classroom introduction to traditional mosque architecture, as well as guidance for a site visit to a local mosque. Created by Hannah Lehmann, Ottawa Hills Local School, Toledo, OH.
Building a 3-D Model House of Worship — In this capstone assignment, middle school students create a three-dimensional model of a house of worship in a specific religious tradition. Created by Shai Afsai, Esek Hopkins Middle School, Providence, RI, and Amy Bowton-Meade, Billings Middle School, Seattle, WA.
The Hip-Hop Marae — Students use hip-hop arts and poetry to illustrate Maori concepts, culminating in creation of a hip-hop Marae, the spiritual center of Maori communities in Aotearo, New Zealand. Created by Lavie Raven, North Lawndale College Prep High School, Chicago, IL.
Veneration of the Virgin: The Art of Icons in Greek Orthodox Theology — Demonstrates the importance of sacred art in Orthodox Christianity, using works from the AP Art History curriculum and a visit to a Greek Orthodox church. Created by Jessica Furiosi, Lake Mary High School, Lake Mary, FL.
Religion and the Arts through Sacred Space and Devotional Image — An art history curriculum connecting historical surveys of Islamic and Christian Art with contemporary religious practices. Created by Deb Rosenbaum, Denver School of the Arts, Denver, CO.
Performing Dialogue on Stage, Building Understanding in Class — Students research several world religions, then create a one-act play that puts young people of different faiths in dialogue around a social issue. Created by Michelle Fields, Woodstock Union High School, Woodstock, VT.
“First We Sit In a Circle”: Exploring Immigrant Religion through Musical Theatre — Students write an original musical about what it means to live in the US today, focusing on the perspectives of immigrant children in New York City. Created by Lyndsey Jones-McAdams, Public School, New York, NY.
An Experience of Ramadan at Michigan’s Fordson High — Students understand the Ramadan fast through the experiences of Muslim high school football players, in the film “Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football, and the American Dream.” Created by Abram Brosseit, Jenison High School, Jenison, MI.
Art and Society, in the Ottoman Empire and Today — Students explore the social role of visual imagery in the Ottoman Empire and contemporary American society, from calligraphic seals to corporate branding icons. Created by Michael Freydin (with Jeff Moss), Halsey J.H.S. 157, Rego Park, NY.
Real to Reel: Hinduism and “Gandhi” — To contextualize the classic film “Gandhi,” students write questions about Gandhi and imagine how a contemporary Hindu might respond, then speak with local Hindu leaders. Created by Daniel Isaac, Great Neck South Middle School, Great Neck, NY.
Religious Diversity through Sacred Arts — Full curriculum introducing students to Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam through units that include site visits, discussions of sacred arts, and creative projects for students. Created by Geoff Cobb, NYC Museum School, New York, NY.
Buddhism and Buddhist Art — Students learn about Buddhism as a faith practice that influences the creation of art, by analyzing Buddhist artworks from ancient to contemporary times. Includes extensive images and links to sources. Created by Amy Huntoon, Gilman School, Baltimore, MD.
Sacred Symbols — Through primary sources and a photography project, students ask how one can represent a person’s beliefs (religious, cultural, or secular) through an object or image that they consider sacred. Created by Gordon Baldwin, Charles O. Dewey Middle School, Brooklyn, NY.
Marked on the Body: Religious Tattoos Research and Photo Exhibition — Through interviews and photography, students explore the religious or spiritual significance of tattoos, and learn how religion literally marks the body. Created by Corey Wozniak, Equipo Academy, Las Vegas, NV.
Soccer as Religion (Maybe): Belief, Behavior, and Belonging in Sports — Students examine belief, behavior, and belonging as components of religious life, then ask if soccer can be viewed as a religion. Created by Ben Reiff, Oak Lawn Community High School, Oak Lawn, IL.
Stereotypes: Understanding for Overcoming — Students develop an understanding of the process of stereotyping by thinking critically about images and media portraying the peoples and cultures of the Middle East. Created by Saji James, Concord High School, Staten Island, NY.
Black Buddhists in America — Students explore the lived religious experiences of African-American Buddhists, through a Socratic Seminar (student-led discussion) and a wide range of digital resources (links included). Created by Monika Johnston, Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn, NY.
Understanding the Misunderstood: Teaching Vodou in the Haitian Revolution and Beyond — Incorporates the study of Haitian Vodou and the Bwa Kayiman Vodou ceremony into a 9th grade history unit on the Haitian Revolution. Created by Jonathon Allen, Marlborough School, Los Angeles, CA
Fake (Good) News: The Bible in the Media — Students explore the uses and misuses of biblical texts by politicians, pundits, and celebrities, and develop more nuanced interpretations of the passages in question. Created by AJ DeBonis, Regis High School, New York, NY.
Turning Points: American Muslims After 9/11 — Students explore the lived experience of American Muslims in the wake of the September 11th attacks, and reflect on the lives of American Muslims today. Created by Nina Cohen, The Frisch School, Paramus, NJ.
The Creation of Earth and the Art of Storytelling — Students explore ancient Mesopotamian, Mayan, and Egyptians creation myths, through small-group work, independent writing, and whole-class discussion, and final projects. Created by Kelsey Knutson, Phoenix Country Day School, Paradise Valley, AZ.
The Things We Carry: Exploring Student Identities through Sacred Objects — Students explore lived religion, identity, and the immigration/refugee experience, all through the interpretation of sacred objects. Created by Laura Gill, Glenn L. Downs Elementary, Phoenix, AZ
Hijab: Negotiating Religion, Culture, and Personal Identity — Helps students demystify the role of hijab, or veiling, in Islamic tradition, political debates, and the lives of American Muslim women. Created by Karen McMurdo, Marble Hill School for International Studies, Bronx, NY.
Sacred Water, Sacred Land in Ashiwi:Awan, Dinétah, Nuevo México, and New Mexico Communities — Explores the spiritual and political dimensions of water and land through a series of 16 thematically integrated seminars. Created by Martin Olea, Middle College High School, Gallup, NM.
Threads in the Tapestries of Religious Life — In this semester-long assignment, students become class experts on a specific aspect, or thread, of religious life (eg, coming of age, food regulations, etc) that is common across a wide range of faith traditions. Created by Mary Gentile, Milwaukee, WI.
Religion in West Africa and the African Diaspora — Traces the roots of Haitian Vodou in African traditional religions, with links to a wide range of primary and secondary sources. Created by Amanda McClure, The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT.
“If You Can’t Take the Heat”: Jewish and Islamic Dietary Restrictions in America — Comparative study of kashrut and halal dietary codes, in Jewish and Islamic law and theology, as well as contemporary American religious life. Created by Dr. Sara Labaton, Bronx, NY.
Creation Myths and the “Big Questions” — Establishes a context for the study of ancient civilizations by reading Mesopotamian, Indian, Chinese, Egyptian, Yoruba, Judeo-Christian, Greco-Roman, Japanese, Mayan and Lenape creation myths. Created by Gabriella Newton, Bronx Academy of Letters, New York, NY.
I’m From Faith: Religion, Identity, and Cultural Literacy — Integrates discussion of religious identity and belonging into a full year course on human rights and American cultural diversity. Created by Tiffany Bain, Roselle Park High School, Roselle Park, NJ.
Hinduism in Practice, and in Colonial Fantasy — Introduces students to Hinduism as lived religion, and helps them to analyze how cultural differences led to conflict in the age of imperialism. Created by Jane Hannon, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Washington, DC.
Encountering Native American Spirituality through Bibliodrama — Exposes students to Native American stories and spiritualities, using a technique borrowed from the study of the Bible known as Bibliodrama. Created by Dr. Gary Schmidt, Grace Church School, New York, NY.
Many Forms, One God: Introducing Hinduism to Elementary Students — Introduces 4th graders the basics of Hinduism through videos, books, a site visit, and guest speakers. Created by Randy Schmidt, Milton Academy, Milton, MA.
Comparative Origin Myths — Outlines the essential questions, learning goals, and learning plan for a course unit on Buddhist and Jewish origin myths, exploring the links between origin myths and ritual/social practice. Created by Christina Grasso, Brooklyn Latin School, Brooklyn, NY.
The Forces that Draw Us Home — Students consider the social, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of the concept of “home,” by studying Neolithic settlements as well as concepts of home and sacred space in their communities. Created by Taylor Snow, George H. Moody Middle School, Henrico, VA.
Buddhism and the American Teen — Students learn about Buddhism through scripture, literature, film, and conversations with Buddhists, then use Buddhist teachings to confront common struggles faced by American teenagers. Created by Sharon Humphrey, Sharon High School, Sharon, MA.
Everyday Religious Life: Teaching from the Headlines, and our Grandmothers’ Lives — Helps students understand how religion shapes both current events and everyday lives, through discussions of personal history and heritage. Created by Maureen Foley-Bensen, Omak High school, Omak, WA.
Sacred Feasts: Studying Lived Religion through Food — Explores and compares the religious and secular aspects of the Passover seder and Eid al-Fitr feast. Created by Lee Quinn, NB Broughton High school, Raleigh, NC.
OMG(s)!: Exploring Contemporary Polytheistic Religions — Introduces students to contemporary polytheistic religions through textual research and interviews with community members. Created by Cory Schneider, Rodeph Shalom School, New York, NY.
Students Teaching Syncretic Religions — Students research a faith tradition that exhibits syncretism and then make connections between religions and ideologies. Created by Sarah Warren, Northfield Mount Hermon School, Mount Hermon, MA.
Auto-Ethnography and Youth Development — Students develop brief auto-ethnographic films, which they then share and discuss with their peers, in a process of individual and communal self-reflection. Created by Susan Smith, Stony Point Center, Stony Point, NY.
Imagining Freedom — Students to explore the relationships among religion, science, and free inquiry in Western societies, from the Scientific Revolution to a popular music video. Created by Shpresa Ahmeti, Napier Academy of Technology, Paterson, NJ.
Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement — Explores the legacy of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement, as an introduction to the lived experiences of progressive Catholicism and American capitalism. Created by George Ovitt, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque, NM.