Exposing our students to other religions and cultures

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I was born and raised a Catholic, but like many other Catholics, I no longer practice my religion. I am, however, a very spiritual person and still believe and follow many of the religious teachings I was raised with. Teaching religion in public schools can be a bit challenging. Many of these religions, however, are filled with a rich history and fascinating customs. We really should find a way to work it into our curriculum.

Did you know that Hinduism is the third most practiced religion in the world just behind Islam and Christianity? Did you know over 500 million people practice Buddhism? Well, I didn’t either until I started doing some research on some of the most popular religions around the world. And what I found, was totally fascinating.

Hindu man in India

Teaching our students about a topic that deals with things they may not come into contact with everyday can be challenging. We want to expand their knowledge and appreciation for different people, places, and customs all over the world, but how do we do that in a way they can truly understand and make personal connections to?

One way it through unique foods that come from different cultures and religions. Food is a very unifying and common thing our students can identify with. In addition, cooking and following a recipe is a valuable life skill for our students to practice.

Traditional Jewish Seder plate

I like to include at least one non-academic piece in many of the units I create. Student learn a lot from activities like crafts, experiments, and even cooking. It helps to level the playing field, and gives every student a chance to be successful, participate, and grow. In my latest series focusing on world religions, I decided to include a picture recipe that represents a common food eaten by people from the religion and culture.

Students get a chance to make:

  • From Islam: Rice pudding with dates
  • From Judaism: Hanukkah honey muffins
  • From Christianity: King Cake
  • From Buddhism: Oatmeal date cookies
  • From Hinduism: Kheer (rice pudding with nuts)
King Cake

Each picture recipe comes with teacher directions, recipe labels, and the recipe. The recipe is written out step-by-step with pictures. If you would like a free download of the Kheer (rice pudding with nuts) recipe from my Hinduism unit, just click the button below.

Kheer (Rice pudding with nuts)

If you want to try more picture recipes, then check out my blog post on Cooking in the Classroom with another free recipe to download. Click HERE to go to that post.

Creating these 5 units on World Religions was so fascinating to me. I wish I had more kids (other than Jimmy here at home) to teach this information to. For now, I am just hoping there are some teachers out there looking for a way to engage their students and broaden their knowledge base through these units. Click each title below to check them out right here on my website. You can also find them in my TPT store (click HERE).

Christa

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I'M CHRISTA JOY MY MISSION IS TO GIVE PARENTS AND TEACHERS THE TOOLS THEY NEED IN ORDER TO FEEL EFFECTIVE AND CONFIDENT TEACHING EVEN THE MOST CHALLENGING OF STUDENTS.

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