The following study guide is offered to teachers who would like to expand their curriculum resources by using St. Anthony Messenger in the classroom. This guide is prepared with high school students in mind, but can be adapted for other age groups. We will feature one article for classroom use each month. Back issues, beginning in May 1997, contain a Teachers Guide. Teachers with access to computer labs should encourage students to access the article directly online. Students have our permission to print out a copy of the article for classroom use. We encourage you and your students to subscribe to the print edition of St. Anthony Messenger, where you will see all of the graphics, and more articles that you might find useful on a variety of topics. Please let us know how we can improve this service by sending feedback to StAnthony@franciscanmedia.org.
Priest and Rabbi: the Medias God Squad
GOAL OF LESSON
To provide your teenage students with an experience of communicating religious values in a selected media venue.
SETTING UP THE CLASS
The author of this months article describes two religious leaders who are finding innovative and heretofore unusual ways to communicate religious values and perspective, through radio, cable and broadcast television.
You can provide teens with an enjoyable exercise in which they have an opportunity to duplicate the model offered by the rabbi and the priest.
After the class has had the chance to read the article, you may wish to have a preliminary discussion about it. Let the true reactions of the class come through. Do they, for example, really see this approach as innovative? Does it have any impact on them? Have they seen the God Squad on Good Morning America or heard them on Imus in the Morning? How did they react to it?
Then you can offer your class a choice of seven different projects. These can be done in small work groups over several class periods, or on their own time. Each will allow them to use their creativity to share a religious message with a targeted unchurched audience.
Once the class is divided into small groups, with anywhere from two to six in each group being adequate, you will offer them several guidelines.
Their project must be daring and innovative, that is, it should take an approach not usually seen in the selected media.
The project must communicate a specific religious perspective, message or value.
Their target audience is other high school teens.
Each project will be five to ten minutes in length. The teens will need to prepare a page of written script for every minute of air time in their project. They do not necessarily have to follow the scripts in detail; they may only provide the framework for a more spontaneous discussion or presentation.
A morning television talk show - videotape
The teens will use humor, honesty and teamwork to present a religious value or perspective on a current headline event. For example, they may choose to comment on and discuss the recent stop sign verdict and sentencing of the three youths in Florida. In a spree of vandalism, the youths pulled up and stole a stop sign. Several days later, three teens were killed at the scene because the sign was missing. The religious values discussed may be justice or compassion or responsibility to others.
A movie scene - videotape or live action
The group can role-play an interfaith wedding. Two young people, one Catholic, the other Jewish, are announcing to their parents their plans to wed. One family is supportive of an interfaith wedding ceremony, the other is not. Fear of losing religious heritage is the primary reason for the opposition. Humor would work well here, but values must be communicated through the action and dialogue.
A radio disc jockey - audiotape
This group can portray a DJ interviewing an artist or band on air about their recent hit song. They will select and play one contemporary song with a religious value, and talk about it.
A morning radio talk show - audiotape
Here a morning on-air celebrity such as Imus provides a segment for two teens representing their parish or school youth group to talk to the audience and take phone-in calls. Source material can include People magazines June 23rd issue, with its cover story, Kids Without a Conscience.
A coffeehouse - videotape or live action
Several teens can portray a group which plays guitar, sings and talks to the audience; an alternative could be some poetry readings and discussion. Poetry, or even song lyrics, which illustrate religious values can be used for material. Live action will probably suit this venue better than a videotape.
Television sports commentary - videotape
One teen will portray a television sports commentator/personality interviewing several players and game attendees. The situation can be Dennis Rodmans recent $50,000 fine for the slurs he made against others. Or they can discuss the frequent fights that occur in basketball, baseball or hockey. Or discuss the negative comments made by one famous pro golfer after Tiger Woods won the Masters.
Movie critics - videotape
Several teens can act as movie critics who comment on and interview moviegoers about a recent film. As with the other projects, the stress is on a religious value or perspective. The recent Romeo and Juliet might be a good choice.
Each group will get five to ten minutes to make their presentation. There will be no introductions or setups. The rest of the class simply gets to see or hear the presentation as though they had just turned on the radio or TV, or sat down in a concert/theater audience.
The audience will write comments on the presentation after it is finished. They can focus on these questions:
Did the presentation reach its targeted audience?
What was the religious value or perspective presented?
Did the presentation portray or communicate the value merely as a concept, or did it come through in the interaction and teamwork of the presenting group?
How did the presentation touch you?
Thank the groups for their work and their efforts. There should be no failures here, unless a group deliberately chose to make a joke of the project.
You might consider having the teens present some of their projects to a younger audience, perhaps grade school classes. Or invite parents in to see their work. Or view/play the tapes during a school lunch period for others to share.
The links contained within this resource guide are functional
at the time the page is posted. Over time, however, some of the links
may become ineffective.
These links are provided solely as a convenience to you
and not as an endorsement by St. Anthony Messenger Press/Franciscan
Communications of the contents on such third-party Web sites. St. Anthony
Messenger Press/Franciscan Communications is not responsible for the
content of linked third-party sites and does not make any representations
regarding the content or accuracy of materials on such third-party Web
sites. If you decide to access linked third-party Web sites, you do
so at your own risk.