So the other night a few awesome teachers and I got together over Zoom for a fun little “Summer Celebration”…
During our time together one of the teachers (shoutout to Amy in Cleveland!) shared about her experience with using The Chosen TV series in her middle school classroom.
In short, Amy’s students LOVED watching The Chosen. Each episode sparked great discussions, the kids came to class excited each day, and most importantly, Jesus became more real, personal and relatable to them (can I get a, “Praise the Lord!”?).
Have you used The Chosen series in your religion classes? If not, I’d encourage you to give it a try! The series continues to get great reviews and, best of all, can be streamed absolutely FREE!
I’ll include the trailer below as well as a number of teacher tips and assignment ideas for using The Chosen in your own classroom. I hope and pray this series is a blessing for you and your students!
- This probably doesn’t need to be said, but I think it’s incredibly important to watch each episode ahead of time. For starters, you want to make sure each episode is appropriate for the grade you teach (The Chosen is probably best for middle school and up). And secondly, you’ll probably want to take some notes as you watch in order to remember things you’ll want to discuss and/or to help you craft some good questions that could be assigned for homework or asked during class.
- There are a number of free video resources online that could be really helpful for guiding class discussions, coming up with reflection questions for homework, etc. Here is one example (from St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Nebraska) that provides episode summaries, “cultural tidbits”, and reflection/discussion questions.
- It’s important to note that there are some artistic liberties taken in The Chosen series (e.g. added backstories, conversations, and characters that aren’t found in the Gospels). From what I’ve seen, it seems this was done to explore characters in more depth, highlight different aspects of the Gospels, etc. All said, as you and your students watch The Chosen I think it would be important to take the time to point out some of these artistic liberties and see what your students think about them (e.g. What do you think about Peter’s personality being portrayed this way? How does it line up with the real St. Peter from the Bible? Etc.). Once again, The Chosen provides a wonderful jumping off point for deep and interesting discussions.
- The Chosen can be a great go-to option for those days/weeks when it’s tough to keep students focused and productive (right before Christmas break, at the end of the school year, etc.). The series could also be a great option for during Lent or could even be stretched out across the school year (watching an episode every other Friday, for example). One teacher even mentioned doing “movie Fridays” in which they watched an episode every Friday for a portion of the school year.
- Lastly, try and make watching The Chosen FUN. So long as students stay focused and well-behaved, consider allowing them to sit on the floor or in a different seat during each episode. Or, better yet, allow them to bring a drink or snack to enjoy (like going to the movies!). Of course, you’ll want to have some clear and high expectations with all of this, but I think the more you treat this like a special event the more buy-in you’ll have from your students (and the more likely they will learn and grow in their faith as well!).
- Assignment #1: Have students do “Visio Divina” as they watch The Chosen. Using a journal or worksheet that you provide, ask students to make notes on moments, characters, or lines from each episode that jumped out at them or touched their hearts. Give students extra time to reflect on these moments/characters/lines and write down what they think God might be trying to share with them. Then, at the start of the next class, give students the opportunity to share how God was speaking to them through this episode (do a partner share, whole class share, or both!).
- Assignment #2: Do a compare/contrast with scenes from the Gospels. Read the story in the Bible first, then watch the same scene being portrayed in The Chosen (or vice versa). Have students find similarities and differences between the two versions (Venn diagram?) and explore why The Chosen directors/writers may have decided to portray things differently. You can extend this even further by having them imagine that they were the director and think about what they would have done to bring the story/characters/etc. to life.
*CLICK HERE for The Chosen website and to stream each episode.
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Categories: The CRT Blog