Class Basics


Sacred Traditions is a year-long course that provides a sympathetic introduction to the modern religious world. Students will examine the historical development of the modern world religions and spiritual traditions as well as their foundational stories, which tell of the great personalities and holy events that changed the lives of people and gave them a new way of being in the world. The course will also investigate the contemporary shape, doctrines, ethics, rituals, etc. of these religions.


molloy coverMolloy, Michael. Experiencing the World’s Religions, 6th ed. Prentice Hall (2013). In accordance with the new iPad program at PDS for 9th and 10th graders, we will be using the e-book version of this text. See the summer mailing from PDS for information about purchasing the text.

Textbook website – click here


Trimester 1

  • Introduction to the Study of World Religion
  • Hinduism
  • Jainism
  • Buddhism
Trimester 2
  • Sikhism
  • Daoism
  • Confucianism
  • Shinto
Trimester 3
  • Judaism
  • Christianity
  • Islam

General Expectations and Student Responsibilities

1. Know what your homework is and complete it on time. Your assignments will be posted in advance on the “Assignments” section of the class website.

2. Read all assignments carefully and employ active reading techniques to help you learn relevant information and to be able to relate the story accurately. This means attention to annotation as you read text and source material and taking conclusive notes to help you participate in the discussion about the material read.

3. Be punctual and prepared for class.

4. Know your personal schedule (appointments, athletic events, performances, etc.) and be aware of how it affects or potentially conflicts with class. It is your responsibility to coordinate your schedule and make the teacher aware ahead of time of foreseeable absences and conflicts.

5. Participate in class dialogues by asking questions, sharing ideas and/or confusions, defending your positions, and exploring ideas. Always remember that respect and concern for others should shape what you say and do in class.

6. Work on your writing for legibility, clarity, cohesion, and conclusive support.

7. Work to determine point of view when reading documents and other sources.

8. As you study, look for ways to help you grasp the material in a better manner, understanding cause and effect, seeing connections, and drawing your own conclusions.

9. Take effective notes in class during discussions and from reading assignments.

10. Be organized with your materials. Keep all materials given to you and either organize them in your iPad (for electronic materials) or put them in a dedicated notebook/binder (for quizzes, tests, paper handouts, etc.).


Click here

iPads and Electronic Devices

With its intuitive interface, ease of use, and ability to consolidate so many resources and functions for students including textbooks, notebooks, atlases, calendars, cameras, calculators and more, the iPad promises to enhance communication, collaboration, and creativity in our 21st century learning environment. iPads also have the potential, however, to distract students from their schoolwork.

The following guidelines are designed to help students make positive and effective use of technology in the classroom:

  • The iPad in our context is an academic tool. Everything done and produced on the iPad should reflect this and follow the guidelines set forth in the PDS E-Code and Student Handbook.
  • During class, iPads should only be used for academic work related to the course. iPads may never be used in class for any other purpose (e.g. email, game playing, instant messaging, internet surfing).
  • Students are expected to bring their iPad to class everyday with sufficient charge to last during the entire class period. To that effect, students should make sure to charge their device every night and during free periods and lunch when necessary.
  • In some cases, students will be required to do class tasks and activities on their iPad; in other cases, students will not be required, but encouraged to use it. Examples of these tasks are taking notes, completing homework assignments, organizing class materials on their iPad, engaging in collaborative group work, etc.
  • During class, the teacher will indicate when iPads are to be used in “work” or “watch” modes. For example, when taking notes, iPads should be used in “work mode” and be placed in the required manner on top of the desk. When not used in either of these modes, students will be instructed to place their iPads in “sleep” mode. When in use in “work” or “watch” modes, the iPad screen must be kept visible to the teacher.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to set up an iCloud account and consistently back up their files. This is very important in order to prevent inadvertent loss of valuable class materials. To learn more about the iCloud and how to create an account, click here.
  • Inappropriate use of technology to capture images, audio, or video in the classroom without the permission of a teacher or a subject is not allowed.
  • Repeated misuse of the iPad will be reported to the student’s dean.

The use of smart phones, cell phones, or any other type of electronic device is not permitted at any time while in the classroom or while engaging in classwork outside the classroom (e.g. Shepherd Commons, library). If a student does use such a device, it will be collected by the teacher and given to the student’s dean for return at a later time.

Plagiarism and Cheating

Plagiarism or cheating in this course will not be tolerated. All homework and other class work should be done on your own, unless permission is specifically granted to work with others. Final consequences for students caught plagiarizing or cheating will be decided in consultation with the Head of the US History Dept., your class dean, and the Judiciary Committee. Plagiarism is taking information from any source and presenting it as if it were your own. Please see me if you have any questions.

Getting Help

Please feel free to meet with me (my schedule is posted just outside the History department office) or to send me an email if you have any concerns or questions about the course.

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