My Top Ten Favorite Lessons: #8


When I was a student teacher back in the day, my cooperating teacher taught me that the goal of an effective teacher is to turn the spotlight away from yourself and onto your students. He emphasized that they were here to perform for you, not you for them! I’ve tried to follow that advice as much as possible as a catechist by creating activities that engage the young people in activities rather than having them watch or listen to me. One very successful attempt at this was when I was teaching fourth graders and we had a couple of lessons (Unit 5 of Finding God) during which I wanted them to get a good overview of the Ten Commandments. I came up with an activity called Ten Commandments: Two-Minute Drills that provided opportunities for every student to be involved in some kind of a demonstration that illustrated the main concept of each Commandment.

In football, there is a concept called the “two-minute drill” in which a team devises a way to get the ball downfield and score in the last two minutes of a half. This concept worked well for this activity because each of the demonstrations needed to be accomplished by a fourth grader, meaning that they needed to be short and simple. When the young people did their demonstrations, I videotaped them and then put the clips on a DVD and provided copies for each of the children to take home to show their parents.

So without further adieu, here is the lesson: Ten Commandments: Two-Minute Drills.

The Six Tasks of Catechesis #3: Moral Formation, or Living Out Our Faith

hikers making decision

The third of the Six Tasks of Catechesis is moral formation, or in terms of the remembering phrase HELP ME, living out our faith. Read what the bishops say: Jesus’ moral teaching is an integral part of his message. Catechesis must transmit both the content of Christ’s moral teachings as well as their implications for […]

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Celebrating Catechetical Sunday: How Do You Pray the Faith?

Catechetical Sunday 2016 logo

How do you pray? What is your favorite form of prayer? When was the last time you thought about your personal prayer life and the way you pray in the classroom? The theme for this year’s Catechetical Sunday, which falls on September 18, is “Prayer: The Faith Prayed.” The USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis […]

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One Parish’s Initiative to Be More Welcoming

Steven Serafin on a theology of welcome

Just over a year ago, Steven Serafin and his pastor were the new people at St. Mary’s Parish in Dover, NJ. This gave them the opportunity to approach faith formation with fresh eyes. As Pastoral Associate and Director of Faith Formation, Steven shared about a parish initiative called the “theology of welcome” in an interview […]

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My Top Ten Favorite Lessons: #7

Joe with kingly props

As a catechist, I rarely met a prop I didn’t like! Teaching sixth grade with its focus on the Old Testament gave me a number of opportunities to bring in a variety of props with which to engage the young people. One of my favorites was a lesson on David, Shepherd and King (Chapter 9 of […]

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The Six Tasks of Catechesis #2: Liturgical Education, or Expressing our Faith

holy water font in church

The second of the Six Tasks of Catechesis is liturgical education, or in terms of the remembering phrase HELP ME, expressing our faith. Listen to our bishops: Since Christ is present in the sacraments, the believer comes to know Christ in the liturgical celebrations of the Church and is drawn into communion with him…Catechesis should […]

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Summer Planning for the DRE: Developing Goals and Objectives

man reading

“Do you work during the summer?” No matter how often I hear this question, I am surprised by its suggestion. Do others really believe there is nothing to do once the religious education programs wrap up for the school year? Although the pace may slow somewhat (aside from summer programs and Vacation Bible School), most […]

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Faith Tweets and Bible Trivia to Teach Salvation History

Mary Dillman - faith tweets

Mary Dillman has served as a catechist for 13 years at St. Magdalen de Pazzi Church, in Flemington, NJ (Diocese of Metuchen). The parish is a large one with more than 3,000 families. Mary teaches sixth-grade religious education and has served as the lead instructional designer for the Salvation History curriculum the parish uses for […]

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New DVDs for Sacramental Preparation: God’s Gift

God's Gift resources for sacramental preparation

I am very excited to tell you about a new DVD series for sacramental preparation—a project that I was privileged to be intimately involved with from writing scripts to hosting segments! This new video series enhances instruction and parent involvement in sacramental preparation for First Reconciliation and First Eucharist. As part of the God’s Gift […]

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My Top Ten Favorite Lessons: #6


It’s no secret that I love music! Over the years in my books and here on my blog, I have advocated for integrating music into catechesis in a variety of ways. This brings me to one of my favorite lessons: The Psalms: We Can Talk to God Under ANY Circumstances. Research tells us that young […]

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