Telling the Greatest Story Ever Told

Yesterday was my last teaching class for this year! Next week, we’ll have a closing Mass and then a little time left in class for a small celebration and farewells. I was pleased as punch, then, to have had a wonderful class last night! Here’s the scoop.

  1. Seven of my students still needed to complete their final assessment so I had them go over to an empty classroom with my aide Daneen where they completed their work.
  2. Meanwhile, I had individual conferences with the seven who had completed their assessments and I really enjoyed that. Each little conference lasted no more than 2 minutes but provided me with an opportunity to review the assessment, affirm strong points, bring attention to any weak points, and offer a few words about their overall performance in my class this year (which was the most enjoyable part because they were ALL very good students). It was especially nice to tell the students who got a D or an F on the assessment that they were not D or F students and that the assessment was just one part of their overall performance and that I was pleased with their progress, especially their participation.
  3. As the other students completed their assessments, they came back to the classroom one at a time and I called them forward, finished correcting their assessment, and conducted their conference. It was such a pleasure to be able to thank them for doing so well this year and to wish them well next year and to see the smiles on their faces when I told them how proud I was of them!
  4. As I was conducting conferences, the kids were working on a Holy Week crossword puzzle. When we were all done with the conferences, I had the 2 students with the highest scores on the assessment come forward and go over the crossword puzzle with the class. That worked very nicely.
  5. Around this time, about half of my students needed to go over to the church for a rehearsal for next week’s closing Mass. Some of them were back within 5 minutes, others, about 20 minutes.
  6. We spent the last 45 minutes of class doing the “Looking for Clues” activity that I described yesterday in which we explored the Passion according to John that will be proclaimed on Good Friday. First, we went over the “Looking for Clues” Blackline Master to make sure that everyone knew what the pictures represented and I told them to listen to the story of the Passion as I read it aloud and to raise their hand and tell me to STOP whenever they heard reference to one of the objects pictured on their BLM. This was my favorite part because I got to be a storyteller! I read from the Passion according to John but I didn’t just read it…I told the story with a lot of drama and used a lot of my own words at various points to simplify the reading and capture their imaginations. What a privilege to tell the Greatest Story Ever Told!!! This activity worked beautifully, as the kids called out STOP whenever they heard me make a reference to one of the objects pictured on their BLM and then I explained in more detail (and with more drama) what was going on in that part of the story. I asked for a volunteer each time to suggest what to write under the picture to describe how it fit into the story. That also worked beautifully as kids came up with good descriptions and they all filled in their BLMs (I used the answer key to nudge them along).
  7. We finished with a few minutes to spare and the kids had lots of questions about Jesus’ suffering and death including one girl who asked with total sincerity, “what happened after Jesus died?” How thrilling to be able to tell her the story of the Resurrection! I told all the kids that this was our most important story and urged them to take the activity sheet home and to sit down with their parents and tell them the story of Jesus’ suffering and death by referring to the pictures and their descriptions that they had written in. It was a very fitting way to finish my last teaching class for the year and to send them off, urging them to go to Good Friday services and to celebrate Easter knowing the full story of what Jesus has done for us.

If you like being a story teller, I encourage you to try this activity!

About Joe Paprocki 2157 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

2 Comments on Telling the Greatest Story Ever Told

  1. Charlotte writes:

    Thank you so much for all the encouragement. I have a question concerning ther assessment test. Ours is coming up and I’m concerned that even though the children know the answer, they have a hard time with word banks and wording. They have to get an 80 in order for them to go on to the next level. How do you handle this?

    Sincerely, Charlotte McHoul

    • Hi Charlotte and thanks for your question. First, I have made it clear in my posts that I would never use a formal assessment as the sole way of determining whether a child goes on to the next level. Assessments not only assess the child’s performance but also the teacher’s. In other words, the assessment may show that we need to change our approach so that the kids better grasp and retain important concepts. Second, I would review with them as much as possible using the questions from the assessment (or a variation thereof) to perpare them. Word banks should be more helpful than simple fill in the blanks…in essence, you’re giving them all the answers and they just need to put them in the correct places. If the assessment is being used to determine whether or not they move on, then they should have EVERY opportunity to prepare for it and to succeed. Any other advice from other folks out there?

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