About Barb Gilman
Barb Gilman is a wife, mother, and third-grade Catholic school teacher. She is the winner of the 2014 NCEA Distinguished Teacher Award for the Plains States. Active on social media, @BarbinNebraska is the co-organizer of the #CatholicEdChat on Twitter.

Preparing Students for Mass

February 1, 2017 Barb Gilman 2

My class of third graders attends Mass once a week with the rest of the school. Because I work with young students, I find that discussing and practicing what we will experience at Mass can be comforting for them. We start our preparation in our first class. We practice praying the Sign of the Cross. With this simple prayer, I ask them to slow down and concentrate on the movement of their hands. Next, we […]

Four Reconciliation Questions on the Mind of Every Third-Grader

January 4, 2017 Barb Gilman 4

Twice a year my students celebrate the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation with the other classes in the school—once during Advent and once during Lent. Since I teach third graders, I review the sacrament and the steps necessary to make a good confession. While every class is different, I have found some similarities over the years in their concerns, and they often have the same questions: What do I say at the beginning? What sins […]

10 Ways to Integrate Technology into the Classroom

December 7, 2016 Barb Gilman 0

Editor’s note: We’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of Catechist’s Journey this week by sharing catechetical top-10 lists each day and giving away Loyola Press prize packages. Enter for your chance to win the Bible Books Pack today; details below. We live in a technology-driven world. Our students are often more comfortable with technology than are many catechists; if we are going to meet students where they are, we need to enter the digital realm. But […]

School-Wide Advent Wreath Prayer Service

November 2, 2016 Barb Gilman 0

I love the way we celebrate Advent at my school. Every Monday the entire school—all 515 students and their teachers—gather in the auditorium to pray and sing traditional Advent carols. Our tradition is simple and beautiful. In the center of the auditorium is a table, upon which sits an Advent wreath with a purple bow. The wreath cradles four pillar candles—three purple and one pink. A group of cantors stand off to one side, and […]

Forming Good Digital Citizens: Kindness on the Internet

October 5, 2016 Barb Gilman 4

Students use digital devices so frequently that the Internet has become a part of their everyday life, both at school and at home. With students spending more of their free time on these devices, more questions come up in my class about the Internet. While we cover the topic of Internet safety as part of our Safe Environment Training at fourth grade, this should be an ongoing topic with our students. I adapted an idea from my […]

“Smiles Generate Smiles”: Sharing Mother Teresa in the Classroom

August 31, 2016 Barb Gilman 1

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was one of the most beloved people in the world during her life. Her life, words, and works are admired by Christians and non-Christians alike. Since her canonization occurs during the school year, catechists have a special opportunity to teach about her life to their students. My third graders will be learning about Mother Teresa by listening to her story, hearing from a parent who has a personal connection to her, and […]

Reviewing the Year with Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication

June 1, 2016 Barb Gilman 0

At the end of the year I like to have my students reflect on all the activities and all that we have learned during our time together. Usually, I just set aside some time to write our reflections down on our whiteboard. This year, I found a new idea for my class that encourages my students’ creativity, collaboration, and communication. This activity is called a Paper Slide Video. This activity begins with students recalling all […]

Breakout Puzzles for the Religion Classroom

May 19, 2016 Barb Gilman 2

It’s getting to the end of the school year and the weather is beautiful. The students are restless, but I still have lessons to cover and I need to find a way to keep my students engaged. I decided that it was time to mix things up a bit and try something different: Breakout! Breakout is a game in which students have to solve puzzles and use the solutions to those puzzles to unlock a box […]

Priests Who Visit the Classroom

April 6, 2016 Barb Gilman 2

Twice a month, my students look forward to a visit from our associate pastor, Father Vincent. I am so glad my school makes it a priority to have a priestly presence in our halls. In my 12 years of teaching, three different priests have taken the time to visit my classes. Their 20-minute visits offer my students three benefits: the priests bring their unique perspectives, they are very good with show and tell, and they […]

Taking to Heart the Apostles’ Creed

March 2, 2016 Barb Gilman 3

Each year, the Archdiocese of Omaha requires all third-grade Catholic-school teachers to teach the Apostles’ Creed. Teaching young children to memorize a prayer involves some traditional and non-traditional methods. I am always looking for new methods to help my students since every class is different. What worked with one class may not work with another. I dedicate two weeks to teaching my class the Creed before giving them a test. During the first week, I […]

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