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.

Tweeting the Mass

My classroom has a Twitter account, which is a great way for my students to share what’s going on in the class. But I often ask myself how we can use Twitter to help in the Church’s mission to spread the Gospel. Why not use our Twitter account to share the message they hear at Mass? About every six weeks, my students have the opportunity to read at Mass. They are always so excited and […]

Corporal Works of Mercy Movie Trailers

Growing up my family made the corporal works of mercy a common practice. When my siblings and I participated in a food drive at school, my mom would remind us that we were feeding the hungry. When I would gather my too-small clothes to donate to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, I was clothing the naked. Even as an adult my parents would remind me that they were still practicing the corporal works of […]

How to Learn the Paschal Greeting with a Tech Twist

I love seeing my students after our Easter break. They look fresh-faced with that “I-just-got-a-haircut” look, they seem taller, and they are sporting a new pair of shoes! I greet them with with colorful Easter decorations, which include my table-top sized Easter tree. Each Easter I love teaching my students about the Orthodox paschal greeting. You say, “Christ is Risen!” Your neighbor replies, “Indeed he is Risen!” What a great way to greet your neighbors […]

Teaching about Holy Week

After leading my students through a prayerful Lent, Palm Sunday is finally upon us. There are important days to be noted in Holy Week and I don’t want to miss an opportunity to teach them to my students. After teaching for many years, I’ve collected quite a few resources for Holy Week. I’ve grabbed them from magazines, current religion textbooks, old religion textbooks, and websites. On the Friday before Palm Sunday, our seventh graders perform […]

Teaching the Great Commandment

This school year, our third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students all received their own copy of a children’s Bible. This has been a great experience. In the past, each classroom only had a few copies of the Bible, and the students had to share them. But with their own Bibles, students have ready access to look up verses on their own, which is something that they really enjoy. With this added flexibility, I decided that we […]

A Culture of Service

Joking with my students one day I said, “Jesus didn’t gather his apostles around him and say, ‘Lets do a service project!’” Jesus gave us an example of how to serve one another, and I like to encourage a culture of service in my classroom. Teaching service as a way of life can be challenging with younger children. Our students are very empathetic, and I find that having many service projects throughout the year uses […]

Sacraments and Stories: Reasons to Celebrate

I really enjoy teaching my students about the sacraments. After all, the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Jesus Christ through the sacraments. How could I not enjoy teaching them? In fact, I like to teach my kids that they don’t “do” the sacraments, they celebrate them! This can be a challenge when teaching the Sacraments of Healing. How can I teach my third graders to approach Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick with […]

40 Fun-Filled Days of Lent

The 40 days of Lent can be a long time for any Catholic. It᾽s even longer for third graders. I’m not one to take any number at face value, so I always ask my class to count the days between Ash Wednesday and Holy Thursday. They are shocked to learn that there are actually 44 days! That seems to make Lent even longer. Working with younger students, I always include some fun activities in our […]

Themes for the Classroom

With each new class of students I teach, I always have the same classroom theme. Having a theme has been a worthwhile and unifying activity. I have adapted this theme from a speech given by Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, in 1973. Fr. Arrupe’s speech was called Men for Others. Our theme is Third Graders for Others. My class works to help others in our world, community, classroom, and home. We have many opportunities to practice this theme. […]

Holy Patrons for the New Year

A few years back, I read about a tradition that St. Faustina had with the sisters of her convent. On New Year’s Day, they would gather to pick a holy patron for the new year. Here is an excerpt from her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul. There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year’s Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year. In the morning, during meditation, there […]

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