How Much Time Should a Catechist Spend Preparing Lessons?

October 21, 2016 Joe Paprocki 3

I recently received an e-mail from a veteran catechist asking how much time catechists should put into planning their lessons. She had been using a textbook from another publisher for 10 years but was now using Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts from Loyola Press and was struck by the realization that she was being asked, not just to transmit information, but to facilitate a transformation of those she teaches. Here’s my reply to […]

Ten Commandments Games

October 19, 2016 Shannon Chisholm 4

My second-grade students have very busy bodies. I have struggled to accomplish anything in class, and I have been growing frustrated—I waste too much time trying to get their attention. After a few weeks together, I am realizing that I should find ways to focus their excitement and energy rather than stifle it. I am going to try a new approach: we will play more learning games and do fewer crafts, and I will incorporate lots […]

Ask for What You Need

October 18, 2016 Lisa Jones 2

Every new year presents its own challenges. Not only have I switched grades this year, but I also haven’t been assigned an aide, and I’ve been asked to move my class from a classroom into the open worship space to teach. My parish only has four actual classrooms. The remaining faith formation classes meet spread out in the open worship space. While I’ve taught in this space before, it’s not an ideal teaching environment. Until […]

90 Participating in Year of Mercy Small Faith Groups

October 17, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

Earlier this month, my parish, Christ the King, began hosting six small faith groups with 90 total participants gathering weekly for four weeks to reflect on Scripture passages related to the Year of Mercy. Two of the groups are being led by our Associate Pastor, Fr. Matt Litak, while the other four are being led by parishioners, including me. Two of the groups are meeting in the rectory, three are meeting in homes, and one—my group—is meeting in the […]

Getting Families Involved in the Classroom with Show-and-Tell

October 12, 2016 Kathy MacKenzie 8

One day last spring, I was hanging out in the lobby of our parish center, as I often do when classes end for the day. It was 5:00 P.M., and some of the parents had spent the entire hour waiting for their children by relaxing in one of our chairs, reading a book to pass the time. Others had just arrived, having run a quick errand since dropping off their children an hour earlier. This […]

A Plan for the First Session of Seventh Grade

October 11, 2016 Denise Gorss 2

I’m never sure what to expect on the first day of religious education. How many students will show up? What will they be like? How long will the opening prayer service and send-off to classrooms take? A catechist always needs to be flexible, but the first day of sessions makes that quality even more important. This year I had 14 young people on my roster, 13 of whom attended the first session. I expect the […]

Meet the Adult Faith Formation Team

October 10, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

After laying the groundwork over the past year, we are blessed to have an adult faith formation team in place at my parish, Christ the King in Chicago. Presently, the team consists of eight people (Seven are pictured and one was behind the camera!) including our Associate Pastor, Fr. Matt Litak. At our first meeting, we shared our hopes and dreams for adult faith formation at the parish and began discussing ideas for addressing the […]

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 […]

A New Year, A New Grade

October 4, 2016 Lisa Jones 2

Faith formation classes are back! Yesterday I welcomed students into my parish classroom for my seventh year, but with one big change: I’m no longer teaching third grade. The fourth-grade teacher wasn’t able to teach at the last minute, and I was asked if I would move to fill that hole. (My third-grade aide from last year, who has a daughter who is now in third grade, would replace me.) It was a difficult decision—I’ve […]

The Catechist’s Backup: Being a Substitute Catechist

September 28, 2016 Bob Burnham 0

I am a Chicago Bears fan, and every year as of late, it seems as though a key player gets injured at a critical time. During this year’s preseason, one of our star offensive lineman, Kyle Long, was out with a shoulder injury. I was afraid that the “Monsters of the Midway” were in for another long and grueling season. The faith formation year can feel just as long and grueling as a season in […]

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