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 […]

Understanding Reconciliation: A Lesson from the Lost Sheep

January 18, 2017 Shannon Chisholm 2

My students are celebrating their First Reconciliation in February, and I have been trying to find engaging ways to introduce my students to Scripture stories that will help them to understand the sacrament (such as playing the Game of the Good Shepherd). I am hoping that they will come to a deeper understanding of the sacrament by experiencing the Parable of the Lost Sheep through the eyes of the different characters in the story. After […]

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 […]

Reviewing the Mass Before Christmas

December 21, 2016 Shannon Chisholm 1

I love the excitement, expectation, and joy that is abundant in my class as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth. As we get ready for Christmas with crafts and cookies, I also prepare my students for Christmas Mass. Many of my students do not regularly go to Mass, and they aren’t familiar with the Order of the Mass. I find that everyone benefits from a review of what happens at Mass before attending with their […]

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 […]

Game of the Good Shepherd

November 9, 2016 Shannon Chisholm 2

I attended the celebrations of First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion at several different churches last year. While I was able to experience the joy of the sacraments in many different ways, I often heard the same Gospel reading: the parable of the Good Shepherd. This parable is a natural choice for these sacraments. It is a beautiful passage that depicts the intimate love and relationship between God and God’s people, and helps us to […]

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 […]

Ten Commandments Games

October 19, 2016 Shannon Chisholm 7

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 […]

The Gift of a Less-Than-Perfect Year

June 14, 2016 Lisa Jones 0

Another year of faith formation classes has come to an end, and I’ve got a big smile on my face and a few tears in my eyes. This has been my sixth year of teaching third-grade religious education classes at my parish, and as I look back on the year, I know I will happily sign up to teach again next year. This wasn’t my best year. I missed classes due to illness; I didn’t […]

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 […]

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