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 […]

It’s All About Jesus: Children and the Mass

March 1, 2016 Lisa Jones 1

This week’s lesson for my third-grade faith formation class was about the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Most of my students celebrated their First Holy Communion less than a year ago, so the previous lessons on the Eucharist are relatively fresh in their minds. They seemed confident in knowing that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and they all understood the mechanics of receiving communion. As we got deeper into the lesson, […]

Teaching Second-Graders the Beauty of Lent

February 24, 2016 Lisa Brown 0

The beauty of Lent offers a time for the Church to relive salvation history. By practicing the penitential disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, many adults savor this transformative season. But how does an untrained teacher who meets only briefly with her wiggly second-grade faith formation class communicate the beauty and relevancy of Lent in language they can understand? The short answer: by acting out Christ’s desert experience in a way that highlights how fasting, […]

Apologies and Forgiveness

February 16, 2016 Lisa Jones 0

We were created for love, and we naturally seek forgiveness. This is one reason children naturally take to lessons on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In their young lives, the kids in my third-grade class have made mistakes and gotten in trouble, all the while being continuously loved and constantly forgiven by a parent. In our lesson about Reconciliation, I included a discussion of the difference between what is a sin versus what is an accident. […]

A Magnificent Banquet

January 27, 2016 Lisa Brown 0

During the “Christmas honeymoon”—those few weeks of Ordinary Time between Christmas and Lent—I found that I had been lulled into a sense of complacency. My second-grade class had covered a lot of material during the fall, and I felt good about their grasp of the material. But then reality hit me—their First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion were only weeks away! I started to panic, and I wondered if my students were really prepared for […]

Bibles at Home

January 12, 2016 Lisa Jones 4

Every year part of our third-grade curriculum includes teaching children how to look up a verse in the Bible. In the past I’ve used fortune cookies with a verse from Scripture as the “fortune” to make the learning fun. We started out this class by handing out a Bible to each child and showing them the list of books of the Bible in the table of contents and finding where the Old Testament ends and […]

Finding God’s Love in Tragedies

December 29, 2015 Lisa Jones 1

In a recent lesson about the saints, my third-grade faith-formation class wanted to know how people become saints. They asked about the process of canonization by which the Church names someone a saint. While describing the process, we got sidetracked talking about miracles. The kids weren’t sure that miracles actually happen anymore; some thought a miracle was something like a magic trick. To help them see that miracles still happen in our world, I shared […]

When Simpler Is Better

December 9, 2015 Lisa Brown 0

As a non-creative person by nature, I spend a good deal of time trying to think of ways to make my second-grade class as captivating as possible. As catechists we know that the subject we teach is the most exciting, life-giving topic ever to be shared. But finding new ways to engage our students is easier for some than others, especially for non-creative people like me. I always felt that I’d need to ramp up […]

We Are the Church

December 1, 2015 Lisa Jones 2

Third graders love to belong to groups. At their age they are joining sports teams, scouting groups, clubs, and more. I love teaching them about the Church; they get excited when they learn that they belong to a worldwide group. This group includes people from all walks of life and from every nation. It even includes people who’ve come before us. When I ask the children in my class the question, “What is the Church?” […]

When the Craft Is a Challenge

November 17, 2015 Lisa Jones 4

Crafts are an important part of any elementary faith formation program, and there are a multitude of great crafts that are perfect for our faith formation programs. After spending just a few minutes on Pinterest, I’m sure you’ll feel overwhelmed by the number of options. How do we select which crafts to use for our lessons? Sometimes, as a catechist in a parish, we might not even have a choice—the craft activity might be chosen […]

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