Make Teaching Fun

Did you ever have one of those days where teaching religious education made you smile? Today was one of those days. After weeks of difficult and sometimes rowdy classes, we spent this class reviewing the material before the end of the year. Because I like games and like to teach with games, I decided to make our review into a game. I kept it simple. The children chose teams, and I asked each team a […]

Simon Says Pray

It’s spring! We all look forward to this glorious time of year, especially after a long, dreary winter. But spring also makes it difficult for children to fight the wiggles and sit still during religious education class. They would much rather run and play and enjoy the sunshine like the rest of us. Rather than fight to make my wiggly third graders sit still on one particularly pretty spring day, I decided to take them outside […]

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 […]

Movie Time

When planning my weekly faith formation lessons, I tend to look for certain types of activities that I’m comfortable teaching. In addition to the textbook, I usually include worksheets (crossword puzzles, word searches, etc.), classroom games, and journal writing. Every once in a while we will do a craft or physical activity, but with a group of almost two dozen kids, this can quickly turn into chaos. We’ve spent the last few weeks learning about […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Called to Be Saints

We are all called by God to be saints. Every year, I strive to teach the children in my parish third grade religious education class that they are included in that call. I explain that the saints were not perfect; they were regular people who sometimes messed up. The difference is that saints changed their lives to live as disciples of Jesus. The saints are examples for us in how to follow Christ. That’s a tall […]

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