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 […]

Does Your Faith Formation Space “Speak Catholic”?

September 15, 2016 Joyce Donahue 1 ® is a service of Loyola Press, publishers of the Christ Our Life faith formation program. When children walk into religious education sessions in your parish, what do they see: another classroom like they have been sitting in all day in school? Or is it an inviting space that makes it easy to form community, where matters of the heart and spirit can be shared? Does your faith formation space “speak Catholic” through sign, symbol, […]

Sights, Sounds, and Movements: Connecting the Liturgy to the Classroom

August 25, 2016 Joyce Donahue 2

This is the second article in a series about liturgical catechesis. We know the importance of becoming a “liturgical catechist.” But how do you integrate liturgy and catechesis in practice? You can begin by observing the marks of the liturgy—the sights, sounds, and movements of the Mass—with an eye toward how they can be adapted to the classroom. Pay particular attention to how the Mass is celebrated throughout the liturgical year. What are the colors […]

Simple Tips for Leading a Simple Prayer

August 17, 2016 Joe Paprocki 1

While it is true that we can pray simply and spontaneously, at more formal gatherings, our prayer is to resemble how we pray at Mass. In other words, the prayer is meant to be liturgical, which means that it should have a basic structure. This means including parts for the assembly, including Scripture, and including elements of sign, symbol, and ritual. Many of us have never been taught how to prepare and lead a simple […]

Facebook Followers Share about Activities in the Classroom

August 16, 2016 Special Contributor 0

What’s your most creative idea for the Catholic classroom? We asked this question on our Catholic Faith Formation Facebook page and received a list of creative responses. From a jumbo Rosary to hashtags about holiness, catechists shared about activities for multiple grade levels, parents, and families. Saint Strips Catechist Kathleen Horrigan Butler from Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., shared a first-grade activity that helps children pray with the saints, using art from Happy […]

My Top Ten Favorite Lessons: #10

August 5, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

It’s been a fun trip down memory lane this summer as I’ve recounted and shared ten of my favorite lessons from my experiences of teaching fourth, sixth, and eighth grade religious education over the last decade. Last but not least is a lesson I did several years in a row when teaching eighth grade; it is actually a string of lessons on Church history. This lesson was pretty labor-intensive, involving a PowerPoint presentation that I put […]

My Top Ten Favorite Lessons: #9

July 29, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

Faith formation is not just about giving intellectual assent to a set of principles and doctrines. It is about placing trust in a relationship. Many of the sessions I have done with young people over the years have focused on the notion of trust—an issue that young people are grappling with as they discern who it is in this world that they can rely on. Scripture, of course, tells us that God can be trusted, […]

My Top Ten Favorite Lessons: #8

July 22, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

When I was a student teacher back in the day, my cooperating teacher taught me that the goal of an effective teacher is to turn the spotlight away from yourself and onto your students. He emphasized that they were here to perform for you, not you for them! I’ve tried to follow that advice as much as possible as a catechist by creating activities that engage the young people in activities rather than having them […]

My Top Ten Favorite Lessons: #7

July 15, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

As a catechist, I rarely met a prop I didn’t like! Teaching sixth grade with its focus on the Old Testament gave me a number of opportunities to bring in a variety of props with which to engage the young people. One of my favorites was a lesson on David, Shepherd and King (Chapter 9 of Finding God), in which I brought in a bevy of props to help the young people understand the concept of […]

My Top Ten Favorite Lessons: #6

July 8, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

It’s no secret that I love music! Over the years in my books and here on my blog, I have advocated for integrating music into catechesis in a variety of ways. This brings me to one of my favorite lessons: The Psalms: We Can Talk to God Under ANY Circumstances. Research tells us that young people (junior high and high school) listen to an average of 3.5 hours of music each day. Music is certainly […]

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