Why Do We Observe Lent?

March 21, 2017 Lisa Jones 1

Lent is one of my favorite times of the year. It forces me to slow down and focus more intently on Jesus for 40 days. But when teaching fourth graders, slowing down is not the optimal way to communicate the importance of Lent. While I was talking to my class about Lent, I was surprised by the number of students who confused Lent and Advent. Too many didn’t understand much of Lent beyond giving up […]

Identifying Our Gifts

February 14, 2017 Lisa Jones 0

At our Baptism each of us receives a call to service from Christ. In our lesson this week, we focused on how God enables each of us to fulfill that baptismal call. As fourth graders, the children typically understand that not only are each of us made in God’s image, but that we are each uniquely created as individuals. God has given each of us unique gifts and talents that make us who we are. […]

Understanding the Sacramental Seal of Confession

January 31, 2017 Lisa Jones 0

In a recent lesson on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, my fourth graders once again surprised me with their questions. After teaching and discussing the sacrament, our discussion turned toward how much God loves us. After all, God gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation so we could be healed and know that he will always forgive us. Understanding God’s unconditional love and mercy for us is always one of my top themes with students. A couple […]

How to Fill Extra Time at the End of Class

January 3, 2017 Lisa Jones 14

In a recent faith-formation class, we did something that I have never done in my many years of teaching: we finished 15 minutes early. While 15 minutes may not seem like a lot of time, for those of us in the classroom, 15 minutes can feel like an eternity if we are not prepared. My mind searched for something to do that didn’t require any setup or explanation. We decided to play hangman; I’m not […]

Why Do We Pray?

December 20, 2016 Lisa Jones 0

Have you ever asked kids why they pray? We spend a lot of time teaching children to say their prayers, teaching them about different ways to pray, and even spend time teaching them to write their own prayers, but we don’t often talk that much about why we pray. In class this week we began by reading 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of […]

Drafting Prayers of Intercession

November 29, 2016 Lisa Jones 0

By the time my students hit my classroom in the fourth grade, most of them know basic prayers such as the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be to the Father. Most have also learned that there are different types of prayers: blessing and adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise. This week I decided to delve a little deeper into prayers of intercession, because I felt it tied in nicely to our lesson […]

Sacrifice and Courage

November 15, 2016 Lisa Jones 0

During this week’s lesson on Christ’s Passion, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension, I focused on his sacrifice and courage. We discussed how Jesus had the courage to allow God’s will to be done, especially knowing the plan involved sacrificing his life. To set the tone for this serious topic, I started the class a little differently. When the children entered the classroom, I had them stand in a circle around electric candles I had brought from […]

The Promise of a Superhero

November 1, 2016 Lisa Jones 0

I explored God’s message of hope with my fourth graders this week. God shared his message of hope by promising to send someone who would save all people from sin. God promised to send the Messiah. While preparing the lesson, the following sentence jumped out at me: “Jesus did not fit the profile of the Messiah whom many were expecting and were yearning for.” That gave me an idea of how to start a conversation […]

Ask for What You Need

October 18, 2016 Lisa Jones 4

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 […]

A New Year, A New Grade

October 4, 2016 Lisa Jones 4

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 […]

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