Reuse and Review at the End of the Faith Formation Year

As I approached the last faith formation class of the year, I was looking for ways to review the material we had covered during our time together. In the past I’ve used some kind of game or competition as a review activity. But with this being my first year teaching fourth grade, I wasn’t sure if these activities would work well with this older group of students. When I was preparing for our final class, […]

Reviewing and Renewing a Faith Formation Program

After more than 25 years in catechetical ministry, I started to look back on what was asked of me in five different parishes over those years. Some of the answers were to reorganize, create permanent records, minister to families, and all the rest of what we do. At each parish, however, something else happened: the numbers of families joining the program grew; the number of families “coming home” to the Catholic Church grew. What was […]

Eight Ways to Review, Reevaluate, and Reenergize for the New Year

We catechists celebrate three new years with our classes: the start of the religious education year, the beginning of the liturgical year in Advent, and the new calendar year starting January 1. As we enter into the third of those new years, it’s a good time to review, reevaluate, and reenergize for the second half of the catechetical year. Reenergize with a reflective or imaginative activity. Take time to refresh your own outlook and look […]

The Measure of Success

By what yardstick do we measure the success of teaching the faith to the children with whom we’ve been entrusted? I asked myself this question as I prepared my last two classes of the year. I may be tempted to use an objective measure, such as a minimum percent-correct score on the unit review. I may be tempted to use a more subjective measure, such as gauging how much the children were entertained. I’ve come to […]

The Gift of a Less-Than-Perfect Year

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 […]

A Catechetical Year in One Sentence

How would you summarize your catechetical year in one sentence? As I reviewed my year, I found myself reviewing my previous contributions to Catechist’s Journey and ran across that question. I came up with several sentences that described this year with seventh grade. It was better than last year. Last year was one of my most challenging years as a catechist, but this year rejuvenated me by being easier. The room layout worked better, with […]

Reviewing the Year with Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication

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 […]

Time-Lapse Video

Time-lapse videos capture my attention with their unique take on viewing the passage of the seasons. This one from Norway shows one year of a woodland in two minutes. Those in catechetical ministry must look at their years with a time-lapse mentality in certain ways. Leaders must attend to daily details while never losing sight of the long-term goals for the year or even further out future. But through all the hustle and bustle, sometimes […]

Reviewing Your Catechetical Year, Examen-Style

The ending of the catechetical year is the perfect time to reflect on the highs and lows, rejoicing in the graced moments in our programs and seeking to improve the more challenging areas. The Examen prayer, as outlined by St. Ignatius Loyola, provides us with a perfect guide to making just this kind of review. As you get set to begin this time of prayerful review, be sure to set aside at least 15–20 minutes, […]

It’s Time to Begin Reviewing!

It’s hard to believe but it is that time of the year when I begin to review what we’ve learned this year! In other words, I will not be teaching any new material for the remainder of this year! We will review all of our Old Testament stories tomorrow, using my Bible Bookmarks to guide us in locating them in the Bible. Here is the worksheet we will be using. Please note: this is based […]