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 […]

When to Leave Your Textbook Behind

November 4, 2015 Barb Gilman 4

In our first six weeks of school, we only finished two chapters in our religion textbook. Earlier in my teaching career, I would have worried that this slow pace might be a problem. When I first began teaching I was told, “When you reach Christmas, you must be halfway through the textbook.” Now, as a seasoned teacher, I know my textbook is not my entire curriculum. We have had many teachable moments recently when it made […]

Say Yes to God

November 3, 2015 Lisa Jones 0

How can you convey a love of and devotion to Mary with all the necessary background knowledge in just one class period? The simple answer is that you can’t. You have to select the greatest message you want the class to absorb, focus on it for the class, and then add more about Mother Mary throughout the year as you teach other lessons. Just as you invite her to be with you daily, you must […]

Caring for God’s Creation

October 13, 2015 Lisa Jones 0

I love that one of our first lessons of the new faith formation year is the story of creation. We began with a prayer and then we read the creation story out of a children’s Bible storybook. There were two things in particular I loved about teaching this lesson. The first thing I loved was that I had the opportunity to teach that God’s love is unconditional. I explained how God created every person in […]

Sharing Stories to Teach the Faith

October 7, 2015 Barb Gilman 0

We are a few weeks into the new school year, and my third graders are finally settling into the routine of class. Our first lesson focused on the Holy Spirit. My students learned that the Holy Spirit helps guide us to live as Christians. As we read the chapter in our textbook, my students highlighted important sentences, phrases, and vocabulary words. We stopped several times during our reading to discuss how the Spirit guides us […]

Pray, Plan, and Prepare

September 2, 2015 Barb Gilman 0

Here I go again! I’m starting my twelfth year of teaching third grade. Each year produces new challenges, joys, and adventures with my students. Even though I approach the new year knowing that my class will be different from previous ones, I always prepare in the same way. I always begin by praying for my new class. Over the summer I make rosaries out of twine for my new students. I learned how to make […]

A School and Parish Pilgrimage

June 10, 2015 Barb Gilman 3

During the last week of school, I take my third graders on a pilgrimage around our school and parish campus. I started this practice during the Jubilee Year of 2000, when I led a pilgrimage for my school community. We didn’t go far: we just walked the grounds of our campus. I loved this opportunity to experience my faith in a new way. What is a pilgrimage and why do people make them? A pilgrimage […]

Tweeting the Mass

June 3, 2015 Barb Gilman 6

My classroom has a Twitter account, which is a great way for my students to share what’s going on in the class. But I often ask myself how we can use Twitter to help in the Church’s mission to spread the Gospel. Why not use our Twitter account to share the message they hear at Mass? About every six weeks, my students have the opportunity to read at Mass. They are always so excited and […]

The ABCs of God’s Love

May 19, 2015 Lisa Jones 2

Jesus calls each of us to spread the Good News. One way we can do this as Catholic Christians is to show God’s love to those we encounter no matter if they are friend, family, or stranger. This concept can be tough for many adults to live out. How do we teach the children in our faith formation classes to show God’s love to all those we encounter? I recently wrestled with this concept in […]

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