Discussion Starters/Breaking the Ice

When we gather with our young people for religious education classes, it’s not always easy for them to make the transition from their day into “the sacred.” One strategy is to emply some discussion starters to break the ice: questions that are non-threatening, fun, and substantive. I recommend a product created by my friends Tom McGrath and Bret Nicholaus called The Meal Box. The Meal Box is a set of 52 cards featuring questions designed to “spice up conversations and get parents and kids talking” around the dinner table. I think these would work very well in a catechetical setting as well.

The Meal Box

Here are some samples:

If you could build a private bridge or tunnel that would take you directly from your home to any place at all, what would it connect to?

*   *   *

If you could transport yourself back in time and experience first-hand any story in the Bible, which one would it be?

*   *   *

If you asked five people who know you to write down the one word that they think best describes you, what do you think would be the most common answer? (consider the answer carefully from their viewpoint, not yours)

*   *   *

If you could literally jump into the pages of any book you’ve ever read and experience the action along with the characters, which book would you choose?

*   *   *

If you were in charge of planning for and building a brand-new museum, what specific theme would be the focus of the museum and where do you think would be the best place to build it?

These questions could be especially helpful at the start of the year as you attempt to break the ice and get to know your students and help them to get to know one another if they don’t already.

Check it out: The Meal Box

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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