Monday is My First Class!

00002956This Monday, September 14, is my first session of the catechetical year with my 8th graders! Yesterday I spent some time shopping for a few more supplies that I need for my room and, in particular, for my first session.

I created name tents for my students (index cards, folded in half) that I will place in front of them for the first session to not only assign seats but also to help me use their names as I strive to memorize them.

I also prepared stickers with their names on them to place on the front of their textbooks for easy distribution each week (I don’t have my students take their books home…too many of them don’t find their way back!).

My first session’s theme is “we can trust in the goodness of God’s creation” which means that my main focus (the BIG idea) will be on the concept of TRUST. Come Monday, I’ll post more details about my lesson plan and then, after teaching on Monday night, I’ll post next week about how things actually turned out: the good, the bad, and the ugly! Have a great weekend!

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


    • Carlos, I’m in the same boat as you. “Homework” for religious education in my parish is not a part of the culture so expecting them to read a chapter in preparation for the week would probably not happen. We read parts of chapters in class…never the whole thing…I pick and choose the parts that best emphasize the main point(s). I really wish there was a way to take advantage of simply emailing materials to them, however, we enter into some pretty sticky areas when we as catechists begin exchaning emails with students. That should not be done unless the parish has worked out some policy for protecting all parties involved. Actually, one idea would be to start a simple blog that would serve only the students and their parents. You could post things that you want them to read, perhaps make a pdf of part of the chapter to preview what you’re going to cover in class, and invite Q & A that would be “public” (as in comments) as opposed to private emails. This, of course, would be totally different than your (or my) blog which is intended for other catechists to read. Let me know what you think.

  1. I tell my kids that I don’t want them to bring their books to class, I want them to listen and participate. My experience has been they fool around with the book when they should be listening, and then look for answers to my questions in the book instead of using their brains.

    I remind them and their parents that they need to read the next chapter before they come to class. If it gets to where some/most kids aren’t doing so, I won’t let those who didn’t read the chapter ask or answer questions until those who did read it get first shot.

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