Here’s a great post from Jared Dees’ blog The Religion Teacher about what he calls “Bell Work” activities. While they are most helpful for religion teachers in Catholic schools, there are a lot of ideas here that catechists can also apply to parish religious education settings.
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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.
Many times in the past, things have been crazy as students arrive. sometimes it has been hard to settle them down. This year, I started providing a pre-class activity. It often is a wordsearch or other puzzle, but sometimes it is the start of a craft or project. I pass out the student folders/books on the table (different chair each week) and put the puzzle on top. as the kids come in, they know to go to their seat and start on the activity. I use the time to take roll, check homework, and finish preparing for class. It generally is pretty quiet, with the kids helping each other and everyone is at their seat ready to start when class begins
Maureen, sounds like it’s working very effectively…thanks for sharing!
Thanks Joe – I didn’t point this out in the post, but since there is no bell to start my CCD sessions, as a catechist I call Bell Work the “Whiteboard Assignment.” Students typically enter the room socializing a bit and with a patient reminder at the time class is to begin I tell them to begin working on the Whiteboard Assignment if they haven’t done so already.
Thanks for the link!
Thanks for the update Jared. Great post!