A Mixed Bag

So last evening’s class was kind of a mixed bag. The main focus was on the “Ten Commandments Two-Minute Drills” that I wrote about yesterday. Here’s the scoop:

  • All ten students were present and in good spirits.
  • During opening prayer, one of the boys prayed for Brian Campbell, Blackhawks’ defenseman, who suffered a broken collar bone and cracked ribs as a result of a vicious hit by Alex Ovechkin on Sunday. I thought that was pretty cool.
  • We spent the first 20 minutes or so reviewing their confirmation exam. I had the student with the highest score lead the review and he did a very nice job.
  • I then assigned the Ten Commandments Two-Minute Drills and met with each student to go over their presentation. This took about 10 minutes.
  • The presentations were a lot of fun. I had fun. The kids had fun. I just don’t know how effective the presentations were and that’s why I call it a mixed bag.
    • If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I am not a big advocate of FUN being the primary goal of catechesis. (I’m such a crumudgeon!) I think of FUN as a fringe benefit. My goal is to be ENGAGING, which most often translates into FUN.
    • The problem was that I think a lot of the message got lost, namely because I entrusted the kids with reading the entire scripts and, in most cases, they are just not very good readers! They mumble, read too fast or too slow, and as a result, I feel like we never quite hit the nail on the head.
    • Perhaps a better way to do these Two-Minute Drills is to have the kids conduct the activities (which they did nicely) but have me/the catechist do the summary on each one in order to drive the point home.
  • Each of the activities took more than two minutes, of course (that’s just a catchy title) and we were a bit rushed to complete the tenth commandment, however, we got them all in.

So, all in all, it was good to see the kids so engaged and interacting and having fun and taking ownership. It was a little frustrating feeling as though we continually missed the mark just by a little and, again, if you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know that I don’t like to miss the mark! 🙂

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.


  1. Hi Joe,

    Just wanted to share a few things with you on your two-minute drills. Since we just covered the Ten Commandments last week, I’ve decided to end the next 10 classes or so doing a “two-minute” drill as a way to keep the commandments fresh. Last night I did the First Commandment, but since we aren’t in Lent, at that part I decided to add a little something extra. After demonstrating how the piece of metal (us) can’t get as close to God because of all the little distractions in our life (pins), I took another magnet (Satan) and could easy pull the piece of metal away from “God”. Then I took away all the “distraction” and tried to get “Satan” to pull “us” away from “God” and it couldn’t be done. I think it really rounded out the demonstration.

    I’m looking forward to implenting the other drills in the weeks to come!!

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