Last night, we celebrated the Eucharist to bring closure to this catechetical year at St. Cajetan. The pastor, Fr. Frank, did a wonderful job of making it a celebration of growth and thanksgiving for many blessings…he is so good at speaking to the children!
It occurred to me that I might be able to help the 7th grade catechist who will “inherit” my class next year, by telling him or her what my students learned this year that can be built upon next year. So, here is an open letter to the 7th grade catechist at St. Cajetan!
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Dear 7th Grade Catechist,
Congratulations on inheriting the class I had the privilege of teaching this year! They were a wonderful group of kids and I know that you will enjoy teaching them next year. I see that the focus of 7th grade is on following Jesus with a strong emphasis on the Gospels, the life of Jesus, and the New Testament. I thought I could send you a few insights about things they learned this year that you can build on next year. Our focus in 6th grade was primarily on the stories of the Old Testament with an emphasis on the Exodus/Passover event and the Covenant/Ten Commandments. Here are some insights for some (not all) of the chapters of the grade 7 Finding God text.
1. Three Persons in One God – we learned that God does not keep secrets but REVEALS himself to us.
2. Jesus is the Answer to a Promise – this chapter introduces John the Baptist as a Prophet. Ask the kids how prophets are like coaches – (they “get in your face” and give encouragement and hope).
3. Jesus Reveals God to Us – You’ll be looking at Jesus’ genealogy – ask the kids to recall the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They should be able to find these in the book of Genesis. This chapter also references the Ten Commandments…see if any can recall all 10 from memory.
4. Jesus Calls Us to Say Yes – you’ll be focusing on Mary’s Annunciation which fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah (7:14) – they should recognize the name Emmanuel.
5. Celebrating Ordinary Time – This chapter covers the Works of Mercy. Ask the kids about their Mercy Experience to Ronald McDonald House which they did this year.
6. Jesus Became One of Us – You’ll be teaching the Great Commandment. Ask the kids to recall the Ten Commandments which they memorized this year.
7. Jesus is God with Us – You’ll be teaching about Jesus as the Son of David. Ask the kids to tell you about how some of them dressed up as David the shepherd and David the King this year.
8. Jesus is for All People – This chapter talks about Jesus coming out of Egypt. The kids learned the Exodus story of how God led his people, through Moses, out of Egypt and they should be able to find the story in the book of Exodus.
9. Jesus Grew in Wisdom, Age, and Grace – Jesus in the Temple! Ask the kids to share what they know about Solomon’s Temple.
11. Jesus Prepares for His Ministry – You’ll be relating Jesus’ tempation in the desert to Israel’s 40 year desert experience. Again, tap into their knowledge of the Exodus story.
12. Jesus Performs Signs – The kids know the story of Joseph (Jacob’s son) and the famine in Egypt which is referenced in this chapter. This chapter also goes over the Sacraments which the kids should know pretty well.
13. Jesus is Our Teacher – Another great opportunity to ask the kids to recall the Ten Commandments from memory.
16. Jesus Gives Us Himself – This chapter mentions the burning bush…ask the kids to recall the story. It also references the Passover meal which the kids should recall from their Exodus studies. This chapter also mentions the Ark of the Covenant. Ask them to describe it to you or even to draw a picture on the board.
18. Jesus Redeems Us – This chapter again references the Passover lamb…the kids learned (especially through watching The Prince of Egypt) about how the Israelites were saved by the blood of a lamb. Ask them to tell the story in their own words
21. Jesus Opens Our Eyes – This chapter recalls the story of Adam and Eve which the kids learned and should be able to find in the Bible.
“New learning should be related to and should build upon previous learning.” -Colin Conner