Teaching about Holy Week

Stations of the Cross

After leading my students through a prayerful Lent, Palm Sunday is finally upon us. There are important days to be noted in Holy Week and I don’t want to miss an opportunity to teach them to my students. After teaching for many years, I’ve collected quite a few resources for Holy Week. I’ve grabbed them from magazines, current religion textbooks, old religion textbooks, and websites.

On the Friday before Palm Sunday, our seventh graders perform a living Stations of the Cross. The seventh graders are all dressed in black and act out each station while Scripture and commentary are read. The living Stations of the Cross mesmerizes my students. The sight of Veronica holding the veil with Jesus’ image on it and the sound of the nails put into Jesus’ hands really make an impact on the children.

The living Stations of the Cross is a great introduction to Holy Week. After sharing the impact the stations had on us, I begin teaching with a crossword puzzle which introduces the vocabulary of Holy Week. I make sure my crossword puzzle includes the words Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil, Easter and Triduum. The word Triduum is my favorite Holy Week word—I love saying it correctly! For years, I pronounced it wrong and I do share this with my students. We practice saying this word many times so they can be ready to share it with their families. My students like to impress their parents.

For our next activity, I have four pictures to represent Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. The students cut these out and match them up to the Bible verses that describe each day. These are then glued onto construction paper and taken home to share with their families.

Our final activity is a simple drawing of a church. Within this church, the students add the dates and times of Holy Week activities at our parish. I instruct my students to put this on the family’s refrigerator or other common area for quick reference. I think this comes in handy, because many times the parish bulletin is recycled before parents realize they need it to know when they should attend church. Plus it serves as a visual reminder of this special week for students.

My students always look forward to Easter. However, I don’t want them to skip over Holy Week. I take the time to slow down and teach them that the days leading up to Easter are very important.

How do you prepare your students for Easter during Holy Week?

About Barb Gilman 50 Articles
Barb Gilman is a wife, mother, and third-grade Catholic school teacher. She is the winner of the 2014 NCEA Distinguished Teacher Award for the Plains States. Active on social media, @BarbinNebraska is the co-organizer of the #CatholicEdChat on Twitter.

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