Faith Tweets and Bible Trivia to Teach Salvation History

Mary Dillman - faith tweets

Mary Dillman has served as a catechist for 13 years at St. Magdalen de Pazzi Church, in Flemington, NJ (Diocese of Metuchen). The parish is a large one with more than 3,000 families. Mary teaches sixth-grade religious education and has served as the lead instructional designer for the Salvation History curriculum the parish uses for sixth-grade youth. Here she shares several activities that worked best in her faith-formation classes this past year, as part of our summer series highlighting success stories from the field.

Faith Tweets Activity

In our lesson on God calling Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery from Egypt, students were asked to create a poster of a hypothetical “tweet”—a message telling other youth about trusting God, listening for God’s voice, and/or following God’s plan/mission. We discussed how God called/spoke to Moses and what we can learn about looking for God’s signs and listening for his voice/call to us.

Why do you think it worked?

Most, if not all, of the sixth graders were familiar with the concept of Twitter and other social media apps to broadcast short messages. The students were told that their “tweets” were not going to be launched on Twitter, but would be displayed in our classroom and in our parish bulletin. (The bulletin did not reference specific students’ names.) I think that they felt comfortable expressing their faith in a short message, using hashtags and usernames that also represented faith themes. In recapping the lesson for the students’ parents via e-mail, I included a list of the tweets. I always try to include some Scripture reference in my communications to the parents, so I referenced Isaiah 30:21: “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” The students were very proud that their work was being displayed and shared with the whole parish; I think it’s important to them at this age to know that they “have a voice”!

What would another catechist need to know to use this idea in his/her classroom?

The catechist would need to have some familiarity with the concept of Twitter messages. For our posters, I used a generic picture of a singing bird to avoid any logo infringement for Twitter. If a catechist or parish actually has a Twitter account that they use, I would advise not using actual student names to maintain identity privacy for the youth.

Sin versus Holiness Similes and Metaphors

For our lesson on the Last Supper and Crucifixion, the students were asked to complete each of these sentences on large Post-It notes (two different colors): “Sin is like _________” and “Holiness is like _______.” The students were asked to think of opposite similes or metaphors which would describe what living in a state of sin or living a life of holiness looks like or feels like. The youth were given an example (sin is like slavery; holiness is like freedom) and suggested categories for their similes (e.g., things you see or hear in nature, the weather, your emotions, things you see on a trip). The students posted their similes on a T-chart written on the classroom white board, and we gathered by the board to have students read their examples and discuss them.

Why do you think it worked?

The students readily recalled examples of people in the Salvation story and the choices they made—did they choose to obey/follow God, or did they say “no” to God (Adam and Eve, Cain, Abraham, King David)? Throughout the year, we had discussed the effects that those choices had on people’s relationship with God. As the class prepared to cover the lesson on Jesus’ Last Supper, his Passion, and his Crucifixion, the students showed even greater interest and understanding of the effects/consequences of sin or choosing holiness. I also think standing near the board in a small group helped the youth feel more comfortable to share and discuss their similes/metaphors with each other.

What would another catechist need to know to use this idea in his/her classroom?

Providing one or two examples of a simile/metaphor and some categories in which they would see/hear/feel things that reflect opposite similes is extremely helpful to get them started for this activity.

Bible Trivia

Another learning activity which proved to be a big hit with our youth was Bible Trivia. We used the free online game software Kahoot to play. I created the game/quiz questions and multiple choice responses, and another catechist (a public school teacher) created the online game. We played the game at a parent-student meeting, and we will be taking a look at creating other quizzes which can be used within an individual classroom. The youth were all familiar with Kahoot, because it is used widely within our public school district.

To launch the game, a teacher/catechist must create a free account on Our game is called “6th Grade Bible Trivia” by username NYCpeake and can be located by searching in the “Public Kahoots” tab of the toolbar at the top. All that is required of the youth to play is a mobile device with an internet browser (e.g., a smartphone or iPad) and a pin number, which is provided by the teacher when the game is launched on We have the youth form small teams and have not had a problem having enough devices for everyone to play. The teacher/catechist needs to have a laptop and projector for displaying the game questions and the ongoing team scores as the game progresses. (Teams are awarded points not only for correct answers but how quickly they answer.) There are a lot of tutorials/demos on the internet for creating games using Kahoot. I recently created a Kahoot login for myself and will be experimenting with creating games.

I would love to have other catechists try it out. Even though it’s marked for sixth grade, I think the content would work very well for seventh grade too.

Do you have a story of a successful catechetical lesson or faith activity? Let’s share our stories of what works to inspire each other to great things in faith-formation ministries! Share in the comments area below or on our Catholic Faith Formation Facebook page.

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