Active Learning That “Sticks”

God's Gift sticker page example

I’ve always been a proponent of active learning—making sure that learners are actively involved in the process of accessing new information—and I’ve written about this here previously. Now, let me give you a specific example that I find very effective.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved stickers! Who doesn’t? I know that my wife and I found stickers to be one of the best ways of keeping our kids occupied on car rides. Children love stickers because they allow them to creatively express themselves, they provide immediate gratification, and they’re simply fun to peel and stick! From a teacher’s point of view, stickers enable active learning, engage visual and tactile learners, and encourage logical thinking. So, I absolutely love the way stickers are used in the God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist program to help children learn important Scripture stories.

Each chapter of the God’s Gift children’s books includes a Scripture story that sets the theme for the chapter. For each Scripture story, there is a set of stickers representing key people and objects that are part of the story. Here is how the catechist manuals direct the catechist to engage the young people with the Scripture stories:

  1. Introduce the theme of the lesson and Scripture story.
  2. Lift up the Bible from the prayer center and open it to that chapter’s Scripture reading.
  3. Raise the Bible for all to see, and then set it down again in the prayer center.
  4. Have volunteers take turns reading the paragraphs of the Scripture story.
  5. Discuss briefly.
  6. Have the children listen quietly as you play the dramatized story from the accompanying CD.
  7. Have the children remove the stickers from the back of their books.
  8. Lead them in completing the illustrations on the pages by placing the stickers in the outlined spaces.
  9. Ask the provided questions that connect the stickers to the story.
  10. Summarize the story.

That’s what I call active learning and effective repetition! The children actually hear the Scripture story twice—in different ways—and then interact with it a third time through the placing of the stickers.

As we prepare our young people for the sacraments, let’s remember the critical role that Scripture stories play in shaping their minds and hearts and enabling them to encounter the Living Word. And let’s commit ourselves to teaching in a manner that “sticks!”

About Joe Paprocki 2227 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.

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