Pentecost is often overlooked in my third-grade classroom. Because Pentecost falls on the seventh Sunday after Easter, the school year is usually over by the time we celebrate it. Still, I was determined to celebrate it with my third graders.
After reading Kathleen Butler’s article on using art in the classroom, I decided to collect artwork related to Pentecost and show it to my students. I am fortunate to have a large interactive whiteboard in my classroom. I created a presentation and projected it on the whiteboard for all to see. I can re-use this presentation each year without having to worry about finding the images again. Plus, I can add photos to this presentation in the future.
The first image was a coloring page of Pentecost. I wanted a page that was easy for the students to count how many people were present at Pentecost and showed Mary and the tongues of fire prominently.
The next image was a painting (above) by the Dutch painter Jan Joest (c. 1455–1519). Again we looked at the disciples, Mary, and the tongues of fire.
I wanted to include an image that showed the joy of Mary and the disciples after the Holy Spirit had descended upon them. So I showed a drawing from artists in Cameroon, Africa.
After the tongues of fire descended on the disciples and Mary, they were able to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in many different languages. Because I have discovered that third-graders generally enjoy hearing and learning different languages, I showed them a video in which they hear the word Hello spoken in 30 different languages.
Finally, I wrapped up our Pentecost lesson with a colorful meme. Jesus spoke in parables; I like to think that a well-crafted meme can serve the same purpose as Jesus’ parables. I wanted to encourage my students to wear red to Mass on Pentecost. Since my students are familiar with Oprah, I shared a meme of her wearing a red dress as a reminder to wear red on Pentecost.
Using art was a fun, visual way for my third-graders to learn about and celebrate the birthday of the Church. How do you celebrate Pentecost in your classroom?
Download a Pentecost Activities Packet to celebrate the beginning of the Church.