Let the Lord define your life! This was our school-wide theme for the year, and it was a fitting theme for my classroom as well. As our year wound down, I once again realized that the Lord was in charge. The service projects and the textbook lessons laid out in August were perfectly suited to each of my third graders, even if we didn’t accomplish all I had hoped. I was very pleased with several practices this year: reading the Bible, praying the Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration, and our service projects.
Each Friday we read the Sunday’s Gospel in class. I found that the more the children used their Bibles, the better they got at locating books and verses. I asked my students to pick out a word or phrase to listen for at Mass. I shared how I would nudge my husband with my elbow when we heard that word or phrase. My students loved hearing how I brought this activity into my home. I also tweeted the special word or phrase through our classroom Twitter account.
In October and May, we focused on praying the Rosary. My students loved the colored rosaries I had made for them. They also made their own Rosary guides and prayer books. I am always looking for new and better ways to teach the Rosary, and this year I think I got my Rosary lesson just right by making it a very personal experience for the children.
I really treasured taking my students to Eucharistic Adoration. I was blessed to be able to introduce them to this devotion. Watching my students engage with the Lord in prayer was definitely one of the year’s highlights. I hope that their relationship with our Lord only grows deeper each day.
Our school sponsored two service projects, and I was happy that my students were able to participate in them. I used these opportunities to teach them about Catholic Social Teaching. Our Birthday Bag project emphasized the Church’s preferential option for the poor and vulnerable. We also had a special project for our assistant pastor’s village in Kenya. We raised enough money to buy 180 special stoves for his village. Seeing Fr. Vincent’s face light up with gratitude and the picture of his mother and sister with the new, safe stoves really affected my students.
Saying goodbye to this group of students will be hard, but I will see them next year across the hall (a fact that I like to tell them as our time together comes to an end). I hope to see them actively taking part in their Catholic faith by attending Mass, reading the Bible, praying the Rosary, attending Eucharistic Adoration, and taking care of the poor and vulnerable of our community and world. This year I found the right recipe of activities that will help my students continue with these practices.
When you reflect on your year, what worked well? What are you most thankful for? What do you think your students will remember most fondly?
Take time to reflect on your year with the help of the Growing as a Catechist self-evaluation.