About Barb Gilman

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.

My Vocation as a Catholic School Teacher

When I was a little girl, my big brothers teased me when I told them what I wanted to be when I grew up: “First I want to be an artist,” I had told them, “then a teacher, then a mommy, then a ballet dancer, and then a nun!” I guess I wanted it all. Now that I am older, I know that a job and a vocation are different, and part of my job […]

The Wandering Wise Men and Other Advent Traditions

Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier every year. I am thankful that my school waits to celebrate Christmas, opting for a hearty Advent celebration instead. My classroom gets into the Advent celebration by including many fun traditions and service projects revolving around Advent. My classroom has an Advent wreath, and we use the Loyola Press Children’s Advent Calendar. Our school also has an all-school Advent wreath prayer service where we sing and pray together. […]

Saints in the Classroom

My classroom is filled with statues, icons, and pictures of saints. These holy men and women who lived heroic lives of virtue and great charity constantly inspire me. I hope they inspire my students too. I am always looking for ways to help my students learn about the saints. Our school celebrates All Saints Day with a kindergarten parade. They dress up as their favorite saint or as a saint who shares their name. (The […]

Teaching the Rosary

During October and May, I focus on teaching and praying the Rosary with my third graders. Since the Church honors Mary during these months, I want to make this time extra special for my students by passing on my love for Mary. I do this by making each student a twine rosary and giving them the materials for a keepsake Rosary prayer book. Each year our students are asked to bring a rosary from home […]

Classroom Prayer Corner

Every classroom should have a prayer corner. This is a special place used exclusively for prayer and reflection. Since I have 32 students in my third-grade class, I don’t have much space—my prayer corner is on top of a steel storage cabinet. With a little work, I’ve transformed it into a place that speaks of the beauty of our faith by decorating it with objects that capture my students’ attention. Some of these objects are […]

Weaving Prayer Throughout the School Day

It’s time to say goodbye to another class of third graders, and as I reflect on our time together, I have noticed that there was a beautiful pattern woven throughout each day. Our classes began and ended with prayer, and we took advantage of opportunities to pray as they popped up throughout the day. For example, our school is next to a main thoroughfare through our city. Hundreds of cars pass by our school every […]

Connections and Catechesis Through #CatholicEdChat

I have always loved making connections. Whenever I go to a convention or a conference, I make it a practice to introduce myself to people and introduce them to others. We are made for connection. We are all baptized into the Body of Christ. As a catechist, we connect with the students in our classroom. As we are planning our lessons, we connect with the Holy Trinity, Mary, the saints, Scripture, the sacraments, and our […]

Taking Children to Adoration

I teach at St. Margaret Mary School, and the students in grades five through eight participate in the first Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. They witness the Blessed Sacrament being exposed in a monstrance for a day of Adoration. This year we just happened to have an all-school Mass on the first Friday of the month, and I realized that many of my students were unfamiliar with Eucharistic Adoration. I knew I […]

New Projects for Lent

This is my 13th year of teaching Lent to third graders, and I’m in need of some fresh new projects and activities for my students. While I will still use my usual activities—they will still be new to this group of third graders—I have realized that adding new activities and projects helps keep me engaged and challenged. This year I will include my usual Ash Wednesday video that shows photos of our foreheads after receiving […]

Preparing Students for Mass

My class of third graders attends Mass once a week with the rest of the school. Because I work with young students, I find that discussing and practicing what we will experience at Mass can be comforting for them. We start our preparation in our first class. We practice praying the Sign of the Cross. With this simple prayer, I ask them to slow down and concentrate on the movement of their hands. Next, we […]

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