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.

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 […]

Four Reconciliation Questions on the Mind of Every Third-Grader

Twice a year my students celebrate the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation with the other classes in the school—once during Advent and once during Lent. Since I teach third graders, I review the sacrament and the steps necessary to make a good confession. While every class is different, I have found some similarities over the years in their concerns, and they often have the same questions: What do I say at the beginning? What sins […]

10 Ways to Integrate Technology into the Classroom

Editor’s note: We’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of Catechist’s Journey this week by sharing catechetical top-10 lists each day and giving away Loyola Press prize packages. Enter for your chance to win the Bible Books Pack today; details below. We live in a technology-driven world. Our students are often more comfortable with technology than are many catechists; if we are going to meet students where they are, we need to enter the digital realm. But […]

School-Wide Advent Wreath Prayer Service

I love the way we celebrate Advent at my school. Every Monday the entire school—all 515 students and their teachers—gather in the auditorium to pray and sing traditional Advent carols. Our tradition is simple and beautiful. In the center of the auditorium is a table, upon which sits an Advent wreath with a purple bow. The wreath cradles four pillar candles—three purple and one pink. A group of cantors stand off to one side, and […]

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