Chosen to Be a Catechist

Jesus, your choosing me gives me a sense of my place in the world, a sense of purpose. You are not waiting until I become a better person; you choose me here and now. What do you want me to do with my life today? —Sacred Space: A Little Book of Encouragement This might sound over the top, but for me, this quote truly characterizes my life. It certainly didn’t describe me 30 years ago […]

Planning the Year’s Calendar

Some years are easier to plan out than others when it comes to the sequence of lessons in faith formation. This year, however, proved to be more difficult than usual. In my parish, the catechists have the flexibility to teach lessons in the order that works best for them. The DRE advises us to make sure our sequence of lessons coincide with the high points of the liturgical calendar. So I sat down with my […]

Prayer Sticks

Last winter, a teacher friend of mine posted a photo of her classroom showing her “task sticks” for her students. On each stick was written a specific task for the student who held it, such as “line leader,” “pencil patrol,” and “librarian.” I was trying to think of a way to engage my class in prayerful habits during Lent when I saw her task sticks. I thought I could borrow her idea and make “prayer […]

Creative Approaches to Reading from a Textbook: Paired Interviews

Welcome to the fourth and final installment of my mini-series on creative approaches to reading from a textbook. As I noted in earlier posts, reading from a textbook is only one strategy in our entire arsenal of approaches, albeit a significant one since we are a Church of Tradition, which must be faithfully transmitted. In this post, we explore a strategy known as “paired interviews,” a strategy which is very effective for interpersonal learners, who […]

Marian Devotions for the Classroom

I love Our Blessed Mother! My devotion to Mary is easily shared with my third graders. In my classroom there is a print of Our Lady of Guadalupe, an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a statue of Our Lady of Grace, and a poster of Mary, Undoer of Knots. Even more images of Mary can be easily shown on an interactive whiteboard. When we celebrated the Queenship of Mary, I found 20 different […]

Coloring Pages with Older Students

Another catechist had a coloring page he recommended—“except for the older kids, of course.” I, as the seventh-grade catechist, took the page anyway. While I never want to bore or insult the young people with an activity that is too young for them, I have found coloring pages to be useful activities from time to time. A simple outline to color can help make a point in a learning station, such as an image of […]

Creative Approaches to Reading from a Textbook: Graphic Organizers

Welcome to part three of a four-part series on creative approaches to reading from a textbook in your faith formation sessions. In this series, I am sharing with you some creative ideas for reading from a textbook that make it, not only more engaging, but also more effective. The third approach I offer is known as a “Graphic Organizer.” Graphic Organizers A graphic organizer is a worksheet that is given to participants to help them visualize, identify, organize, and […]

Honoring (and Learning from) Our Elders

When I began in parish ministry, I inherited an RCIA team that included one very unique member, Theresa, who was 85 years old. I was told that Theresa’s job was to bake and bring the snacks for every session—something that she was renowned for. (Her cookies were to die for!) But Theresa did more than just bring homemade cookies and pastries to our sessions. She sat in on every session and added her two cents. […]

Using Audiovisual Resources Effectively in Faith Formation (Video)

You don’t need to be a techie in order to effectively integrate audiovisual resources into your faith formation sessions. Watch the following video overview of how to use audiovisual resources in the classroom. Read the post that inspired this video (with the six goals): The Effective Use of Audiovisual Resources in Faith Formation.

Creative Approaches to Reading from a Textbook: Listen to the Sound of My Voice

Welcome to part two of a four-part series on creative approaches to reading from a textbook in your faith formation sessions. As I mentioned in part one, I have always been an advocate of teaching “beyond the book,” which means that we use the book as a critical resource but not as the be-all-and-end-all of a faith formation session. Since it is our job as catechists to present Catholic teachings fully and faithfully, we rely on […]

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