Active Learning Strategies (Video)

Do you employ active learning strategies in your classroom? Watch this video introduction to active learning strategies. Then consider ways to shine the spotlight on those you teach as you start planning this year’s sessions. Read the post that inspired this video: Engaging Young People with Active Learning Strategies.

Introducing the Saints to My Class

Over the last few years I have become more and more attentive to the saints. I am not sure if this heightened awareness came from being a catechist, but it surely has changed the way I catechize. As a second-grade catechist, I introduce the children to saints of the month, we have an All Saints Day celebration, and the children complete a saint’s report. Each month I pick two saints whose feast days fall during […]

Calling Children by Name

“I have called you by name, you are mine,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 43:1) This intimate connection we have with God is a gift to be celebrated. Being named Kathleen, I’ve gone through life with people automatically assuming I want to be called “Kathy” or “Kate.” I don’t want to be called something else; my name is Kathleen. When I meet my religious education students, the first thing I do is ask them their names […]

Service as a Catalyst for Missionary Discipleship

The corporal works of mercy play an important part in discipleship. When acts of service are planned to intentionally proclaim the Gospel and treat all people as if they were Jesus in disguise (see Matthew 25:34–40), they are a catalyst for initial and ongoing conversion. In her wisdom, the Church outlines a systematic and comprehensive process of evangelization and faith formation that nurtures conversion. This process of evangelization includes the following five stages. Pre-evangelization Initial […]

Assessment in Catechesis (Video)

If we are to teach as Jesus did, we must constantly be assessing, in a variety of forms, whether his present-day followers are grasping the knowledge and skills needed to be disciples in today’s world. In general, assessment takes three forms: formal assessment (quizzes, tests, essays), informal assessment (observation of each learner’s grasp of concepts by observing their participation in written work, group work, and group activities), and authentic assessment (providing opportunities for participants to […]

How Introverts Learn: Intrapersonal Learning

When delivering presentations, I often ask participants to raise their hands if they consider themselves an introvert. Usually about 40% of hands go up, to which I reply, “OK, almost half of you, and then a number of you didn’t raise your hand because you’re an introvert!” The truth is, I count myself in this category. Now, you may be surprised to learn that I am an introvert, but to be one doesn’t mean that […]

Using Visuals to Evangelize in the Classroom

The expression “a picture speaks a thousand words” is particularly apt for the culture in which we live. Image-intensive social media platforms promote sharing through memes, stories, and snippets of information that go viral. For young people, images are not a distraction from the central message but constitute the message itself. Authenticity and thoughtful imaging of the Christian message are particularly important for us as a Church. For those who are in a pre-evangelization stage […]

End-of-Year Reflection

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 […]

Learning by “Talking Things Out”—Interpersonal Learning

I have to admit that, as an introvert (technically speaking), I tend to cringe a bit when a facilitator or speaker tells us participants to turn to a neighbor or group of neighbors and engage in discussion. It’s just not my style. Of course, when I do follow instructions, I find that I meet some wonderful people and learn some amazing things! At the other end of the spectrum are people who are eager to interact […]

If a Young Mr. Spock Were in Your Religious Education Class

Sometimes I like to imagine what it would have been like to teach Catholic faith formation to either a famous or a fictional character. Recently, I thought to myself, “What would a catechist do if a young Mr. Spock showed up as a student in religious education class?” Of course, you remember Mr. Spock, the fictional character from Star Trek, who was half-human and half-Vulcan: an alien species that operated solely on logic and eschewed emotion. […]

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