Time to Review

For next week’s session, I plan to do a review of what we have covered so far. We’re at a transition point between units and I’d like to be able to reinforce some of the important concepts that we’ve covered so far. The Finding God Catechist Guide that I’m using comes with Blackline Masters that include unit tests. The program I teach in does not do testing per se (except for an assessment at the […]

Momentarily Stumped and a Missed Opportunity

Last night’s session was excellent. We focused on the Cross of Jesus and how Catholics understand the role of suffering in our lives. Lots of good questions including one that stumped me momentarily. I had asked the young people what could possible transform the image of a crucified man into a symbol of victory. Eventually one of them responded correctly that Jesus’ Resurrection transformed the Cross into our symbol of victory over sin and death. […]

The Cross – Our Trophy

For my session tonight, I’m bringing in the one and only trophy I ever won in my life: a 2nd place trophy for floor hockey, earned when I was in junior high. My brother John and I ventured over to the Boys’ Club in our neighborhood and joined a team there and went all the way to the finals, coming up just a little bit short. The little 10-inch trophy stands proudly in my basement […]

Passing on the Faith

I’m interested in picking up a new book titled Passing on the Faith: Transforming Traditions for the Next Generation of Jews, Christians, and Muslims (edited by James L. Heft, S.M., Fordham University Press). The book is reviewed by Thomas Groome in the October 15, 2007 issue of America magazine. it is a collection of essays from a symposium held at the University of Southern California that asked the question, “how do we pass on religious […]

Tough Crowd!

Remember how Rodney Dangerfield would always use the line, “tough crowd, I tell ya, tough crowd”? Kevin Dooley via Compfight Well that’s how I felt after last night’s class! The kids were pretty wired for some reason. I think it had to do with the fact that they had the day off from the school district and spent the day at the mall drinking slurpies (sugar) and Pepsi (caffiene)! Having a fire drill 15 minutes […]

Peer Observation

I think that one of the most effective ways to grow as a catechist is to be able to observe another catechist in action. I learn a lot by watching the techniques that other catechists use as well as observing the rapport that they develop with their students. Of course, arranging peer observation is not easy. For many of us, the only time that other catechists are teaching is when WE are teaching. That doesn’t […]

Prayer is NOT "E.T. Phone Home"

For last Monday’s session, as we were focusing on the nearness of God, I began by showing a 5-minute clip of the movie E.T. (The Extra Terrestrial). The clip is the very beginning of the movie that shows how E.T. gets left behind on earth. Most of the kids had seen the movie before so, after a little trip back to their early childhood, I asked them to summarize the plot of the movie. Simply […]

Congratulations, 8th Graders…You Just Meditated!

Last night saw great improvement in the kids’ behavior and ability to participate more maturely in reflective prayer (meditation). By the way, one of the boys asked at the outset of class, “Are we gonna pray again like last week?” I got a kick out of that because he was one of the kids who had trouble being still the previous week, although he was not a problem per se. I think he enjoys the […]

A Little Magic

I like to do science experiments in religion class from time to time! They make for good attention-grabbers. Tonight, our focus is going to be on the nearness of God and our textbook emphasizes the fact that, since the Enlightenment, advances in science have led many people to conclude that God is not actively involved in creation. The textbook goes on to show that science helps us to understand how God’s creation works while Scripture […]

First Guided Reflection

Monday evening, I led my 8th graders in their first guided reflection. We were focusing on the Holy Spirit and how the Spirit helps us to pray. I invited the young people to make themselves comfortable…most chose to sit or lay on the floor. The guided reflection I used is from the Finding God program and is on a CD. After getting the young people to shift gears, I turned down the lights and put […]

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