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 […]

Engaging in Dialogue with Your Students

“I know why many religious education programs at parishes are struggling and yet why youth ministry is growing in some of those same parishes,” my friend Sarah said to me one day at a coffee shop. “I’m sure that some of these parishes have various factors involved,” she continued, “but I have found a common issue in my 12 years of being a youth minister. It’s pretty simple too.” I urged her to tell me […]

Three Essential Presentation Skills for Catechists

Communication and presentation skills may not be the first skills that come to mind when thinking about the qualities of a good catechist, but they are key elements for catechists to consider as they approach their classes. Here are three presentation factors to reflect on as we prepare for a new year of faith formation. Emphasis in Reading the Word Have you ever been to a Mass when the lector wasn’t well prepared and the […]

Creative Approaches to Reading from a Textbook: Clue Cards

I occasionally encounter catechetical presenters who claim that faith formation should be done with no books because they consider reading from a book to be boring. I, on the other hand, 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. The fact is, we have important content in our faith tradition, and it […]

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