10 Not-to-Miss Posts from Our Summer

I hope the summer months have been a time of renewal for you, and I hope you were fortunate enough to have some time off to enjoy the warmth and sunshine that this time of the year blesses us with. While I was able to take some time off, we kept the wheels turning here at Catechist’s Journey with daily posts designed to speak to a variety of issues and challenges that we face in the […]

10 Things Veteran Catechists Want New Catechists to Know

What do you wish someone had told you before you became a catechist? We asked this question on our Catholic Faith Formation Facebook page and got some great responses—good encouragement, especially for new catechists starting their first year of teaching. You’re responsible for one thing: getting the child closer to God. —Shannon Panchyshyn I’ve been teaching religion for almost 50 years in a regular classroom and PREP classes. I learned from experience. If I had […]

Engaging Young People with Active Learning Strategies

Professional educators know that, for learning to be effective, it needs to be an active experience. Active learning ensures that learners actively engage and participate in the learning process by doing something other than simply listening and then, of course, thinking about what they are doing. Active learning is learner-centered as opposed to teacher-centered. I talk about this in my recent post: Shining the Spotlight on Those We Teach. What this means for us as […]

11 Tips for Catechists—Free Download

Preparation is key to the success of any catechist. Plan for a great new year of faith formation by reviewing my 11 Tips for Catechists, available to download for free this month here at Catechist’s Journey. Whether you’re an experienced catechist or new to the classroom, feel confident as you approach your planning by implementing these pointers. Catechetical leaders, please share the link to this post with your catechists and help them prepare for a […]

Eight Ways to Use Worksheets Effectively in Faith Formation

I have heard some catechists say they will never use blackline masters (BLMs) in religious education classrooms, and other catechists like to use every one their curriculum provides. These worksheets and other handouts are usually provided as part of the curriculum; a good catechist manual will advise when to integrate a BLM into the lesson. The key to using worksheets effectively in faith formation is understanding that they are resources for activities, not time-fillers, and […]

Little Video Lessons from the Saints

A few months ago, a friend of mine told me she was going to use one of the videos I filmed for my book Little Lessons from the Saints at her next RCIA session. “Really?” “Yep. I’m leading a lesson on the communion of saints, so it’s perfect. Besides, I think they would get a kick out of seeing you on video.” “Either that or a good laugh.” “Probably both,” she said. A few days […]

Fostering Communication with Parents

As catechists, we want to partner with parents as closely as possible on their child’s faith formation journey, but we are often frustrated with the lack of interaction we have with the parents of those we teach. Recently, I received the following question from a catechist named Susanne: “Any tried and true ways to get information to and from parents of third graders? I find paper notes left behind in class, folders never coming back […]

Shining the Spotlight on Those We Teach

When I was a student teacher, I was very proud of the first class I taught. My mouth had a motor on it, and I never ran out of gas. When class was over, my cooperating teacher congratulated me on surviving, and said I did a good job, but bluntly said, “You talk too much.” I thought teachers were supposed to talk. “Yes,” he replied, “but not all the time. The spotlight is not supposed […]

Catechists as Missionary Disciples

Catechetical Sunday, with its 2017 theme of “Living as Missionary Disciples,” is a wonderful opportunity for us to reflect on why we do the challenging work of catechesis. How do we live as missionary disciples? Mission When I hear the word missionary, I think of a priest sailing to some far away and foreign land to preach the Gospel, armed only with his crucifix and his conviction. We might think that the call to be […]

How Did Aquinas Survive without Audiovisual Resources?

Whenever I’m preparing to give a presentation and there’s some trouble with the projector or laptop or other technology, I jokingly ask those assisting me, “How did Aquinas survive without AV resources?” Of course, he and other great teachers did just fine without them! That doesn’t change the fact that, today, technology provides us with a myriad of ways to enhance our presentation of the Gospel and that most people—especially young people—are accustomed to accessing information through technology. […]

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