Asking Questions About Our Faith

Questions are important, but I have never been someone who asked questions. Rather, I have always been eager to answer questions. Whether in a classroom as a child, in college, or as an adult, I readily raise my hand to answer an instructor’s question. I am always ready to answer Jeopardy questions aloud to my television, respond to questions in Facebook groups, or join my friends on most Tuesdays for our weekly trivia quiz night. By […]

Silent Prayer Circle

I like to vary how my class prays partly to give everyone more tools in their prayer toolbox, but also because not everyone learns or prays in the same way on a given day. When I teach about the Holy Family, I teach my first-graders simple signs in sign language (ASL), which we practice together. Thanks to YouTube, you can easily teach yourself signs and phrases in ASL. I have learned how to sign “thank […]

The Good Shepherd and Hallway Shepherds

When I pray with my first-grade students, I often tell them they have to listen for Jesus’ voice not with their ears but with their hearts. Granted, it’s an abstract concept for young ones to understand. This year, when I taught a lesson on the Good Shepherd, I decided to try something new. Before class, I slyly arranged for two of the fathers to wait in the hall and asked them not to tell their […]

Introducing Children to the Blessed Mother

Throughout the faith formation year, I devote part of my lessons to introducing the children to the Blessed Mother. Whenever I teach about Mary, my goal is for the children to know that: Mary is our mother; Mary is our best model of faith; and Mary said yes to God, and we can say yes to God too. My lessons on Mary are based on the liturgical year. I begin in October, which is dedicated […]

Teaching About the Resurrection

Not long ago during class, a student said, “But Jesus was just a ghost.” I immediately explained that Jesus wasn’t a ghost, but that he had truly risen from the dead. This experience reminded me that we can’t assume our students understand what the Resurrection really means. I want them to understand that Jesus was truly dead and rose to life again. I begin by using a picture book that combines the Gospel accounts of […]

Teaching Children about Angels

Teaching about angels is something that I weave throughout the catechetical year. There are so many ways that angels pop up in different contexts. My overall learning goals in teaching about angels are for the children to know: (1) Angels are unique and special beings created by God; (2) angels serve as God’s messengers and servants; and (3) everyone has a guardian angel. I want my students to recognize angels as special beings created by […]

Teaching Children About God’s Love

With the popularity of Valentine’s Day, February can be a great time to teach about God’s love for us and how he wants us to love one another. In many ways this is the basic message that underlines every session: God loves each of us. In our God’s Gift: Reconciliation book, Chapter 6 focuses on the Good Shepherd with the parable of the lost sheep. This is a perfect parable to focus on God’s love […]

Inviting Parishioners to Help

“The more the merrier!” is my philosophy about volunteers in my religious education classroom. I’m always on the lookout for adults who will share their talents with the children. (I’m fortunate that the parents I ask rarely say no.) I ask my parents at the beginning of the year if anyone has a talent or skill to share. Parents who sew or play an instrument are good allies. Having a different person in the class […]

Praying with Little Ones

Last fall, Joe Paprocki provided 20 tips for catechists. The ninth tip stuck with me: as catechists, we are not teaching a subject, but we are facilitating an encounter with Jesus. All of us encounter Jesus in different ways on any given day, and our students are no different. Offering a variety of prayer experiences for children can open up new ways for Christ to work in their lives. When I’m praying with my first-grade […]

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