An Icebreaker for Remote Learning Sessions: The One-Minute Challenge

Like many catechists, I have had the novel task this year of teaching faith formation remotely. My students are second graders preparing for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. Late last summer, when we were told that we would be moving to remote learning, I spent hours watching webinars on remote catechesis, viewing videos from teachers on distance learning, and joining in teacher Facebook groups for online teaching. I was grateful to find the template […]

Adult Baptism Interests Children

An established syllabus and well-planned lessons can be key to effective catechesis. But what happens when we’re ready to move on to the next activity or lesson and our class isn’t? I’ve written before about how going with the conversational flow can lead to interesting places we hadn’t anticipated, but what happens when the conversation continues over a few weeks rather than a few minutes? It happened to me last year when I taught a […]

Leading Guided Reflections with Second Graders

I’ve shared before how I introduce my second graders to a variety of prayer experiences. However, my favorite prayer experiences with them are guided reflections. In a guided reflection, I lead the children step-by-step to imagine meeting Jesus, talking with him, and listening to him. I’m thankful that my God’s Gift books include guided reflections paired to several of our lessons. Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts also includes guided reflections at every grade […]

Engaging Children Online

Like many others, my parish has turned to virtual faith formation classes. Last spring, we had a few virtual sessions to close out the year, so I got a sample of what was in store. The difference this year was that I had never met any of my students in person, and I wondered how I could engage them. I mailed each child a postcard to say welcome to the class. I e-mailed each family […]

“Flat Catechist” Encourages Faith Activities at Home

Like many catechists, I found myself in a strange, new place this spring when the coronavirus closed our parish and required us to suspend all activities. I was determined to find ways to stay connected with my first-grade class. I knew the parents were already feeling overwhelmed, so I wanted to create easy and engaging activities that would make them want to participate with their children. I also wanted to create something that had a […]

Bible Bell Work

I always have “bell work” for children to begin as soon as they arrive in the classroom. These are short activities that engage early arrivals as the rest of the class arrives during the first 10–15 minutes. While students are doing their bell work, I can take attendance, check homework, hand back completed work, and attend to other tasks, like notes from parents. One of the easiest forms of bell work I have is Bible […]

Fidelis, the Advent Angel

Celebrating Advent with my second graders is a combination of traditional elements—such as praying around an Advent wreath—along with visits from Fidelis, our Advent Angel, and performing Advent acts of kindness. We start sessions with a short prayer service around the Advent wreath on our prayer table. The prayer service includes a Scripture reading, intercessions, and singing, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Since we can’t use lit candles, we tape a paper cutout of a […]

All Saints Day Celebration

My favorite session of the year is our celebration of All Saints Day on the class preceding November 1. It combines storytelling (one of my favorite ways to catechize) and direct instruction with a dose of games that make for excitement on the part of the children. With this session I’m hoping to leave some knowledge about saints and also a positive association with the fun games. I also use this opportunity to get parents […]

Teaching Children to Pray the Rosary

I love teaching the Rosary to my first graders. The Rosary helps them learn important prayers, highlights Scripture stories, and keeps their hands occupied when we are sitting together in a circle. In May I hand out rosaries to each student, usually a week after they learn the Hail Mary. I explain that they were blessed by a priest earlier in the day. (One year, I actually took a photo of our pastor with his […]

Teaching Math with the Saints

I love the saints. These holy men and women of God not only teach me about how I can live my life as a daughter of God, but they help me teach math as well. This year our principal asked all teachers to have their students work on word problems every day. Since my math book has so few word problems, I had to write my own that I tailor to different saints. For example, […]

1 2 3 10