Teaching the Great Commandment

This school year, our third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students all received their own copy of a children’s Bible. This has been a great experience. In the past, each classroom only had a few copies of the Bible, and the students had to share them. But with their own Bibles, students have ready access to look up verses on their own, which is something that they really enjoy. With this added flexibility, I decided that we […]

Sacraments and Stories: Reasons to Celebrate

I really enjoy teaching my students about the sacraments. After all, the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Jesus Christ through the sacraments. How could I not enjoy teaching them? In fact, I like to teach my kids that they don’t “do” the sacraments, they celebrate them! This can be a challenge when teaching the Sacraments of Healing. How can I teach my third graders to approach Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick with […]

Themes for the Classroom

With each new class of students I teach, I always have the same classroom theme. Having a theme has been a worthwhile and unifying activity. I have adapted this theme from a speech given by Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, in 1973. Fr. Arrupe’s speech was called Men for Others. Our theme is Third Graders for Others. My class works to help others in our world, community, classroom, and home. We have many opportunities to practice this theme. […]

Holy Patrons for the New Year

A few years back, I read about a tradition that St. Faustina had with the sisters of her convent. On New Year’s Day, they would gather to pick a holy patron for the new year. Here is an excerpt from her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul. There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year’s Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year. In the morning, during meditation, there […]

Called to Be Saints

We are all called by God to be saints. Every year, I strive to teach the children in my parish third grade religious education class that they are included in that call. I explain that the saints were not perfect; they were regular people who sometimes messed up. The difference is that saints changed their lives to live as disciples of Jesus. The saints are examples for us in how to follow Christ. That’s a tall […]

Advice for Catechists of Primary Age Children

What advice would you give to someone who was about to become a catechist of primary age children (grades 1, 2, and 3)? What works? What doesn’t work? What approaches are most effective? What skills, techniques, and strategies are needed?

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