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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

20 Tips for Catechists E-mail Series

Join me for a five-part e-mail series where I share 20 tips for catechists—some of my best advice to both new and experienced catechists. I’ll send you a few tips each week that you can implement in your faith formation setting. Take to heart these tips, and be encouraged in your vocation as a confident evangelizing catechist! I’m sharing these 20 tips to celebrate the release of my 20th book—Living the Sacraments: Finding God at […]

Classroom Behavior Expectations

I give my first-grade religious education students the same assignment every week at the end of class, which consists of three things: Be sweet, be smart, and make good choices. For the first few classes, it’s novel, but within a few weeks, they will repeat the assignment along with me. (The parents love it, by the way.) I want my students to understand that the behavior I expect in class on Sunday mornings doesn’t end […]

Nine Tips for Asking Questions

Asking Questions to Get Beneath the Surface This summer, my biggest project was scraping and painting the deck at my lake house. I’m always tempted to skip the scraping part and get right into painting. However, as we all know, it is crucial to strip away what’s on the surface to get to what’s deeper: the original wood. When we teach, we can be tempted to rush past an important step that helps us get beneath […]

Active Learning Strategies (Video)

Do you employ active learning strategies in your classroom? Watch this video introduction to active learning strategies. Then consider ways to shine the spotlight on those you teach as you start planning this year’s sessions. Read the post that inspired this video: Engaging Young People with Active Learning Strategies.

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