Advice for Catechists of Intermediate Age Children

Thanks to the folks who shared some excellent advice for catechists of primary age children last week! This week, we turn our attention to those who teach children in grades 4, 5, and 6 – the intermediate grades. What works? What doesn’t work? What approaches are most effective? What skills, techniques, and strategies are needed? Allow me to begin since I taught 4th graders last year! My advice? Don’t “baby” this age group. They have […]

Teaching Church Behavior

Last night, we had our end-of-the-year grade level meeting with Arlene, our DRE, and we talked about how things went this year and what we can do better next year. One of the main issues that came up was our concern over the kids’ behavior in church when we go over for prayer services or Mass. Each year, we go to the church probably five or six times: opening prayer for the year, Advent Reconciliation, […]

"Bell Work" Activities

Here’s a great post from Jared Dees’ blog The Religion Teacher about what he calls “Bell Work” activities. While they are most helpful for religion teachers in Catholic schools, there are a lot of ideas here that catechists can also apply to parish religious education settings.

Getting to Know Your New Textbook/Catechist Manual

I’ll be meeting tonight with 30-40 catechists in Munster, Indiana, to help them get to know the new textbook series they’ve adopted (Christ Our Life, 2009). Becoming familiar with a new textbook and the catechist manual is a crucial step in your planning and preparation process. If you are using a textbook/catechist manual for the first time this year, here are a few pointers that may be helpful: Read through the children’s book first…get to […]

With So Much Self-Esteem, Who Needs Salvation?

In recent times, there has been a big emphasis in education on building self-esteem. This, of course, has carried over into catechesis, such as when we begin teaching three-year olds the refrain “I am special.” A recent study (link no longer available) reveals, however that this emphasis has led to an increase in narcissistic tendencies. My concern is, if we are all so special, then who needs salvation? Of course, self-esteem is important. But so is humility. […]

Defining Liturgical Catechesis

I’m participating in a good discussion about liturgical catechesis at www.catechistconnection.net (site no longer live). Here’s my latest comments on liturgical catechesis in response to someone who defines liturgical catechesis the way I would define lectionary catechesis. “I think most people use the term lectionary catechesis to refer to what you’re talking about (lessons that flow from the Sunday Scripture readings). From my experience, liturgical catechesis is any form of catechesis that prepares one to […]

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