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 […]

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 […]

How Introverts Learn: Intrapersonal Learning

When delivering presentations, I often ask participants to raise their hands if they consider themselves an introvert. Usually about 40% of hands go up, to which I reply, “OK, almost half of you, and then a number of you didn’t raise your hand because you’re an introvert!” The truth is, I count myself in this category. Now, you may be surprised to learn that I am an introvert, but to be one doesn’t mean that […]

Learning by “Talking Things Out”—Interpersonal Learning

I have to admit that, as an introvert (technically speaking), I tend to cringe a bit when a facilitator or speaker tells us participants to turn to a neighbor or group of neighbors and engage in discussion. It’s just not my style. Of course, when I do follow instructions, I find that I meet some wonderful people and learn some amazing things! At the other end of the spectrum are people who are eager to interact […]

If a Young Mr. Spock Were in Your Religious Education Class

Sometimes I like to imagine what it would have been like to teach Catholic faith formation to either a famous or a fictional character. Recently, I thought to myself, “What would a catechist do if a young Mr. Spock showed up as a student in religious education class?” Of course, you remember Mr. Spock, the fictional character from Star Trek, who was half-human and half-Vulcan: an alien species that operated solely on logic and eschewed emotion. […]

There’s a Hymnal in My Bible!

If you’ve ever questioned the significance of music when it comes to our faith, consider the fact that, right before the halfway point of our Bible, you will find a hymnal—the Book of Psalms! Although we do not have the original melodies of these song-prayers, we do know that they were put to music and used in Temple worship. In addition to the presence of a hymnal in our Bible, also know that music appears […]

Storytelling as a Tool for Evangelization

Often, when I travel to different parts of the country, people quickly spot my Midwestern/South side of Chicago way of talking. The way we speak and act can often “give us away,” as when Peter denied Jesus after the bystanders said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” (Matthew 26:73) The big question is, can people spot us as being citizens of the Kingdom of God? Does the way we talk […]

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