How to Prepare for Class

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success,” said Alexander Graham Bell—and so says any catechist who wants to be effective. But how do we prepare for class, especially when we might have just a few minutes before each session? I’m not talking here about planning the session in terms of what to teach and what techniques to use, but the immediate preparation on class day before the young people arrive. Here are five […]

Four Ideas for Setting Up the Classroom Environment as Sacred Space

Setting up a prayer center in the faith-formation classroom is a key element in establishing an environment of prayer. The visual reminders of our Catholic faith invite young people to remember to quiet themselves in the presence of the holy. While we all know that God is everywhere and we can pray at any time, a dedicated prayer center is a special place where young people can gather in the presence of God. But beyond […]

Classroom Prayer Corner

Every classroom should have a prayer corner. This is a special place used exclusively for prayer and reflection. Since I have 32 students in my third-grade class, I don’t have much space—my prayer corner is on top of a steel storage cabinet. With a little work, I’ve transformed it into a place that speaks of the beauty of our faith by decorating it with objects that capture my students’ attention. Some of these objects are […]

Engaging Young People with Active Learning Strategies

Professional educators know that, for learning to be effective, it needs to be an active experience. Active learning ensures that learners actively engage and participate in the learning process by doing something other than simply listening and then, of course, thinking about what they are doing. Active learning is learner-centered as opposed to teacher-centered. I talk about this in my recent post: Shining the Spotlight on Those We Teach. What this means for us as […]

Shining the Spotlight on Those We Teach

When I was a student teacher, I was very proud of the first class I taught. My mouth had a motor on it, and I never ran out of gas. When class was over, my cooperating teacher congratulated me on surviving, and said I did a good job, but bluntly said, “You talk too much.” I thought teachers were supposed to talk. “Yes,” he replied, “but not all the time. The spotlight is not supposed […]

What’s Inside My Catechist’s Bag

I teach in a classroom that is in a school that closed a few years ago. While this means I can leave some things at the school, the room is still shared space among two sessions of religious education and a few other groups that use the building during the week. I also like to have my textbook, worksheets, and other learning materials with me when I plan sessions, so aside from the prayer table […]

Starting the Catechetical Year

In the next few weeks, many of us will be starting the new catechetical year. Before walking into the classroom to meet your group, find advice and inspiration with some of our favorite starting-the-year posts. Getting Started as a Catechist Webinars Our blog host Joe Paprocki helps new catechists get acclimated to the ministry in a series of recorded webinars. Select the group you’re working with for age-level specific advice. Five Tips for Working with […]

Pray, Plan, and Prepare

Here I go again! I’m starting my twelfth year of teaching third grade. Each year produces new challenges, joys, and adventures with my students. Even though I approach the new year knowing that my class will be different from previous ones, I always prepare in the same way. I always begin by praying for my new class. Over the summer I make rosaries out of twine for my new students. I learned how to make […]

Thank You for Participating in the Getting Started Webinar!

A great big THANK YOU to all those who participated in this evening’s Getting Started as a Catechist Webinar for catechists of adults! That completes our cycle of 4 Getting Started Webinars! Within a week or so, the recording of this webinar will be available on the “Webinars” tab at the top of my home page. Already available there are the recordings for the 3 previous Webinars: Primary Age Children Intermediate Age Children Junior High […]

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