Testing the 4th Grade Waters

As part of my lesson this past Monday, I wanted to emphasize how human beings are the greatest part of God’s creation and I wanted to incorporate the use of the Internet in my classes for the first time. I located a brief YouTube video that shows images of babies growing in the womb. I made sure that the video did not have any images relating to the act of sexual intercourse or the fertilization […]

Books, Books, Books!

I found the following article to be very interesting. Basically, it is saying that kids who grow up surrounded by lots of books grow up smarter! http://www.salon.com/books/laura_miller/2010/06/02/summer_book_giveaway/ As always, I think of the ramifications for religious education. I wonder what we could do to expose our students to more age-appropriate books about the Catholic faith to help them be smarter Catholics. For example, wouldn’t it be cool if  we catechists had access to a box […]

Inviting Students to Evaluate

One of the things I plan on doing this Monday evening is having the kids complete an evaluation of their experience with me this past year. I often did this when I was a high school religion teacher and I found the feedback very helpful. I’ll have to formulate some kind of an evaluation form for them to use…that is, unless someone out there already has one!!! If so, I’d love to see it if […]

A Case of the Sixth Commandment Giggles

On Monday evening, I had a cozy little group of 7 students, since 3 were rehearsing for the Living Stations. I used this opportunity to continue our exploration of the Ten Commandments, looking at real-life examples of how to live out the spirit of each of the Commandments. It turned out to be a very nice evening except for one thing: the boys (3 of 4) developed a severe case of the Sixth Commandment giggles. […]

Before and After

We had a very nice class last night with 8 of 10 students present for their first class session after Confirmation (and the DRE received calls explaining the 2 absences). The kids had a very pleasant attitude about Confirmation…they seemed genuinely proud and there was no resentment about being back in class – the message had been conveyed that Confirmation is not the end! The post-confirmation guided reflection went very nicely! Several of the other […]

Not Bad!

Our experience of playing a Jeopardy-like review was not bad at all last night. Of course, games can rile kids up so we were walking a fine line between having fun and laying down the law last night. However, overall, I’d have to say that fifty 8th graders in one room behaved pretty well! The nice thing was that they did a pretty good job of answering the questions. All of us were pleased that […]

Kids’ Silly Behavior Plays Right Into My Hands

Every once in a while, it pays to be patient with kids’ silly behavior because it can play right into your hands. Last night was one of those occasions. As I was teaching about the anointing with chrism at Confirmation, I focused for a while on the fact that the chrism has a fragrance (sometimes referred to as “perfume for the soul”) which symbolizes how the Holy Spirit helps us to give off the “aroma […]

Poverty Quiz Struck a Nerve

At the end of Monday evening’s session, I asked each of the kids to share one thing they learned that evening: spiritual and corporal works of mercy, social justice, service, and living the Beatitudes. I was struck by how many of the young people referred to the poverty quiz that they took in the social justice session with Chris. Many of them pulled the quiz out and quoted a fact or figure about poverty in […]

On the Other Hand…

Yesterday, I provided a rather glowing summary of Monday evening’s Confirmation Intensive. Indeed, the evening overall went very well and was a positive experience. On the other hand, there are always a few moments that provide sobering reminders of the troubles that some of these kids have. The Confirmation Intensives allows me the opportunity to catch a glimpse, so to speak, of each of the five 8th grade classes. For the most part, each of […]

Positive Doodling

On Monday evening, we presented a segment of the video Jesus of Nazareth, focusing on the death and Resurrection of Jesus (about a 40-minute segment leading up to the end of the film). As part of the viewing exercise, the young people have a viewing guide that they fill in as they watch (we pause the video at each scene that has a question connected with it). At the end of the evening, one of […]

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