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 […]

My Crystal Ball

I began class last night by inviting the kids to join me in another room that I had set up with my “crystal ball!” I have a light fixture – a globe – that is tinted white and I placed a battery operated flickering candle inside of it and wrapped a purple cloth around the base of it. All of the lights in the room were turned off and I had a CD playing in […]

A Light Shines in the Darkness

Happy Advent! I hope that your Thanksgiving weekend was an opportunity to enjoy family, friends, and some recreation and renewal! Well, it’s back to “work” for me tonight, wrapping up the short unit on Church history. Here’s my plan: As the kids enter, I’ll give them pages from daily newspapers and set them to work finding examples of “bad news.” Each of the kids will share their examples of bad news stories with the group and I’ll talk […]

Learning from Our Past

Tonight, we begin our unit on Church History. We kick off this unit by bringing all five eighth grade classes together for a PowerPoint presentation on Church history to give them a sweeping overview of major events in Church history over the past 2,000 years. Each of the five catechists “narrates” a period of Church history and the kids take notes on a fill-in-the-blank note-taking sheet we provide. It’s an engaging way to introduce a […]

November: Month of All Souls

November is, of course, the month of all souls, a special time of the year for us to remember those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith. To mark this special month, as part of our opening prayer last night, instead of having the kids offer prayers of thanksgiving or petitions for needs, I asked them each to share the name(s) of loved ones who have passed away so that we […]

Jesus, I Want to Get to Know You

Tonight, we will complete our unit on Jesus. I have completed the PowerPoint presentation that the young people began work on in class last week which covers the various aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry: the world of Jesus, the people of Jesus, the words and actions of Jesus, and the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. I’m happy to share the PDF of the presentation: Who is Jesus – complete presentation PDF As we view the PowerPoint, […]

And a Child Shall Lead Them…

This phrase, of course, is from Isaiah 11:6, and is used from time to time in catechesis with regards to children taking leadership roles. I experimented with this concept on Monday evening by having one of my students lead the guided reflection! This was a big risk for me and I have to admit that I have a very hard time of letting go of things like this because I know how it should be […]

Update on Yesterday’s Class: Mixed Success

So things went fairly well last night with my experiment in having the kids make PowerPoint slides to describe who Jesus is. I say fairly well because I was surprised at how poorly some of them are at keyboarding and that slowed the whole process down (they know how to use Powerpoint, but they type slowly!). They behaved well and seemed to like the idea of working on computers in religious education class, but they […]

Teaching About Jesus Using PowerPoint

At the recent plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the use of new technologies of the digital age to spread the word of God. With that in mind, for the first time in my life as a catechist, this evening I will be having my students create Powerpoint presentations rather than posters! For the last few years, during the Jesus unit, I have had my classes work at […]

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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