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 […]

It IS Possible to Have a Normal Conversation with an 8th Grader!

I was absolutely delighted to have an enjoyable 10-minute conversation with one of my 8th graders before class last night! This doesn’t happen often for me. For one, the kids usually don’t arrive early or stay after class. Second, I don’t usually seek out conversations…it’s just not my style. Third, I’m very careful about not presenting myself as their “buddy” – I’m not seeking their friendship, just their apprenticeship. So, needless to say, I was […]

Repetition – The Rosary

What do all of the following have in common? “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!” “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” Repetition, of course. We human beings tend to repeat ourselves whenever we feel strongly about something, are excited about something, or want to convince […]

Unforeseen Distractions

Interestingly enough, one of the problems that I ran into while walking my class through the Bible on Monday evening was the unforeseen distractions that occurred while they were reading aloud…and these distractions came from the text itself! What am I talking about? Here’s what I mean: Exodus 20:10 – “No work may be done then either by you….or by the alien who lives with you.” Had to pause and explain that this was not […]

On Second Thought…

Last evening’s session went OK, however, as I look back over my attempt to walk the young people through the Bible in preparation for the unit on Jesus, I’m having second thoughts about my approach. Frankly, I think it was a bit beyond them to explore so many Scripture passages (as outlined in my handout)  in one swoop. As brief as most of those passages are and as easy as I thought it would be […]

Setting the Stage for Jesus

For tonight’s class, my plan is to continue walking the young people through the story of salvation history in the Bible, setting the stage for the unit on Jesus that we are beginning. You may recall that two weeks ago (we were off last week for Columbus Day), I began walking them through the story of salvation history in the Bible and, because of a few interruptions (fire drill, etc.) only got as far as […]

A Walk Through the Bible

For last night’s class, I did my best  to walk the young people through the Bible. Unfortunately, as happens, we had some interruptions (a fire drill and a time out to have the kids sign a banner for the Year of the Priest) so in the end I only had about 40 minutes to teach…I got as far as getting the Jewish people out of Egypt and across the Red Sea and ran out of […]

The Story of the Bible in a Nutshell

I’ve decided that, since we’ll have no class next Monday (Columbus Day) and that when we return, we jump right into a unit on Jesus Christ, tonight will be a good night to do an overview of the Bible with my 8th graders, taking them through the story of salvation history that culminates with Jesus Christ. Click here for an outline of passages that tell the narrative of the story of salvation history in a chronological sequence […]

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