Having Students Set Goals – Developing New Habits

I’ve been talking the last few posts about helping those we teach to develop new habits, inspired by a book titled The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. One of the things the author talks about is the importance of people taking ownership of the process of developing new habits, beginning with the notion of setting goals for themselves. By setting goals for yourself, you internalize motivation (as opposed to all of the motivation having […]

Closure

Tonight is the last session that I will be teaching for my 6th graders this year (next week is our closing Mass). I’ll reflect soon on what this experience has been like for me (in brief, it’s been wonderful!) but for now I’d just like to offer a glimpse of what I’ll be doing tonight. Preliminaries (15 mins) Gather, attendance, misc. – young people write prayer intentions Opening prayer ritual/procession Engage (10 mins) I plan […]

Encountering God in the Bible

After what seemed like an endless string of interruptions (days off, practices for Seder Meal, Lenten and Holy Week prayer services, etc.) in our regular teaching schedule, I finally get to teach a lesson this coming Monday! With only 3 classes left for teaching, I am going to do one more session on the Bible this Monday before sending their Bibles home with them. Here’s my plan: Session 23 – Encountering God in the Bible  Session […]

Meet Pope Francis – A Teachable Moment

Loyola Press has put together some great activities related to the election of Pope Francis that you can use in your catechetical setting. They are: Find Your Pope Name Welcome Letter to the New Pope Pray for the Pope, Pray for the World Here, There, God is Everywhere! Here’s an interesting resource from the world of secular education seeking to use the election of the new Pope as a teachable moment. Here’s how a Catholic […]

Papal Conclave: Political Maneuvering or the Holy Spirit? Yes

As we approach the papal conclave, it is interesting to notice the coverage taking place. The media focuses on the political maneuvering taking place while Church spokespeople talk about prayer, discernment, and the movement of the Holy Spirit. Which is it? Both. We would be naive to think that there is no political maneuvering taking place among the cardinals at the conclave. At the same time, we would be just as naive to think that […]

6th Grade Psalms

We had a very enjoyable session last evening focusing on the Psalms. In case you missed it, here is what I had planned. The kids enjoyed the opening activity of describing the emotions portrayed in a series of pictures and selecting one that best described how they felt at the moment (they almost all selected the picture that represented being tired except for one very peppy young man who said, “I’m just happy to be […]

Sacraments of Initiation: I Pledge Allegiance…

I’m on my way to Brooklyn, NY, for a presentation this evening, however, here’s my latest thinking about  teaching the Sacraments of Initiation this Monday and tying it to the Old Testament. I plan to introduce the session by inviting the kids to say the Pledge of Allegiance and to talk about what it means to pledge one’s allegiance to someone or something (loyalty, obedience). I’ll use that as an opportunity to talk about how […]

40 Ideas for 40 Days – Lenten Activities: A Sense of Direction

Ask all of your students to stand up and, on the count of three, to point north. Inevitably, there is some confusion…not all have their bearings! Explain that we can rely on a compass to help us get a sense of direction. Make a simple home-made compass. You will need a magnet, a sewing needle, a shallow aluminum baking pan filled with water, and a small piece of Styrofoam (2 in. x 2 in.) Hold […]

40 Ideas for 40 Days: A Declaration of DEpendence

Lent is a time for us to declare our independence from sins that have been impinging on our freedom and to declare our DEpendence on God! Prepare your own “parchment” to use as a Declaration of DEpendence. Here is a picture of one I prepared next to a replica of the real thing.  Any sheet of white newsprint will do. The thinner the paper, the better. I like to use a sheet from an easel […]

The Ark of the Covenant

My session on Monday evening focused on the Temple of Solomon and the question of where it is that we find the presence of God. After reading from our Finding God book about Solomon’s Temple and the placement of the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies, representing the presence of God in the midst of Israel, we read John 2: 13-22 in which Jesus cleanses the Temple and then claims, “destroy this […]

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