Best Practices for Creating a Welcoming Learning Environment - text with image from The Adaptive Teacher book

Best Practices for Creating a Welcoming Learning Environment

Create a welcoming learning environment in your parish or school with “an attitude that aims to receive and treat everyone in the same warm, friendly, and generous way” (Charleen Katra). Download a free poster of 20 best practices excerpted from The Adaptive Teacher: Faith-Based Strategies to Reach and Teach Learners with Disabilities by John E. Barone and Charleen Katra. Post this in the faculty lounge or another gathering space to remind teachers and catechists of […]

Setting Up the Classroom Environment as Sacred Space - words next to a rosary
The Basics

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 - photo by Barb Gilman
Primary Grades

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 […]

Bible and candle - prayer table

Does Your Faith Formation Space “Speak Catholic”?

When children walk into religious education sessions in your parish, what do they see: another classroom like they have been sitting in all day in school? Or is it an inviting space that makes it easy to form community, where matters of the heart and spirit can be shared? Does your faith formation space “speak Catholic” through sign, symbol, and a welcoming atmosphere? When Joe Paprocki suggests in Beyond the Catechist’s Toolbox that religious education […]

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Joys and Frustrations

Make Teaching Fun

Did you ever have one of those days where teaching religious education made you smile? Today was one of those days. After weeks of difficult and sometimes rowdy classes, we spent this class reviewing the material before the end of the year. Because I like games and like to teach with games, I decided to make our review into a game. I kept it simple. The children chose teams, and I asked each team a […]

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Joys and Frustrations

Thrown a Curveball

This past Monday, as I prepared to teach my lesson on the Sacraments of Initiation using Learning Stations, I was thrown a curveball. As I entered my classroom to get things set up, I saw that the school teacher who uses that room each day had decided to totally re-arrange the classroom! Yikes! I had been mentally visualizing exactly how I was going to set up my learning stations only to find that the furniture […]

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Teaching Skills

Skills, Tips, and Practical Advice for Preparing the Learning Environment

My new book, The Catechist’s Toolbox, is now available to order from Loyola Press! I just received my own copies of the book and I’m really excited about it! Here’s another little peek inside: Skills, Tips, and Practical Advice for Preparing the Learning Environment If you were having people over for dinner, you would no doubt prepare the environment to heighten the enjoyment and express a mood of celebration and hospitality. When we teach, we […]