Looking Over My Teaching Space

I had the opportunity today to get into the room in which I’ll be teaching 6th grade religious education this year! It is on the 2nd floor of St. Cajetan school…a nice spacious room with carpeted floor and dry erase boards! I’m looking forward to my first session this Tuesday evening!

Beautiful Feet!

Scripture says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! (Is 52:7). That was the first reading today at the opening Mass for the Religious Education Institute for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, where I had the pleasure of giving a couple of presentations. I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the “beautiful feet” attending my first workshop!

Help For “New” Catechetical Leaders: Through the Year with the DRE

Back in the day, when I was a “baby” DRE (Director of Religious Education), I turned to a nifty book for help. It was written by Gail McKenna and it was titled Through the Year with the DRE: A Seasonal Guide for Christian Educators (Paulist Press). The book is long out of print, however, the idea stayed with me and inspired me to create a chart a few years ago outlining the “typical” responsibilities that […]

Ends With a Whimper, Not a Bang

Alas, the catechetical year with my 6th graders ended with more of a whimper than a bang last evening! Suffice it to say that their eagerness to be done with Monday night religious education sessions outweighed any anguish they were feeling about not seeing Mr. Paprocki any more! 🙂 Part of the problem stemmed from the usual shenanigans that one encounters when supervising a large group of pre-adolescents attending Mass on a Monday evening after […]

Reaching Out to the Lost Sheep – Assessment and Redemption

I have long been an advocate of assessment in catechesis. At the same time, I have always made it clear that assessment in catechesis is to be used as a tool to address needs (both individual and corporate) and to address deficiencies in the catechetical program. I don’t advocate using assessments to assign report card grades to kids in religious education and certainly not to determine if they are to “pass or fail” or to […]

End of the Year Assessment

This coming Monday, I will do a formal assessment to see to what extent my 6th graders have grasped the BIG ideas I attempted to teach them this year in religious education! First, we will do a Jeopardy-like review using a Powerpoint version of the game that I found online a couple of years ago. You can manipulate this according to your own needs, changing categories, questions, and answers and hyperlinking from the “game board” […]

Where Have You Gone, Thomas Groome? The Role of Experience in Catechesis

When I was a mere “babe” in the catechetical ministry (early 1980s), I was introduced to the notion of the catechetical process. At the time, those 2 words could not be spoken without also mentioning the name of Dr. Thomas Groome and his groundbreaking work, Christian Religious Education: Sharing Our Story and Vision . At the heart of Groome’s approach is an unmistakable connection between lived experience and the faith Tradition of the Catholic Church. […]

Opening Mass Tonight; Thinking Ahead to Next Week

Tonight, our religious education program celebrates our Opening Mass in the Church which means that I will primarily be supervising my 6th graders as they gather for Mass and then throughout the Mass. This afternoon, I plan to go over their names so that this evening I will be able to greet them and talk to them by name. As we wait for Mass to begin, I thought I would do some Q & A […]

Off to a Good Start!

I was very pleased with my first session of 6th grade religious education last evening! 🙂 Here’s a rundown of highlights and lowlights: Since I teach in the later session and someone is in the room before me, I don’t have much time to set up (15 mins…if I’m lucky) so it is a real whirlwind trying to get things ready. I have this notion that the kids will walk into this very serene and prayerful […]

A Couple of Helpful Resources

As I prepare for my first religious education class (September 10), I’ve put together a couple of simple but helpful resources that I’m happy to share with catechists. The first is a Homework Notification Sheet. I’ve never had a whole lot of luck assigning homework in religious education and having kids complete it but part of it may be the fact that my assignments are probably never seen by parents. I thought it would be […]

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