Active Learning That “Sticks”

I’ve always been a proponent of active learning—making sure that learners are actively involved in the process of accessing new information—and I’ve written about this here previously. Now, let me give you a specific example that I find very effective. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved stickers! Who doesn’t? I know that my wife and I found stickers to be one of the best ways of keeping our kids occupied on car rides. […]

Don’t Put Words in God’s Mouth!

When teaching others, especially children, about Scripture, we often find ourselves paraphrasing the actual Scripture passage in order to use words that more closely resonate with contemporary experience. This is all well and good, and I do it myself all the time; however, it is important that we expose people to the actual Scripture passages we are summarizing to ensure that we are not putting words in God’s mouth! Recently, I overheard someone speaking to […]

Praying the Scriptures with Lectio Divina

Lectio divina is an ancient method of praying the Scriptures. The name means “sacred reading,” and the prayer invites slow reading and praying with a Scripture passage. In the video below, Becky Eldredge, a spiritual director and author of Busy Lives & Restless Souls, explains lectio divina. Suggested Uses for the Video Use this video in your catechetical classroom with older students to introduce this prayer form. Then lead an experience of lectio divina with […]

Faithfully Adapting Scripture Stories for Children

It is not unusual for catechists and publishers of textbooks to adapt Scripture stories for children. Let’s face it: the Bible was not written for seven-year-olds! When adapting Scripture stories for children, however, it is imperative that we remain faithful to Sacred Scripture and not change the essence of the stories we are relating. For example, until I was an adult, I thought that, in the story of Cain and Abel, Cain’s offering was not […]

Scripture Skits—Free New Testament Plays

Children excel at pretending, so get them out of their seats to learn about Scripture with our free New Testament plays. Key teachings of Jesus from the Gospels form the basis for these Scripture skits: Jesus Teaches How to Live and Love Jesus on the Mountainside: The Feeding of the Five Thousand and the Sermon on the Mount Two Parables of Jesus: The Good Samaritan and the Lost Son Each short play includes background information […]

Promoting Catholic Identity, Part 4: A Reverence for Scripture and Tradition

This is the fourth article in a series on the five characteristics of Catholic identity and how we can nurture those in our children. An important part in developing our Catholic identity is fostering a deep appreciation for the source of the knowledge of our faith. The Catholic Church recognizes that God’s Revelation comes to us in two ways: Scripture and Tradition. Many children may not get an experience of Bible passages in context, as […]

Remembering the Larger Story in Catechesis

As we near the midpoint of our catechetical year, we can begin to feel dragged out and even a little intimidated as catechists. We’ve come so far since the fall, and there is so much left to do. We can get so caught up in parish life that we feel overwhelmed and lose our focus on what moves us and inspires our ministry. We can forget that all of the activities, planning, and preparing we […]

Good Discussion Questions for Catechist Grade Level Breakout Sessions

As I mentioned in a previous post, I enjoyed a day in the Diocese of Peoria, in particular, participating in a grade-level breakout session for 5th and 6th grade catechists. Some of these grade level sessions can grow tedious if not facilitated well. I like the fact that for these breakouts, the Diocese provided questions to guide the discussions. Here they are: Bringing Prayer into the classroom. Are there any regular prayers you use and […]

9 Advent Attitudes – #3: An Unwavering Sense of Serenity

Advent is, above all else, a season of hope – a virtue that is all too rare in our world. To live as a person of hope is to behave in such a manner as to draw suspicion that we are behaving somewhat erratically as far as worldly norms go. This new type of behavior – what some may even call erratic behavior (the behavior that led people to conclude that the Apostles were “under […]

Summary of 10/15/13 Session: God Creates Something Good Out of Nothing

Yesterday, I gave a couple of little tidbits (Ave Maria activity and a humorous comment from a student) about this past Tuesday’s session so now I thought I’d give a more detailed summary. For the first time, I had a couple of absentees so I was down to 7 students. As soon as students entered, I put them to work locating passages in the Bible using their Bible Bookmarks from my book The Bible Blueprint and a Scripture Search […]

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