Teaching Second-Graders the Beauty of Lent

The beauty of Lent offers a time for the Church to relive salvation history. By practicing the penitential disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, many adults savor this transformative season. But how does an untrained teacher who meets only briefly with her wiggly second-grade faith formation class communicate the beauty and relevancy of Lent in language they can understand? The short answer: by acting out Christ’s desert experience in a way that highlights how fasting, […]

A Magnificent Banquet

During the “Christmas honeymoon”—those few weeks of Ordinary Time between Christmas and Lent—I found that I had been lulled into a sense of complacency. My second-grade class had covered a lot of material during the fall, and I felt good about their grasp of the material. But then reality hit me—their First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion were only weeks away! I started to panic, and I wondered if my students were really prepared for […]

When Simpler Is Better

As a non-creative person by nature, I spend a good deal of time trying to think of ways to make my second-grade class as captivating as possible. As catechists we know that the subject we teach is the most exciting, life-giving topic ever to be shared. But finding new ways to engage our students is easier for some than others, especially for non-creative people like me. I always felt that I’d need to ramp up […]

Loving the Mass

Have you ever heard the saying, “Good teachers borrow, but great teachers steal?” This saying comes to mind as I reflect on the different ways we can help the children in our classes understand the Mass. My DRE had recently invited a guest speaker to come to our parish and give a presentation on how to teach the kids about the Mass. Since I am, at best, someone who aspires to be a good teacher, […]

Heaven Is in the Details

One Sunday, as I was preparing my classroom for the arrival of my second graders, the popular saying “The devil is in the details” came to mind. I seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time preparing for my class and attending to every little detail. I noticed that I began to worry: Is my prayer space too busy? Will the children understand my explanation of the day’s Gospel reading? Will my craft backfire? I […]

As Clear as a Bell: Playing “God’s Family Feud”

As catechists, we always need to evaluate the way we present lessons to our classes. An approach that may work for one group may not work for another. For example, I was teaching a frisky group of second graders about the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. However, all of the old tricks that had been effective with my other classes seemed to fall flat with this group. I was being challenged as […]

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