A Lo-Tech Session; High on Props – David: Shepherd and King

Last evening was thoroughly enjoyable and, for the most part, very effective, as we focused on David as shepherd and king who points the way to the Good Shepherd/Christ the King. I decided to give the technology a rest since I’ve been using PowerPoints and videos a lot in recent sessions. Instead, I went all out on props which the kids loved. 6th graders are very much into this kind of theatrics! Here is one […]

David: Shepherd and King—Session 16

Tonight we will be focusing our attention on David: shepherd and king who points the way to Jesus, the Good Shepherd and Christ the King. Here’s the plan. David: Shepherd and King BIG IDEA David: shepherd and king, points the way to Jesus: the Good Shepherd and Christ the King PRELIMINARIES (15 mins) Return corrected Ten Commandments quizzes. Opening procession to set up prayer table Opening prayer ritual ENGAGE (20 mins) Invite volunteer to come […]

It Was the Quietest of Times, It Was the Noisiest of Times!

Our session this past Tuesday (Jan. 14, 2014) was very enjoyable and was a study in contrasts. I actually began the session (after preliminary chit-chat and our opening prayer ritual) with a guided reflection in which I invited the young people to talk with Jesus about what they have learned in the first half of the year. The kids were amazingly quiet! It was a very prayerful experience and, in all, lasted about 15 minutes. You […]


Here is my lesson plan for this evening! Tuesday, January 14, 2014 BIG IDEA: “Remember all my commands!” Scripture: Numbers 15:37-41 Learning Outcome: As a result of this session, students will be able to recall and articulate the major concepts covered in the first half of the year, especially the Ten Commandments Preliminaries/Engage (20 mins) As they enter, have the young people write down one thing they remember learning during the first half of the […]

If I Were King or Queen for a Day

As it turns out, our session was canceled last evening due to the extreme conditions here in Chicago. Thankfully, temps are on the way back up to more normal frigid Chicago standards! In the meantime, I took the opportunity to look ahead and rearrange the schedule a bit, and I see that after we review next week, we’ll be ready to begin exploring the establishment of the Kingdom of Israel, beginning with a couple of […]

Starting the 2nd Half of the Year by Reviewing the 1st Half

After 2 weeks off for the Christmas holidays, religious education sessions are scheduled to be back in session tomorrow evening. Of course, we’re keeping an eye on the weather here in Chicago. Schools are closed today with a foot of snow on the ground and temps at -10 degrees (for a high!). Tomorrow it’s supposed to get up to a balmy zero degrees for a high! In the Book of Job, God responds to Job’s laments […]

Thank God for the Textbook!

On pg. 40 of my book, The Catechist’s Toolbox, I mention that one of the top ten things that can go wrong for a catechist is “You’re done with your lesson and you still have 35 minutes to go!” Would you believe 50 minutes? That’s exactly what happened to me last night! We took our 6th graders to church for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and we were told to anticipate that it would take the […]

Summary of Session on Moses/Exodus (12/10/13)

Tuesday’s session on Moses and the Exodus event was a very enriching experience! Unfortunately, we had 2 students absent, including the one who asked the great question last week about whether or not God was doing bad things by sending the plagues upon the Egyptians. I had hoped she would be present to benefit from our further exploration of the topic. We started by giving the kids a quiz on the first 3 commandments which […]

Session 12 (Dec. 10, 2013) – God Leads His People from Slavery in Egypt to Freedom (part 2)

For this week’s session, we will finish our exploration of the great Exodus story! BIG IDEA: God Leads His People from Slavery in Egypt to Freedom PRELIMINARY (15 mins) Begin with opening procession to O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Aaron Shust). Opening prayer ritual Quiz on the first 3 Commandments (Commandments Quiz 1 to 3) ENGAGE (10 mins) Review questions 1 through 8 on the Prince of Egypt Video Discussion Guide Pick up discussion of […]

Why Would God Do Bad Things?

I could use your help! In tonight’s session, as we learned about the Ten Plagues, one of the young ladies asked, “Why would God do bad things?” I responded that, first of all, Pharaoh and the Egyptians were doing something very wrong – enslaving the Hebrew people, and that God’s purpose was to bring about an end to the oppression. My wife added that God always gave Pharaoh an opportunity first to repent but, since […]

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