Archive for October, 2012

First, let’s get a schedule item out of the way. There is NO class next week as it would conflict with Halloween. We’ll see the children back on November 7.

We had a good class last night. Mrs. Rudolphi and I are now getting to know the students a little better and vice versa. We are starting to be able to adjust our methods slightly to accommodate their differences.

Rather than moving on to the next chapter, we spent the time reviewing and reinforcing the previous chapter, which was an overview of the seven sacraments. We really didn’t spend much time last week on the Sacraments of Service of Communion (Holy Orders and Matrimony). So I passed out a sheet of paper with six questions related to those sacraments. We asked the class to read the section of the text on Holy Orders and Baptism and to answer the questions as they read. We discussed the questions and answers afterwards and spent a fair amount of time talking about deacons, bishops and the pope. There was relatively little interest in Matrimony. We’ll revisit that later in the year.

We followed up on that by asking the students to complete a “word scramble” exercise in the text. The whole idea here was to simply reinforce the names and purposes of the seven sacraments.

We finished up with something we tried last week and it worked very well. We asked each student “What did you learn tonight?” and rewarded their answer with a cookie. The variety of answers is interesting and (to an amateur teacher) rewarding.


Read Full Post »

We had a good class last night, active and involved, but not out of control. This was really only my second full class session with them. I am just now starting to get to know the students – their strengths and weaknesses; those we are quick to respond and those who need to be drawn out, and so on. The whole process improves when we get to know each other a little better.

The main theme for the entire year in 5th grade CCD is the Sacraments.  We began our efforts in this direction with a broad overview of the seven Sacraments. We asked the students to make a list of the Sacraments they have already received and those they expect to receive in the future.

As we got into the text, we ran up against a number of terms and concepts that were pretty-much new to the class.

  • Evangelazation
  • Vocations
  • Sanctifying Grace
  • Initiation

So we had to take a detour and discuss the meaning of these terms.

The term “evangelization” was a new one to nearly all the students. After defining the concept, we brainstormed on different ways they, as fifth graders, could answer the call to evangelization.  We suggested the best way to evangelize is simply to live a good life and serve as an example.  “Actions speak louder than words.”

We discussed the concept of a “vocation” as a calling and provided some examples.

We discussed “sanctifying grace.” We described “grace” in general as simply God’s love. We compared it to the love of a parent to their child, and continuing the metaphor, we asked the class to think of times when they felt their parents’ love more than others. (ie: getting a hug, comforting, praising, etc.) Just as a hug is a way a parent can convey his or her love to a child, the Sacraments are God’s way of extending his love (grace) to us.

We discussed the three categories of Sacraments:

  • Sacraments of Christian (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist)
  • Sacraments of Healing (Penance/Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick
  • Sacraments of Service of Communion (Holy Orders, Matrimony)

We had time to briefly go over the three categories and discuss each Sacrament.  Next week, we’ll do a little review/reinforcement and then move on to a more detailed study of Baptism.

We finished up with a practice I may make a regular part of the program. At the beginning of class, I told the students that I would be asking each of them a question at the end of class, “What did you learn tonight?” Just before the end, I asked the question and went through the class for answers.  Everyone answered with something we had covered, and were rewarded with a chocolate chip cookie. They seemed to like that. Maybe we’re on to something.  🙂

Read Full Post »

I am back in the USA and ready to get the 5th grade CCD class rolling. I understand Father John led the class for the two weeks I was gone.

After our opening prayer, we began with chapter one of the text. I pointed out to the students that each chapter is built around four distinct “We believe” statements that are highlighted in purple in the book. This divides the week’s lesson into four, more or less, equal segments. For chapter one, the four statements were:

  • Jesus is the Son of God
  • Jesus shows us God’s love
  • Jesus invites people to follow him
  • Jesus’ disciples continue his work

We had volunteers read the passages under the first statement. They covered Jesus’ baptism and the Holy Trinity. We spent some time talking about the Trinity and the idea that God can be one God and three persons. We used St Patrick’s famous shamrock example. We also compared the three persons to the different roles all of us have in our life. For example, the students are, depending on the situation of the moment, sons and daughters, students, athletes, friends, brothers and sister, etc., but they are still just one person.

We had the students read the material associated with the second statement silently and discussed some of the ways Jesus showed his love.

We tried something different for the last two statements. We split the class of 14 students into groups of 2 and 3 and assigned each group a paragraph or two to read and understand. Then we had each of the teams teach the message in that passage to the rest of the class. The students did better than I thought they would for the first time we tried it. The material dealt with Jesus’ disciples, past and present; the Apostles; the Kingdom of God and the parable of the mustard tree.

That technique seemed to have some promise, but it is time consuming. We ran out of time before we had a chance for review and reinforcement. We’ll tackle some of that next week before moving on to the next chapter.

Parents – thank you for sharing your children with us. Please feel free to sit in on any class and see what we’re doing.

Read Full Post »