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Archive for November, 2014

I just looked and realized that, once again, I did not post an update on last week’s class. I might be losing my mind.

In any case, last week, we covered the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The subject is important, but the class wasn’t the most interesting. The major point we tried to drive home was that as Catholics, we believe that Christ is truly present (Real Presence) in the consecrated bread and wine. The Eucharist is not merely symbolic, as is practiced in some Protestant churches.

Given the importance of that sacrament, I thought it would be a good idea to spend a little more time on it and reinforce the concepts. So we had the students complete the end-of-chapter exercises and then we discussed their answers. Several students, who were not there last week, had some difficulty, but they were allowed to look for the answers in the preceding chapter. Actually, the textbook publishers really make it fairly easy. Most of the answers to the review exercises are highlighted in red text in the book. We allowed them to work with a partner, but most of the class preferred to just work on their own.

We only had about 20 minutes left when we completed our discussion of the Eucharist. (I am the Les Miles of class time management. If you don’t recognize the reference, ask a college football fan.) I wanted to cover a short chapter on the liturgical year. We really didn’t have time to go step-by-step through the chapter. So instead we just talked a little about the liturgical year and the Church’s upcoming “New Years Day” on November 30 (First Sunday of Advent.)

We will have no class next week, as it is the evening before Thanksgiving. We’re back on December 3. The rest of our classes until the Christmas break will be devoted to preparation for the Christmas Pageant. The third grade will provide the actors and the fifth grade will provide the narrators. I polled the class to get an idea of who wants to read and who would just as soon be one of the shepherds or whatever.

What I really need from parents is an idea of who I can count on for our two “performances.” The first performance will be during the regular last regular CCD class session before the break, December 17. Unless I hear otherwise, I will assume that all the children will be available for that program.

The second program will be at the children’s Mass on Christmas Eve afternoon. I’m not sure of the exact time. We know that some of our students may not be available for that program because of travel plans, other family plans or whatever. So what I need to know is who will be available or not for Christmas Eve. I will sort out the readers and give them assignments based on that information. Some students may read at one program, and some may read at both. We’ll just have to see how the chips fall.

So parents, please send me an email and let me know if your child will be available to participate in the Christmas Eve program. We had one student who said her family might be travelling as early as the December 17 date. If this is also the case with any students, please let me know that also.

My email is: savannahmike1130 at gmail.com (Obviously, insert the @ sign in place of “at.”)

I will also be sending out an email to all the parents for whom I have addresses this weekend with the same request.

I hope your family has a great Thanksgiving holiday. I know I have a lot to be thankful for, including the opportunity to work with your fantastic children. See y’all in December.

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I didn’t write an update last week, but I didn’t even realize it until I sat down to write this update. Sorry ‘bout that. Actually, the two classes were really one lesson, just split into two weeks, so this should work. .

I’d like to start by praising this group of students once again. The class is fairly large — 18 at full attendance. They can be energetic and enthusiastic, but when it is time to calm down and listen, they can do that. They are generally interested in what we are doing and want to participate. What this means is we can create some lessons that are a little risky from a teaching standpoint, but more interesting for the students. For example, as I will describe below, last night, we had them role-play the Sacrament of Baptism, complete with water and oil (olive.) With some other classes, this could have degenerated into total chaos, but with this class it worked. We had no water fight and no one spilled the olive oil on anyone else. And hopefully, it is more interesting than just reading about it from the text. Please help us reinforce this behavior with your children.

Last week, we started a discussion of the Sacrament of Baptism. We began with a discussion of the three purposes of Baptism.

1.) To join us with God
2.) To bring us into the Church
3.) To wipe our souls clean or original and any other sins

We pointed out that usually a Baptism is administered by a priest or deacon, but in the event of an emergency, anyone can perform a Baptism. We mentioned that this is very unusual, and most often occurs in the case of a newborn infant that is not expected to live long enough for a priest to get to the hospital.

All of this opened the floor to a wide-ranging set of questions. We let this run its course, which pretty-much took the rest of the class period. This caused us to postpone our role-play exercise until the following week. On the other hand, if the students are asking appropriate questions, it means they are interested in the subject. I would rather discuss a topic that interests the students than to adhere to our own arbitrary timetable. This is time consuming, because we don’t usually just answer the question immediately. We will turn it around and ask the student, “What do you think?”, then involve other students and take the discussion from there.

Last night, we divided the class into three groups of five or six students. We showed them three pages in the text that describe the celebration of Baptism. We told them we wanted them to work as a team to teach and role-play this process. We had props, including a little water, some olive oil, candles and white tee-shirts (white garment.)

The actual presentations were a little chaotic. If you were watching them, you might not have learned much. However, since we had all three groups do the entire ceremony (rather than breaking it up), we hope they learned and will remember something through their participation.

Looking ahead, we have only one more regular class period before the Christmas break. The Advent program will be November 19. The class sessions between Thanksgiving and Christmas will be taken up by practice for the Christmas Pageant. Originally, I planned to cover the Eucharist before Thanksgiving. I need to take a look and see the best way to tackle the lesson schedule.

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