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My apologies for not posting a summary of last week’s class. We had a family situation that took me out of town.

For the past two weeks, we have covered the Sacrament of Baptism. Last week, we handed out a question sheet, and asked the students to answer some questions about themselves, like…

My name is:
I was born on:
I was baptized on:
At (church):
My Godparents are:

We were pretty sure there would be unanswered questions, so we asked them to take the sheet home with them and ask their parents for help. Most returned them this week, and learned a little about themselves in the process.

We started into the chapter in the textbook. We had volunteers read the first page. We handed out a sheet with questions, the answers for which were contained in the text, and asked the students to locate and answer the questions.

1. Does everyone get baptized at the same age? (No)
2. What do we call adults or older children who are preparing for Baptism? (catechumens)
3. Who helps prepare people for Baptism? (the entire Church community)
4. What do Godparents do? (multiple answers)
5. What is the best day to be Baptized? (Sunday)

On the issue of godparents, we did make a distinction between what it means in the Church, as opposed to a common lay meaning. Outside the church godparents are often considered the intended guardians of a child if both parents should die. Within the Church, that may or may not be the case. We explained that frequently godparents are not a couple, and may be married to other people (eg: an aunt from one side of the family and an uncle from the other.) Within the Church, the godparents stand up for a child during the ceremony and answer questions in his or her place. They are also expected to be involved in the child’s life, especially their spiritual life.

Last night we picked up where we left off. We passed out a sheet with ten questions. The answers were to be found in the text. We had them read one pages silently and answer the questions for that page. Then we had volunteers read the last two pages, again with the students looking for the answers to the questions. Then we talk about the questions and answers.

I have been using this technique because I found that just having the students read something silently, or having volunteers read from the text doesn’t cause anything to “stick” with them. To be honest, the same applies when I just talk. Last night, we spent 5-10 minutes discussing original sin and answering questions. Just a few minutes later, quite a few students were totally stumped when they encountered a question about original sin and Baptism’s role with it. It was like our discussion never happened.

Sigh.

In any case, by having them actually have to think about a question, find the answer in the text and write it down, I hope some of the material may not totally float out of their brains when the class is over.

Then we came to the fun (risky) part of the lesson. We divided the class into three groups of three and had them role-play a Baptism. One student was the priest, one the catechumen and one the godparent. We had water, oil, a white garment (tee-shirt) and a candle – the four symbols of the Sacrament. We gave them a few minutes to prepare and then had them walk through the process. I let the “priest” say the prayers and anoint with oil, but I dribbled the water. There was no point in providing them with too much temptation for mischief.

The exercise did not go totally off the rails. It actually went fairly well. The students really got into it. Hopefully, by acting out the Sacrament, they may actually remember it.

I wasn’t going to ask them what they learned, but several students jumped right up and started telling me. So we went through the class, and everyone was able to cite something, and was rewarded with a cookie.

I just received word a few minutes ago (Thursday morning) that our fifth grade WILL participate in the Christmas Pageant on December 19. Our class will be the narrators. Please note, this is different from what I told the children last night, when I thought we were not going to be part. So the next two classes will be devoted to rehearsal with the “performance” on December 19.

No class next week, the evening before Thanksgiving. Well see everyone back on November 28.

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We lost one class night to Hurricane Michael (Oct 10.) Last week, just as we were getting going, Mrs. Huber came in and asked if anyone would like more advanced altar server training. Almost everyone did, so we spent the class session in the church. We did have two students, Laney and Savannah, who did not have the chance to teach their part of the lesson from two weeks ago (https://stpeterccdgrade5.wordpress.com/2018/10/) , so after we returned from church, they had a chance to teach a short lesson on the Kingdom of God. .

Last night, we began our coverage of the Sacraments with a broad overview (Ch 3 in the text). We are still trying to get and keep the students engaged in the lesson of the night. The distractions created by the guys (not the girls) having their own side shows is lessening, but is still an issue. I am still spending too much time, energy and attention to admonishing them to “Turn around” or “Stop talking.” Mrs. Rudlophi has not been able to be there for the past several weeks, so I have been soloing.

We started by handing out a work sheet with two columns, labeled…

Sacraments I have received

Sacraments I expect to receive at some time

We asked them to fill in the boxes based on their own experience. We used this as a springboard to explain each Sacrament.

We divided the class into pairs and threes and asked them to read P 36 together and to answer three questions which they would find the answers in the text.

What are some of the signs of God’s love in the world? (Many good answers)

What is the greatest gift of God’s love? (Jesus)

What is sanctifying grace?

This led to a good discussion of grace. Most had just a scant understanding, and the definition in the book didn’t help much. We explained grace as simply being God’s love for them. To bring it to life, we asked if there were times that they felt their parents love more than others. Many good answers, like hugs, comforting moments, and so on. We used this concept to explain that the Sacraments are God’s way of transmitting his love to us, just like a parent transmits his or her love through a hug or a kiss.

We showed the class that the Sacraments are divided into three categories.

Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist)

Sacraments of Healing (Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick)

Sacraments of Service of Communion (Holy Orders, Matrimony)

We had some discussion, but not as much as I am used to from previous classes. It was a good discussion and they seemed to grasp the concepts.

And as always, we ended by asking each student to cite something they leared during the class and rewarded their answer with a cookie.

Next Wednesday is Halloween. We will not have class. We will resume November 7.

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We tried a different exercise this week with mixed results. Picking up where we left off last week, we divided the class (9 of 14 students this week) into groups of 2-3 and assigned them a few paragraphs from chapter one in the text to read and understand. Their assignment was to identify the main concept in their section and teach it back to the rest of the class. They could use whatever tools or techniques they wished, the white board, role play, whatever.

Among the concepts included were the Kingdom of God, Jesus’ mission, apostles, the mustard seed parable and disciples.

A couple of groups took it seriously and did a good job. And a couple of groups, not so much. Oh, well. Lessons learned, by the teacher, that is.

We finished off with the end of chapter quiz which the students completed and then we discussed. And as always, we asked the students to name one thing they learned during the class, and everyone was able to cite at least one. The reward was a sugar cookie this week.

This was only the second real class session I have had with the class, so I am still getting to know them and vice versa. I can sense when something we are doing isn’t working. For example, if a lot of students ask to be excused to go to the restroom, you can be assured, they are bored or not engaged. This week, I think all the guys asked to be excused. We will try to do better next week, when we start tackling the Sacraments.

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Sorry for the late post. We had a good class session last week. We are all still getting to know each other, so I expect our interaction and class participation will pick up in coming weeks.

We tackled chapter one in the text. We discussed Jesus’s baptism and the role of John the Baptist.

We discussed the Holy Trinity. We explained that as mere humans, we cannot understand the concept of three persons in one God, but we gave a couple of examples to help draw the students close.

With about 15 minutes left on the clock,  we took two pages from chapter 1 and divided it up into four sections. We asked the students to pair-up with a partner and assigned each team one section to read, understand and to teach back to the rest of the class. We ran out of time before we completed this, so we will pick up where we left off this week.

And as we do during nearly all our classes, we asked each student to cite something they learned that evening. All wee able to come up with something and were rewarded with a cookie.

We sent the students home with a Mass activity sheet for them to complete on Sunday. we will collect them this week and distribute another week’s worth.

Somewhat to our surprise, it actually went very well. They students really got into the exercise and exhibited energy and creativity. Yea!

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Hello 5th grade CCD parents!

Mrs. Rudolphi and I are looking forward to teaching your child’s CCD class on Wednesday evenings.

The 5th grade curriculum will focus on the liturgy and the sacraments. While we have some material we need to cover, including some memorization, we also hope to make the short time we will spend together rewarding and enjoyable for your child. We have been asked to emphasize some “back to basics.” So we will be making a strong effort to make sure the children know and understand some of our most commonly used prayers. We will focus hard on one and, then, after several weeks move on to another. You can help us by working on this at home with prayers before bed and so on.

It has been our experience that, when they get going, 5th graders and full of interesting questions. If it has anything remotely related to God, the Church, religion, or living, we will talk about it.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Please understand we will have your child for less than an hour, just once a week. You can do several things to help us make this a productive experience for your son or daughter.

• Ask your child if we have given them a task to do during the week and assist them with it.

• Please have your child to the school before 6:30 p.m.

• Please support us and encourage your child to come to CCD class willingly and with enthusiasm.

As we will be covering the sacraments, including matrimony and anointing of the sick, our class discussion may come in close contact to real-life events in your child’s life (death in the family, divorce, etc.) If there is something I should know in order to be appropriately sensitive, please tell me.

Since the Mass is the center point of our faith, we have also been asked to strongly encourage attendance at Sunday Mass. (And since 5th graders are reliant on their parents to take them to Mass, this falls on you.) We will provide your child with a “My Mass Notes” sheet each week for him or her to take to Mass. They should complete the form and return it the next class. We will provide some token incentives/rewards for those students who are most diligent.

OUR EXPECTATIONS OF YOUR CHILD

We have only three class-rules, and we hope you will help us reinforce these to your children.

1. Show up.

2. Participate

3. Don’t be a “jerk.”

Rule #3 can sometimes become an issue. We don’t expect our students to sit quietly with their hands folded on their desk; we don’t want them to do so. We encourage them to be enthusiastic, active and engaged. However, we have a fairly low tolerance for behavior that is overtly disruptive. We try to plan activities that will engage and interest the class, but that only works if the students are at least slightly cooperative.

You are most welcome to sit-in on the class at any time, and we encourage you to do so.

THE CLASS WEBSITE

I hope you will stay abreast of what’s happening with your child on Wednesday evenings. To help you do so, I have created a blog/website. I will try to keep it updated on a weekly basis with reports on the class activity and announcements.

https://stpeterccdgrade5.wordpress.com/

The summaries of past years’ classes are there on the site, so if you would like to get an idea of what is ahead, you can look backwards and see. Please note, for the 2016-17 year, Mrs. Rudolphi and I taught sixth grade so the website reflects that. However, the summaries for other years are all 5th grade.

OTHER STUFF

If you have not already done so, please provide me with your email address. We have learned through experience that trying to communicate with parents through the filter of a 10 or 11 year-old just doesn’t work.

As we have done for the past several years, we ask that you come to the classroom to pick up your child at 7:30 p.m. Please do not instruct your child to leave the building on his or her own and meet you in the parking lot. If you have a situation that makes it difficult for you to come into the building, like a sleeping baby, just let us know. One of us will walk your child(ren) to your car.

Feel free to contact Mrs. Rudolphi or myself for any reason.

Mike Sullivan
Office: 598-2325
Cell: 484-2622
savannahmike1130 at gmail.com

Shelly Rudolphi
Home: 897-9335
Shelly.rudolphi at att.net

All the best,

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We had a last minute change of plans for last night’s class. Originally, we planned to cover the first of two lessons on the Ten Commandments. However, at 6:32 pm, there were only three students in the room. In the past, our classes on the Commandments have been some of the best of the year, with lots of questions, discussions and engagement. I didn’t want more than half the class to miss out on it. Meanwhile, Monsignor Costigan was presenting a program in the church that Mrs. Hubert said would be appropriate for our age range. We changed our minds several times, as more students arrived (7 of 8 total), but we ended up going to the church and listening to Monsignor after all.

Monsignor had several good themes, including prayer, which Mrs. Rudolphi covered with the class last week, and forgiveness, which will be a serious topic for us in a few weeks. The class was well behaved and answered several of Monsignor’s questions.

Next week, we will tackle the Commandments, regardless of our attendance.

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I have been very derelict in my responsibility to keep this blog updated. Sorry about that. Here is a catch-up.

Jan 31 — We completed our coverage of the Sacrament of Confirmation. We spent a fair amount of time discussing that this sacrament confirms what was done for them by their godparents at Baptism. Since our entire class was baptized as infants, we pointed out they had no say in whether they were to become Catholics or not. However, they will be old enough to make a choice for themselves to become a full time Catholic. We also  pointed out that most religions have a similar process when a child reaches their early teens.

Feb 7 — We had a special treat. One of Mrs. Scanlon’s second graders and his  younger sister had not been baptized as infants. Father Kavenaugh baptized the pair on Feb 7. Our class sat in and observed. Father did a great job explaining the steps and their meaning.

Feb 14 — Ash Wednesday. No class.

Feb 21 — I was out of town on family business. (My wife’s and my first grandchild was born in South Carolina last week. )  Mrs. Rudolphi took over the class and presented a lesson on prayer.

Feb 28 — This week’s class will be the first of two on the Ten Commandments.  These have been some of our favorite classes of the year. The subject brings out many, many questions and lots of great discussion. If parents ever thought they would like to sit in on a class, this would be the one to do so.

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