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Posts Tagged ‘mass’

We had a fun class last night. At least Mrs. Rudolphi and I enjoyed it.

We finished up our coverage of the Ten Commandments with a group exercise that the students really seemed to get into. You may recall that last week, we sent them off with a homework assignment. Their task was to imagine that Moses went back up Mt. Sinai and asked God for a second set of commandments, this time focused on issues relevant to 5th graders. They were to imagine they were God and to come up with those 5th grader Commandments.

We broke the class into four groups of 3-5 students and gave each group a poster board and marker. We have them 15 minutes to come up with as many Commandments as they could. They went to work diligently. They were a little rowdy and noisy, but each group produced very nice, well thought-out Commandments. We had each group present their work product to the rest of the class, and I quizzed them a little on what they had developed.

It is our goal each week to try to get the students to actually think and not just listen or read. Hopefully, something they have to think or do themselves, will be more likely to stick with them after they leave the room. That is the idea behind an exercise like that. Mrs. R and I cannot emphasize enough how happy we are that the students in this class are generally behaved, engaged and manageable. We don’t expect them to be perfect little angels, and they are not. They can be a little chatty and sometimes boisterous. But we do not have any students who are actively trying to sabotage what we are trying to do, and that is not always the case. The up-side for the students is, that because of their behavior, we are able to present activities like the one last night, which they seem to find interesting and enjoy. You can’t do that if you are worried about who is setting the trash can on fire. (Just kidding.)

We had only about 20 minutes left in the class period when we finished the Commandments exercise, not enough time to even start another lesson. Our opening prayer was the Lord’s Prayer and that gave me an idea. After a quick consult with Mrs. R, we decided to walk the class through the Lord’s Prayer and help them understand what they are actually saying to God when they recite the prayer. As we suspected, the entire class admitted that they didn’t understand the prayer, and they simply recited the prayer because they had memorized it. We took each line, analyzed it and discussed it. Again, they were very engaged and seemed to develop some understanding through the process.

We have no class for the next two weeks, but there are Wednesday evening activities to which we encouraged the students to ask their parents to bring them. Next week is Ash Wednesday. Mass and ashes at 7:00 pm. The following week is the Book of Kells program. Information is available here.

When we come back on March 4th we will begin a two-week lesson on the Sacrament of Reconciliation and prepare the students for the CCD Penance Service on March 25.

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We had a really good practice session for the Christmas pageant last night. I am very impressed at how seriously the students are taking their roles. They really want to do well and it shows. We had two full-scale run-throughs, complete with the music. Then we practiced the speaking parts over and over until we ran out of class time. Also, our shepherds are doing a very good job keeping the younger third-grade “sheep and goats” in line. A few notes:

— We would like to have one additional practice this coming Saturday morning (Dec 13) from 10-11 am. If your child has a conflict and cannot attend, it’s not the end of the world. In which case, please take special note of the next paragraph. If they do not have a conflict, please try to get them there. The practice will be at the church.

— If your child is one of our readers, please ask him to practice his/her material with you. The more repetition they have, the easier and less threatening it will be when they stand up in front of a church full of people. Emphasize they should project loud and read slow. (Many tend to read too fast and run their words together, especially as they come to the end of a sentence or the end of the reading.)

— Our first performance will be during the regular CCD class session next week (Dec 17.) Please drop off your child at the church by 6:00 pm. It is not necessary for them to be dressed up for this performance.

— Even if your child is not a reader, please bring them next Wednesday anyway. We may have some “no-shows” and may need to put them into the lineup. In any event, this is a class project and they are a part of the class.

— The second program will be during the Christmas Eve children’s mass at 4:00 pm. Please deliver your child to the school a half hour early, at 3:30 pm so we can get them organized and squared away. (A last minute rush is likely to just get them flustered.) Dress for this program should be “church clothes.” One note for the girls (and Mrs. Rudolphi has mentioned this to them), they may be sitting on the floor. So if they are wearing a dress or skirt, some kind of tights or leggings might be appropriate.

— After the program on Christmas Eve, they will be allowed to spend the rest of the Mass with their family. You may wish to give them an idea in what part of church you plan sit and leave a space for them. Mrs. R and I will probably be spending the rest of Mass in the narthex, so if you don’t connect, we’ll make sure they are OK.

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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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We had a good pageant rehearsal last night. Parents, your children are doing great!

We will have one more dress rehearsal this coming Saturday, December 14, from 9:30-11:00 am.

Of our 13 students, 10 are reading next Wednesday, December 18; two are shepherds; and one is not participating (Joseph.)

For Christmas Eve Mass, we lose one shepherd (Ross) and two readers (Abagael and Sam M.) Everyone else has said they will be there. This is really great, because it allows a minimum of shuffling. Nearly all the students will be reading the same passage in each program. If my information is not correct, PLEASE let me know.

We sent home an information sheet with our students last night with the reporting times for next week and Christmas Eve. Please note those times. It is much better to be early.

 

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Sorry for the late posting this week. I have been travelling since last Thursday morning. Nothing much to report from last week’s class. We had only seven students there, and we got them organized and practiced for the Christmas pageant.

As you know from past communications, the fifth grade CCD class will serve as the readers/narrators for the Christmas pageant during the regular CCD time slot next week (Dec 18) and also at 4 pm Mass on Christmas Eve. If your child wants to participate, and we hope they do, they do need to attend our last two practices. Those will be tomorrow (Wednesday) night during our regular class session and again on Saturday morning from 9:30-11 am. On Saturday, report directly to the church.

Right now, I am sitting with six confirmed readers who were there last week, and two more who were not there, but whose parents have indicated they do want to participate. Two of our students do not wish to read and have been given new job assignments as “shepherds.” Several students are still question marks. They were not there last week and they have not indicated whether they wish to be readers.

Also, only a couple of parents have told me whether we can count on their child to participate in the Christmas Eve 4 pm Mass. We really need to know who we can count on for this program, so we can assign their readings and make sure they know what is going on.

If for some reason, your child cannot participate in the Saturday morning practice, but has been there for BOTH the two earlier practices, we can probably still allow him/her to participate. In this case, please contact me and let me know what’s going on so we don’t reassign their role to another student.

I apologize if this comes across as a little strict. We learned two lessons last year.

1.) The students do much better and are much more comfortable if they know what they are supposed to do and are fully prepared.

2.) They do not react well to last minute shuffling around.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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We had a very nice Advent program last night. Most of our parents were there. Thanks for coming and participating!

We will have no CCD class next week, November 27, since it is the day before Thanksgiving. We’ll be back the following week, December 4.

When we meet again, I will be getting things organized for the Christmas pageant, including polling the class to see who wants to be a reader/narrator for the two productions. The key question is “Which students will be available to participate in the program at 4 pm Mass on Christmas Eve?” We know parents control the answer to that question. So, please, shoot me an email, reply to this posting or send me a note to let me know if I can include your child in the lineup for that program. If not, we’ll just assign him/her solely to the first program which will be presented during the regular CCD class time slot on Wednesday, December 18.

And one last detail. In last week’s posting, I mentioned there will probably be a Saturday morning rehearsal for the pageant. Now I know, it will be held on Saturday, December 14, from 9:30-11 am in the church. We would like all our readers to be there, but it’s not a deal-breaker if your family has other commitments for that morning. Keep me informed and we’ll work with you.

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Sorry for being a day late on posting this summary. Yesterday was just busy.

We had a good class session Wednesday evening. The subject was the second half of our examination of the Mass. But first we reviewed some of last week’s material. We covered the Opening Rites and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, focusing on the three readings and the responsorial psalms.

Last week we asked everyone to go home and look up the meaning of the word “psalm.” An extra cookie was promised as a reward to anyone who got it right. Some students did the assignment, and some did not. In the confusion of extracting the answers, I lost track of who had the correct answer and who did not. We gave everyone an extra cookie, which was probably a bad idea. Mrs. R said she knew who had the answers and who did not. I probably should have listened to her.

By the way, “psalm” originally meant a musical piece played by a stringed instrument. We accepted “song” or anything close to that.

We had the students read to themselves the section in the text that covered the Liturgy of the Eucharist and Concluding Rites. We handed out a sheet with four questions on it. They were to answer the questions based on the information they read in the text. Then we discussed.

We finished by discussing the closing blessing, typically something like, “The Mass is ended, go forth and serve the Lord, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” We talked about the idea that the blessing is really a set of marching orders, to take the spirit of the Mass and carry it with us throughout the week. We broke the class into groups of two or three and asked them to brainstorm ways they could serve God and their neighbors during the rest of the day and week.

When we asked the first group what they had come up with, they asked if they could present it as a charade. With most of my past classes, that would have been a non-starter. However, with this class I thought it was worth a shot. In fact, it worked out just great, so much so they all wanted to go around a second or third time.

We finished off with some important announcements, which are in a separate posting. Please take note of these.

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