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Posts Tagged ‘religious education’

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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I missed my summary for last week. We covered the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. We also went over to the church for a “personal safety” talk by Mrs. Lisa Fogarty.

This week, our topic was the Sacrament of Matrimony, including the outlines of a Catholic marriage and family. Sometimes this can be a sensitive subject, so we started off with a warning. I don’t know the details of all our students’ families, and don’t really need to. However, it is quite likely there are students in our class who have experienced divorces and/or other unusual family situations, with their parents or other members of their family. I emphasized that while we would be teaching the Church’s position on marriage, the students should not take anything as a criticism or judgment on any particular people or situations.

Some of the key points we discussed were:

— Jesus thought enough of the importance of marriage to perform his first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana.

— Marriage has been part of the human experience since the very beginning – ie: Adam and Eve.

— Boys and girls, and men and women are different but equal.

— A Catholic marriage is intended to be a permanent commitment. We talked about some short-lived celebrity marriages and the popular concept of a “starter marriage,” but indicated the Church believes you should enter into a marriage fully aware and prepared and with the full intention of making it a life-long commitment. We discussed the concept of a covenant.

— While the Catholic Church makes it difficult to get out of a marriage, it also makes it difficult to get into it. Priests and other non-Catholic clergy frequently screen couples and can decline to marry them.

— We discussed the difference between a promise and a vow. A promise is made between one person and another. A vow is a promise made to God. The marriage commitment is a vow.

–The difference between a civil marriage and a religious marriage. A wedding before a judge may cover the legal aspects of marriage, but is very different than a religious marriage, where two people stand before God and promise to maintain a life-long commitment. A Catholic marriage covers both the civil and religious aspects. We were asked whether you could have a civil wedding and then later have a religious wedding. We gave several examples of how this happens.

From there we said that Matrimony forms the basis for a Catholic family. We talked about responsibilities within families, including the responsibilities of children. We drew two columns on the white board and head one “adults” and the other “children.” We first asked the class to name responsibilities of the adults or parents in a family and we got the set of answers you would expect – cook dinner, financial support, teach children, etc. When we asked about the other side of the chart, the going was a little more difficult. Aside from household chores, the idea that they might have some responsibilities towards their parents was a little strange.

We threw out some suggestions and got them thinking. Several students mentioned the obligation to respect their parents; to listen to them; and to try to fulfill their parents’ wishes and expectations.

We introduced two concepts. (Parents, you can thank us later for this.) The first was to respect their parents; to listen to them; and to try to fulfill their parents’ wishes and expectations. In other words, “Don’t make your parents’ job of raising you difficult.”

The second concept was to give their parents the opportunity to spend time with each other. Don’t be so needy and demanding of their parents’ every waking minute that they never to spend any time with just them.

Next week will be the final CCD class session. Father Kavanaugh will be a guest speaker to talk about his life as a priest. We will have a pizza snack and drinks.

This has been a fantastic year from Mrs. Rudolphi’s and my viewpoint. Our students have been active, engaged and a lot of fun. I hope we are as lucky as this with future groups.

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It’s been a while since my last update. Sorry. It has been a very busy spring.

Class # 18, March 14 – We finished up the Commandments. We talked about the sanctity of life as a follow up to some questions asked the week before. We finished up with one of my favorite exercises of the year. We retold the story of Moses and Mt. Sinai with a minor revision. In this story there was a group of fifth graders in the crowd when Moses presented the Commandments. The fifth graders objected, saying there wasn’t really much there that applied to them, since they are really into murder and aren’t even sure what that adultery thing is. They sent Moses back up the mountain to ask God for another set of Commandments, this one relevant to 5th graders. We broke the class into groups of two and three and let them write on the white boards. We told them to imagine they are God, and to come up with a second set of Commandments, this one applying to the issues fifth graders face. They all came up with some really great answers.

Class # 19, March 28 – I was unable to teach this class as I was at home following some minor surgery. Mrs. Rudolphi took the class and began the first of two sessions on forgiveness and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Class #20, April 4 — We finished up our lesson on forgiveness and the Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka Penance or Confession.)

We covered the four steps of forgiveness, and compared a scenario between friends with the Sacrament.

Admission of wrongdoing / Confess sins
Expression of sorrow or regret / Act of Contrition
Forgiveness by the injured party / Absolution
Some form of making things whole / Penance

We discussed a number of other concepts.

–You can do wrong or sin by doing nothing when there is some act you should be performing. Inaction can be as wrong as action.

–The seal of the confessional. The priest must not disclose anything you confess.

–The priest is an intermediary between you and God.

— No sin is too great that it cannot be forgiven.

–There are usually regular times for Confession, but you can call a priest any time and ask him to hear your confession.

–And we reviewed the mechanics of the Sacrament. We provided the students with several take-homes, including an “Examination of Conscience for Children” and a step-by-step “cheat sheet” for Confession, including one version of the Act of Contrition.

We have three classes remaining. Next week we will cover Annointing of the Sick, followed by Matrimony the week after, and we will finish up with a visit from Father Kavanaugh to talk about life as a priest.
Next week we will also have a short (15 minute) age appropriate, session on “Good touch, bad touch,” taught by Lisa Fogarty. The students who were there last night should have brought home an “opt out” sheet in the event you do not wish your child to participate in this session. If our child was not there last night and you do not wish your child to participate, please contact Mrs. Hubert.

Also, in two weeks, we will cover the Sacrament of Matrimony. This has the potential to come close to delicate family situations, like a recent divorce for instance. In 13 previous years of teaching this chapter, we have not encountered any issues, but there is always a first time. If there is something going on in your child’s life that I should be aware of, please let me know and I will do my best to be sensitive about it.

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