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Posts Tagged ‘religious education’

We had a good class last night. We finished off our coverage of the Ten Commandments and started a group exercise that we will continue next Wednesday.

We started out by pointing out that the first three commandments, which we covered last week, deal with our relationship with God, while the last seven address our relationships with other people.

#4. “Honor your father and mother” As mentioned above, we emphasized the need to love and respect your parents throughout their life and to help and support them when they need it. We talked a little about the role reversal that frequently happens in life. Right now, the students are highly dependent on their parents. 30 or 40 years from now their parents might be dependent on them.

#5 “You shall not kill” Not a lot of discussion here.

#6 “You shall not commit adultery” Surprisingly, the first student I called up on could define adultery. We emphasized the importance of the marriage vows, but did not wander far afield on this one.

#7 “You shall not steal” Again, this one was pretty obvious to the class. We did broaden the definition to go beyond just physical objects to include intangibles like ideas, software, pirated music downloads, and so on.

#8 False witness – Most of the class had a pretty good general idea of what this was all about. However, we expanded the discussion to include issues more relevant to them, like gossip and rumors.

#9 & 10 Two “covet” commandments – We described “covet” as to want something so badly that you are willing to commit a wrong to get it. Regarding coveting a neighbor’s goods, it pointed out that it is OK to admire something like a new phone or something similar a friend gets. But when you want it so badly you are willing to steal it, it is coveting.

We didn’t spend a lot of time on the issue of coveting another’s wife or husband, but we did point out that God so values marriage that two of the commandments refer to it. The adultery commandment applies to the people within the marriage, but the covet commandment addresses someone outside the relationship.

We then 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 four small groups and gave them poster boards and markers. 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.

We let them work on that for about ten minutes until it was time for pick-up. We will continue next week and allow them to present their commandments to the class. We will then take a little time to talk about Lent.

There will be NO CCD in two weeks, on February 27.

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First off, an apology for not being more regular in writing these updates. Some health/medical issues in my family have caused a great deal of disruption to our normal routine.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Hanzel started he class with a review of last week’s lesson, with a focus on knowing The Lord’s Prayer. Then we stepped outside the normal curriculum to take a look at the Ten Commandments. This subject used to be a part of the 5th grade curriculum, but it dropped out when we switched textbooks a few years ago. However, since these classes produced such engagement and energy, I kept them a part of our curriculum.

We started by telling the story of the Israelites escape from Egypt and how they came the base of Mt. Sinai. We talked about how they were worshiping idols, generally misbehaving and needed a set of rules to live by. We then had the students take turns reading aloud from Exodus Chapter 20, which is the first description of the Commandments.

We distributed a listing of the Commandments that included a chart showing how they are numbered differently in different religions. (Most Protestant churches break up the first three “God Commandments” into four and combine the “covet commandments” into just one.) We pointed out that this is only an issue when you discuss a particular commandment with a Protestant friend. If you are discussing the Fourth Commandment, a Catholic would be talking about “Honor your mother and father,” but the Protestant friend would be talking about keeping holy the Sabbath. We walked our way through the first three Commandments with these key points.

#1 “I am the Lord your God…” We discussed how worshiping statues and other idols was common in the time of Moses. We asked the class to think about false gods in a modern sense. We broke the class into small groups and asked them to brainstorm some things that modern people might place higher than God. They came up with things like money, popularity, music stars, gambling, alcohol abuse, drugs, and even electronic games.

#2 “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of God” We talked about using God’s name improperly. We also pointed out that the early Jewish people took this commandment so far as to give God a name that could not be pronounced. It eventually evolved into Yahweh or Jehovah.

#3 “Keep holy the Sabbath” We discussed why Christians changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, and the requirement to attend Mass on Sunday.

Next week, we will complete our coverage of the last seven Commandments. Either next week or the following week (depending on our progress), we will introduce our favorite exercise of the CCD year, when we ask the class to come up with a set of commandments relevant to modern 5th graders. That is always interesting.

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This is our first class summary in quite a while. We lost several weeks of regular class periods to the Christmas pageant. And I was out of action last week due to some medical issues.

Last night, we picked up our coverage of the sacraments with the Eucharist. Father Kavanaugh stopped in and talked with the class for the first half of the period. He talked about the “real presence” of Christ in the host and cup. He talked about being a mystery. We had some Q&A which is good because it shows some engagement by the students.
We followed up his talk with a discussion of the origin of the sacrament. We discussed the Jewish Passover, now the Last Supper was a Passover seder meal and now the Mass has similarities. We also discussed he concept of a covenant.

We showed a short video that reinforced many of the concepts that we had discussed. It’s a little humorous and he students seemed to enjoy it. You can watch it here.
And, as always, we finished up by asking the students to tell us something they had learned during the class and rewarded them with a cookie.

Next week, we are going to talk about the structure of the Mass and teach the class how to use a missalette.

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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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