Posts Tagged ‘role play’

We were back last night for our first real class since early November. Wow! Our subject last night was the Cardinal Virtues. The activity started slow, but it picked up and the students got involved.

We wrote the virtues on the white board and then went through them individually, probing the class’s  knowledge and explaining them. We explained that unlike the Theological Virtues we discussed several classes ago, the Cardinal Virtues are not directly linked to God. They refer to the way we act towards our neighbors. They were first discussed by Plato in The Republic (although I couldn’t remember that title last night.)  In simple terms…

Prudence – Making good decisions, especially between right and wrong.

Justice – Respecting the rights of others and giving everyone his or her rightful due. We pointed out though, that Christian teachings of love may dictate that you should give someone more than they are entitled, but not less.

Fortitude – The strength to do the right thing, even under difficult circumstances.

Temperance – Moderation and the ability to control physical desires.

We had six students, so we divided them into two groups and asked them to devise a role-play skit to demonstrate either Prudence or Justice. When that was complete, we repeated it with Fortitude and Temperance. The students got into this exercise very well and we had some excellent skits that demonstrated they seemed to get the concepts we had discussed.

We walked across the hall to the library and played a short video that was produced by a couple of teens in which they also acted out skits to demonstrate the virtues. It was a little goofy, but I think it helped reinforce what we had done a few minutes earlier.

Back in the class, we distributed paper and pens. We asked the students to think of someone in their family who was a good example of one of the virtues. We asked them to write a letter or a card to that relative, thanking them for their example and telling them what they mean to them. We went around the room and asked each student what relative they addressed and why. Some wanted to read their letter, but others did not, which was OK. We suggested they either give or mail their letter to the addressee.

Both Mrs. Rudolphi and I will be unavailable next week due to work conflicts. Mrs. Ann Van Brimmer (Abby’s mom) we teach the class. The subject will be the Rosary. We will have string and bead rosaries available, however if your child has a set off rosary beads, have them bring it to class.


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We had a very active and energetic class last night. It was fun. I hope our students also learned something.

This was the first of two classes on the Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka Penance, Confession) that will prepare the students for the CCD Penance Service on March 25. We focused last night on the concept of forgiveness and the four steps necessary for any forgiveness process, whether it be in a confessional or just between two friends.

1.) Admission/Confession – The doer must admit to the offense.
2.) Contrition/Sorrow – The doer must feel and express sorrow for the offense.
3.) Forgiveness – The injured party accepts the apology and forgives the doer.
4.) Reparation/Pay-Back – The doer usually does something to make up for the offense. Of course in the Sacrament, this is the penance.

We had the students pair up with a partner and come up with some kind of story that involved one student committing some act that angered the second student. We then walked them through the forgiveness process.

The students were very creative and really got into the exercise. One pair of girls (Marlee and Hannah) had scripted out an elaborate skit and needed no encouragement or prompting at all. They were great! In several cases, the process bogged down because one of the students would not admit to the offense, express sincere regret or provide the forgiveness. This actually worked out very well. We used these cases to show how the forgiveness process breaks down if one party or the other does not follow through.

Next week, we will continue on this general subject, but we will get more into the specifics of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, including preparation for the Sacrament.

Remember, there will be no class on March 18. We will be back full-speed with the Penance Service on March 25.

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So far the 2014 edition of CCD is just full of surprises. First we had a schedule change to have class last night. Then, shortly before we started class, Mrs. Hubert gave us a “Safe Touch” outline she wanted us to cover. The presentation focused on the children’s personal safety. Mrs. H gave us this list of advice to present to the class.

  •  If someone makes you uncomfortable about anything; tell an adult you trust. (This is somewhat ironic, since I think the entire class was squirming a little during this discussion.)
  • You have the right to say no to an adult if it he/she will hurt you in any way. You always tell your parent or someone you trust about these experiences.
  • People who have your best interest at heart do not want you to feel bad.
  • Do not look at things that are not for people your age. If someone wants you to look at a book or movie that is not for children, do not do it.
  • Always let your parent know where you are.
  • Stay in the designated area at school, church events, sporting events, etc.
  • If you go somewhere, have a buddy you always stay with.
  • If you get in an uncomfortable situation with a stranger and need to get away from someone, say no and run away. Do not be afraid to attract attention.

I led the discussion, but Mrs. Rudolphi was a tremendous help by providing a female and mothers’s viewpoint. We had some discussion and questions stemming from those main points, but nothing that jumped out as a major issue.

 That discussion took up about half the class, so we had time for only a half-lesson afterwards. We began our two-chapter coverage of the Sacrament of Confirmation with a discussion of the Pentecost.

Mrs. R and were a little taken aback when we began our discussion and I asked the class, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” I got blank stares back as a response. I went around the room to solicit an answer and no one could even come close to identifying or describing the Holy Spirit. This is not good. I think we will do a basic review of “This is God” in our next class session.

We read and discussed the account of Pentecost in the text book and then broke the class into two groups. We had each group role-play and act out what they read about.

 The class seems to enjoy the role-playing exercises. However, from a teaching standpoint, it is our hope that, having gone through a role-play exercise, the students are more likely to actually remember we had covered in class.

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The focus of last night’s class was the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This was the first of three classes that will be largely devoted to Reconciliation/Penance/Confession. Last night, we discussed the “theory.” Next week, we will go through the specifics of confession. And finally, on March 13, Father John will be available to hear the class’s individual confessions. We really hope and encourage that we have a great turnout that night. (Parents – hint, hint!) We did emphasize that our preparation last night and next week should have them ready to celebrate the sacrament and it shouldn’t be a big deal.

We started out talking about the concept of forgiveness in general. I asked two students to help with a role-playing exercise. They were to come up with a make-believe story of Jacob doing something to anger Kaitlin. They decided that Jacob had torn up Kaitlin’s homework.

In the role-play Kaitlin confronted Jacob with it, Jacob denied it. Eventually, Jacob caved in and admitted that he had done the deed. I guided them through the process as Jacob expressed remorse; Kaitlin forgave him; and Jacob offered to try to make it right by going to the teacher and telling her what happened so Kaitlin wouldn’t get a bad grade. We used this exercise to introduce the idea that any act of forgiveness usually involves four distinct steps.

1.) Admission – The offender must own up to the offense.

2.) Sorrow or contrition – The offender must feel and express regret or sorrow.

3.) Forgiveness – The other party forgives the offender.

4.) Reparation or “pay back” – The offender does something to make up for the offense.

Then, using the text, we walked our way through the process of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, connecting each of those four steps to the key parts of the sacrament.

Admission = Confessing our sins

Sorrow = Act of Contrition

Forgiveness = Absolution

Reparation = Penance

We prayed the Act of Contrition together as a class. Other key points we discussed were:

— The difference between mortal and venial sins. Reconciliation forgives all venial sins, even those that the person may have forgotten, but mortal sins must be confessed. We described mortal sins as the kind of crimes you would go to prison for. We didn’t see any need to get more detailed at this age.

— That the priest is an intermediary for God

— Two types of the sacrament, an individual confession and the group Penance services

— The absolute bond of secrecy for anything discussed in Confession.

By the way, after our rather unrewarding experience last week, I took a little firmer posture in terms of classroom management. We have just a few children who are rather needy of attention and try to get it by being either disruptive or loudly outspoken. Normally, I am inclined to allow our class discussions to run free, but there are some students who take excessive advantage of that. Last night, I did not give them as much free rein and it worked. So, parents, if you hear something about that from your child, that’s what it was all about. If you have any question, please feel free to give me a call.

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As I am posting this, I notice the class number. Have we really been doing this for 21 weeks? My, how time flies when you are having fun.

We had a good class last night. It least it felt good to the teachers.

We finished up on the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance, Confession, etc.). We concentrated on the general concept and process of forgiveness in any situation, whether between friends or between a person and God.

We prayed the Act of Contrition as our opening prayer. We then broke the class up into pairs for a role playing exercise. We asked the students to get with their partner and come up with a back story. One of the two did something to the other, and the second person is angry about it. After they had a few minutes to come up with their story, we briefed the two groups separately about how they should act out the exercise.

  • At first the offender should deny the act.
  • Eventually he or she should cave in and admit they did the deed.
  • The offender should say they are sorry.
  • The offended party should forgive them.
  • They should agree one some action to make up for the offense.

We had them play it out on their own, and then asked if anyone wanted to repeat the role-play for the entire class. Every pair but one wanted to play out their scenario. They ere very creative and enthusiastic. I was just a little surprised out much every single student “got into it.” They say students remember 10% of what they are told, but 90% of what they do. Maybe some of this will “stick.”

We used this exercise to introduce the idea that any act of forgiveness, including the Sacrament of Reconciliation, usually involves four distinct steps.

1.) Confession – The offender must own up to the offense.

2.) Contrition – The offender must feel and express regret or sorrow.

3.) Forgiveness – The other party forgives the offender.

4.) Reparation – The offender does something to make up for the offense.

We emphasized these steps match up to the sacramental steps of confession of sins; the Act of Contrition; the priest’s absolution; and the penance.

We talked about some of the other aspects of the sacrament.

Individual confessions are heard at St Peter’s on Saturdays from 4:30-5:00 pm, in the confessional just off of the daily chapel/cry room.

You can call the church office or the rectory to arrange for an individual confession at any time.

In our parish, we usually have two communal reconciliation services, — during Lent and Advent.

The priest is bound to secrecy about whatever you confess.

We talked about how confessions used to be conducted in the dark confessional. Now you can meet the priest face-to-face, or you may still do so anonymously by remaining behind a curtain or screen.

The need for an individual confession led to a discussion of mortal and venial sins. Unfortunately, we really didn’t have the opportunity for much discussion about this. We defined mortal sins as ones as the big ones, like murder, bank robbery and kidnapping. Venial sins are the minor offenses. We didn’t really want to be overly creative about listing mortal sins. We said that mortal sins must be confessed to be forgiven. However, if a person forgets about some venial sins during a confession, they are still covered by the blanket absolution.

For homework, we asked the class to investigate when the parish Lent reconciliation service will be held and to ask their parents to take them. (Tuesday, March 20, 7:00 pm)

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