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Posts Tagged ‘St Peter the Apostle’

This week’s class worked out well. The material wasn’t fascinating, but the students were engaged, and we had a good discussion.

We started off with a guest speaker, Dick Lee from St. James parish. Dr. Lee works with me at Skidaway Institute. He also runs the Serra Club vocations essay contest for seventh graders. He was at St. Peters to give a check and certificate to Maddie Conn for third place in the diocese-wide CCD division. Since Dr. Lee knew I teach sixth grade, he asked me if he could stop by for a few minutes and promote the essay contest to the students who will be eligible to participate next fall.  Dr. Lee talked about vocations and the essay contest for about ten minutes and then turned the class back over to us.

Our faith assessment quiz this week dealt with the Church’s structure. There were a couple of questions about the pope, and then a match-quiz exercise on the meaning of various church terms, like ecumenism, infallibility, diocese, deanery, etc. The full list can be found on the parish web site.

http://saintpetertheapostle.com/church/know-faith-week-11-church-leadership-structure/

During the course of our discussion, we spent some time talking about Pope Francis. Most of the class did not know he is a Jesuit, or what a Jesuit is, or even what a religious order is, so we talked about religious orders for a while. I was a little surprised that no one could name the two prominent religious orders in Savannah, even when I hinted there was school named after one of them. They are, of course, the Benedictines (Order of St. Benedict) and the Religious Sisters of Mercy.

When we discussed the match-game (Match the term in one column with the explanation in the other column.), they redeemed themselves. Many were able to match the term with the definition, or at least come close (eg: diocese vs. archdiocese or dogma vs. infallibility).

It doesn’t sound very excited, but the students were engaged and asked a lot of questions.

We finished up with an eight minute video on the life and background of Pope Francis.

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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 small group last night, only four students. Our goal was to teach the Stations of the Cross. We started out with our faith assessment quiz (fill in the blanks) and quickly discovered there wasn’t much for us to teach. Of the 42 possible answers among the three students who completed the exercise (One student was late.) there were 41 correct answers. No shabby.

Nonetheless, we persevered on. We walked across the hall to the library to watch a short video on the stations. We then walked over to the church. We distributed booklets to all the students and we conducted a Stations ceremony. We had the students read the narrator’s part and all read the prayer at the end of each station.

We finished a little early. We returned to the classroom and chatted about several other Stations-related issues.

Next week, our faith assessment and our class will focus on some key Catholic teachings including the “Precepts (rules) of the Church” and the Theological and Cardinal Virtues. These are most likely not top of mind topics for our students. It would be great if they could do just a little research on these topics before we hit next week’s class.

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Our focus for CCD this week was the Beatitudes. Taught by Jesus during his Sermon on the Mount, they appear in Matthew 5.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We began with the Faith Assessment quiz (fill in the blank) to see if anyone could recall any of the Beatitudes without prompting. That was a big zero. So we issued Bibles, went over them and had the students complete their quizzes that way.

From there we discussed the role of the Beatitudes as complements to the Ten Commandments. The Commandments mostly tell us what not to do, while the Beatitudes provide us with positive ways to live our lives. We demonstrated the importance of positive direction by asking for a volunteer and playing the “warmer-colder” game. We picked an object in the room and without telling the volunteer what it was, we asked them to identify it while we provided only negative feedback (colder.) Although, she came very close, she could not identify it. When we did it again, but this time with both positive (warmer) and negative feedback, she selected the object in about 15 seconds.

We transitioned across the hall to the library. The students pulled up beanbag chairs and sat back to watch a video targeted at middle-high schoolers on the Beatitudes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjY8x7LHIPQ

Then, for the first time in my 11-plus years of teaching CCD at St. Peter’s, we sang a song to reinforce what the class was (hopefully) learning. We pulled a video of “Blest are They”. We played a few verses to allow the students to get a handle on the melody, and then started it again and we all (mostly) sang along.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwSkmzw8dY8

Back in the main classroom, we spent the rest of the class discussing the Beatitudes and the meaning of each of them. Each one has a positive action (Blessed are the pure of heart…) and a positive consequence (…for they shall see God.) We talked a little about some of the terms like, what it means to be meek, poor in spirit and so on.

Next week, our lesson will be on the Stations of the Cross. We will spend some time in the church, but both drop off and pick up will be in the regular classroom.

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Again, sorry for taking so long to get this written and posted. It’s just been a busy week.

We kicked off the 6th grade CCD year with a good class last week. We have a small group right now, only six students, but I believe we will pick up an additional handful in the coming weeks.

Getting things started has been an interesting experience. Unlike our past 11 years of teaching 5th grade, our curriculum is not dictated or guided by the Sadlier (publishing company) text. Because 8th grade Confirmation takes place so early in the year at St. Peters, we will be starting initial Confirmation training. That also means we are feeling our way a little. For at least the first part of the year, we will be focusing our teaching in three main areas.

1.) Faith Assessment – This is a review of the basic tenets of the Catholic faith and the kinds of information each student should know before Confirmation. We will be taking it one bite at a time.  So each week, we will send home with each student a “quiz” or questionnaire. They should research the answers to the questions and return it the following week when we will discuss the material. For your information, the questions and answers can be found here.

http://saintpetertheapostle.com/church/faith-formation/know-faith/

However, we would greatly appreciate it if you would NOT simply direct your child to this site where the answers are right there to copy. If they have to do just a little work, like maybe a Google search or looking it up in the Confirmed in the Spirit text, it is more likely they may remember the material.

2.) Saints – We have been introducing our students to the concepts of saints, patron saints and picking a saint’s name for a Confirmation name. During most class sessions, we will show a short (usually around three minutes) video of some saints’ story.

3.) Confirmed in the Spirit – This is our working text for Confirmation prep. Since this might be helpful to the students in preparing their weekly Faith Assessment “homework,” we will send this home with them. Please, help your child to remember to bring it back to class with them on Wednesday.

And as we have done in the past several years, we will end each class by asking each student to tell us one thing they learned that night. A reasonable response will result in some reward, sometimes a cookie, sometimes a doo-dad (glow stick, pencil, prayer card) or whatever.

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Last night was the last class of the 2015-16 CCD year. (Last September seems like last century.) We had pizza and fruit punch, and Monsignor Costigan visited. He talked about his career as a priest and answered a large number of questions from the class. It was a good session and a great way to cap off the year. Have a great summer. We’ll see you around the island and on Wednesday evening’s next fall.

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We only had five students in attendance last night, which is a shame because we had a fairly good class.  This was our second-to-last class of the year and the last one in which we would teach a normal lesson.

The focus of last night’s lesson was prayer. After an opening prayer, we asked the class to break into partner groups and read the first few paragraphs of the text. We provided a sheet of paper with three columns. They were to seek the answers to three questions found in the text.

–What is prayer? (A conversation with God.)

–How can we pray? (alone or with others; aloud or silently; scripted, like a Hail Mary, or just whatever we want to say)

–How did Jesus pray (many different ways)

We introduced the five different types of prayer. We discussed each one and tried relate them to our fifth graders daily lives.

Blessing – like a prayer before a meal

Petition – asking God for some help

Intercession – asking God for help on behalf of another

Thanksgiving – thanking God for all his gifts

Praise – praising God for his greatness

We asked the class to make themselves comfortable and to close their eyes. We asked them to remain quiet and to think about having a conversation with God. We told them God would hear anything they wanted to silently tell him. They should talk with God and then to listen. We let this go for about sixty seconds.

We asked if anyone heard God talking back to them, but to no surprise, no one did.

We pointed out that God hears all prayers, but does not necessarily respond in the way we want.  We used an example of a student praying for an “A” on a test for which had or she had not studied. God may respond by not helping with the grade. A poor grade may be a better lesson in the long run to teach the student he or she needs to work for their grades. We also read a short fictional account of a conversation between a person and God. The person complained that he had a bad day and God had not helped by answering his prayers. God responded with reasons for all the supposedly bad things that had happened.

We talked a little about looking for opportunities to regularly pray daily.

We discussed scripted prayer. Most of the students agreed that when they prayed a scripted prayer like the Hail Mary or the Our Father, they were just reciting words without really understanding the purpose or meaning for the prayer. We introduced a match-column exercise from the text that broke down The Lord’s Prayer into its individual components. The students were to match the right hand column with the appropriate line from the prayer. For example. “We ask God’s forgiveness” matches up with “and forgive us our trespasses.” And so on. We then discussed the answers. We allowed only a few minutes for this, but most of the class completed the exercise and, for the most part had very good matches.

We left them with a homework assignment. We asked them to identify some time or action that is a part of their daily life, like brushing their teeth, taking a shower, waiting for a school bus, or whatever. They should note that daily event as a “trigger” for a daily prayer. Next week, we’ll ask them what they decided would be their trigger.

Next week will be our last class of the year. Monsignor Costigan will visit. He will talk about his life as a priest and answer a number of questions that arose this year that were beyond my or Mrs. Rudolphi’s ability to answer. We will also have a pizza snack. It would be very nice if you would send me an email or call if your child is not going to be able to attend. I don’t want to buy a bunch of pizza and have no one there to eat most of it.

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