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Posts Tagged ‘students’

We tried something a little different last night in an effort to get the class engaged and interested, but it didn’t work. It seems we hit a point like this about this time nearly every year. For what reason, I don’t know. It probably has a lot to do with the teacher, but for better or worse, I’m stuck with who I am.

The primary focus of the class last night was the Mass. As a follow-up to our discussion of the Eucharist last week, we were going to go through the various parts of the Mass and try to convey an understanding of the prayers, purposes and meanings.

At the beginning of the session, I told the class I had two directions we could go. One was fairly traditional, and not that interesting. The other would be more involved and probably more interesting, but it would require their cooperation to make it work. I would decide which way to go about ten minutes into the session, depending on how well they were cooperating.

The first ten minutes went rather well. Volunteers read aloud and we discussed the introductory paragraphs of the text. The class was fairly calm, so I decided to take a try at the “riskier” course of teaching. We counted off the class into four groups. We assigned one part of the Mass to each group. (Introductory Rites, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist and Concluding Rites.) We gave the groups a piece of poster-board and markers and instructed them to read about their assigned Mass section in the text and to create a poster to depict it. They would then present their poster to the rest of the class and teach them about their assigned part of the Mass.

We had high hopes for this. We really thought it was a good idea. We went around to each of the groups, trying to encourage and coach them. Unfortunately, that did not help. Left to their own devices, the groups descended rapidly into chaos. One group made a little progress. The remaining three were very ineffective. They were much too involved with cutting-up with their friends, and arguing over what color marker to use, that they didn’t read the material we had provided. When it came time to make a presentation to the rest of the class, they didn’t have a clue.

It’s pretty clear that small-group activities are not working well. The class dynamics are not helped by a small number of students who are very needy of attention and are either actively disruptive or so driven to be the center of attention that they just roll over the quieter students.

The next few weeks will be very full. Since last night’s lesson was a bomb, we will attempt to cover it again next week in a more controllable format. We will also start on the Sacrament of Reconciliation in preparation for the students to receive the Sacrament in a few weeks.

For the next several weeks, Father John will be taking one class at a time and hearing confessions of our students, He will start next week with the 7th grade and work his way down. The fifth grade is scheduled to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the regular class session on March 13. We are going to make a strong effort to prepare our students for this and hopefully relieve some of the anxiety I know they will feel. However, parents, please be aware that this will be coming up on March 13.

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Before we get into anything else, I want to clarify the class schedule for the next several weeks. The original pre-season schedule has been changed, and the schedule posted in last weekend’s bulletin is wrong. Ugh.

Also, we have about 11 or 12 students participating in the Christmas pageant as narrators or shepherds. Several came up to me last night and said they want to be a part of the production, so parents may not know about it. Please see below for more details on this.

As best I can figure out, here is what the schedule looks like between now and Christmas.

 Dec 5 – All students report for CCD at 6:30 pm. The narrators and shepherds who are participating in the Christmas pageant will have a rehearsal. The rest of the class will have a regular class session.

Dec 12 – No regular CCD class, but the Christmas pageant narrators and shepherds will have a rehearsal and a pizza party. Everyone else has the night off.

Dec 19 – Christmas pageant in the church at 6:30 pm. Everyone is welcome. I think the children and parents should go straight to the church that evening. I’ll clarify that and let you know before then.

Dec 24 – The Christmas pageant will be a part of the 6 o’clock Christmas Eve Mass. We have three 5th grade narrators whose parents have indicated they can participate.

Also, there will be a single dress rehearsal for the children in the pageant on Saturday morning (exact time TBA) December 15.

Here is a list of the 5th grade students who have volunteered to be narrators for the Wednesday, Dec 19, pageant program. Please note the three children who have also indicated their availability for the Dec 24 program.

  • Danielle C (also Dec 24)
  • Brendan C
  • Caroline J
  • Jacob E
  • Elizabeth Anne C
  • Jake F (also Dec 24)
  • Autumn H
  • Madeline H (also Dec 24)
  • Hannah B

A couple of our class also volunteered to be shepherds. To be honest, it was a last minute “cattle call” and I’m not sure who is part of the shepherd gang and who is not. Please ask your child if he or she is a shepherd. If so, let me know if the schedule above presents a problem for you. Also, if the shepherds can be available for the Christmas Eve Mass, that would be great. If not, let me know so I can pass it on to the “director” Lynn Hogan.

Is that as clear as mud? Feel free to call or email me if you have any questions. Contact info in the “About ” tab above.

Last night was spent getting the Christmas pageant crew organized. The eight or so students went to the church to watch. Eventually they got bored. So I took them around the church and pointed out some features like the stained class images and statues, and we went through the Stations of the Cross. One of our students, Carter, who  is an altar server, took the class behind the altar and showed the prep room.

As you can see above, our schedule between now and Christmas is going to be a little messy. We’ll have a regular class session for the students not involved in the Christmas pageant next week. However, our next major subject to cover is the Sacrament of Confirmation and I think we’ll hold off on that until after the Christmas break when we’ll have the entire class back together.

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Oh, wow! We had a very lively and interesting class last night.

We started off with a mandatory “good touch-bad touch” discussion. In light of all the news coming out of my brother’s and sisters’ alma mater (Penn State), it was probably well timed.

We went over seven or eight guidelines or pieces of advice for children to follow to avoid becoming abuse victims. I don’t have my guide sheet with me right now. I’ll update this posting in a day or so with some of the specifics. The two primary themes were “You can and should say ‘no’ to an adult who is making you feel uncomfortable” and “Talk to your parents.”

I did reference the Penn State issue in a very general way, and recommended the children ask their parents about it if they want to know more.

As has already been very obvious, this class just loves to ask questions and discuss things. So you can imagine how this subject took the lid off the can of worms. Almost none of the questions or discussions focused on personal abuse. They were much more interested in talking about stranger abduction, someone breaking into their house, and similar subjects. Mrs. Rudolphi was a tremendous help in this discussion. We let it go for a while, but eventually some of the questions just got to be absurd. Some of the students were just making up bizarre situations to keep things going. So we moved on to other things.

We really didn’t have time for a full lesson after that, so we organized a “quiz bowl.” We divided the class into four teams. We have them a few minutes to review the chapters of the Gospel of Matthew that they have (supposedly) already read (Chapters 1-5). Then we asked them questions from those chapters. We allowed it to be “open book,” but didn’t give them a whole lot of time to look up answers if they were starting from scratch. Actually, I was fairly happy at their recall. It went well.

We have no class next week due to the Thanksgiving week. We’re back on November 30. The Season of Advent will be on the agenda for that night.

Please ask your child to read Chapter 6 of Matthew, and any of the previous chapters he or she may have missed.

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