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Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

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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I just looked and realized that, once again, I did not post an update on last week’s class. I might be losing my mind.

In any case, last week, we covered the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The subject is important, but the class wasn’t the most interesting. The major point we tried to drive home was that as Catholics, we believe that Christ is truly present (Real Presence) in the consecrated bread and wine. The Eucharist is not merely symbolic, as is practiced in some Protestant churches.

Given the importance of that sacrament, I thought it would be a good idea to spend a little more time on it and reinforce the concepts. So we had the students complete the end-of-chapter exercises and then we discussed their answers. Several students, who were not there last week, had some difficulty, but they were allowed to look for the answers in the preceding chapter. Actually, the textbook publishers really make it fairly easy. Most of the answers to the review exercises are highlighted in red text in the book. We allowed them to work with a partner, but most of the class preferred to just work on their own.

We only had about 20 minutes left when we completed our discussion of the Eucharist. (I am the Les Miles of class time management. If you don’t recognize the reference, ask a college football fan.) I wanted to cover a short chapter on the liturgical year. We really didn’t have time to go step-by-step through the chapter. So instead we just talked a little about the liturgical year and the Church’s upcoming “New Years Day” on November 30 (First Sunday of Advent.)

We will have no class next week, as it is the evening before Thanksgiving. We’re back on December 3. The rest of our classes until the Christmas break will be devoted to preparation for the Christmas Pageant. The third grade will provide the actors and the fifth grade will provide the narrators. I polled the class to get an idea of who wants to read and who would just as soon be one of the shepherds or whatever.

What I really need from parents is an idea of who I can count on for our two “performances.” The first performance will be during the regular last regular CCD class session before the break, December 17. Unless I hear otherwise, I will assume that all the children will be available for that program.

The second program will be at the children’s Mass on Christmas Eve afternoon. I’m not sure of the exact time. We know that some of our students may not be available for that program because of travel plans, other family plans or whatever. So what I need to know is who will be available or not for Christmas Eve. I will sort out the readers and give them assignments based on that information. Some students may read at one program, and some may read at both. We’ll just have to see how the chips fall.

So parents, please send me an email and let me know if your child will be available to participate in the Christmas Eve program. We had one student who said her family might be travelling as early as the December 17 date. If this is also the case with any students, please let me know that also.

My email is: savannahmike1130 at gmail.com (Obviously, insert the @ sign in place of “at.”)

I will also be sending out an email to all the parents for whom I have addresses this weekend with the same request.

I hope your family has a great Thanksgiving holiday. I know I have a lot to be thankful for, including the opportunity to work with your fantastic children. See y’all in December.

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The focus of our class Wednesday night was prayer. Some of the key points we covered and discussed included:

  • Prayer is a personal conversation with God.
  • It’s nice that the Church and others have already composed numerous prayers, you don’t have to recite a formal prayer to talk to God. Just using your own words and thoughts is just fine.
  • The various types of prayer (petition, praise, intercession, thanksgiving, etc.) We discussed examples of each one.
  • While a conversation is supposed to be two-way, don’t expect God to come to you as a voice from Heaven. He is much more subtle than that. To make that point, we read a somewhat humorous account of someone talking to God about their bad day and asking why God would let everything go so wrong that day. This was very well received. Everyone wanted a copy. We made the copies and distributed them.
  • Regular prayer is a matter of creating a habit. We suggested the students think of sometime during the day when they are doing the same thing every day, like taking a shower, brushing teeth, waiting for a school bus, etc. We challenged them to start saying a short prayer every day during this activity (or non-activity.) We told them that if they did this long enough, eventually it would become a habit and the daily activity would serve as a reminder for a prayer.

We did a short activity. We asked the students to make themselves comfortable in their chairs and to place their hands on the desk in front of them. We had them close their eyes and just be quiet for a few seconds. We then asked them to imagine that God was right there with them and was listening to their thoughts. What would you say to him? We gave about 20-30 more seconds and let them open their eyes and resume the class.

 And, as always, we finished the class by asking each student to name something they learned that night.

Next week, we are going to tackle the Ten Commandments. This is not part of the regular curriculum. It was part of the curriculum for the book we used for the first few years I taught CCD. We changed texts a few years ago. I continue to address this subject, simply because it has produced some of the liveliest and most interesting discussions. Typically, we take two weeks to cover this assignment.

 Parents – If you would like to sit in on the class, you are most welcome. It should be fun.

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We had a very nice Advent program last night. Most of our parents were there. Thanks for coming and participating!

We will have no CCD class next week, November 27, since it is the day before Thanksgiving. We’ll be back the following week, December 4.

When we meet again, I will be getting things organized for the Christmas pageant, including polling the class to see who wants to be a reader/narrator for the two productions. The key question is “Which students will be available to participate in the program at 4 pm Mass on Christmas Eve?” We know parents control the answer to that question. So, please, shoot me an email, reply to this posting or send me a note to let me know if I can include your child in the lineup for that program. If not, we’ll just assign him/her solely to the first program which will be presented during the regular CCD class time slot on Wednesday, December 18.

And one last detail. In last week’s posting, I mentioned there will probably be a Saturday morning rehearsal for the pageant. Now I know, it will be held on Saturday, December 14, from 9:30-11 am in the church. We would like all our readers to be there, but it’s not a deal-breaker if your family has other commitments for that morning. Keep me informed and we’ll work with you.

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There are several important items for parents to be aware. Our regular schedule will be all turned around until after the Christmas holiday break.

The CCD next week (Wednesday, November 20) will be an Advent family program for all grades, parents, siblings, etc. in the Parish Center.  Please join us with your entire family.

There will be no CCD class during Thanksgiving week (November 27).

Our class will meet as usual the first two weeks in December (Dec 4 and 11), but our activity will be focused mostly on preparation for the Christmas Pageant program. See more on that below.

The program for last CCD Wednesday before the Christmas break (Dec 18) will be a Christmas Pageant in the church. Again, we hope you can attend with your entire family. See below.

The Christmas Pageant

For the second year, the fifth grade has been asked to provide the narrators/readers for the Christmas Pageant. We hope everyone in the class can participate in one or both of the presentations. The pageant will be presented twice, once during the regular CCD class time on Wednesday, December 18, and once during the 4 pm Mass on Christmas Eve.

We will have rehearsals during the regular CCD class session on Dec 4 and 11. We will also PROBABLY have a Saturday morning rehearsal, most likely on Saturday, December 14. Exact details on the Saturday session TBA.

We hope all our students would like to participate, but it is not mandatory. We won’t force anyone to get up and read in the church if they really don’t want to do so. For anyone who does not want to read, we will assign them a non-speaking role in the production.

We have 13 students and nine reader roles. So, if things go well, we will have slot for everyone to read at least once, and some students to read in both productions. I will be asking the students for volunteers at the class session after Thanksgiving.

VERY IMPORTANT!!! —  Parents, we will assume, unless you tell us otherwise, that your child will be available to participate on December 18, during the regular class time. However, the program at 4 pm Mass on December 24 is much more uncertain. We know alternate family plans may prevent your child from participating. Please let me know via email, telephone or note if your child will be able to be part of the Christmas Eve Mass program. We can divvy up the roles and, hopefully, satisfy everyone, if we know what we are working with.

Call or email with any questions. Contact info under the “About” tab at the top of this page.

Thanks!

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Mike writes:

We spent this class reviewing the material we have covered in the first four chapters. For those of you following along at home, you will see that the first unit has a multi-page review series of quizes  (multiple choice, T-F, fill-in-the-blank, etc).   We had the students complete these exercises and then we talked about each one after it was complete. If they didn’t know some of the answers, they were allowed to look them up in the text.  Hopefully, this served two purposes:

1.) Reinforce the material encouraging them to think about the questions and seek the answers of they didn’t know them.

2.) Expose the students for the maybe the first time to some of the material they may have missed due to absence.

Coming up…

I am working to set up a “mock baptism” demonstration for one of the class sessions in early December. This should be interesting for the students.  I’ll let you know how this develops.

There will be NO CLASS next week, November 25, the night before Thanksgiving. We hope you have much for which to give thanks, and have a great holiday.

See ya in December!

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