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  #1  
Old Sep 7, '08, 8:40 pm
TheReader TheReader is offline
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Default First time Catechist (2nd Grade)

I'm extremely excited - I've wanted to teach CCD since 9th grade when the nuns first asked me - and I'm finally am, 22 years later!

Thing is, I'm nervous & was hoping I could get some suggestions re: activities to do with the kids, sources on the web (besides here!) I could use to supplement my class/keep the kids' interest.

My church's program is not very organized - seems each teacher does his/her own thing (per the DRE). I was just given the book today - and classes start next week! I was given a quick verbal outline from another teacher- open & start with a prayer, focus on Reconciliation & Advent until Christmas break, then focus on the parts of Mass & First Eucharist after, but I'm at a loss with what to do in-between.

I just want to make sure I don't mess things up. I love the content of 2nd grade & want to pass that onto the kids (besides the Faith itself, of course) & my biggest fear is that I don't reach the kids. And while I'm not new to a classroom (I taught at the HS level for a number of years), 2nd graders are a whole different ball game.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks (and sorry for just jumping in).
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  #2  
Old Sep 7, '08, 9:10 pm
leonie leonie is offline
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Default Re: First time Catechist (2nd Grade)

I teach 3rd grade. It's my goal to switch activites every 10 minutes, to keep the kids' attention. I also start out with 5-7 learning objectives for every class that I try to hit from multiple angles. And, I spend 1/4-1/3 of each class with review of prior classes.


I thought I'd use my lesson from today as an example of my teaching style.

Our theme in 3rd grade is the Apostles Creed. When the kids came in, I had the question on the board: Who are the apostles?

I've heard that having a question on the board before class actually increases the learning in the class. For beginning 2nd graders, their reading isn't so great. So, I might modify this by drawing or putting up a poster/illustration with the central theme.

After a very short opening prayer--I use the ejaculations Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you save souls. And, Christ the King, your kingdom come, we start the lesson--beginning with the question on the board.

I try to use a lot of animation in my speech and walk around the room alot. I use a lot of gestures, too.

After a short lecture including lots of questions, we progressed to our game on "Faith. " We had just defined faith as a free (and priceless) gift from God that enables us to believe in God and said that we get this gift first at Baptism.

We did a Bible shout. I wrote a Bible verses dealing with Faith on the board (Heb 1:11), underlining about 5 words. I read the verse and when we got to the underlined words, the kids shouted them. I had warned the teacher adjacent to our class what we would be doing.


Our game: I took the kids to the gym.

because we had just talked about the apostles as the first bishops and Peter as the first Pope, we played a quick game of Simon Peter says--played just like Simon says.

Then, it was time for dodge ball.

We establised one corner as Heaven and another as Confession. Three kids stood in the center of the gym, holding lightweight balls. The balls stood for sin. I sent three kids (pilgrims) at a time to try to run to Heaven. If they got hit with a sin ball, they had to go to confession. Almost all the kids had to go to confession. Then, I handed them faith shields--made out of foam boards with a cross and the world faith on the front. I told them they had to keep their faith between them and sin (the ball).

Some variations: I sent all the kids instead of three at a time. Then, we talked about how having a faith community is helpful to dodge sin. Another variation, I assigned some kids as guardian angels. They could guard the pilgrim from the balls.

After a drink of water, we headed back to the classroom. We played a review game over the learning objectives I had--about 70% had learned the objectives. That's okay because I'll repeat the information next week during the review period.

We had ten minutes left. So, I told them the story of a great saint who had a lot of faith (Bl. Teresa of Calcutta). Then, we ended with spontaneous prayer, prayer petitions, and a Hail Mary. I peeked during the Hail Mary to see who didn't seem to know the words to the prayer.

My bare bones outline: opening prayer, review, lesson, activity--game, skit or craft, Bible shout (a good transition), review of that days' lesson in a game form, Saint story, closing prayer.

For me the most important thing about making a lesson is knowing what I want the kids to know when they walk out of class that day. So, I write very clear, measurable learning objectives.

Our textbook is pretty good, but it just doesn't fit my teaching style, so I use it as a resource.
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  #3  
Old Sep 7, '08, 9:22 pm
leonie leonie is offline
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Default Re: First time Catechist (2nd Grade)

I just reread your post. As to your question on content, your diocese should have learning objectives for 2nd grade.

Some content that I hope you would include for a first communion class are Bibles stories that pertain to the Eucharist and first confession.

For these, you will need to hit Original sin, Moses--esp. Passover and the 10 Commandments. Also, all the New Testament stories dealing with Jesus's own preparing the people for Mass--Wedding of Cana, Multiplying of the loaves, the Last Supper. The Death on the Cross, and the Resurrection.

I was so sad last year that my 3rd graders had hardly any familiarity with Bible stories, including ones that I thought were common knowledge like David and Goliath.

Here's a couple of story books that I read to my classes:

http://www.amazon.com/Angel-Waters-R...0847543&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Weight-Mass-Ta...0847586&sr=1-1

It's good to have a couple of books on hand for when your lesson goes faster than you anticipated and you have extra time to fill.
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  #4  
Old Sep 8, '08, 3:34 am
Joannm Joannm is offline
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Default Re: First time Catechist (2nd Grade)

The United States Bishops have learning objectives for First Communon (usually 2nd grade) in the National Director for Catechesis. This is something that all catechists should read. There are 9 goals. I don't have the Directory with me here at home so I can't tell you what page it is on.
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  #5  
Old Sep 8, '08, 4:28 pm
RosiePosey RosiePosey is offline
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Default Re: First time Catechist (2nd Grade)

You've gotten some really good advice for your class from others on this forum. May I add my two cent's worth?

leonie is right. Your diocese should have a set of curriculum guidelines that you need to meet when you teach the children.

I've been teaching Sacramental Preparation II (second grade) for 3 years now. (Taught the first year of sacramental prep (first grade) for 6 years prior). We use a textbook series approved by our pastor, but in addition to that I always do 3 things...

1. Let the kids know why reconciliation and the Eucharist is important to you. They will listen to your stories and they will come out of that class remembering what you said. Why is it meaningful? I let them know it gives me peace and strength to try to live God's plan for me as best I can.

2. We set up a Sacred Space in our classroom. The kids bring something special of theirs to put in the space. It could be their children's bible, a rosary, a prayer card. We light a candle and pray at this space...it puts them in a more prayerful frame of mind than just sitting at the desks.

3. Read to them the scripture passages describing the last supper. Point out to them what we do or say at Mass that's just like what we read Jesus did with His apostles. It will help them make the connection that the Last Supper was the first Mass.

I hope this was helpful. Bless you on undertaking this adventure...it's humbling to be involved in preparing the children for the Sacraments. I'm sure you'll do great
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  #6  
Old Sep 9, '08, 5:09 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: First time Catechist (2nd Grade)

check out the catechist manual (or go on line to the publisher, your DRE should have the code or password for you) to find out what the 2nd grade book covers, and esp. characteristics of this age group.

the DRE should also have what the diocese expects you to cover this year

in general, if you just teach the book for the first year you will do fine.

look for ways to extend the lesson, and if your group are not great readers, do not depend on the "take turns reading" method of teaching. choose activities, crafts etc. for their use in reinforcing lesson concepts, not as fun time-fillers.

recruit aides from among the parents to help with
taking attendance
getting supplies ready
supervising crafts and other activities
bathroom break

2nd graders are talkative and experts at derailing every discussion by endless narratives drawn from their personal (sometimes too personal) experience. lay down rules to the effect that what happens at home, stays at home.

if at the end of the year they know the basic prayers, know the elements of the Mass, know the difference between the Eucharist and ordinary bread and wine, know that Jesus is present and want to receive Him, you will have done a great job.

If they love RE and want to come back, you will have done an outstanding job, and proven to be a true evangelist.
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Whatever the Lord pleases He does, on heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Ps. 135
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  #7  
Old Sep 9, '08, 6:19 pm
TheReader TheReader is offline
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Default Re: First time Catechist (2nd Grade)

Thank you for your replies.

I'm sorry for not getting back here sooner...been crazy. And I'm also sorry for freaking out about what to do in class. My biggest fear when teaching my HS students was not being prepared, and because my DRE waits until the last minute to tell us things, is scattered when explaining things, etc, I panicked.

Good news is that the DRE was a lot more focused & helpful these past 2 nights ( mandatory 2 hour classes Mon, tonight, & tomorrow...found out on this past Sunday). Between some of the things she said (I know what type of activities are "ok" to do) and the suggestions from here I won't totally flop.

I truly do love the sacraments of Reconciliation & the Eucharist & hopefully a little of that will rub-off on the students.

Thanks again.
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  #8  
Old Sep 19, '08, 8:17 pm
rosebudsal rosebudsal is offline
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Smile Re: First time Catechist (2nd Grade)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheReader View Post
I'm extremely excited - I've wanted to teach CCD since 9th grade when the nuns first asked me - and I'm finally am, 22 years later!

Thing is, I'm nervous & was hoping I could get some suggestions re: activities to do with the kids, sources on the web (besides here!) I could use to supplement my class/keep the kids' interest.

My church's program is not very organized - seems each teacher does his/her own thing (per the DRE). I was just given the book today - and classes start next week! I was given a quick verbal outline from another teacher- open & start with a prayer, focus on Reconciliation & Advent until Christmas break, then focus on the parts of Mass & First Eucharist after, but I'm at a loss with what to do in-between.

I just want to make sure I don't mess things up. I love the content of 2nd grade & want to pass that onto the kids (besides the Faith itself, of course) & my biggest fear is that I don't reach the kids. And while I'm not new to a classroom (I taught at the HS level for a number of years), 2nd graders are a whole different ball game.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks (and sorry for just jumping in).
Thanks for posting this thread. I start my class for 3rd Graders tomorrow and I'm nervous. I've had the teacher's book for about two weeks, I've read the first two lessons, I've read everything else. I picked up a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, rather than relying on the online version. I've been told that all the basics are available and so... I think I'm ready. I keep reminding myself that I know more than they do.

Our parish, maybe our diocese, waits till 3rd grade before they can make their First Holy Communion, so I'll prepare them as well.

I don't know what books you're using, but ours seem to be really helpful and useful. I am also collecting resources and ideas though. I think one can always use those. Good luck.
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Mia

"One opens the inner doors of one's heart to the infinite silences of the Spirit, out of whose abysses love wells up without fail and gives itself to all." Thomas Merton.



My musings: Confessions and Contemplations.
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  #9  
Old Sep 21, '08, 12:36 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: First time Catechist (2nd Grade)

one of my new catechists, who is however an experienced public school teacher, was doing this with her 3rd graders Saturday, and seems to work great. They were reading the section from the book in unison, so they were all paying attention, reading slowly and clearly, and all involved. Then she asked them questions after each section to test their comprehension, writing new words on the board--and she already had a flip-chart prepared with the new words and concepts. then they made their own flash cards for the new words (they are doing Creed and marks of the Church).
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Whatever the Lord pleases He does, on heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Ps. 135
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  #10  
Old Sep 21, '08, 12:37 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: First time Catechist (2nd Grade)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheReader View Post
because my DRE waits until the last minute to tell us things, is scattered when explaining things, etc, I panicked.
please say you don't teach in my parish
DREs panic too and it is not a pretty sight

just wanted to remind everyone to milk the catechist manual for all it's worth--check out the sections on the learner, multiple intelligences and learning styles, ways to extend the lesson, reproducible worksheets and tests, suggested prayer experiences, music CDs that complement the program, and freebies sent by the publisher for each grade. Esp. make friends with the publisher's website.
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Whatever the Lord pleases He does, on heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Ps. 135
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  #11  
Old Sep 27, '08, 2:24 pm
doodle doodle is offline
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Default Re: First time Catechist (2nd Grade)

Hi all. I also am a first time catechist teaching 2nd grade and very nervous. I start Wed night. I was looking for activities as well. Our book has some things in it. I was also interested in hearing about your routine from the time the kids enter to the time for dismissal. What prayer do you start with? How do you start? Do you just ask the kids to settle down and start the prayer? Do you have them gather around a prayer corner where you have a bible and/or crucifix setup?

Thank you for your help!
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  #12  
Old Sep 28, '08, 12:56 pm
Chelsea111 Chelsea111 is offline
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Default Re: First time Catechist (2nd Grade)

I am also new at teaching - only I'm teaching first grade. For my second lesson today we didn't even finish everything I had planned - the class is only an hour long. Mostly what I'm looking for is game and craft ideas. Music, movie clips, anything.

Thanks!
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  #13  
Old Sep 29, '08, 7:37 pm
leonie leonie is offline
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Default Re: First time Catechist (2nd Grade)

Quote:
Originally Posted by doodle View Post
Hi all. I also am a first time catechist teaching 2nd grade and very nervous. I start Wed night. I was looking for activities as well. Our book has some things in it. I was also interested in hearing about your routine from the time the kids enter to the time for dismissal. What prayer do you start with? How do you start? Do you just ask the kids to settle down and start the prayer? Do you have them gather around a prayer corner where you have a bible and/or crucifix setup?

Thank you for your help!
I'm probably repeating myself with prior posts, but I'll go ahead and give my routine

I always have a question on the board--I heard research somewhere or other that kids actually retain more when a question is on the board. I know that sounds funny, but it's an easy thing to do, so....

1. We discuss this question for a few minutes until I think everyone who is coming is sitting down.

2. Then we do an opening prayer. I make them stand up for the prayer. I pray and they repeat, "Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you. Save souls. "
Then I pray, "Christ the King," and they respond, "your kingdom come."

I have chosen these simple ejaculations because I want them to have short prayers that will come to their minds for the rest of their lives.

3. Then, I do a short review of the prior week.

4. I start the lesson for the day. Incorporated into the lesson is a lecture, and a skit or game. I don't usually do crafts because of the time involved. .

5. We do a Bible shout. Our goal is to make the class next to us jump--I've cleared it with the teacher next to us.

6. I either switch to part II of the lesson--in October, I'm spending ten minutes per class on the rosary. Or, I read a saint or picture book relating to the lesson.

7. We take 10 minutes to play a review game covering all the prior material including that day's class.

8. We close with petitions and spontaneous prayer. I usually make them stand up again.
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  #14  
Old Sep 29, '08, 7:54 pm
leonie leonie is offline
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Default Re: First time Catechist (2nd Grade)

For me a real key to a successful lesson is a good lesson plan. I learned this in ed. school and it's probably the only thing from my college ed. that made a real difference in any teaching I've done.

1. You should have a list of things you want them to learn

2. You should have a plan of how to get there.

3. And, you should have a way to assess them.

I use a review game to assess them. It can be really frustrating how little they retain, but I just keep hitting the important things week after week.

Last week, I asked, "What was the name of the tree that Adam and Eve were not suppose to eat from?"

One kid said apple. Another said peach. The third piped up, "I know, it was an orange tree." sigh. My fourth hand in the air got it right.

This year, I'm sending my lesson plan home with the kids, so mom and dad can see what we are doing. I type it up anyway, so it's no big deal to make copies. I hope that they discuss it with their kids, but realistically, I doubt that they spend much time on it.

One thing I hate that my own children's teachers have done is have lots of parties. Ugh. My dd last year in 2nd grade had a party every month. If you are going to have a party, make it a teaching moment. To me every minute in CCD is precious. I try not to waste any of it. Last year I planned a Guadete party, but we got snowed out. I didn't want to have a Christmas party in Advent, but I thought I could do a Guadete party and teach about the nativity and the O antiphons.

Anyway, I love teaching the faith. I've only taught 4 years of ccd--three at 7th grade and this is my second at 3rd. But, I've done a lot of teaching with my homeschool community---esp. in Little Flowers and Blue Knights, and in VBS--both in church and doing our own as a co-op.

I got out of it for a while because I was so frustrated with my very ignorant 7th graders. I thought I could make a bigger impact by trying to teach parents in some catechetical programs. I thought, "teach the parents--it'll change the whole family." However, the all ready on the path parents seeking out these programs aren't the parents that I want to reach. I want to reach the folks that don't know that they don't know the faith--the same place I was at for years.

But, what I love most is how teaching the faith enlivens my own faith and learning.


God bless all catechists.
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  #15  
Old Oct 2, '08, 6:28 am
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: First time Catechist (2nd Grade)

pray
read the catechist guide for the lesson
if you have not already done so, spend time with the front and back of the catechist manual, specifically sections on the learner (what to expect from this age group), ways to amplify the lesson, content of the core curriculum, what must be covered etc.

pray again esp. to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment and guidance
if you have 5 minutes, pray
if you have 10 minutes, read the scripture that goes with the lesson, either that the children will hear, or that suggested in the catechist guide.
if you have 15 minutes, also read the catechism citation for the lession, almost all catechist manuals have one
hopefully you have set aside 30-60 minutes to plan each lesson, so now do that
gathering activity (can be something to review last week's lesson) don't leave kids hanging around with nothing to do, have a routine so they know to come in, get their books and supplies, get the worksheet or whatever, and get started. have an aide helping them at this time. do allow a bit of social and visiting time.

present the concept -- teach one concept per lesson with Pre-K through 2nd grade. Teach 2 concepts in 3-4-5, no more than 3 concepts per lesson with older grades.

content - present, repeat, do activities to help them internalize and remember concept and vocabulary
questions and discussion
review
movement, change of pace, something to involve small and large motor skills, geared toward the concept

quiet time and prayer
dismissal, with homework, messages etc.

EVALUATE your lesson immediately after you teach. write your evaluation on the back of the lesson plan. this step will do more than anything to make you a better catechist.

pray in thanksgiving

Get to class early and have all the supplies you need before class begins--discipline problems start when you are not prepared
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Whatever the Lord pleases He does, on heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Ps. 135
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