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Old Sep 20, '11, 6:39 am
annecatechist annecatechist is offline
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Default Advice for new 3rd grade catechist???

I know there are fabulous catechists out there who would share their ideas about teaching 8 and 9 year olds ... do you give prizes for participation? Do you have them hold hands during opening / closing prayers? I'd appreciate any and ALL advice.

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Old Sep 22, '11, 1:48 pm
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KarenElissa KarenElissa is offline
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Default Re: Advice for new 3rd grade catechist???

Originally Posted by annecatechist View Post
do you give prizes for participation?
I do give prizes for participation, but not all the time. I think prizes are fun and can help encourage kids to participate, but I also think kids shouldn't always expect to be rewarded for doing what they are supposed to. I just use small pieces of candy.

Another idea I've seen is working towards a slightly bigger reward as a group. You give a point every time someone answers a question of brings their homework or whatever and when the class as a whole has 500 points (or whatever) the whole class gets a special treat, cookies or something.

Do you have them hold hands during opening / closing prayers?
I don't. Kids at that age can be particular about touching others and I don't think it is worth it.

I do make each of the kids pray though. We light a candle, make the sign of the cross and then recite one of the standard prayers together. Then we read a passage from the Bible and quickly discuss it (what happened and how does it relate to what we will talk about that day). After that each of the kids either says something they want to pray for or something they are thankful for. Even the shyest kid should be able to do that.

I'd appreciate any and ALL advice.

A couple thoughts, I would start out by setting up a routine for how things will happen. Also set up some expectations for behavior. If you don't start there, it is easy for kids to take advantage of you.

Keep them busy. Always have at least one extra activity in case everything takes less time than you planned. Play games with the kids, do crafts, listen to music, all of these things will engage the kids, especially those with different learning styles.
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Old Sep 22, '11, 2:15 pm
SanAgustin SanAgustin is offline
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Join Date: September 14, 2011
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Default Re: Advice for new 3rd grade catechist???

Having an extra activity/game is a good idea, if you finish things early you might get nervous if you think you ran out of things to do.

I encountered the issue with holding hands in the 5th grade, it's kind of funny because it's also cultural so I have to be aware of it (ex: When we pray in spanish is much more common).

At that age group, make sure you include a lot of hands on activities. Things that they can explain, ask or interact sometimes can be done in creative ways by drawing, and general arts and crafts.

Make sure the class doesn't become a long lecture, and that you focus on the practicality of the teachings. For example we were talking about longing for God, grace and faith. We had them work on specific things they could to to nurture their faith, then let them present them to the group. I'm actually pretty happy with our 5th grade class, all of them want to participate!
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Old Sep 25, '11, 7:43 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Join Date: September 7, 2004
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Default Re: Advice for new 3rd grade catechist???

I wouldn't force kids to hold hands, share feelings, read out loud, etc. anything that might be uncomfortable to some kids, especially the shyer ones. 3rd graders would probably be fine with it even in mixed groups, 4th grade, forget it, they still work well in mixed groups, but by 5th grade, cooties set in and they strictly segregate themselves by gender.

Let their own comfort level dictate their level of "participation" but also guard against one or two people dominating discussion, or getting class off track. 3rd graders are full of stories and not as blase as older ages, still my favorite age to teach. any activity you suggest is still new and fun to them. try testing and evaluating their learning through games and other ways, they are already starting to get freaked out with written tests.
Whatever the Lord pleases He does, on heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Ps. 135
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