I taught 7th grade and I have a few thoughts:
1.) Use technology whenever possible. One of the most powerful lessons I did was a lesson on the Stations of the Cross. I made a PowerPoint presentation depicting various artwork. The kids were transfixed and actually listened Also, encourage them to download Catholic Apps.
2.) Ask them what they want to learn or what questions they have. At the beginning of the year, I asked them to write down 3 things that they want to learn more about and they didn’t have to put their name on the paper. Then, try to incorporate those things into the lessons.
3.) Provide them with journal prompts, prayer prompts, etc. that they can use throughout the week.
4.) Ask them to learn a lesson and ‘teach it’ to the class. This works best in groups.
5.) Assign a “Saint” Project where they work at home with their families to learn about a particular saint and then turn in a mini-report about the saint. I provide a 2 page “worksheet” that they fill in. It’s exciting when they learn about incorrupt saints and saints who did “cool” things…like Padre Pio.
6.) Learn how to be a really good story teller. Take a Bible story and make it REAL for them. Better yet, ask them to read the story and then act it out!
7.) Introduce apologetics. Give them a topic and ask them to “defend their faith.”
7th grade was my favorite year teaching! I’m teaching 4 year olds this year and need a nap afterwards Good luck!!