Woah! Large Faith Formation Class - Help!


#1

Hey guys! I am a new Faith Formation teacher this year. I had my first class last night. I teach 3rd grade and there were 27 kids in my class! I had been planning on around 12! I have more boys than girls. Many of the activities I had planned for the kiddos won’t really work with that many kids - or at least, will be really difficult. I’m looking for fun crafts and/or activities that I can do with that many kids. Our classroom isn’t huge, so we don’t have a whole lot of room for games and stuff. Things they can do while sitting at their tables would be best.

I appreciate your input!! :slight_smile:


#2

Wow! I don’t think it’s a good idea to teach a class that large. Do you have an aide? You need to ask your DRE to try to find another catechist and split the class in half.

Sorry, I can’t think of any activities off the top of my head (I have never taught 3rd grade), but I think the bigger issue is the appropriateness of the class size.

You may also want to ask a Moderator to move this to the Evangelization forum, which is where a lot of catechists “hang out.”


#3

Oh okay thanks! I don’t know how to ask a mod to move it but I will figure it out. :o Yes, I have an aide who is very helpful. All of our classrooms are required to have two adults at all times. Unfortunately, the numbers usually dwindle somewhat as the year goes on, so we expect that this class won’t stay so large - it will probably get down to around eighteen or twenty. We have already split the classes once, and we really just don’t have any more teachers to split them again. :frowning: Thanks though, I appreciate your response!


#4

What text/series are you using? The publisher will have a website with suggested activities to go with the lesson - activities can be a challange with a large group and limited time, you can eat up the entire hour doing a game and never have any teaching.


#5

Thanks kage, you are right! I guess I’m getting a little ahead of myself, last night was only the “meet and greet” night and we didn’t get into our books. There are activities suggested in the book and sometimes they are great and sometimes they seem a little silly - but like you said, the most important part is the teaching! :slight_smile: I just like to keep them occupied - 3rd graders can get very rambuncious if they get bored :wink: I’ll go with the book and when an activity seems feasible for the number of kids and the time we have, we’ll go for it! Thanks!

Oh yes, I forgot to mention, we have Faith Formation every other week, so we have them for an hour and half! (Following a daily mass that lasts about 25 minutes - so they are pretty fidgety when I get them! LOL)


#6

I teach 4th grade and have 24. We don’t have any other classrooms, so there isn’t another solution. I do have an aid.

What I have done:

I had the students take the books home, and leave them there. They get “homework” every week to read the next chapter. That gives me time to do the activities in the classroom.

I assigned seats, something I never do. But that keeps the talkers away from the other talkers so that most are listening and learning. With so many in class, you need of the time given to you. You don’t want to have to waste it having to spend telling people to listen.

Some activities:

When learning about the Bible, Divine Revelation and such. I had them learn to look up things in the Bible. I would say, something like John 3-16 and have them find it. One would then read the title of the verse.

Write a word vertically on the board. Maybe something like BIBLE. Then have them use each letter to write something they know about the word. I did it so the letter of the word could be anywhere in the “something they know.” ex: divine reveLation for the letter L of Bible.

Students this age love to tell you what they know. Since they have read the chapter, each child should know something. Ex: “Tell me about Lent.” I got answers like, 40 days, Father wears purple, Ash Wednesday, and so on. Then I expanded on it.

Feel free to PM (private message) me if you want more ideas for specific topics.)


#7

Thank you so much Mary!! I think I will do assigned seats next time - I think that will help a lot. I love the idea of having them look up the scriptures in their Bible - I will definitely do that. Also, the vertical word on the board is great!! I will use this next week!!

I really appreciate your input - thanks so much!! :thumbsup:


#8

I teach 4th grade and I’ll have 19 this year. Our numbers are pretty consistent, so I expect to end the year with 19.

One of the activities we do is have the kids make a booklet about the mysteries of the rosary–they have to memorize them this year. We do it mostly as homework, but you could do it in class.

Have them all bring in a folder with brads (like a report comes in) so their pages stay neat and they can use the book over and over. Tell them about the mystery, read the some appropriate Bible verses for the mystery and then have them make a page for it. A picture and maybe 3 or 4 sentences. We;ve sometimes given out holy cards with an appropriate picture for the mystery.

Our text is Faith and Life so there is a lot to cover each week. They also have great ideas for additional activities. What book are you using? Maybe check out the publisher’s website and see if they have additional ideas. Remember also that with a game, you can use up almost the whole time period making sure everyone has a turn! It may help to divide them up into groups and have them play as teams or have each group play a game among themselves (so you’d have 6 or 7 groups going simultaneously!)


#9

We also have the problem of not having anymore classrooms as well. We have been blessed with much growth in our parish over the last four years, and our facilities haven’t been able to quite keep up. :slight_smile: We built a new church with more than triple the seating capacity of our old church, but we haven’t been able to add to our classrooms yet. We have six classrooms available, plus two other offices that have been converted to classrooms. We have split Faith Formation into two different days, Pre-K thru 6th on Wednesday evenings, 7th - high school on Sunday mornings, but still we are about as full as we can get. However, it’s a beautiful “problem” to have, and I know God will bless us in the future with more space for all of these kiddos. Thanks for all of your input!


#10

Hangman is a good game for big groups of kids. You can play it as introduction to the topic, use keywords to jump off and explain, or as a review, use keywords and make them explain.

Other team games would also work well, trivia games to review and such.


#11

Catholic Jeopardy :slight_smile:


#12

Thank you guys!!! Great ideas!!! Joe, I had never seen the Catholic Jeopardy before, that looks so fun! Definitely something my kids would get into. :thumbsup: Thanks!!!


#13

Wow, we meet every week for an hour and a half. So many kids that some meet on Wednesday afternoon,pre-k through 6th grade, right after school. You want fidgety kids, get them after they have been in school all day and then try to get them to pay attention!! The rest of the pre-k through 6th meet on Sunday mornings between the two Masses. Jr. high and high school meet on Sunday evenings.
That is a lot of kids for one class. I hope you have help. We have to have at least 2 teachers in a class at all times, just to protect us as teachers, but it really does help.


#14

I worked with groups that large last year, and what I found was that it is best to mix things up - get them working in groups for part of the time, listening to you speak for part of the time, moving around, and then sitting still, and then moving around again. They don’t have to move very far - even just trading desks to get into their groups can be enough to burn off some of that excess energy.

I liked to end every session with an active game that relates in some way to the theme at hand (even common games like “hide and go seek” can be related to themes like “The Lost Sheep” or “Blind Man’s Bluff” for the healing of Bartimaeus) - since you don’t have much space, you will probably want to do a game that they can play at their desks - maybe Bible Bingo, or something like that.


#15

wow that is a big class, but no panico, after a few weeks you may find your class size has diminished somewhat.

you might want to put them in teams, so one table is doing the reading and answering the questions, another is doing the craft or activity, and a third is reviewing, or practicing a song or skit based on the bible story, and rotate the teams and tasks. an aide, esp. a couple of high school kids, works great for this.


#16

Thank you guys for all of your suggestions!!! I’m excited to be a faith formation teacher and I know it will be a great year!! Thank you!


#17

Another trick is to divide the class time into sections. This is great for planning and keeping on task during class.

So for your 1.5 hrs–think 4 20 minute sections and 10 minutes at the end for clean up.

  1. Maybe start with a game to get the wiggles out
  2. Review last week, announcements etc.
  3. Lesson for this week
  4. Craft or activity
  5. Clean up or over flow time.

#18

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.