Intensive Catechesis Unit
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Thursday, 1 March 2007
Finally had class again

Between the snow and Ash Wednesday, we have not had class for three weeks.  Today, the kids were back in class.  I used the book, as well as hand-outs on the Mass for the upcoming Sunday.  The book had part of the story of the Prodigal Son.  They left off the brother's reaction, and any follow-up on the meaning of the parable.  I finished the story, and asked the kids what it was about.  One boy said it was about how Jesus went away from His father.  I explained that it was Jesus who was telling the story.  Oh.  We reread the first sentence, where they introduce Jesus as the story-teller.  Oh.  Finally, I explained the point of the story, and they all thought is was nice, but admitted that they had never really thought about it before.

 Pancake breakfast on Sunday, after Mass.  The kids in my class didn't send in their forms, so maybe they won't be there.  I'm making pancakes.  Yum.

Posted by MacBeth at 2:47 PM EST
Wednesday, 31 January 2007
I got another 100% on an online Quiz!
Topic: Silliness
You are a 100% traditional Catholic!

Congratulations! You are more knowlegeable than most modern theologians! You have achieved mastery over the most important doctrines of the Catholic Faith! You should share your incredible understanding with others!

Do You Know Your Baltimore Catechism?
Make Your Own Quiz

Posted by MacBeth at 10:26 AM EST
Sunday, 28 January 2007

I must be making some kind of impression.  After discussing relics (on the sly; they are not mentioned in the book), I discovered one of my students in the sacristy after Mass asking Father if he could see what relics are there.  Father was delighted to show them to the boy, and the boy was wide eyed and happy!

So they have a test coming up this week, and I went over the whole test with them, and even gave them a copy to take home and study.  I think that's called "teaching to the test" 8-P .  To make up for that tactic, I'll give them 5 extra credit questions based on the--er--supplementary material we have covered.  And I am still waiting for a shipment of MagnifiKids to give them as an aid to following the Mass.

Posted by MacBeth at 5:12 PM EST
Thursday, 25 January 2007
If it were not so funny...
Topic: The questions kids ask

I'd be crying!  Here's how this lesson went:

The lesson was on the bible.  I needed to get them to know the word Torah.  I put "Bible" on the board.  I drew lines to "Old Testament" and New Testament" and pointed to OT and began to tell them what the Torah was.  One boy said, "Oh, I have a bible at home, and it's got those two parts, too."  Boy #2 said, "You have a bible at home?  Are you Jewish?"

Posted by MacBeth at 2:13 PM EST
Friday, 19 January 2007
OO! Oo Oo!! Pick me!
Topic: Lessons

You'd think, after a few months of this, I'd have taught them something, right?  For instance, we have been studying the Liturgical Year for weeks.  I have reviewed the calendar, given them printouts, talked about music, vestments, holidays and holy days, but still!  They just don't get it.

I asked, once again, what liturgical season it is.  This time, I thought I'd head off the usual wrong answers by giving them out ahead of time.  "Don't say winter,"  I admonished. 

"OO!  Oo Oo!!" said one boy.  "I know!"

Yes, I thought, finally.

"Winter!" he called out proudly.

No.  No.  No....

It got worse, and I'll spare you the details, except to note that when one boy said, "Easter," I was so relieved to hear a real liturgical season I almost hugged him.

Last week, I spent about 1/2 an hour reviewing the colors of vestments for the liturgical year.  At the end, we played "Dress Father for Mass," a quick review game that is based on a simple outdoor education activity I often do with kindergarteners.  When we got to "Chausable," I got bank stares, even though we had just been using the word for the whole first half of the class.  Seriously.

I am thinking it's time to review old episodes of Welcome Back Kotter for strategies.

Posted by MacBeth at 8:16 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 19 January 2007 8:22 PM EST
Thursday, 4 January 2007
A Gig for the Choir!
Sure, it's just the Parish Party, but the choir has been asked to sing!  We hope that by singing more we can recruit new members.  The kids are working hard on "We Three Kings" for Mass on Sunday, along with a new Alleluia.  Libby has turned out to be a great director, though she was a bit nervous and reluctant to take on the job.  She has a neat way of explaining the music so that the kids can understand it better, both musically and from the perspective of the historical church.  The choristers love their group, and have so much fun that it is sometimes hard to get them to go home.

Posted by MacBeth at 11:44 AM EST
She Told You WHAT??
Topic: Lessons

All things considered, it was a good lesson.  For our first day back after the Christmas break, I had the kids list all the things they had ever seen in a church.  I got the usual suspects listing "floor, walls..." and other obvious parts of a building.  Some kids were quick to note that the church now had two new bathrooms.  Some had long lists that went over to the back of the page.  Not a single student mentioned the Tabernacle.  And while they mentioned the Cantor by name, they could not remember her "job" title (that was actually very cute).  Interestingly, they think that female lectors and Extraordinary ministers are ''nuns."  They were surprised to hear that "anyone" can distribute Holy Communion.  Even they realize that there is something "extraordinary" about that job.

We used the book A Peek into my Church, which has problems (the congregation bakes its own bread for communion???), but has some good pictures of parts of a church, vestments, etc.  I'll be happy to find a better books, but this will do for now.

Afterwards, I pulled out a Seasonal Missalette, and asked the kids what it was.  Several said it was a bible.  I showed them what it was, and how to use it.  One boy said that his last CCD teacher told him that if he wanted he could bring a chapter book to Mass, and hide it inside the Missalette so no one could tell that he was reading!  I gave him the "Oh, come on!" look.  The other students claimed the same thing.  "And she was really nice.  We had parties all the time!"  OK.  Now I see why things are going so strangely in this class.   How do I compete with parties and sneaky behavior?  All I have is the truth...

Posted by MacBeth at 11:24 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 4 January 2007 7:36 PM EST
Wednesday, 27 December 2006
The Choir, at Christmas
Topic: Choir

Christmas was lovely!  The choir sang so beautifully, and Mass included the Kyrie in Greek and the Agnus Dei in Latin.  The hymns were Adeste Fidelis (processional, in English and Latin), Silent Night (offertory), Once in Royal David's City and Lo How a Rose Ere Blooming (acapella, for Communion), and Joy to the World (recessional).  The kids sang the melody while the cantor sang harmony, and it was just wonderful.

For the most part, the Latin goes over very well.  One person was overheard asking in what language the Agnus Dei was sung, but most of the parish lights up in song when the Latin is used.  Like much of the newer music we are introducing, the folks will get used to the Latin and the loveliness of a reverent Mass.

And, again, the choir kids LOVE to sing in Latin!  They are so funny about it, working on their pronunciation and diction.

Posted by MacBeth at 12:53 PM EST
Sunday, 17 December 2006
Topic: Choir

We have a fledgling children's choir, and the cantor had them sing the refrain to a very fast (and fun) Gaudete in Latin, while she sang the verses.  The pastor, who is reluctant to add any Latin to the Mass :( , was delighted, and the kids LOVED it, singing the refrain as they left the church, headed towards their cars, drove away...Gaudete!!  Children who participate in choir learn so much about the Mass and the liturgical year, too!


Posted by MacBeth at 4:29 PM EST
Thursday, 14 December 2006
A Good Day!
Topic: Saints

The St. Lucy discussion went quite well!  And one student knew St. Lucy was the Saint of the Day!  Maybe it's the eyeball connection, but the boys found her story quite compelling.

The lessons for the day were short, anyway, since the class all had confession.  When they were done, we did a worksheet on the life of Christ--fill in the blanks.  Dull?  Yes, but they could fill in all the answers well from memory.  As this is our last class before Christmas (CCD Mass is next week), the children made Christmas cards for their parents.  

Overall, it was quite a nice session.  We didn't use the book at all ;) !

Posted by MacBeth at 12:32 PM EST

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