Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What should a catechist do when they are absent?






From time to time a catechist must be absent for various reasons. When this happens a substitute must take over your classroom and be able to teach your students.


What should a catechist do when they are absent?

• Follow the procedure for being absent that is written in the catechist handbook that you signed to verify that you understood what your responsibilities are and the rules that you must follow. Contact the appropriate personnel when you find out when you will be absent. The sooner the better to allow the substitute time to make arrangements to come to your class and review your lesson plan.

• Have a complete lesson plan written up.

• Write up the normal procedures you do in the class in the order that you do them (attendance, homework, handouts, dismissal, etc.). Include the daily schedule (times, activity, etc.) accommodations for various students, rules for the classroom, discipline procedures, class reward system, how to communicate with parents, information concerning any special needs students in your classroom, seating chart, emergency information, list of students with behavior problems (give tips and suggestions for behavior), fill in activities (when the students have finished with all their activities and there are a few more minutes until class is over), feedback form, etc.

• Any suggestions or tips that can enhance the learning of the students.

• Create a substitute teacher packet. This can be put in a folder or binder to give to substitutes. (Put the above information in it for the substitute so they can do their job efficiently and effectively.)

pinterest.com- Sub Folder Ideas

scholastic.com- Your Substitute Teacher Folder Checklist

k6educators.about.com- Substitute Folders

teachjunkie.com- How To Create A Sub Plan, Sub Binder, and Emergency Sub Plans

pinterest.com- Substitute Teacher Binder


• Email or deliver the lesson plan and the substitute teacher packet to the DRE and/or substitute as soon as possible. This allows the substitute time to go over all the information and ask any questions if needed. You can also have a copy of the substitute teacher packet in your classroom or give one to the DRE so it can be found easily and given to the substitute.





Monday, June 21, 2010

Classroom Assignment Sheets






An organized student stays current on assignments and will achieve success in CCD. Assignment Sheets help students develop sound organization skills that will teach them a successful lifelong journey through school and CCD.

Parents and students like having assignments written down so they can keep track of them and a good way of doing it is having a Classroom Assignment Sheet. This can be posted in the classroom, on the door, or even emailed to the parents and students. This will help keep students organized and lets parents know whether their child is turning in their homework. You can also give a blank sheet to each student so they can write down when assignments are due to become more independent with their CCD homework assignments.



Here are a few that might come in handy in your classroom.


teachertools.org- Look under Academic for 2 assignment sheet templates.

educationworld.com- Look under Classroom Organizers for various assignment sheets.

timesaversforteachers.com- Homework Record

teachingtoday.glencoe.com- Homework Grade Sheet





Friday, June 18, 2010

Craft Storage Ideas




My dream closet!



I don’t know about you, but my CCD craft supplies are taking over the house. Hubby says I’m hogging the closets and our guest room doesn’t look like a place anyone in their right mind would like to stay. Craft supplies can be big and bulky and can get out of control especially when you have to collect objects to make some of the crafts (example: Welch’s Grape Juice plastic containers, toilet paper rolls, glass jars, etc.). My parish craft supplies are limited so I provide most of my own for my classroom. I also have several samples of crafts to show the students so they will understand what we are making.

So what can we do? We can’t get rid of our craft supplies.



Crafts Storage Ideas:

familycrafts.about.com- Tips for Storing and Organizing Your Craft Supplies

familycrafts.about.com- Top Craft Supply Storage Ideas

goodhousekeeping.com- Easy Organizing: Craft Supplies
(Just click on the slide show and ideas will pop up beside it on the right side.)

thriftyfun.com- Organizing Craft Supplies In A Small Space

giverslog.com- Organizing Kid’s Art and Crafts Supplies

hubpages.com- Organize Craft Supplies! (pictured is the inside of Martha Stewart’s Craft Armoire)

marthastewart.com- Making a Craft Armoire (you can make this in a spare closet or shelves on a wall)

bhg.com- The Perfect Craft Cabinet (you can make this in a spare closet or shelves on a wall)
*Also known as “My Dream Closet”.

homemadesimple.com- Craft Area Storage Tips

containerstore.com- White elfa Crafts Closet



*Time for me to get busy and clean up my craft mess. I’ll be sure to post what I finally come up with.





Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bible Story Dominos (game)



This game is free, however it is only to be used for classroom and personal use. It may not be published on any websites or other electronic media, or distributed in newsletters, bulletins, or any other form or sold for profit.



Bible Story Dominos: Help your child's Bible knowledge with this game that requires players to match Bible story pictures. No reading required.



4 pages of dominos




Directions- Shuffle/mix up dominos and place them all face down on the table in one pile.

For a two player game, each player should draw 4 dominos at random, for a game with more players; each player should draw 3 dominos. Do not let the other players see your dominos.

The youngest player should go first by laying any domino on the table. In the typical game you'd lay a double (one with the same image in both squares, but I find it a tough rule to explain to the little ones and usually results in my having to look at their cards).

Player two tries to lay a domino on the table with an image that matches either end of the domino. If the player cannot go, they pick a domino from the pile and miss their turn. The next player may try to match the first domino image or try to match the end of the second domino image. Only one domino may be played per turn. Should the last domino be drawn with no play possible, the player passes and tries again on his/her next turn.

Play continues until one player has used all his dominos or until no one can play. The player with no dominos or with the least number of remaining dominos wins.


Dominos- Print out on card stock and trim. Laminate or cover with clear contact paper to make them last.





Monday, June 14, 2010

Pro Life: Look Who's Growing Dominos (game)



This game is free, however it is only to be used for classroom and personal use. It may not be published on any websites or other electronic media, or distributed in newsletters, bulletins, or any other form or sold for profit. Reproduction or retransmission of any materials, in whole or in part, in any manner, is not permitted.



Look Who’s Growing Dominos: A fun way to educate young students that babies grow into adults to help promote Pro Life.

Introduce the game by discussing how babies grow after they are born. Example: What happens to babies after they are born? Do they stay the same size? Do they become bigger? How big do they grow? What do children become when they get older? What do they look like? What do you call someone who is all grown up? Etc.




4 pages of dominos




Directions- Shuffle/mix up dominos and place them all face down on the table in one pile.

For a two player game, each player should draw 4 dominos at random, for a game with more players; each player should draw 3 dominos. Do not let the other players see your dominos.

The youngest player should go first by laying any domino on the table. In the typical game you'd lay a double (one with the same image in both squares, but I find it a tough rule to explain to the little ones and usually results in my having to look at their cards).

Player two tries to lay a domino on the table with an image that matches either end of the domino. If the player cannot go, they pick a domino from the pile and miss their turn. The next player may try to match the first domino image or try to match the end of the second domino image. Only one domino may be played per turn. Should the last domino be drawn with no play possible, the player passes and tries again on his/her next turn.

Play continues until one player has used all his dominos or until no one can play. The player with no dominos or with the least number of remaining dominos wins.


Dominos- Print out on card stock and trim. Laminate or cover with clear contact paper to make them last.





Thursday, June 10, 2010

Silent Monks Singing Halleluia








CCD Open House





Before CCD starts it is a good idea to have an Open House. Why is that important? Nothing is better than starting CCD off on the right foot and the best way to do that is to have an Open House prior to classes starting. Having a CCD Open House allows parents and students to meet the catechists, pick up class information, tour the classrooms, and ask questions. This gives the catechist a chance to greet each family individually and to collect requested items and information. By having a CCD Open House it will alleviate any worries and questions parents may have and it will give the family reassurance and encouragement of what the CCD program is all about. Students and parents will understandably feel more confident when they know exactly where they are going and what to expect the first day, and everyone will be reassured enough to get a good night’s sleep before CCD starts.

*We have a parent meeting at our church prior to the start of the CCD Open House in the Fellowship Hall. This allows parents to meet the DRE and it gives our priest and DRE the opportunity to express how much parent involvement is needed for their child’s faith education and to answer any questions that they may have. The CCD Open House is right after the meeting so that the parents and children can meet the catechist, see the classroom, and find out what they will be doing for the year. After the Open House we have a Church Potluck luncheon in the Fellowship Hall for everyone who would like to come.

Print out flyers letting parents know when and where the Open House will be and other information that parents will find pertinent. Have the flyer be colorful and enticing to grab anyone’s attention and make them want to come to this wonderful event. Be sure to have the church, priest, and Religious Program Director’s names on the flyer and the contact phone number if they have any questions. Put the flyers in the church bulletin; post them in various places around the church, the church website, advertize in the local paper, etc. way in advance so parents can make arrangements to come.

Meeting parents can be quite daunting, but if you remember to be yourself, it will make it a whole lot easier. The parents are nervous too and want to make a good impression as well. Maybe the following ideas will help keep the jitters at bay and allow you to have a great CCD Open House.


What should the catechist do during Open House?

Welcome everyone that comes into your class during Open House. Smile, introduce yourself, and give parents an introductory letter. The catechist can provide the parents at the CCD Open House with information of what is expected in the classroom and what the children will be doing during the year. They can also inform parents of the expectations and rules of the class that will help in making the classroom productive, creative, and enjoyable year for all.



What should the catechist provide to the parents during Open House?

• Welcome parents to the open house and tell them how pleased you are to meet them.

• The CCD program’s discipline policy, including procedures regarding absence and tardiness.

• Describe the goals you hope to accomplish this year.

• The timing of report cards and progress reports.

• Emergency procedures for bad weather and other events.

• Go over class rules.

• Classroom attendance and tardiness guidelines. Make-up work policy.

• Classroom grading policy.

• Amount of homework and homework policy.

• Policy for addressing academic and behavioral problems.

• Provide a calendar of the CCD schedule (days and times CCD meets), upcoming events, such as class field trips and future parent-teacher meetings, etc. and the policies concerning them.

• Give detailed information how parents can get involved in their child’s faith education and how they can volunteer at CCD. Provide Volunteer Sign Up Sheets for parents interested in helping at CCD. Have a Class Contact List for the parents to fill out to obtain information that can help aid the catechist in better understanding their child and how to contact them.

• Answer questions from parents and students.

• Provide copies of all information to give to parents.

• Have the classroom prepared and set up like it is a normal day in CCD. Students and parent enjoy seeing what the classroom will be like and it will also disperse any apprehension.

• Introduce the curriculum that will be used in the classroom and the supplemental activities that will enhance the lessons so the parents and students will be familiar with them and know what to expect. Show the students and parents some activities, crafts, games, etc. that will be done during the year in class. This is a great way to introduce how you make the aspects of what you teach more concrete and easier for the students to understand and how much fun they will have in CCD as well. Place these items on a large table to allow students and parents time to look through them at their own convenience.

• Be sure to thank the families for coming during the Open House. I would also send a thank you note to the families ASAP after the Open House. A card or email will reinforce communication and how much you as a catechist appreciate the parents enthusiasm for promoting their child’s faith education.



Other Ideas:


Marilyn Western has a few creative ideas for Open House that are fun and educational too: You can put together a formal program or you could have a simple "Scavenger Hunt" in which the child and family can become familiar with his/her new room (parents can read the items to pre-readers). Make a list of items that are easily located in the room that will be useful for the students to know where they are (clock, bathroom, Kleenex, bulletin board, chalk board, cubbies, Prayer Chart, Homework Chart, their desk with their name on it, etc.) Include yourself as the last item to be found. This gives you an opportunity to talk once again with your new student. This is also a great time to take a photo of the student with their family (this really helps put a name to a face later at conferences).

• Marilyn also has a great idea for helping children recognize their teacher: With primary children, it's also helpful to wear something bright at Open House. If you wear the same outfit for the first day of CCD, younger children will be able to easily recognize you on the playground, or at the door, or wherever you collect your group.




*Problems can and do arise during Open House, but here are a few suggestions that might come in handy:

brighthub.com- Problems & Solutions for Middle School Open Houses (these are great ideas that can used for CCD as well)




Are you having a CCD Open House prior to classes starting?





Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Catechist Handbook





It is a good idea to have a Catechist Handbook to acquaint volunteer catechists with the policies and procedures in the Religious Formation Program. The Catechist Handbook will clearly define what the responsibilities are for the catechist and the procedures that they are to follow.



Examples:

davenportdiocese.net- Catechist Handbook



A Catechist Handbook may consist of:


Mission Statement- Is a brief description of the overall purpose of the CCD program.


Goals- How the CCD program will accomplish and improve student performance.


Qualities of Catechists- What character traits the catechist should have.


Job Description- Responsibilities, Length of Commitment, Who you are accountable to, etc.


Code of Conduct- A code of professional conduct is a necessary component to any profession to maintain standards for the individuals within that profession to adhere. It brings about accountability, responsibility and trust to the individuals that the profession serves.

Example:

Code of Pastoral Conduct for Priests, Deacons, Pastoral Ministers, Administrators, Staff, and Volunteers- (page 13 for Volunteer’s Code of Conduct)



Absenteeism- Procedures to follow when catechists are going to be absent.


Classroom Policies & Procedures- Admission, Arrival/Dismissal, Attendance, Class Assignment, Child Care, Class Location, Class Size, Class Structure & Management, Classroom Use, Communication, Confirmation, Curriculum, Discipline, Dress Code, Early Dismissal, Emergency Procedures, Field Trips, First Communion, First Reconciliation/Penance, Food & Drinks, Grading, Homework, Inclement Weather, Inservice Training, Lesson Planning, Lost Books, Meetings, Participation at Sunday Mass, Records & Privacy, Registration, Report Cards/Progress Reports, Resources/Equipment/Supplies, RCIA for Children, Sacramental Preparation, Safety, Set Up/Clean Up, Student Supervision, Students with Special Needs, Tardiness, Tests, Visitors, Miscellaneous Forms/Lists, etc.



*In the back of the handbook, on a separate piece of paper that is to be given to the DRE:

Signature of Catechist and Date- I have received and reviewed the Catechist Handbook and the Parent/Student Handbook for the Religious Education Program. I understand the policies, rules and regulations stated therein and agree to abide by them.



*What else could be in the Catechist Handbook? Please leave a comment and add to the list.





Monday, June 7, 2010

CCD Volunteer Form





Before a person can volunteer to help in the religious education at your parish, they must fill out and sign a Volunteer Form. By having prospective volunteers fill out this form it will let them know what help is needed and what the responsibilities are for that particular job. It can also inform them what is required to be able volunteer at the parish.

*Some parishes require each family to participate in one of the activities listed below.


Suggestions of what can be included in your volunteer form:


It has been a long tradition at __________ that our parish family has offered their time and talents. It is through caring, sharing, and praying, that our community has grown in love and support of one another. The CCD Program could not exist if it were not for the efforts of our volunteers. In response to this need, we ask you to volunteer.


PLEASE NOTE: ALL volunteers must have the following two requirements done prior to the start of CCD: (Please check box next to statement if already completed.)

• Background check & fingerprinting
• Training Seminar- guidelines, policies, curriculum, lesson plans, discipline/classroom management, preparation, report cards/progress reports, etc. (for catechists, co-catechists, substitute catechist, aide, and special needs teacher, aide or companion)


Extra Information:

• Catechist Certification (attach copy of certification)
• Previous teaching experience (attach information of previous teaching experience)



Please check what you are interested in.

Catechist- You agree to teach once a week from (date) to (date). You will plan & teach weekly classes, attend catechist in-services and meetings as assigned by the DRE. You will be trained and provided with opportunities for personal Spiritual growth. There will be 2 teachers in a classroom unless you prefer to teach alone.

Do you want your child placed in your class?

Grade Preference- (also include day and time)

Who you like to teach with-


Co-Catechist- You agree to teach once a week from (date) to (date). You will assist the lead teacher in weekly planning & teaching, fill the lead role as necessary, attend catechist in services and meetings as assigned by the DRE.


Substitute Catechist- Fill in for Teachers or Aides when needed. Scheduled to be in office at least once per month.


Aide- Assist the catechist in the classroom as needed; possibly fill in as lead teacher if able.


Grade Level Coordinator- As members of the Religious Education Advisory Board, these coordinators represent their grade level and conduct sessions at staff meetings.


Special Needs Teacher, Aide or Companion- (Circle one.) To teach or help with students with special needs.


Activity Coordinator- Plan & attend large group activities 3-4 times per year. (Specify activities.)


Librarian- The librarian will check-in and checkout books from the library (days and time library opened). The librarian will also shelve books and keep track of our resources. Scheduled at least once per month.


Web Site Programmer- Periodically the CCD section of the parish web site needs to be updated. Basic knowledge of HTML programming and a willingness to collaborate with the Web Team are necessary.


Hall Monitor- Help provide security in the building while classes are in session. Scheduled at least once per month.


Child Care- Help watch the teacher’s children during class in the Child Care Room (days and times Child Care Room is open). Scheduled at least once per month.


Clerical Help- Provide clerical help in the Religious Ed office while your child is in class. Scheduled at least once per month.

Refreshment Committee- Provide refreshments for various meetings or celebrations of the Religious Education Program.


Parking Lot Director- Help direct cars during CCD pick-up and drop off. Scheduled at least once per month.


Please Note: If you are volunteering during CCD classes your children can receive babysitting by the Religious Ed Child Care.

Contact Information- Name, address, phone (home, cell, work, etc.), e-mail, etc.

Signature- to verify you understand the above and that the information you provided is correct.


*What else could be in the CCD Volunteer Form? Please leave a comment and add to the list.





Sunday, June 6, 2010

CCD Registration Form






Before a student can attend CCD, the parents must fill out a registration form. The form differs from parish to parish, but most are relatively the same. Each year a new registration form needs be filled out by the parent to keep it up to date.

*NOTE- Having a registration form for each student (one form per child) makes is easier for the DRE and the office to keep records for each child.



Each registration form is usually on one or two pages and may consist of:


General Information- Student’s name, sex, birth date, age, address where they live and who they live with, parent’s name and address, religion, phone numbers (cell, home, work, emergency, etc.), e-mail, etc.


Medical- Any medical information that the program should be aware of (food allergies, taking medication, medical needs, etc.)


Child’s Physician- Name of physician and contact information.


Special Needs- Does the student have special needs? (Physical, Learning Disability, etc.)


Sacraments Received- Chart of the sacraments received: (Baptized, First Penance/Reconciliation, First Communion, Confirmation). The chart should include: Sacrament, Year, Church, City/State, Copy of Certificate Attached. Having this in a chart makes it easier for the DRE to see what the child has completed and what needs to be done.





Choice of Day/Time Preference of CCD- Class assignments are usually made on a first-come, first-placed basis in regards to the first choice of sessions. When to register for CCD classes depends upon the parish. Catechists, aides, and volunteers may have the opportunity to register their children during a pre-registration period in the spring. Following pre-registration, those families with children currently enrolled in the program may receive an application for registration. All completed applications usually need to be hand delivered or mailed to the Religious Education Office and include payment in full before they can be accepted.


Fee- If the parish has a fee for CCD, full payment is usually required before the child is accepted and assigned a class. The fee can be $15 - $75 for one child and can reach up to $150. Additional children from one family are charged a lesser fee usually according to how many children they have. Sacramental classes are sometimes an added expense and charge an extra $25 to $50, sometimes more. Catechists usually can register early and their children can sometimes go free. In some parishes by registering early, families can receive a discount. Financial Aid may be offered for those families that can demonstrate a true need. Decisions regarding financial aid are typically made by the DRE in consultation with the priest.


Concerns of Parent(s)- medical, educational, etc.


Emergency Medical Release Statement - Parents are sometimes required to sign an emergency medical release statement: As a parent and/or guardian, I do herewith authorize the treatment by a qualified and licensed medical doctor of the following minor in the event of a medical emergency which, in the opinion of the attending physician, may endanger his or her life, cause disfigurement, physical impairment or undue discomfort if delayed. This authority is granted only after a reasonable effort has been made to reach me.


Picture/Name Permission- Parents can choose whether or not they give the religious education program permission to take pictures and use the name of their child.


CCD Program Parent/Student Handbook- Before your child can attend CCD the CCD Program Parent/Student Handbook must be read, signed, and dated by the parent(s) and the child.


Signature of Parent(s) and Date- By signing this it verifies that I understand the information in the registration form and that the above information that I provided is correct.



*What else could be in the CCD Registration Form? Please leave a comment and add to the list.





Friday, June 4, 2010

CCD Program Parent/Student Handbook





To establish what the responsibilities are for the CCD student and the parent(s) it is a good idea to have a CCD Program Parent/Student Handbook. The handbook can specify the rules and regulations that the students and parent(s) must follow so there will be no misunderstandings. Having a handbook allows the CCD program to run smoothly and without any problems. It can also inform how the CCD program plans to educate your child and answer many questions that the parents might have.


Examples:

st.johntheevangelist.org- St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church Religious Education Handbook 2009 - 2010

stpartickshm.org- Parent Handbook St. Patrick’s Religious Education Handbook

stfanciscathedral.org- Parent Handbook





A CCD Program Parent/Student Handbook may consist of:


Mission Statement- Is a brief description of the overall purpose of the CCD program.


Philosophy- Why the CCD program exists, how the program will meet the needs of the students, the objectives, methods, and the results of the CCD program.


Statement of Goals- How the CCD program will accomplish and improve student performance.


Contact Information/Telephone Numbers- Office, DRE, etc. and their hours.


CCD Class Schedule- Days and times of all student classes, schedule of CCD classes for the year, etc.


Curriculum- What curriculum the CCD program uses and for what grades/classes.


Policies- Admission, Arrival/Dismissal, Attendance, Class Assignment, Class Size, Communications w/ Parents & Catechists, Confirmation, Discipline, Dress Code, Early Dismissal, Emergency Procedures, Field Trips, First Communion, First Reconciliation/Penance, Food & Drinks, Grading, Homework, Inclement Weather, Lost Book, Participation at Sunday Mass, Records & Privacy, Registration, Report Cards/Progress Reports, RCIA for Children, Sacramental Preparation, Students with Special Needs, Tardiness, Tests, Visitors, etc.



*In the back of the handbook, on a separate piece of paper that is to be given to the DRE:


Before your child can attend the CCD program this must be signed and dated by the parent(s) and child and returned to the DRE.

Signature of Parent(s) and child with date- I have read the information contained in the CCD Parent/Student Handbook and I agree to abide by its contents.





*What else could be in the CCD Program Parent/Student Handbook? Please leave a comment and add to the list.






Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Time To Think






Since CCD is over for most it is time to think of what will be needed for the next school year. What will you be doing? What will you need? What worked, what didn’t? Did you learn from your mistakes? These questions and more will inundate the catechist the next few weeks. Before you know it, classes will be starting again and you need to be prepared.

This overwhelming task can be examined and planning should be done way before so you can be ready and prepared.


• Get a whole calendar year from your DRE as soon as possible or make a preliminary one.

• Write down what you hope to accomplish and do for the year. Example

• Make sure each lesson can build off the previous one and lay the foundation for the next.

Prepare your lessons. Having a well planned and prepared CCD class is essential. Without this your students cannot learn to their fullest potential. A well planned and prepared lesson plan will also help to avoid possible behavior problems that could arise in your class as well. Later on be sure to write up more detailed lesson plans and include what is essential to be an effective teacher.

Organize your materials. Knowing where your activities are and keeping them organized is critical for a CCD teacher. Having all of the materials you need for each particular lesson in a well organize and an accessible place makes it easier for you to find it quickly so you can use it with your students within a moments notice. This will also cut down stressful times for you while you look for a certain activity and allow you to plan your lesson the way you want it to be.

• Write up an introductory letter to the parents. It is a great idea to take the opportunity to introduce yourself by welcoming the child and the parents in a letter the first day of CCD. It provides the parents with information of what is expected in the classroom and what the children will be doing during the year. It can also inform parents of the expectations and rules of the class that will help in making the classroom productive, creative, and enjoyable year for all (this can be a separate page that parents must sign and return to you). Teachers can also ask if parents are interested in volunteering and for any information that can help aid them in better understanding their child and their needs.

• Have classroom rules. Having a well behaved classroom is critical for proper learning. For the students to learn to their fullest potential they need an environment that is quiet, without distractions, and organized. Catechists must also keep disruptive behavior down to the minimum. If your church does not have classroom rules you need to write up some for your class and have them approved by the DRE. Be sure to have classroom behavior expectations for your class before CCD starts.

• Find out if you will be having any special needs students in your classroom. When a special needs child is assigned to your classroom, be sure to gather information from the parents about their child before they come to class to help with the transition of their child into the classroom. A training session should be planned and conducted before the special needs student starts CCD to focus on identifying supports the student needs and how to implement them.

Prepare your classroom to enhance your student’s learning.