Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What do students like to do in CCD?





What to do with the students in your CCD classroom depends upon their age. Coming up with activities that excite your students and invites them to learn about our faith can sometimes be overwhelming. Keeping students involved and engaged in activities that have them moving, working in groups, and discovering information for themselves allows students to become excited about their learning and they are motivated to come to class. Having engaging and fun activities for your students to do each week can also keep absenteeism down to a minimum. The students will know they will do something fun in the class and want to be there.

The key to being a good catechist is to have your students anticipate activities that are fun and challenging so they will want to come to CCD each and every week. A good way to accomplish this is before you dismiss your students give them a little teaser of what they will do in class next week. Make it sound fun and exciting.

Example: “Why do problems come into our lives? People face problems each and every day. Some are harder than others. There are many choices that the person can have to solve his/her problem, but which one is the best? Next week we will play a game to see if you can choose the right thing to do.”



So what do students like to do in CCD?


All Students
How To Review Material- You just completed a chapter with your class and you need to review it to make sure your students understand it and/or get them ready for a test. What should you do? How can you make it interesting and fun and the students will learn? Try to incorporate a game to review the material in your classroom.


Pre K – K students like singing and doing finger plays, coloring, making simple crafts, and playing games. The more movement the better so that the catechist can burn up some of their never ending pent up energy. Changing activities about every 15 minutes is also a good idea since their attention spans are extremely short. Interest Centers are important for any Preschool or Kindergarten classroom. These center activities: Art, Block, Book, Creation, Home Living, Manipulative, etc. gives the students a chance to “Learn by Doing”.

Having a God’s Helping Hands Chart encourages teamwork and self-esteem as students take responsibility for their classroom. This also builds community and dependability and it could also get the children to help more around the house as well. By assigning students various tasks to do will keep them busy and they will not get bored. It will also cut down on behavior problems because they will be moving and not sitting so much.


Pre K – K lesson plans- with: Objectives, Word Wall, Bible Story with questions, Songs and/or Finger Plays, Activities, Crafts, Games, Snacks, Coloring/Puzzles

hubbardscupboard.org- lessons for ages 2 - 6

dltk-bible.com- Old and New Testament lesson for preschool posted. Lessons include memory verse, teacher's guide, puzzles, take home sheet, coloring pages, crafts and activities, etc.

clclutheran.org- lessons for preschool (click on Lessons on the left side and then click on Old or New Testament Lessons)

missionarlington.org- Sort by Scripture. Each lesson has a preschool lesson

sermons4kids.com- Index of Coloring Pages

The Catholic Toolbox- FREE Religious Coloring Pages

walzingm.com- saint coloring sheets. You can find all of her coloring pages listed up at the top of her blog by clicking on the tab called Coloring Pages.

paperdali.blogspot.com- Paper Dali has tons of free printables for your nonprofit, personal use.

Bible Story Mini Books- Bible Story Mini Books are a great way to review a Bible story or concept with young students. Here are some online for free to print out for the students to take home. Students can read these to their parents or the parents can read them to their child.

FREE One Page Printable Bible Stories- Short on paper and need some printable Bible stories? You can print these out in color or black and white, whichever you prefer. Great for review and for your children to read.

Interactive Crafts for Bible Stories- Children love to make interactive crafts for Bible stories. It makes the Bible story come alive and they can reenact the story over and over again.



Bible Wheels To Make and Enjoy by Carmen Sorvillo- Bible Wheels are Bible stories on wheels that help reinforce Bible stories. Children ages 4 to 7 can make the Bible Wheels easily by cutting them out, coloring, and assembling. Each wheel is made from two reproducible patterns that you can print out on cardstock and are secured with a brass fastener. A window in the wheel reveals what happens in the Bible story and the children can turn the wheel dial to retell the Bible story they just learned over and over again. Bible Wheels are a great way to supplement your Bible stories and help your students to remember the lesson. Children are fascinated by how they work and the Bible Wheels in this book will surely keep the children’s attention and spark their imagination. The book contains 30 (14 Old and 16 New Testament) Bible Wheels that have limited text with the title of the story, the Bible reference and pictures telling the Bible story on each one. Cutting is simple but for younger students you might want to cut out all or some of the craft prior to class. Bible Wheels are a great take home activity for children to do with their parents and they are an excellent way to help the children remember the Bible story.

Click here to see some of the book then click on Excerpt.






Elementary age students enjoy crafts, games, and creative puzzles such as hidden pictures, word shape, word jumble decoder, spiral, etc. Usually boys at this age absolutely despise coloring and as soon as you whip out a coloring sheet for them to do, discipline problems immediately erupt. Students at this age like object lessons and activities that involve movement and learning. Nothing is more fun than doing activities that use all the students’ senses and challenges them.

Play a game that reviews previously learned material. These activities make the Bible stories and aspects of the Catholic Church more concrete and easier for the students to understand and also a lot of fun.

Lesson Plans for 1st Grade On Up- with: Objectives, Review, Vocabulary Words, Bible Story with questions, Activities, Crafts, Games, Snacks, Puzzles/Mazes/Worksheets

dltk-bible.com- Old and New Testament lesson for preschool through 3rd grade. Lessons include memory verse, teacher's guide, puzzles, take home sheet, coloring pages, crafts and activities, etc.

clclutheran.org- lessons for 1st through 8th grade (click on Lessons on the left side and then click on Old or New Testament Lessons)

missionarlington.org- Sort lessons by Scripture

sermons4kids.com- find various kinds of puzzles for your students to do that are posted in alphabetical order

sermons4kids.com- Click on Sermon Index to find the subject or sermon you want. Tons of object lessons for you to choose from.

Bible Story Mini Books- Bible Story Mini Books are a great way to review a Bible story or concept with young students. Here are some online for free to print out for the students to take home. Give these to your students every week so they can read these to their parents.

FREE One Page Printable Bible Stories- Short on paper and need some printable Bible stories? You can print these out in color or black and white, whichever you prefer. Great for review and for your children to read.

catholicicing.com- Embrace your amazing Catholic Culture by "icing" your Catholic Cake with all of these yummy "extras"! This is a place to find Catholic Arts and Crafts, Fun Food, Feast Day Celebration ideas, and much, much more!

thereligionteacher.com- Scroll down for: Feast of the Epiphany in the Modern Day- Lesson Plan Activities, Catholic Thanksgiving Day Lesson Plans on the Eucharist as “Thanksgiving”, Teaching the Mysteries of the Rosary to Elementary Students, etc.



Hidden Pictures Explore Hidden Treasures in God’s Word: Grade 1 - 3 (Fun Faith-Builders) by Linda Standke- Children will absolutely love the fun and creative Bible story based hidden picture puzzles in this book! My students are just wild about hidden picture puzzles and ask for them every week at CCD. The students start these puzzles by looking up the scripture reference to answer the question about each story. Then they find and circle the story related items hidden in the picture. Each puzzle has a list of 8 items to find. To make it easier for the students, drawings of the 8 items are next to each word and these look exactly like the ones in the puzzle. The book has 27 (13 Old and 14 New Testament) hidden picture puzzles and also an answer key for each. These hidden puzzles are a fantastic fill in activity for CCD or great to do just before the parents come to pick up their children.

Click here to see some of the book then click on Sample.





The Encyclopedia Of Bible Games For Children's Ministry by Group Publishing- This book is a collection of 175 creative and entertaining games that will add fun and enhance your lessons for your class, vacation Bible school, retreats, etc. The games get students involved and allows them to learn through activities that will help reinforce Bible stories or various Bible subjects. The activities are broken down into 9 categories: Bible Story Games (75), Jesus Is… Games (10) that connect your students to Christ, The Bible Is… Games (10) to teach the truths, Holiday Games (10), Wild ‘n’ Wacky Games (10) to get your students up and moving, Total Silence Games (10), Travel Games (10) to try when you are going from here to there, Icebreaker Games (20), and Group Builder Games (20). Each game specifies the scripture, the Bible theme, energy level with complete directions, supply list, what to say, and post game discussions. All supplies that are needed for each game are found easily around the home or church. You can also search the indexes by type of game, Bible point or passage, and energy level. The games can be easily adapted for all ages, class size, indoor or outdoor, etc. and a suggestion page is in the book to help you with any situation so all children can enjoy playing the games. This is must have in any youth ministry!

Limited preview- To see some of the book.






Older students enjoy discussions and a variety of activities that lets them manipulate the information physically and mentally. They like breaking off into small groups to work together for a common goal and present it later to the class. Group projects are a hit as well as field trips to places they have previously studied about. They also like playing games that involves the whole class reviewing previously learned material that is fun and educational too.

thereligionteacher.com- How To Get Students To Participate In Class Discussions

Catholic Lesson Plans For Teens- FREE Catholic lesson plans for small group study or classroom covering a variety of issues for today's teens.

Play a game show that quizzes your students about the subject. Make it fun and exciting by using a game that is created on PowerPoint. Download the template and modify the game to fit your curriculum needs.

Play a game that reviews previously learned material. These activities make the Bible stories and aspects of the Catholic Church more concrete and easier for the students to understand and also a lot of fun. (There are several games posted here that can be used for older students.)



Faith Facts for Young Catholics: Drills, Games and Activities for Middle School Students by Kieran Sawyer- This is an incredible activity book of drills, games and activities for middle school students that all will enjoy. The 25 activities include: Sacraments, Ten Commandments, Parts of the Mass, Review Games, Seven Gifts, Scriptures, Gospel Trivia, etc. There are pages and pages of review cards, key word cards, flash cards, Gospel trivia cards, Scripture passage cards, etc. to go with all the activities in the book with answers included. Teachers need to from time to time supplement their curriculum with activities to help teach their students and review material and by using the creative activities in this book it will help enhance the lessons and allow the students to understand more and have a lot of fun in the process. The games will also be great in a variety of religious education settings such as religion class in school, CCD, youth group meetings and youth retreats. (*This book is spiral bound to make copying easier.)



What do your students like to do in CCD class?





Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Catechist Training



Most dioceses and/or parishes require some kind of catechist training before they can teach a class each year. By providing assistance and training to all catechists before CCD starts it will prepare the catechist so they can be an effective teacher. Certified catechist should also participate in the training because no catechist can know everything and they could also benefit from new ideas and activities. The veteran catechist can also be informed of new CCD policies and rules that have been introduced as well as any other pertinent information regarding CCD.


Suggestions of what can be in the catechist training:


Guidelines for Catechists- Explain fully the guidelines for the catechist so they will know what they are supposed to do and when. This will help the catechist know what they should do for class management and how to handle certain situations and challenges with students and parents. Catechist should also know and understand what the appropriate behavior of a catechist is and how to address a variety of circumstances that, if not appropriately addressed, may create a risk of incidents, allegations, claims and/or lawsuits.

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.


CCD Policies- Review and explain the CCD Policies that are in the Parent/Student Handbook so the catechist will know what they are and what the parent and student must follow so there will be no misunderstandings. This will allow CCD to be able to run smoothly and without any problems.


Know Your Curriculum- To ensure consistent progress and development the catechist must read, study, and learn the curriculum. A good lesson depends on how well the catechist understands the material. Providing essential information about the curriculum will help the catechists build their lessons on a strong foundation. The training should provide a concise overview of the curriculum and how to use it properly so the catechist will know what to do.


Tips For Planning and Preparing 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. The catechist must write detailed lesson plans and include what is essential to be an effective teacher.

Select what activities you will be doing with your students. Find various activities (crafts, worksheets, games, coloring sheets, puzzles, etc.) that go with your lesson. Review the objectives of your lesson to determine if the activity is appropriate for your students. Remember that the activities must relate to the lesson. Only do crafts, games, and activities that emphasize the lesson and the objectives of what you want your students to learn. These activities make your lessons more concrete and easier for the students to understand and also a lot of fun. Keeping the students busy with relevant activities also helps eliminate discipline problems that might erupt due to the students being bored.

Adjust lesson plan to your students. Be sure to take into account that every year each group of students is different and can learn differently than previous classes. What activities worked one year might not work this year. Take into account the unique needs of your students or how they learn best to make your lesson as effective as possible. Example: If your students learn better when they are in small groups, make sure you have an activity planned for your students to break into a small group and work together.

Have alternative activities. Sometimes what you have planned for the class does not work out so have alternative activities to accomplish your objectives for the lesson.

Have extra activities. Sometimes what you have planned takes less time than expected. Be sure to have other activities to fill in if you have extra time in your lesson.


Discipline- 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. Discipline procedures must be fully discussed as well as classroom rules. Tips and suggestions on how to keep disruptive behavior down to a minimum should also be examined.


How to Access Student Progress- Since students learn in different ways, they must be tested in different ways to find out if they have learned the information taught in class. Assessment must include a variety of methods that will enable the catechist to determine how successfully your students are learning to live out their faith in their daily lives and in communion with the Church.


Be Prepared- Make sure you have enough materials for all students. Have enough books, pencils, craft supplies, worksheets, puzzles, etc. for each student. Have a few extra for any new students or if they bring a friend to class.

Have materials and classroom ready before class. Make sure you arrive early to set up your classroom and to make sure all the materials and equipment you need are there, easy to access, and ready to go.


Report Cards/Progress Reports- They are usually based on attendance, work, behavior and attitude. They allow the parents and student to know how well he/she understands the material being taught in class. If your CCD program has report cards/progress reports this must be explain fully so the catechist will understand how and when to do them.


Absenteeism- When a catechist needs to be absent you 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.


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





Books & Recordings for Catechists:




The Catechist’s Toolbox by Joe Paprocki- is an invaluable tool for catechists to use so that their students can learn to their fullest potential. The book allows the reader to dig deeper into the understanding of what makes a good catechist and what they should do.

Limited preview



Joe Paprocki has also provided recordings (videos on youtube.com) of The Catechist Toolbox Webinar that are quite informative. The recordings revolve around the theme of Getting Started as a Catechist. These Webinars, hosted by Joe Paprocki, will provide catechists, both those who are new and those who'd like to refresh their skills, with an introduction to the basic tools needed to effectively engage young people in faith formation. These videos are one part of a two week event. The videos are divided into chapters for easy viewing.


Part 1 Recording

Joe covers topics such as:

• Your Role as a Catechist
• Lesson Planning and Preparation
• Choosing Learning Activities
• Preparing the Learning Environment


Part 2 Recording

Joe covers topics such as:

• Leading Reflective Prayer
• Discipline
• Polishing Your Technique
• 10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Become a More Effective Catechist