Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Watercolor Bookshelf Printable


Ever since I started writing Katie Reads posts, I've been challenge to read more and to read wider.  I'm so glad for all the book recommendations and conversations that those posts have created, as well as the accountability to make time for reading.

On a lazy summer day a couple months ago, my sister and I broke out her watercolors during nap time, and on a whim I made this cute little bookshelf.   Before I taped it in my new planner, (fyi, The Catholic Planner, which I love!) I scanned it so I could print and use it again... and so I could share it with you!  I've already added the books that I've read in 2017, and plan to keep writing them in.  We'll see how full I can get the shelves, and then I probably will print a new one and keep track of what I read in 2018.  Considering I've been a list maker and book hoarder my whole life, I can't believe it took me this long to start making book lists.

If you'd like to use this watercolor bookshelf for you or your students, I have it available in two sizes below.  This little printable would be a fun addition to your planner or bullet journal, or would work great for a middle schooler's notebooking project.

Click here to print the large (full page) bookshelf:
 Click here to print the small (two per page) watercolor bookshelves:
Happy Reading!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Our 100 Year Old Family Baptismal Gown




Father, you give us grace through sacramental signs,
which tell us of the wonders of your unseen power.
In baptism we use your gift of water,
which you have made a rich symbol of the grace
you give us in this sacrament.
At the very dawn of creation 
your Spirit breathed on the waters,
making them the wellspring of all holiness.
The waters of the great flood
you made a sign of the waters of baptism,
that make an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness.
Through the waters of the Red Sea
you led Israel out of slavery,
to be an image of God’s holy people,
set free from sin by baptism.
In the waters of the Jordan
your Son was baptized by John
and anointed with the Spirit.
Your Son willed that water and blood
should flow from his side as he hung upon the cross.
After his resurrection he told his disciples:
“Go out and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Father,
look now with love upon your Church,
and unseal for her the fountain of baptism.
By the power of the Spirit
give to the water of this font the grace of your Son
so that in the sacrament of baptism 
all those whom you have created in your likeness
may be cleansed from sin
and rise to a new birth of innocence by water and the Holy Spirit.
(Blessing of water from the Baptismal Rite)


Thirty-two years ago on August 11th, my parents and godparents brought  me to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church to the waters of Baptism.  So many things were special about that day when I was welcomed into the Church and washed clean of Original Sin, but probably the most memorable was the Baptismal Gown that I wore.

It is a family heirloom that now is at least 100 years old.  This Baptismal Gown has been passed down through the generations, but there isn't a good "record" or set of pictures to preserve exactly who has worn it.  We know it was worn by my grandfather in 1917, my dad and his siblings in 1946-1953, and my sisters and I in 1985-1990.

Last summer, it was worn by my adorable nephew, making him the fourth generation to wear the same baptismal garment.

As we prepared for his Baptism, there was a lot of talk among the family about who had actually worn the gown.  My grandparents have passed away, but one of my aunts thought that the gown might actually be older and worn by more people.  I scoured family photographs, but with no one left to ask, we can only be assured of the people we already knew.   

My sister came up with a brilliant idea to change that for the future.  She asked if we could embroider the names of those baptized in the gown in white along the bottom of the garment.  We checked with other family members and everyone loved the idea, so I sat down and in tiny white cursive, added stitching with each name and year that we know the gown was worn.  

The gown already had rows of embroidery along the bottom, so I just followed the rows and added in each generation starting with my grandfather and ending with my nephew.  Up close, you can read the information, but from a distance or in actual pictures when a baby is wearing the gown, it just blends in with the other rows of embroidery.

As a history lover, a genealogy nerd, and daughter of the Church, I love that we not only have this heirloom but have also preserved the story of what it means to my family.  There is plenty of room for more names, so I look forward to adding many more babies as our family grows.

Does your family have a special Baptismal Gown?  Or a tradition about each Baptismal garment?  I have heard of gowns being made from wedding dresses, using a new garment for each child so they can keep it in their family when they are grown, or gowns like ours being passed down through generations.  What is your Baptismal Gown story?  I'd love to hear more about how other families mark the reception of this first Sacrament.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sweeter Than Honey Decoration Ideas

It's not every teachers' favorite part of back-to-school, but I really do love decorating my classroom and hallways to make them a welcoming and fun place to learn.  I finished up my decorations for the CCD hallway at church yesterday, and since so many of you have emailed me about using the Sweeter than Honey theme, I thought I'd share a few ideas with you!
(This post contains some affliliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase, I earn a small percentage at no extra cost to you.  Thanks for supporting my little blog!)

The bulletin board above is the main focal point of our CCD hallway.  The shelf below will feature stories from different children's Bibles, and books and coloring pages will also be available on the shelves for kids to take. The "Sweeter than Honey" letters are available for you to print at the bottom of the post.  I printed them on yellow and cut out loosely around the letters.  The St. Abigail and St. Ambrose patron Saint info pages can be found here and the cuuuuuute bee cut outs were an easy addition.  I used yellow paper lanterns in different sizes to mimic hives, and I think they are my favorite part of the display!  The honeycomb border is from Dollar Tree, and I can't find it on their site to link for you, but this one is cute too!  You also could print and cut my honeycomb printables and use them as a free border!

I've found a system that works well for our door signs: a 12x18" piece of construction paper, a grade level sign (you can print these here), border on the top and bottom (from Dollar Tree), and kids' names on cut outs like these. Bigger classes have more names stuck on the rest of the door.  Fast, easy, and cute!

Here's the bulletin board at the top of the stairs that will be used to display work as the year starts.  It has the same border and bee cut out.  Did I mention that I cover bulletin boards with plastic table cloths? Buying the big rolls of bulletin board paper is not in our CCD budget, so this is an economical way to keep the bulletin boards looking fresh.  I do tend to spring for the heavier weight table cloths- the dollar store version are more transparent and rip easily.  I've used plastic table cloths to make fabric-like buntings for a fraction of the cost, and even a display mimicking Mary's veil.  The possibilities are endless for only a few dollars!

A double wide staircase leads to our CCD classrooms, so I always try to decorate it to both tie in the theme and to make it welcoming.  This year I printed the Psalm coloring pages we will be using each week to memorize God's sweet Word (you can print August's verses here) and with extra bees from the classroom doors.

I also added a banner with the theme verse across the top of the doorway, which you can see in the picture below.  Now that the decorating is done, I need to wrap up all the registration paperwork and scheduling, and we'll be ready for kids in a few weeks!

Click here to print the Sweeter than Honey bulletin board letters:

Click here for printables like room signs, folder covers, and Sweeter than Honey verse coloring pages:

Click here for printable coloring pages about our patron Saints St. Abigail and St. Ambrose:

Click here to print August's Sweeter than Honey Psalm coloring pages:

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Smarts Survey {The Multiple Intelligences in Religious Education}


I love taking personality tests to help me get to know myself and other people better.  There are many quizzes related to the Multiple Intelligence theory (I added some on this Pinterest board) and I think it's interesting that no matter the quiz, I always have the highest scores in the same three areas- Visual, Intrapersonal, and Linguistic Intelligences.  Using a survey like this with students can be empowering for them and insightful for teachers.

As I have been writing and collecting ideas for this Multiple Intelligences series, I decided that it would be useful to have a quick quiz to use with students to help them see how they are smart.  This activity could be used as a tool for students to gain confidence in their talents and use those talents well.  It can also help us as teachers make the most of our students' strengths and ensure we are giving them opportunities to shine.


I created a simple Smarts Survey and matching radial graph that I plan to use with my own students the first week of school.  The survey has four questions for each of the eight intelligences and includes connections to our faith.  A few tips for using it in the classroom:
-As designed, I think it would be most effective with 4th graders and up.  You do have the opportunity to download and edit to make it more effectively fit your audience.  Just make sure to keep four total statements for each smart.
-Start the activity with an explanation that everyone is smart in their own way.  Talk about how God blesses each person He creates with unique and wonderful strengths.  There are no wrong answers on this survey or a certain number of spaces to color in, just a chance to get to know yourself a little better.
-Gather crayons, colored pencils, or markers in the eight colors used in the powerpoint.  (Again, you can edit this to suit your needs.)
-Post the slide for the first intelligence, have the students pick up a crayon that matches the color of the slide, and read the statements.  Show the kids how to color in one space on the radial graph starting from the center for each statement that matches their strengths.  If all four statements are true, color in all four pieces of that slice of the chart.
-Continue on with each intelligence until the chart is filled out.  Lead a discussion about strengths and talents, and use the 1 Corinthians verse posted on the last slide to remind the kids that God has made each member of His Church strong in different ways so that we can all work together.

There are many ways to use this idea in your classroom, especially as we are starting back to school.  Check out all of the resources posted below:

Click here to download the Smarts Survey Questions as a powerpoint or as a pdf:
-As a powerpoint, the fonts and formatting might not match my original presentation, but you can either download it or make a copy in Google Drive to edit.  You can change the fonts or other formatting, or even change the statements on each slide to better fit your group of students.
-As a pdf, the formatting will be correct but you won't be able to edit anything.  You can still use this for a presentation with your group by viewing it full screen one page at a time.

Click here for a printable Smarts Survey Chart that includes 1 Corinthians 12:4-7:

 Or click here for a printable Smarts Survey Chart without the Bible verse:
You might like this post about why I think the Multiple Intelligences have an important place in Christian classrooms:

And click here for how to use the Multiple Intelligences when teaching about the Mass:

Friday, July 28, 2017

Teaching About the Mass {The Multiple Intelligences in Religious Education}


Back in this post I explained the background of the Multiple Intelligence theory and why I think it naturally has a place in Religious Education classrooms.  Providing each child we teach with an encounter with Christ in line with his or her unique dignity is something all educators should be striving for.  In this post, I decided to round up some ideas for teaching about the Mass that would cater to each of the eight smarts.  Not surprisingly, I found that each of the intelligences can be found as an integral part of our participation of the Mass.  This makes so much sense because each individual plays such an important, but irreplaceable, role in the Body of Christ.  Here is a list of just a few ways to get kids learning and serving and living out the Mass.  Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments!

Picture Smart Kids (Visual-Spatial Intelligence)
-Make a poster or flash cards of the Mass Articles and their purposes
-Play with an interactive kids’ Mass set
-Tour the sacristy with a sacristan and see the real articles used for Mass
-Create a piece of art for a Feast Day or Liturgical Season to be displayed in the church vestibule
-Use books about the Mass with pictures of the different parts of the Mass in action, Mass gestures, and Mass articles

Word Smart Kids (Linguistic Intelligence)
-Serve as a Lector at Mass
-Help write the introduction or petitions for Mass
-Write a Mass reflection based on the Scripture Readings
-Volunteer to help write articles for the parish bulletin, newsletter, or website
-Interview a priest or deacon
-Study a prayer of the Mass in depth (examples using the Nicene Creed here and here and here)
-Learn about the parts of the Mass using Scripture references or quotes from the Saints using this Mass Handbook
-Use a children's Missal to follow along with the prayers and responses of the Mass

Body Smart Kids (Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence)
-Act out the parts of the Mass using a peg doll set or other mini church
-Set up an altar with a play Mass set
-Practice the gestures of the Mass and research their meanings
-Help train younger students about the gestures of the Mass

People Smart Kids (Interpersonal Intelligence)
-Plan a specific Mass for a cause and advertise it in the church community
-Attend a training for liturgical ministers, or train someone else in a liturgical ministry
-Serve as a greeter/usher at Mass
-Visit homebound parishioners with an Extraordinary Minister of Communion
-Let the kids be the teachers- give them a leadership role and help them plan a program, after Mass social, liturgical season event, or feast day celebration

Self Smart Kids (Intrapersonal Intelligence)
-Create a personal Mass journal as a place to write, draw, and list reflections from Mass and prayer
-Design Mass journal or prayer page a leave copies in the vestibule of the church for others to use
-Write prayer prompts relating to the Scripture Readings or Liturgical season
-Pray for the Mass intentions and those on the parish Prayer Chain

Music Smart Kids (Musical Intelligence)
-Research Mass parts set to music and compare different Mass settings
-Choose and plan music for a specific Mass using the readings and liturgy
-Sing in the choir or play an instrument during Mass
-Train with a cantor or choir director
-Listen to music (like this) to learn more about the Eucharist

Nature Smart Kids (Natural Intelligence) 
-Organize an outdoor Eucharistic Procession
-Help with landscaping around the church property
-Create flower arrangements for the altar or for honoring shrines and statues in the church (bonus points if they learn about honoring Mary through the flowers they chose)

Number Smart Kids (Logical/Mathematical Intelligence)
-Volunteer with those who help count the Mass collection
-Interview a sacristan about how many hosts are used for different Masses
-Create a display about parishioner statistics with the help of the parish secretary
-Emphasize the order and structure of the Mass by using these Mass cards

Click here for a printable handout of these ideas for teaching about the Mass to the multiple intelligences:


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Order of the Mass Activity Cards

Our faith is one filled with order, rhythm, and structure.  Introducing kids to the meaning and richness behind that order, especially of the Mass, can help them understand and enter into worship with all the faithful.  I've used a couple of sets of cards about the order of the Mass for years in my classroom for this purpose, but decided to upgrade my handwritten-on-index-cards to these nice printables that I can share with you.  We typically use these as station activities during our Eucharist unit, but they also lend themselves to jigsaw activities, or you can print a whole class set and work through them together. Below, I've given you a few tips and ideas for using the cards with kids, but the possibilities are endless! I'm sure you can come up with many more uses that will fit the needs of your students!


Details and ideas for using the Order of the Mass Cards:
-Includes a Key Card to help you quickly check (or have students self-check)
-Includes Introductory Rites, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, and Concluding Rites heading cards with a border to help with organization
-Cut out and shuffle the stack and have students put the parts of the Mass in order from start to finish across a large table or the floor (better for older students or students who need a challenge)
-Label the cards with four different colors for the four main parts of the Mass so putting them in order isn't so overwhelming (better for younger students or students who need a little more help)
-Only give one part of the Mass at a time to put in order (even easier)
-Put cards in order and label with a small number on the back.  When finished sorting, students can flip them over and easily self check to see if their order is correct
-Pair with a play Mass set to help the students match the names of the parts of the Mass with the objects used during Mass
-Give the students a child friendly missal to do their own research about the Order of the Mass
-Punch a hole in the corner of the cards and put them in order on a carabiner or binder ring.   This could be an alternate way for a student to put them in order without a lot of table space or a storage solution
-Bring the cards on a carabiner or binder ring to Mass.  Help the child flip a card for each new part of the Mass to help them pay attention and learn the parts of the Mass without flipping through a missal





I also love to share the Scriptural origin of the Mass with my students and reveal how much of the Bible they know just from the responses and prayers at Mass.  This set of cards gives nine Bible references to look up that connect to a part of the Mass.  The students can look up the verses and see if they can identify the origin of the Holy, Holy, Holy, or the prayer of Consecration, etc.

Details and ideas for using the Connecting the Order of the Mass and Scripture cards:
-The tenth card of the set is a key for matching the parts of the Mass with the Bible verses for the teacher or for the students to self check
-Provide cards and a Bible to students and give them time to look up the reference individually.  Then discuss as a group what part of the Mass they think the verse matches.  Then try the next verse
-Pass out different individual cards to individual students or partners.  Have them look up the reference, match it to the Mass, and share their ideas with the whole group
-Write the nine parts of the Mass from the key on the board or a large piece of paper.  Have students look up the verses and then go write in the verse next to the part of the Mass
-Using a missal and a Bible, discuss how similar or different the Bible verses and the prayers we use today are to each other
-Have the students pick another part or prayer of the Mass and research its Biblical origins

Click here to download and print the Order of the Mass Cards:

Click here to download and print the Connecting the Order of the Mass and Scripture Cards:

Monday, July 24, 2017

Favorite Books about the Mass


Between Katie Reads posts, being a teacher, and just having a reputation as a book hoarder, I frequently get requests for book recommendations on certain topics.  Today I'd like to share some of my favorite books about the Mass for both kids and adults.  This book list contains everything from children's missals with the prayers and responses for Mass, Bible studies on the Mass, and picture books that help share themes and lessons about the Mass.  There's a little bit of everything, so I hope something new catches your eye and inspires you to learn more.  I'd also like to hear about your favorite books about the Mass- please share them with us in the comment section!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase through my link I earn a small percentage at no extra cost to you.  Thanks for supporting my little blog!

Jesus Speaks to Me About the Mass by Angela M. Burrin
Part of one of my favorite series of books, this Mass book takes an original approach to teaching about the parts of the Mass.  Each page has a beautiful illustration, a theme, a Bible verse, a first person message "from" Jesus, and a short prayer.  The book take stories from the Bible like the Prodigal Son, the entrance into Jerusalem, the angels over Bethlehem, the paralytic lowered through the roof, and many more and connects them to the parts of the Mass.  The text is written in first person perspective from Jesus and describes the Mass in a very personal and story-driven way.

A is for Altar, B is for Bible by Judith Lang Main
This is a sweet little ABC book with a holy object, illustration, and Bible verse for each letter of the alphabet. It's a great resource for teaching little ones, but also could be used with older kids for prayer and discussion.  I can totally see it as a springboard for an individual or class project creating their own alphabet about the Mass or the Sacraments.

With Jesus Always: My Mass Book by Sadlier Publishing
This little book came as a sample supplement for my text book series, and I think it would be a great starter Missal for early elementary students.  One side is a Mass book, and when it is flipped over it is also a Reconciliation and prayer book.  The Mass side contains the words of the Mass with prayers and responses.  It also contains a nice diagram of a church and a well done combination of illustrations and photos.

Celebrating the Eucharist: A Mass Book for Children by Twenty-Third Publications
This little Mass book is a simple but thorough children's missal, containing all the prayers and responses of the Mass.  I really like the modern cartoon style illustrations and the small size.   This would be a great resources to have in a class set or available for families in the back of the church.

The Weight of a Mass by Josephine Nobisso
If your home or classroom doesn't have a copy of this book (and its companion Take it to the Queen) it is time to add it to your library.  A detailed original fable filled with symbolism and allegory, this story of a Eucharistic miracle in an ancient kingdom can be enjoyed by young children but also discussed in depth with older children.  And the illustrations are just so, so lovely.  I use this in my classroom as a part of our Fairy Tale & Fable unit, showing the kids how traditional stories can reveal so much truth about our faith.

 Arabel's Lamb by Sherry Boas
This fictional story based on legends about the life of St. George is not directly about the Mass, but is about the theme of sacrifice and salvation.  This book would be a great discussion or journaling resource during a unit on the Eucharist.

The Mass Explained to Children by Maria Montessori
I know that the title directly says that it is for children, but I think adults could also benefit from reading this little book. The introduction for adults packs in some thought provoking material about the religious education of the young child.  The rest of the book is filled with child friendly, but rich, descriptions of the Mass including simple line drawings of the Mass articles.  Although because of the age of this book (published in 1933) it is about the Latin Mass, its value for today's kids holds true.

Brother Francis The Mass and The Bread of Life Coloring & Activity Books by Herald Entertainment
These coloring books are filled with great coloring and activity pages about the parts of the Mass, Jesus' teachings on the Eucharist, Saints, and more.  These books would make a great supplement to the Brother Francis DVDs.

The New First Mass Book by Catholic Book Publishing Co.
This book wasn't originally on my list to share, but I discovered that there is a new edition in print.  The pictured copy above is actually my childhood Mass book.  It has little 2nd Grade Katie's handwriting inside, and includes the parts and responses of the Mass, stories from the life of Christ, prayers, a preparation for Reconciliation.  It would make a lovely gift book.

And now on to a few of my favorite Mass books for adults:

The Lamb's Supper by Scott Hahn and Study Guide for the Lamb's Supper
This book has had the most influence on my understanding of the Mass out of anything I have ever read.  Dr. Hahn ties together Old Testament symbols, the Last Supper, the early church, and the details of the Book of Revelation, showing how the Mass ties together all of history and eternity.  The study guide is a great resource for personal in depth study, but I've also used it before as a springboard for small group discussion.  I cannot recommend this book enough.

The Catholic Table by Emily Stimpson Chapman
Speaking of books I can't recommend enough, The Catholic Table is phenomenal.  I wrote about it in this Katie Reads post, but its topic of food, family, hospitality, and the Eucharist warrants a place on this book list.  Reading this book would certainly develop your understanding of the Mass and all that it offers us.

Celebrating the Mass by Keven Porotta
This book is another solid resource for personal or small group study on the Mass.  Broken into six weeks of reading material and corresponding questions, it cross references  Scripture from Old and New Testament to unveil the meaning of the parts of the Mass.  If used for a group study, it already has opening questions, personal reflections, readings, discussion questions, and closing prayers ready to go, making it a great resource that is usable with little prep.

This is the Mass by Henri Daniel-Rops, Fulton Sheen, and Yousuf Karsh
I finally found an affordable copy of this out of print book to add to my classroom Fulton Sheen resources.  Part of the This is the Holy Land, This is Rome, and These are the Sacraments series, this book combines the writing of both Fulton Sheen and Henri Daniel-Rops along with the stunning photography of Fulton Sheen celebrating Mass by Yousuf Karsh.  Each part of the Mass has a 1-2 page explanation and a full page high quality photograph.  This book was also published before the new Roman Missal, but the descriptions specific to the Latin Mass don't take away from its usefulness today.  I am excited to use this with my students this year.


I love my varied collection of books about the Mass and hope to keep adding to it.  What are some of your favorites?