Friday, July 21, 2017

Sweeter Than Honey Psalm Coloring Pages- August

The big idea of our Sweeter than Honey CCD theme this year is to encourage the kids to know and memorize Scripture, specifically the Psalms, so that they know that God's promises are so sweet.

Each month, I'll share a set of coloring pages, one for each Sunday, featuring the Psalm from Sunday Mass.  Using special fonts and simple decorations, they are meant to be a quick addition to your weekly class as an aide to memorizing the Responsorial Psalm.  Add it to your opening and closing prayer, give the students a few minutes to color it during class, and send it home to be hung up on the fridge or bathroom mirror.

Here are the coloring pages for the four Sundays of August:


Click here for the full size Psalm coloring pages for August:

Click here for the half page size Psalm coloring pages for August:
(These fit perfectly inside the Scripture Book cover from this post)

I'll post coloring pages of the Psalms once a month, so stay tuned!  You might also like our Sweeter than Honey theme resources (folder covers, logo, signs, etc.) and St. Abigail and St. Ambrose patron Saint coloring pages.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Teaching to the Multiple Intelligences in Religious Education

Think about the call of the Apostles- Jesus didn't call Peter or Matthew or Philip in the same ways.  He certainly didn't use the same methods when he invited Paul, Mary Magdalene, or Martha to follow Him.  He encountered people while at work, in their homes, on the streets, on hilltops, and from the cross.  Jesus treated each person He met as an individual and continues to do so- why shouldn't we do the same as educators?  I think that looking at education through the lens of the Multiple Intelligences helps us to see how saints like St. Mother Teresa and St. Therese of Lisieux, who had such different strengths, could both love and serve the Lord so well.

Created by Howard Gardiner, the Multiple Intelligence Theory equips teachers to see various abilities, strengths, and talents combining to create smart kiddos, not dependent on a particular test scores or grades, changing our thoughts to not "if" a child is smart, but "how" he or she is smart.  This educational theory has helped me to differentiate in my classroom, reaching all students and seeing them as unique, unrepeatable, and irreplaceable individuals.   For more info, check out this pinterest board for links to research, smarts quizzes, and graphics about the Multiple Intelligences.

I think that all teachers, parents, and catechists can benefit from taking a look at the Multiple Intelligences in their homes and classrooms.  Over the next couple of months, I am going to offer a series on applying this educational theory specifically in Catholic classrooms, looking how we can present faith filled content in ways that reach all kids.  Today I'm using the Rosary as an example, but will also post ideas for teaching about the Mass, connecting kids with Saints, and helping them pray.  Each post will include a printable handout with the ideas organized by "smarts" that could be shared with coworkers, given to catechists or parents, or even used as an activity choice board for older students.

Students thrive with variations in activities and a chance for them to shine where their talents lie. Acknowledging each child’s intelligence is an echo of the individual dignity given to him or her by God. Let us strive to help all students grow in their knowledge of Christ and His Church.

Picture Smart Kids (Visual-Spatial Intelligence)
Picture Smart Kids are very visual. They learn best through seeing, not just talking and listening about a topic. Try using visual props like posters and graphic organizers while teaching, hands on manipulatives, as well as interactive notebooks with lots of pictures. To aid in learning the Rosary, use models labeled with the prayers as well as pictures of the mysteries. Use those pictures to find visual clues to help them memorize the main ideas of the stories. They also could create their own illustrations for the mysteries or lines from prayers used in the Rosary.

Word Smart Kids (Linguistic Intelligence)
Word Smart Kids can use language in powerful ways. They are great communicators, through either oral or written expression, or sometime both. Try word games to introduce new material to these kids. For example, have the kids sit in a circle and try to recite a prayer they are learning, like The Apostles Creed, one word at a time. Sarah says, “I,” Jake says, “believe,” Amanda says, “in,” …and start over again if a mistake is made until you have completed the prayer. They also benefit from writing, word cards, rhyming and repeating as they are learning.

Body Smart Kids (Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence)
Body Smart Kids learn best through movement and action. Come up with activities that get them out of their seats. Act out the Mysteries of the Rosary like plays, use sign language to teach prayers, or play games that involve movement. Teach the history of the Rosary using rocks, plastic Easter eggs, and yarn. Get the students up, pass out rocks (representing our prayers), put the rocks in the eggs (our hope in Christ), and create a spider web by clicking the eggs closed on the yarn (our connections as Christians). Hands on and tactile activities will help them acquire new info.

People Smart Kids (Interpersonal Intelligence)
People Smart Kids are always in tune with the needs and feelings of others, and have awesome leadership skills. Help your students organize a Holy Hour where they can lead the Rosary for the needs of a specific intention that they choose– a sick parishioner, a community disaster, children in impoverished countries, etc. Let the kids brainstorm how they can pray for those needs and maybe even organize some kind of fundraiser/food drive/outreach for the intention they have on their hearts. Give them the chance to shine by leading and organizing as much as possible.

Self Smart Kids (Intrapersonal Intelligence)
Self Smart Kids are very in touch with self knowledge and emotions. They will be able to remember and apply new information when they have a chance to create connections to themselves. When teaching the Rosary, encourage these kids to picture themselves being present during the different mysteries. What did they see? What were they thinking? What did they feel? Have them journal, draw, or discuss their visualizations about those meditations. They will appreciate quiet time in a church, Adoration chapel, or prayer space at home.

Music Smart Kids (Musical Intelligence)
Music Smart Kids love anything with a tune or a beat, so use this to your advantage when teaching new material. Find CDs or YouTube videos with the prayers of the Rosary or meditations set to music. Come up with rhymes or statements said to a beat to help them memorize new prayers. This works especially well with tunes that they are already familiar with– use those secular songs and make them holy! Invite them to sing or play an instrument at a Rosary prayer service or just in the classroom with fellow students.

Nature Smart Kids (Naturalist Intelligence)
Nature Smart Kids love the world around them. Get those kids outside as much as possible. Go on Rosary walks so that you can pray for the community around your church. Have those students help you plan a Mary Garden as a place of beauty and prayer. They will love seeing and growing all kinds of plants and flowers named in honor of Mary, whether you create a shrine, prayer labyrinth, or outdoor Stations of the Cross. They also could collect flowers and greenery to make arrangements for the church interior for a Mass or prayer service.

Number Smart Kids (Logical-Mathematical Intelligence)
Number Smart Kids are all about numbers. They are good with math and tend to think in a very logical and organized fashion. Let them be the “math whiz” and figure out how many years it has been since St. Dominic was given the Rosary, how many Hail Marys are said in a complete Rosary, etc. Plan a make-your-own Rosary activity and let them organize how many beads, the length of cord, etc. your class would need for each student. They even can help figure out the budget for the project and cost compare different supplies.

Click here for a two page printable with a description and teaching examples for each of the intelligences:

Read more about the Life and Dignity of the Human Person from the USCCB here.

Scripture verses for meditation:

“There are different kids of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit it given for some benefit.”
~1 Corinthians 12:4-7

"It will as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.  To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one- to each according to his ability."
~Matthew 25:14-15

"As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace."
~1 Peter 4:10

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

St. Ambrose and St. Abigail Coloring Pages

Last week I posted about my CCD Sweeter Than Honey theme for this fall, and got so many nice emails!  Thank you for your sweet encouragement- I'm very excited to be sharing this with you and your students. :)  I've been hard at work churning out more resources, and today I have a set of coloring pages for our Patron Saints for the year: St. Ambrose and St. Abigail.  Both this holy man and holy woman are patrons of beekeepers and have stories from their lives connected to honey and bees.  I think the students will enjoy learning a little more about these unique two Saints!

I've made a set of coloring pages and info pages for each Saint, and also posted an already colored version as well for you to print.  It would make a great mini poster or addition to a bulletin board.  If you are looking for Sweeter than Honey verse coloring pages, folder/notebook covers, room signs, etc. or info on the theme, check out my last post.

Click here for the St. Ambrose coloring page:
Click here for the St. Ambrose info coloring page:
Click here for the St. Ambrose info page in color:

Click here for the St. Abigail coloring page:

Click here for the St. Abigail info coloring page:
Click here for the St. Abigail page in color:

Click here for the St. Abigail and St. Ambrose sweeter than honey verse coloring page:

I'll be back soon with the first set of Sweeter than Honey Psalm coloring pages and ideas for theme bulletin boards and decorations!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Sweeter Than Honey Theme Resources

Today was one of those productive days that you dream about having in the summer.  Among other things, I finished a bunch of work for an upcoming project I am super excited to share with you- very, very soon! I decided to switch gears and do some planning for the upcoming CCD year... and then churned out a ton of completed work for our CCD theme.  I am so excited about how it turned out, so I thought I would stay on a roll and get it all posted on the blog to share with you!  If you are looking for a new CCD or classroom theme, maybe you can use our "Sweeter than Honey" idea!

The complete theme verse is, "How sweet to my tongue is your promise, sweeter than honey to my mouth." from Psalm 119:103.  Among the cute bee and honeycomb decor we'll have, we also are going to have an emphasis on memorizing Scripture, specifically the Psalms.  We want the kids to have God's promises, which are so sweet, close to their heart.

I'll be making coloring pages to match the Responsorial Psalm for each week of the school year and sharing them here on the blog starting later this summer.  Those coloring pages could go on the back of your CCD newsletter, near the bulletins at church, as that five-minute-filler we all need at the end of class, or as a take home activity.  I dream of the weekly coloring pages being collected in a folder, notebook, or little mini book, so I've already created some covers for your planning.

Here are some of the printables I have ready for you to use as you begin your planning for the fall,  Let me know if you have any ideas for the theme, or if you know of a good patron Saint we can enlist- St. Gobnait/Abigail? St. Ambrose?  Maybe both?  What do you think?

Click on the images below to download and print the resources.

Sweeter Than Honey coloring page with Scripture Verse:

Sweeter Than Honey coloring page plain:

Room signs: (Also could be used for folder covers or teacher binder labels)
(Includes Preschool, Kindergarten, 1st-8th Grade, Confirmation, First Communion, Jr. High, High School, and Office).  I tried to make a collection of all encompassing signs, but if you need a specific grade level that is not in the collection, feel free to email me at and I'd be happy to make those quick edits for you.

 Folder or notebook cover:

My Scripture Book half page cover:
This will be one place to collect the half page memory verses that I'll share in the coming months.

Gray scale honeycomb page:

Yellow honey comb page:

Black honeycomb page:

I'll be back with more soon!  In the meantime, if you see any cute bee or honey classroom decor, send it my way! ;)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Sacrament Sort- The Sacraments of Initiation

I'm nearing the half way point of my summer, and so naturally my mind has turned more towards planning for the upcoming school year.  Among my goals for this new class is to make my religion curriculum more hands-on, station based, and designed around exploring and reflecting.  I plan to use a lot of the activities I already have created and prepped, but present them in a different way.  I'll keep you posted about the plans and how it actually plays out in the classroom, but along the way I thought I'd start sharing some of the stations I like to use when teaching about the Sacraments.

This Sacrament Sort (fyi- this post contains just for the Sacraments of Initiation, I'll have a later post for the Sacraments of Healing and Vocation) is a great review covering the signs, symbols, ministers, meaning, and actions of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.  It helps develop my students' skills of comparing and contrasting, as well as using evidence to defend their arguments to a peer.  I keep two big hula hoops hanging in my room just for activities like this.  Lay them on the floor, and you have a giant interactive Venn Diagram.

For this activity, the students get a stack of cards relating to the Sacraments of Initiation.  They first choose how to organize their diagram- two Sacraments become the topic for each circle, and the remaining Sacrament is in a pile outside of the circles.  If you are not familiar with Venn Diagrams, they are a great sorting tool for kids.  Cards that are true for both Sacraments are placed in the overlapped section of the circles, and cards that are only true for a specific Sacrament are placed in the section that does not overlap.  This manipulative and visual method helps students identify similarities and differences, and can then be used as a springboard for discussion or writing.

If you don't have two hula hoops handy (school teachers, don't forget to see if you could borrow from the PE teacher!), you also could draw a large Venn Diagram on a piece of poster board, or have them sort the cards into labeled columns on a table.  The hula hoops aren't the most important part, but they sure are fun. :)

I have a printable set of Sacrament cards linked below.  The set contains:
-A title card
-Label cards for Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist
-36 detail cards
-Full page key

The students always worked with at least one partner, promoting discussion and reasoning as they worked sort the stack of cards.  They were able to use their Fulton Sheen notebook as a resource, and I noticed that they frequently referenced this Sacrament signs and actions review sheet to verify their answers.  In this station set up, I asked them to let me know when they were done and I glanced over their work, but they then checked the cards themselves and let me know how they did.

To have the students self check their work (or to make it easier for you) they could use the full page key at the back of the document.  The cards are listed in alphabetical order on the left and the Sacraments they represent are on the right.  Or, to make it a little easier for the kids, after printing off the cards you can turn them over and write B, C, and/or E in the corner, so to self check the kids just have to flip all the cards over and see if they are in the right spot.

To adapt this activity for younger students or students who need a little more help, I would limit the choices.  First, I would choose only two Sacraments to be compared, for example Baptism and the Eucharist, and then would remove any cards that are just about Confirmation.  The teacher could also par down the detail cards the kids are working with and give them 10-15 instead of the full stack.

Click on either image to download and print all the cards and the corresponding key:

If you teach a lot about the Sacraments, you might also like some of these links:
All of my Sacrament posts are found under this tab
Sacraments Idea Board on Pinterest
Video Playlist for the Seven Sacraments
Sacrament Symbols Graphic Organizer
Sacraments and Grace Graphic Organizer
Sacraments Signs and Actions 

Have you ever used hula hoops to make a giant Venn diagram?  What ideas do you have for using this strategy in religious education?