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?


  1. We are in the middle of Sacramental preparation at the moment. Students receive the First Eucharist in August and Reconciliation in term 4.This will be a great teaching ideaeven as an assessment piece. Thank you.

  2. Hi Clare! This does make a great assessment! I'm glad it was a helpful idea :)