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: