Wednesday, April 24, 2013


There is no doubt that part of my inspiration to start this Fulton Sheen ongoing project was my connection through my good friends' story of Sheen allegedly interceding on behalf of their stillborn son James Fulton.  You can read about my decision to teach about Fulton Sheen here.

Needless to say, with such a connection, I would be remiss not to share the alleged miracle with my students.  So I decided to trade favors with James' mom (you come speak to my class and I'll make your daughter's birthday invitations...) just kidding!  Bonnie has been VERY supportive of this project, so I asked her to come and give a version of her talk "61 minutes" to my 5th graders.

We had a couple of students absent, so at the last minute we decided to film it so that they wouldn't miss out.  The video itself isn't anything special (as in a flipcam propped on a desk), but if you are looking for more about James Fulton, want Fulton Sheen to be canonized, or are just looking for an inspirational God centered story, it is worth a watch.

Here is the video of her talk:

And here is the shorter Q & A after the talk:

 Not to neglect the Fulton Sheen Notebook, the kids has this note-taking sheet ready to go.  We prepped questions that they might like to ask her during the Q & A(because you never know what will come out of a 5th grader's mouth) and there were five questions that they had to listen for during the talk.
 We had already cut these out and glued them into their notebooks.
 The questions were on a flap, and they could lift up and record the answer underneath.
Click here for the printable.

This was an incredible experience for the kids, and I hope that you enjoyed it too!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Non-fiction Reading Skills with Sheen

Continuing our study of Sheen and the canonization process, I decided to take a little time to review non-fiction text skills with some newspaper articles about Sheen.
Here are the links to two great articles about the alleged miraculous healing attributed to Sheen's intercession.

Sept. 18, 2011- Sheen intercession cited in area boy's alleged miraculous healing
Dec. 11, 2011- Evidence of alleged miracle with Sheen link heads to Rome

Copies of those articles along with the non-fiction notes below were given to the kids.  I actually had them set up as stations with another activity or two while I worked with small reading groups.  The students love this kind of set up because it gives them some freedom and they can work at their own pace.  I love it because it helps them develop independence and keeps them busy.  Peeking in the door, it looks like chaos, but it is all good.

Here are the two note taking sheets:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Kids and Katie Knit...

At my school, living out our faith is a very important practice that we try to instill in the students.  As a school family, we have numerous service projects, fundraisers, drives & collections all throughout the year to encourage the kids to think outside of themselves.

Each class also has a specific service project that they work on.  When I became a new staff member, the line next to my class said "KidKnits."  I do crochet, and you all know that I like crafts, but I don't knit, and I couldn't imagine teaching a class of 29 kids how to knit.  (eek!)  Little did I know the adventure that would be experienced through this new service project. 

Make sure to go to the KidKnits website and check them out.  The idea for KidKnits was created by a nine year old girl who coupled together her new skill of knitting on a round loom with yarn made by women living in extreme poverty in Rwanda.  Fast forward a couple of years, and there are hundreds of students learning how to knit, buying yarn from True Vineyard Ministries, and learning about generosity, poverty, and global citizenship.

KidKnits brings together the need of these women in Rwanda (and also Chile) to have a way to support their families and the need of American students to understand a world outside of their classroom walls.  An awesome curriculum is provided to open their eyes and allow them to think a little bigger.  While they go through the curriculum, they also learn how to knit a hat on a round loom, a skill that even the least coordinated (trust me on this) 5th grader can do. 

This is what the Rwanda yarn looks like:
Hand sheered, hand spun, hand dyed with natural materials... it is beautiful and one of a kind.  One ball of yarn supports a woman and her family for a day.

My students made one hat, and then gave it away as a Christmas gift to a child at a mission parish in South Dakota.  They were so excited, and it was incredibly touching to read the letters that they wrote to go along with the hat.  The letters explained what they had learned to the child that would get to wear the hat.  (You can read a little of what they wrote here.) They then got to make a second hat and not surprisingly, many of them gave that one away too.  Seems to be that if you teach a child to give, they give beyond what  you can even imagine.

We also had the chance to buy more yarn, and here are some of the hats that I used as Christmas gifts.
It was an awesome experience, and was a great example of something that went way better than expected, which does not always happen in a classroom :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Storage in Style

I am blessed right now to have an extra bedroom in my apartment which has been dubbed "the craft room."  It really should be a second bedroom, or an office, but a craft room it is.  I am loving the way that it is set up and the work that I can do in there, and I am hoping soon that it will all be arranged/unpacked/sorted to my liking.  I have been in this apartment for...9 months...and I just still am not quite done.  I'll post pictures eventually.

Until then, check out the "new" furniture that I got:

 I found this at a new second hand store in my town this fall.  I jokingly told the owner that I loved it, and that if someone came in asking for "Katie's Christmas Gift," to send them in the right direction.  I told my mom about it, and then forgot about it.  Fast forward to Christmas, and my mom, dad, and brothers-in-law had to leave the room to carry/drag this into the room.  I was so excited!

This is one solid piece of furniture, and has the prettiest finish.  This picture didn't turn out well, but it has these neat carvings on the doors:
The inside was a traditional armoire, with a hanging rack on the left and drawers on the right.  My mom built shelves for the open side, which can easily be removed if I ever wanted to use it in its original state. She also used her woodworking skills to realign some of the tracks and fix up the finish.

Here you can see that I am not using it for clothes.  It has become the main storage in my craft room.  Top two shelves have folded fabric (in rainbow order, of course). 
The bottom currently has plastic shoe boxes with craft supplies, which I would like to replace eventually with something like this:
 I love the drawers, and wanted to add those metal label holders.  Since it was a gift, my mom took the challenge of finding them.
 Again, a poor picture, but these are exactly what I wanted.  I put brown craft paper labels inside, making it easy to remember where things are.
 Like the ribbon drawer, for example:
I love it, and everything is so organized!

Now I just need some more time to make some crafts!  Summer will be here soon :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Only True Adventure

My baby sister has entered the blog world!

I like what I see so far, and it should be interesting to read about her new adventures as a soon-to-be-military-wife.

So go follow her.  Maybe if more than my mom, cousin, and I are reading, she will keep writing!

Monday, April 15, 2013

All That Sparkles is Not Gold

To those of my friends/readers that are NOT Catholic school teachers, catechists, or homeschoolers, I promise that this weeks' posts will be a little more interesting for you.  I have had lots of stuff to post for school lately, but this week is going to be all about...crafts.  Stuff that has been made recently, an awesome new piece of furniture I got, new projects, etc. so stay tuned! Today's installment=cool project for my sister's wedding.

After getting Stephanie and Steven hitched last year, planning Emily and Luke's nuptials has just been a continuation of the Bogner Wedding Planning Business.  Em decided that she loved the idea of having a  broach bouquet, but decided that it was impractical and (really) expensive, so she had planned to just go with flowers.

However, she has a crafty family, and we like surprises.  Stephanie and I chatted and came up with a plan that got Emily a broach bouquet, but with even more meaning.

We sent out a letter to all of the women that love Emily- family, girl friends, family friends, and
significant people from Luke's side, too.  We asked them to send a broach or pin or random earring for Emily.  The jewelry could be old or new, significant or from a thrift store.  We didn't know how many people would want to participate, but everyone LOVED the idea.  They thought it was beautiful and unique and a cool way to make Emily's day a little more special.  We asked them to keep it a secret, and Emily had no idea what was going on.  She even had already picked out other flowers for her bouquet.

This is the pile of jewelry before we got started.  We ended up with about 90 pieces, and added some extra small rhinestones as filler.  The pieces were so unique and beautiful.  We asked the ladies who contributed to also send a card with the piece that they chose explaining why they picked it in a message to Emily.  We took pictures of all of the pieces individually and put them in her wedding scrapbook with the cards.  She loved reading through them and then finding the jewelry on the actual bouquet.  Some of the jewelry was new but had cool symbolism.  There is also jewelry representing all sides of the family.
Steph did the leg work of picking up supplies and got started with the base while I organized pictures in the scrapbook.  We used a large styrofoam ball, which she bore a hole in and glued in a dowel rod for the handle.  All of that got covered with black fabric.
She then ripped apart silk hydrangea blossoms and hot glued them on.  They also got a pearl-headed straight pin for some extra security. (And bling).
Did I mention that our goal was to give this to Emily before her wedding showers started so that she could take it with her to show to the ladies who contributed?  And did I mention that the first shower date was earlier than we expected?  And did I also mention that we had lots of (very much appreciated) last minute pieces sent to us?  All of that adds up to Steph and I making this project late on a Friday night trying to get it done before Emily came over as planned on Saturday morning.

Needless to say, we did not get much sleep.  So here is is completely covered with the first layer of flowers. You probably can't tell in this picture, but Stephanie was ready to throw the bouquet-in-process out the window at this point.

We then started adding the largest jewelry pieces, using a combination of hot glue, floral pins, the actual pin backs of the broaches, and holes in the styrofoam to hold them on.

Here am I with about 20 pins done, and my hands and fingers hurt so badly, I was ready to let Steph and Steve's new puppy use it as a chew toy.

We stop documenting with pictures at this point of the evening/morning. :)

The next step was adding the smaller pieces of jewelry.  We didn't like how flat it was looking, so we incorporated more of the hydrangea petals, often with a jewel or something in the middle.  Those flowers were not held down flat but stick on three dimensionally.

We also wrapped the handle with white lace over the black fabric, and then went to bed...for a few hours...until Emily came over for Steph to do her hair for a military event that day.

Surprise number one was that I was over- Emily didn't know that I was coming.  I told her that I was just hanging out to see her get ready for the military ball, and that while I was there, I had added some more to her wedding scrapbook.
We waited for her to flip through the book until she started getting to the jewelry pictures.  Then she was like, "What is this?" flip "what is this? flip flip "what is this!" at which point Steph gave her the bouquet.  She was so overwhelmed and genuinely surprised.  It took forever to show her because we had to find each pin and say who it was from and the stories that we knew.  She was so excited.

Here are some close ups of each side:

It turned out beautifully, but I have a better understanding of why the bouquets Em was originally looking at ran in the $600-700 range.  I think I am in the wrong business!

I would be remiss to not share some of the rest of the photos from the creation:

I had been at Steph and Steve's for all of 20 minutes and we were just getting started, when I spilled my  All over the pins...
Then there was the "Gypsy Trinket" reenactment.  If you know my mom and grandma, you understand.  If you don't know them, don't think less of me.
Steven was great encouragement through the beginning of the evening.
That is, until he got tired about an hour in, and went to bed.  Lucky dog.

It can be very difficult to get a nice family picture.

So, the day ended happy and with everyone desiring a nap.  No naps were had, however, because we then helped Em get ready for her soon-to-be-hubby-almost-a-lieutenant's last ROTC military ball.

Aren't they cute?
Less than three months, and they will be Mr. and Mrs. Werner!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Debunking Resurrection Theories

This weekend at Youth Group, we spring-boarded off of the Doubting Thomas Gospel read at Mass on Sunday.  We talked about doubt, and how it is ok to ask questions about our faith as long as we investigate and look for the truth.

With Easter just last weekend, I decided to share with the kids some historical and prevailing Anti-Resurrection theories.  I debated how to present the material to the kids, and ended up doodling  some stick figure representations of different ideas that people argue against the Resurrection.  We used those as a springboard for discussion.  The kids would make their own predictions about the theory and then we would tear it down with other background knowledge, Scripture, or logic.

They really enjoyed the drawings, and thought that some of the ideas were ridiculous.  It was interesting to listen to them argue about what made sense and what didn't.

For some more background, read here or here or here.

We closed by reading these verses:
"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe." ~John 20:29

"If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile." ~1 Corinthians 15:17

And by looking at the questions/answers of YouCat 96, 98, 101, 103-108, especially paragraph 105:
"The disciples who before had lost all hope, came to believe in Jesus' Resurrection because they saw him in a different way after his death, spoke with him, and experienced him as being alive."

(I love the YouCat, btw)

Anyways, I didn't set out to have a lesson to share, but here is the handout that we used.  Not super high quality, but available if someone else has a use for it.
Click here for the printable:

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pop Out Divine Mercy Chaplet

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday!

One of my goals for our Sheen Notebooks is to also review the Sacraments, which is the overall theme of our 5th grade curriculum.  I am actually saving that for the end of the project, but I could not pass up teaching about Divine Mercy Sunday and tying in Jesus' infinite love, forgiveness, and mercy with our need to be reconciled to Him through the Sacrament of Confession.

For background info on Divine Mercy and how to pray the Chaplet click here.

We will do further activities to review the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but for now, we will add this pop out chaplet to the page and come back to it later.  Another perk of Notebooking is that learning is continuous and can be added to, not individual projects that are long gone by the time a connection comes up.

Here are the instructions for making your own pop out Divine Merct Chaplet:

First print and color the beads (link at the end of the post).
Then cut them out, leaving the overlapped parts attached.
 Next, connect the three pieces by overlapping them slightly and taping with scotch tape.
 Next, accordion fold the beads.
Then tape the last bead to the notebook page and fold the rest of the chaplet.
 The chaplet stays folded up, but can easily be pulled all the way out to pray it.
 Alternately, you can print five copies of the printable and make an entire chaplet (I would not recommend putting it in a notebook :) ) instead of just a decade.

Click on the image below for the printable: