Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Katie hasn't changed.

If you missed my first studies in awkwardness and humility, visit here and here.

Old photos are fun.  Good memories, good stories, and a certain level of ridiculousness.  As I sorted through pictures from my childhood, I discovered that I haven't really changed all that much as I have grown up.  When in my Senior English class, we were assigned to come up with one specific adjective to describe each of our classmates.  Want to know what word my classmates chose for me? Predictable.  Here are a few examples:

I still don't go anywhere without my sunglasses.  
And I do love a good purse.

 I'm ok with taking calculated risks as long as
I can see the place I should land.  
Actually, I really just like keeping my feet on the ground.

 I multi-task in strange places.

I frequently craft until the wee hours of the morning.  
Also still use elmer's glue.
And sometimes rock pink footie pajamas. 
Or not.

I love my faith.
Five year old Katie may not know the difference between the Immaculate Conception and the Incarnation, but she fully adhered to the dogma of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.  Also, she had a Jesus WaterBaby and thought it was ok for the Blessed Virgin to have rainbows on her veil.

I still enjoy a good jam, like the one below.

What do you see in pictures of your childhood?  What are some ways that you have not changed a bit?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Vocations Part Five: Matrimony

 How do you teach kids about the Sacrament of Marriage?  It isn't easy, trust me.  The best education that they can receive is from the holy model of their parents' marriages, lived out in faith.  However, not all kids are blessed with that.  As the world bombards them with messages contrary to God's institution for man and woman, we have to speak truth into their lives.

This can be a touchy subject when talking with kids, because if they don't come from a home with some kind of brokenness, they certainly have a family member or friend who does.  When I talk with kids about the Sacrament of Marriage, I am always sure to do it with much love, but also with much honesty.

As I planned on how I was going to review the Sacrament with my 5th grade students, I debated with several possibilities.  Finally I decided to have a discussion.  I had a very inquisitive, honest, and open class, so we just cleared off our desks, and I opened up the floor with the topic.  What is marriage?  Who created it?  Why?  What should a marriage be like?  Who is called to marriage?  What are some lies that we hear about marriage? etc.  It was interesting, and probably could have lasted all afternoon.

As we wound down in the discussion, I passed out the graphic organizers (printable below) and asked the kids to help me fill them with words that helped define a holy, Sacramental, Catholic marriage.  Here is some of what they came up with:

We included these notes in our Fulton Sheen Notebook, to help remind the kids of the key ideas.
Was this the only or best way to talk about the Sacrament?  Nope.  But it seemed to work for these kids.  What are some resources that you use to talk about Marriage with kids?

Click here for the printable:

And here is an example of some items that could be listed inside:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Vocations Part Four: Holy Orders

Continuing on my series on Vocations, this is the activity that I used to teach my students about the Sacrament of Holy Orders.  It is more note than activity based, and the content is drawn from our textbook, but the kids enjoyed and retained more from this notebooking activity than they would have from plain old lecture/discussion. This was included in our Fulton Sheen Notebook.

On the left is a set of notes about the Sacrament of Holy Orders.  Most was done by me, but the students had some fill-ins to do.  You can print the notes and my key at the end of the post.
On the right was a set of notes about what a Bishop is.  Since Fulton Sheen was a Bishop and then Archbishop, we learned a little more about this step of Holy Orders.

The kids copied their own notes for this one, but there is a printable you could use as a master at the end of the post. We also made cute and easy origami miters to add to the page- definitely the highlight of the lesson.  For steps on making origami miters, go here.

For a copy of the Holy Orders printable, click on the thumbnail:

For a copy of the key I made, click here.

For a printable of the notes about Bishops, click on the thumbnail:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Vocations: Part Three- My Hands Can Serve Activity

When teaching kids about Vocations, I think that prayer is a critical part.  We can't just talk about what Vocations are without teaching that each individual child has a specific Vocation planned by God and that they should be praying to have the wisdom to know their Vocation and the courage to live it out.

This prayer activity was part of our Fulton Sheen Notebook, but it could be used as an individual project.

First, fold a piece of construction paper in half bathtub style. (short ends together).
place the pinky side of your hand up against the fold and trace.
Cut out along the lines, but do not sever the folded side.  You will end up with two hands that open up, symbolic of us opening up our hands in prayer and us opening up our hands in service, which is what a Vocation is about.

Color and cut out the My Hands Can Serve printable- link below.
On one palm, glue one of the scripture verses.  All can be included if you staple them together like a flip book.
On the other palm, glue the vocation prayer.
On the outside, glue the My Hands Can Serve title.
Ta-Da!  All done, and your kiddos have a quick little reminder to pray to tuck away in a book or on the family fridge.

Click here for the printable:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Study in Awkward...Again

STOP!  Do not proceed until you read #1-3!

1.  Please revisit this post from a year and a half ago about some terrible high school pictures I found of myself and classmates representing the FFA organization.
2. If you don't know me, you might want to skip this post.  I am about to make myself humble for the entertainment of my family and friends.  If you chose to read on, prepare yourself.
3. OK, you may now continue.

This weekend, preparing for Em and Luke's wedding led us to looking for some pictures of Emily when she was little.  Looking at a few pictures escalated to going through every photo album and baby book and sorting through every box of old pictures.  This was quite enjoyable and started more than a few family stories.  It also let to some gems like this one:

 But more on that later.

It is now time for more embarrassing, poorly representative, awkward FFA pictures.

This installment is all about finding a good place to take a group picture.  Because we all know that when it comes to awkward pictures of groups of adolescents, it is all about location, location, location.

First, find a large stone object to pose on.  Subject matter is not important, and rarely will relate to FFA jackets.
 If pose is not nearly awkward enough, challenge a teenage boy to climb inside part of said sculpture.

Another highlighted FFA picture pose is the draped background.  It suppose to look professional and planned, but really it is just in a busy corridor of a convention hall where a group of moms are holding off the crowds so that no one cuts through the perfect picture.  It also makes us look like we are in a giant play-pen.

Not good enough?  Find a person in a giant animal suit to pose with.

The layout of this picture might not be the best, but it is the subject matter I wanted to share.  I wish you could see the expressions on our faces.
 Where are we, you ask?  A stud farm.  Yes, I said a stud farm.  I was on a tour of a working stud farm, with teenage boys as companions.  You do the math.

Moving on, make sure you capture the essence of FFA judging experiences, such as this poultry judging team's look of success.
Any large piece of farm equipment serves as a valid and opportune photo back drop.  It is advisable to have the farm equipment stop operating before loading it with minors.
 And finally, it is important to recruit and photograph members young.  This is my kindergarten class during National FFA Week 1991.  I am on the far right in the front.  The grown up in the back is the man that would become my FFA advisor about eight years later, and would teach me about leadership, service, hard work, growth, and one of the greatest youth organizations out there.  So I guess the recruiting worked! :)

 Here's to humbling yourself for a little fun.  Later this month I will post some more humbling pictures of myself and how my personality hasn't changed all that much in 27 years.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Vocations: Part Two

Check out Part One of my posts on Vocation activities.

When teaching about vocations, I love using this movie:

I also love these Vocation dolls, made by Wee Believers.

Meet Sr. Mary Clara:
 And Fr. Juan Pablo:
 Fr. Juan comes with his own mini Mass kit:
 Aren't they sweet?
 And both dolls come with these great books, complete with explanation of the Vocations, prayers for Vocations, and five real life Vocations stories.  Check out some of the pages:

 I keep the dolls and books in my classroom, and the kids are free to pull them out of the religion corner. Sometimes they use Fr. Juan Pablo or Sr. Mary Clara as a reading buddy.  One time I walked back into my classroom after dropping the kids off at PE, and found Fr. Juan propped up on a desk reading a book where a student had left off.  My, they are creative :)
What are some products or resources that you use to promote a respect for Vocations?