Thursday, October 10, 2013

Creating a Faith Corner in Your Classroom

School has been back in swing for...three months now, and I am just now getting around to some of the back-to-school posts in my draft folder.  I guess that goes to model what a teacher's fall usually looks like.

I gave you a peek inside my classroom back in this post, and mentioned my faith corner, promising more details later.  Well, it is later, so here are some ideas for creating a holy space in your Classroom/CCD Room/Youth Room/etc.

(FYI- I know that not all CCD teachers are blessed to have a permanent location to set up something like this faith corner.  Lot of programs have to use shared spaces and can't store items in the same place that they teach.  I hope that the things that we use might inspire you as you set up your "mobile" classroom to find a few important items to make the space sacred for your students.  And God love you for working in such a state of transition, because I don't know if I could do it!)

Here is what our faith corner usually looks like:

It includes a classroom set of Bibles:
And another shelf with activities, our classroom Bible, prayer jar, and Mary statue.  This is also our Saint of the Month Board.  August/September was St. Maximilian Kolbe, who also happens to be our classroom Saint (click here for the Lit/Religion Unit I teach on him).  October is St. Terese.  I love these posters, which are through Pauline Books and Media.
Facing the opposite way are shelves of our faith books.  Lots on the Saints, liturgical seasons, Bible stories, etc.  We also have a box here for our "Words of Faith" which is a vocab activity we do in each chapter of our religion book, featured books (often related to Saint feast days- you can see Take it to the Queen featured for August), and inspiring words (right now is a colored and framed version of this quote.)  You'll also see my friends Fr. Juan Pablo and Sr. Mary Clara featured in this post.  I also have a prayer kit that came with my Religion book series.
Here is our classroom Bible, which the kids are free to use and look through, but is always left open on the top shelf in our Faith Corner.  I tell the kids that a Bible should be lived in, and demonstrate by highlighting and labeling things that we talk about in class.  We read the upcoming Sunday Gospel during the week and discuss it so that the kids are more prepared for Mass and can listen for the main message.  I highlight the reading and label it with the date so that it can be easily found by the kids during the week.  The nice thing is that after next year (my third year doing this in this particular Bible) it will be all set for the future because of the three year lectionary cycle.  Score one for the organization of the Catholic Church.
We also have our student Prayer jar on the top shelf in the Faith Corner.  I wrote about the prayerful environment/classroom management tool that is our Prayer jar here.
And of course, Our Lady.
On that shelf, there are also baskets with themes like Scripture, Saints, Prayer, etc.  They contain books, small games, etc.  The kids are welcome to explore these baskets, and many use them for early finisher activities.  I also store manipulatives/models from lessons here after we use them together so that they can get them out and see them again.  On the shelf just above are some Catholic coloring pages and prayer starters.

This old metal recipe box is our Saintly virtue box, which is a part of my classroom management system.  In brief, the kids can receive rewards as a whole class or individually.  When they earn an individual reward, they get to choose a saint card from this box.  I am always restocking it with various saints, some cards that I have purchased, and others that have been donated to me.  There are several ladies at church who save all of those free things that they get in the mail, and I make good use of them.
The idea is that the students is being rewarded for showing virtue of some kind (we are working on what that means and how we live it out) and that the Saints are our models of virtue.  They get to choose a Saint to remind them to keep making good choices.

Hanging from the ceiling is this chain (made from giant paper clips.) The students all have a binder ring with a card that says "name is growing in Saintly Virtue."  They get to attach their card, and will add many more throughout the year.  They then get to take home their own kind of mini book/prayer wheel of the Saints that they have chosen.

We also include other items for liturgical seasons, featured projects, prayers, etc. as they become important throughout the year.

I hope that gives you some ideas for creating a faith filled space for your students.  I'd love to hear how you have done it in your own classrooms!


  1. Do you have a list of saints you use for each month? I am looking to include something like this in my room with my eighth graders. It will also give them time to learn about saints they might want for confirmation.

    Stuck In The Middle

    1. Hi Kimberly!
      There are lots of Saints that I use throughout the year, but I do feature one Saint each month on a bulletin board and cover more of their lives than others. Honestly, I determined my list by using a set of posters that I love from Pauline Media. They also have great Middle School Level Saint books. You can see one set of the posters here: EncounteringTheSaintsPosters (There are two sets) Based on those these are my options for Saints during the school year: (the one I listed first is usually the one I feature with my 5th graders) Aug- Maximilian Kolbe, Edith Stein, Sept- Mother Teresa, Padre Pio, Oct-Terese, Francis of Assisi, Isaac Jogues, Nov- Frances Xavier Cabrini, Martin de Porres, Dec-Juan Diego, Jan- Elizabeth Ann Seton, Mary, Feb-Bl. Jacinta and Francisco, Mar-Katharine Drexel, April- Bernadette, May- Joan of Arc, Julie Billart, Summer Saints- Anthony, Ignatius, Pier Giorgio. Hope that helps!