Sunday, March 30, 2014

Regina Coeli Mini Book for Kids

My students have memorized the Angelus this year using this mini book, and we pray it together as a class every day just before we leave for lunch.  I love being united with Christians around the world praying the same prayer that honors Mary's yes to God, and calls to mind the amazingness of the Incarnation, God become man for us. 

However, we are about to move into the Easter Season.  Everything should look different during the Easter season for the life of a Christian, and noon prayer is no different :).  From Easter until Pentecost, we won't pray the Angelus, which remembers the Incarnation, but will instead pray the Regina Coeli, which celebrates the Resurrection.

Regina Coeli means "Queen of Heaven" in Latin.  We praise the Resurrection of Mary's Son along with her.  "Queen of Heaven rejoice, for He whom you did merit to bear has risen as He said, alleluia."

Print it back and front on a single sheet of paper, fold, staple, color, and you have an eight page mini book containing the words of the prayer, some history, meaning of unique words, and illustrations.
 Click here for the printable:

Also, if you are interested you can click here for the Angelus Mini Book:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Write Your Story on My Heart Narrative Project

If you are a homeschooler or Catholic school teacher (or even a Catechist), you know the tug of trying to give kids quality learning opportunities covering a breadth of topics in a limited amount of time.  Time.  There never seems to be enough of it in any kind of classroom.  Hence why cross-curricular teaching makes so much sense.  In college when I was assigned to create cross-curricular sample lessons, I sometimes felt like I was just putting two separate lessons on the same sheet of paper.  I have honed that skill quite a bit since then, and now see teaching more than one subject in the same lesson as both being practical and effective.

I am blessed to still have my 5th graders all day in my classroom, which gives me more flexibility than departmentalized teachers to teach across curriculum areas.  I am grateful for this chance, and would like to share something that we are working on in my classroom right now.

I spend a lot of time on the road, so music and good talks are necessary to keeping me sane while driving.  When I first heard this song on the radio this winter, I didn't really like it- it was a little "pop" for my usual tastes.  However, I didn't switch the station, and listened to the words, and got one of those A-HA moments. 

The song is about allowing God to reveal who He is through the everyday events of our lives, and to make His story our story.  It was catchy and meaningful and I knew that I could use it in the classroom.  We were about to branch into our narrative writing unit, and I knew that it would be pulling teeth.  I have been working hard with this group of kids to improve their writing skills, specifically using the 6 Traits of Writing to hone in on specific ways to become a strong writer.

I decide to wrap up the skills that go with the 6 Traits, the structure of narrative writing, and the idea behind this song in a unit that would allow the kids to express themselves and show how they see God working in their lives.  Writing & Religion, all in one.

I focused on this verse, explaining to the kids that to know our faith means to know who God is as well as who we are as His children:

“Keep my commandments and live, keep my teachings as the apple of your eye; 
bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart.”

~Proverbs 7:2-3
I set the goal of writing five narratives in this unit, some longer and more involved, and some short. I came up with five topics that fit in the narrative category that would also allow the kids to explore their faith:

o   Seeing God in the Sacraments: Write about receiving a Sacrament or witnessing a Sacrament and how it helped you to see God.
o   Knowing God through His People: Write a story about a person who is/was important in your life and how they helped you to know God better.
o   Finding God in His Creation: Write a story about a time you spent in nature and how you see God’s creative power in the world.
o   Seeing God in the Hard Times: Write a story about something hard that has happened in your life and how God was there to help you.
o   Writing God’s Story on Your Heart: Write about knowing that Jesus is a part of your life.  You have lots of choice with this topic!

I created several graphic organizers to help with brainstorming and organization, as well as pages to take notes on dialogue, sensory details, main ideas, time order, and connections:

I also included the rubric that would be used to grade the essays:
Along with each narrative, the kids are creating some kind of visual element-an art project, a drawing, a photograph- to illustrate the essay.  I am keeping all of the different pieces, and when we finish in a couple of weeks, we will bind everything together so that each student has a book containing stories of their faith.  I think that it will be a cool keepsake as we wrap up their 5th grade year.

Click on the image below for a copy of the 12 page document with all of the ideas, instructions, graphic organizers, rubric, etc.

Click here if you would like a copy of my packet.  It is a bit messy, but it has filled in notes, suggestions, lists of brainstorming ideas for all of the topics, etc.  If you want to see how we used this packet to get the project rolling, you will want to look through this.
Coming soon, I will post ideas and examples of the art projects that we created for each of the narratives.  Happy writing!

Click here for ideas for binding student books, which is how we "published" our project.
Click on the titles below for ideas for five Faith Filled Art Projects, all which match one of the topics in the Write Your Story on My Heart project.
1. Mixed Media Sacrament Art
2. Finding God in Nature Art
3. Word Cloud Art
4. Black Out Poetry Art
5. Finish the Picture Art

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Using the Stations of the Cross as Inspiration for Lenten Acts of Charity

We are part of the way through Lent, but it is not too late to work in some meaningful acts of charity as part of your Almsgiving.  To connect our sacrifices with the ultimate sacrifice made by Christ, you could make it a goal to use the Stations of the Cross as inspiration.

For example, Station I. "Jesus is condemned to death" reminds us to pray for those in prison.  Station X. "Jesus is stripped of His garments" would be a great reminder to clean out your closet and donate what you don't need to charity.  Station XIII. "Jesus is taken down from the cross" could inspire you to send a card or meal to a family who has lost a loved one.

I made this foldable to use with kids to show them the different ways they could take up their cross and follow Christ this Lent.

The links to the printables are below, and this is how it is assembled:

Cut out on the dotted lines, and fold up on the solid lines of page one.
 Run a thin line of glue around the edge of page two, as well as at the very top of each row.
Carefully place page one on top of page two and press down.  Lift up the flaps so that none of them get accidentally stuck down.
Attach the foldable into a notebook or hang on your fridge to give you ideas for Lenten sacrifices as the season continues.

Click here for both pages of this foldable:

Click here for a version with a blank page so that you can fill in your own ideas for Acts of Charity:

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Feast of the Annunciation and Spiritual Adoption Activities: Repost

Here is a repost from March 2012 because we are starting up another nine months of Spiritual Adoption in our CCD program from the Feast of the Annunciation to Christmas.  I thought it might be inspiration for you!  Lots of resources below on Spiritual Adoption and teaching kids about being prolife.

Happy Solemnity of the Annunciation!
In the middle of this season of preparation and penance of Lent, it is cool to remember the bigger picture and story of Christ's life.  I love the that Church organizes a year that allows us to recapitulate the story of Jesus, fully God and fully Man.  Today we remember the visitation of the Angel Gabriel to the Blessed Mother, changing her plans completely.

Some of her story sounds very familiar...

Young woman.
Had her own dreams and plans.
Unexpected pregnancy.
Faced opposition and persecution.
Chose life.

How different the world would be if each woman looked at each pregnancy with the value that Mary saw in Christ.  Until then, we can continue to pray for a renewal for respect of life.

On that note, our parish pro-life coordinator is organizing a cool project for our CCD kids.
They are each spiritually adopting an unborn baby for the next nine months.  They all got a magnet with Fulton Sheen's Spiritual Adoption Prayer on it and we talked about the connection between the Annunciation and being pro-life.  The kids will be doing activities, learning how the babies develop, etc.  It should be a very cool series of lessons.  Here are a few of the resources that we have/will be using if you wanted to do your own Spiritual Adoption:

Spiritual Adoption Bookmarks with the prayer written by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen:

Postcards to kick off the adoption as well as to update the kids on the babies' development each month.

A Youth Group Discussion Guide, using a song and a movie to drive home the points:
Creating a Culture of Life Youth Group Discussion Points

JJ Heller, What Love Really Means:

99 Balloons:

Go here for links to post cards that already have labels running from March 25th to December 25th, as well as blank dates (so you can start the spiritual adoption at any point).

Go here for how we have used the Touch of Life Fetal models to drive home the true development of unborn babies.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Throw(Way)Back, Edition 2

If you didn't see my quick takes last week, here is your summary as to how we got here:

Writer's Block=Needed Inspiration=Found in Throw Back Thursday=Decided to throw it way back to my forgotten hobby of genealogy and collecting the stories and pictures of my ancestors.

This week has found me looking at my family scrapbooks, which honestly hasn't happened in quite a while.  I do love those monsters, even if they are each about five inches thick and account for years of my life in time.  In each I have copies of all of the pictures that I have scanned, captions, stories, mementos, and some nice scrapbooky-decorations to boot.  Those scrapbooks are at the top of the list to grab if I would ever have fear of a home fire.  I have to admit that I used to take them to the basement with me when we would take shelter during tornado warnings.  And I maaaaay have had nightmares about them sliding off a cliff into a fiery abyss.  They might be important to me.

This recent journey into the past has reminded me that I have not been putting any effort into maintain my quest.  During my spring break (and later this summer) I have a renewed goal of updating those books, scanning in some new items, recording new family events, backing up my info, and most importantly creating the latest revision to share.  One of my biggest goals when I made this into a serious hobby was to share what I was finding with my extended family- I usually burn CDs with all of the files and pictures to give to everyone.  It has been quite a while since I have done that, so it is now on the To-Do list.  Help hold me to it :)

Up this week- My Dad's side of the family.

The Bogners.  We can start with this couple:

Opal Irene, a pretty lady.

Walter George, a handsome fellow.

Walter and Opal, my dad's parents. These two pictures were from their wedding day.  Married just months before the start of WWII, my Grandma's practical suit reminds me of how their times were so different from our own.
This picture of rice being thrown at them as they exited the St. Mary's Church in Henry, IL after their wedding is one of my favorites.  I love that you can see the expressions of the onlookers, and their wedding-worthy-attire is fun to check out too.  Also, this picture is special because the church looks unchanged from this moment in time until now.  I attended daily Mass at this church for the four years that I lived in Oh-Henry and still am there once a week to lead a Bible Study.  My grandparents, great grandparents, great-great, and great-great-great grandparents have ties to this church building.

Those are the great-great-greats.  They have a window in the church of St. Ludwig IX of France dedicated to them. The church was built in 1908, and both were still living at the time.  A pretty lasting testament to the staying power of the Bogners in the community and in their faith :).

 Four generations of Bogner men.  My great-great-great Grandfather Ludwig, great-great Grandfather Valentine, great Grandfather Joseph Valentine (J.V.), my Grandfather and his brother Paul.
 My great Uncle Paul and Grandfather, with the "new" St. Mary's school in the background.  They were both later students there.

My grandparents were married for about two years before he left to serve in the Army Air Corps.  He was primarily stationed in the Mariana Islands and worked as a cryptographer.
One rare blessing that my family has is that my Grandpa carried a camera with him when he went off to war.  We have hundreds of pictures of his time overseas during WWII. 

Chicago was 7332 miles away from this spot.
This reminds me of MASH (I know, wrong war).  My Grandpa is on the right.

Mass celebrated by Archbishop Spellman.
The story behind the last picture is crazy.  My Grandpa Walter, born and raised in Henry, IL, was stationed in the Mariana Islands.  One day, he hears a voice that he recognizes, and it is his cousin Louis Bogner, also from Henry.  They were not in the same unit.  That same day, they found another friend from Henry named Alden Rickey.  They posed for this picture and sent it back to the Henry newspaper, where it was featured with an article.  The title was "Henry Boys Meet in Marianas."

4. My Grandma Opal was also from Henry.  She was one of seven kids, and they were well connected in the community.  For example:
My Grandma is the lady holding the guitar, and her sister is next to her.

 She was always pretty fashionable lady, if I do say so myself.

 Here she is with her two sisters and one of her four brothers.  She is on the far right.
Oh, the car, and the suits, and the pearls.
However, with their husbands serving, my Grandma and her sister didn't just sit around Henry waiting for them to get back.  They went to Chicago to work and save money.  My Grandma's earnings helped buy the home and farm that they purchased upon my Grandpa's return.  My parents still live in that house and farm the same land sixty-five years later.
My Great-Aunt Lois, their friend Eveyln, and my Grandma in Chicago celebrating either VE or VJ Day.
Marriage- Check. War- Check.  Farm- Check.  Time for kids.

My Aunt Donna came first, then about five years later my Aunt JoAnne.
And when JoAnna was one year and one month old, my Grandmother had twins, my Dad and my Uncle Sam.

Three babies all at once.  She was a strong lady.
JoAnne, Sam, and Steve.
Watching their new Zenith TV.  Grandma is holding my dad.

My dad is the ornery looking one in the middle.
My dad enjoyed growing up a farm kid, 
 ...and quickly figured out how to drive (and crash) anything that moved.  Tractors, cars, motorcycles...just ask and he has a race/crash/breakdown/wreck story for you.

 That would be him, riding a motorcycle, on the frozen Illinois River.  I wish I had owned this picture earlier in childhood to use as ammo for the much less dangerous things that I got in trouble for.
Thank goodness he survived childhood so that he could sport this fetching hairstyle for his senior picture.
My sisters and I think he looks like Christian Bale's Theodore Lawrence in this shot.

Fast forward a bit and my mom met my dad.  It took him a year (A YEAR!) to call her after he got her number...

...but they just celebrated 30 years of marriage and have raised three daughters, welcomed two sons-in-law and are ready for the next adventure.

My Dad has to be a pretty strong guy to have lived with four ladies and no boys in sight for so long.

But he is the kindest husband, most supportive dad, and best fixer-of-all-problems guy that I know.

Thanks for sticking with me through another Friday of random stories about my family. Don't forget that the things that you record, photograph, and document today will be priceless memories for someone in the future.  Take a few minutes to add your story to the legacy you are leaving behind.

We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.” ~Psalm 78:4

 Head over to Conversion Diary for more!