Friday, July 25, 2014

Fulton Sheen Family Day

A couple of weekends ago, I got to spend the day celebrating Fulton Sheen.  Planned together with the Sheen Foundation & Museum, Bonnie Engstrom, and me, the day included tours and activities relating to the life of Sheen, the things he taught, and his connections to Peoria.  The Sheen Museum was available for families to wander, special Sheen centered tours of St. Mary's Cathedral were offered, and kids crafts and activities were set up in the Spalding Pastoral Center.
It's probably not shocking to hear that I was in charge of the crafts and activities.  :)  All of the activities that we had are crafts that I have done in my classroom and posted about here on this blog, but this time, I needed to have other people doing the teaching.  I made a handout for each station which includes directions, supply lists, and teaching points.  The crafts themselves are great, but it is the conversation that you can have with the kids while they are working that makes the real impact.  I chose three crafts focusing on three important aspects of our faith that were all huge parts of Sheen's teachings: the Eucharist, Mary, and the Priesthood. 
We ended up with a crowd of about 150 people, approximately 70 of which were kids who did the crafts. The only way that an event like this works is if you make it easy for parents and volunteers to help.  Here are a few suggestions for making activity stations go smoother:
1.  Have written directions.  Even if it is easy, and even if you show the volunteer(s) how to do it, there is a good chance that a new volunteer or a parent or an older kid will want to jump in and help.  Especially during busy times, having directions to reference will make things go smoother.
2.  Have teaching points for each station.  The craft is a means to an end- it eventually will be thrown away, but hopefully knowledge soaks in from the experience.  If the only conversation going on is about where to cut or glue, an opportunity is lost.  Leave some questions, facts, talking points, or conversation starters for the volunteers or parents to use.
3.  Have the supplies organized.  Especially if the craft is for younger kids, do as much assembly ahead of time as possible.  Have items set up in the order that they will be used.  Make sure there are enough of the tools needed for the more labor intensive steps- scissors, glue, etc.
4.  Have an example, or two or three different versions.  It give the kids something to model their work after and gives the adults something to help as they look at the directions. 
5.  Have something for them to do with the craft when they get home.  Send them with discussion questions to talk about with their families.  Challenge them to so something specific with their craft- hang it in their bedroom, place it on the family dinner table, mail it to grandma, etc.  Give them a purpose and a reason to keep learning.
On to the crafts-

The kids could do more than one craft, but we had them set up to be easier to do with certain age levels.  For the preschool-1st grade crowd, we made these gold Monstrances, remembering that Sheen made a Holy Hour every day.
Supplies all set up:
 Two different versions, one a little easier and one a little more challenging:
I originally posted about these activities here:
Praying a Holy Hour
ACTS Prayer Lapbook

Click here for the printable instruction sheet:
Click here for the printable quote sheet:

Next up was another version of the Marian Shrines that have been so popular with my students.  We set this one up for 2nd-4th graders, but we had kids of all ages at this one.

Supplies read to go:
One of the finished products:
I originally posted about these activities here: 
Notebook Pop Up Marian Shrine
Marian Shrine in a Lapbook
Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue
Mary Flip Books
Children's Book Jesus, Son of Mary- written by Sheen
Mary as the Moon coloring page/journal starter
For other Mary activities that I have posts about, go here.

Click here for the printable instruction sheet:
Click here for the printable quote sheet:

And for the biggest kids, an activity about bishops and vocations:
Finished project:
I originally posted about these activities here: 

Vocations, Part Four (Holy Orders Printables and Origami Miter)
Vocations, Part Three  (My Hands Can Serve Notebooking Activity)

Click here for the printable instruction sheet:
Click here for the printable quote sheet:

All of the crafts were set up in the same room, and families could hang out, eat snacks, etc.  We also put some of my Sheen Quote Coloring pages out for early finishers who were waiting, or let's be honest, adults who like to color. (Doesn't everybody?)  A lot of the kids went around and made sure that they took home one of each page to color later.
Here are the posts that have the Sheen Quote Coloring Pages:
The Quotable Sheen- Coloring Pages and Quote Cards
Sheen Quote Coloring Page- Good and Evil
Sheen Quote Coloring Page- Books
Sheen Quote Coloring Page- Humility
Sheen Quote Coloring Page- Charity 
Sheen Quote Coloring Page- Happiness
Sheen Quote Coloring Page- Mary as the Moon

My favorite station was this one:
Seriously, isn't that cool!  The Sheen Foundation had this special full sized cut out made, and then staged it a bit.  Families got their photos taken with Sheen, and it looked super realistic.  Christmas card picture, anyone?

Bonnie made these great cards to hand out so the attendees could find more information on Sheen once they got home.  Included are my blog for more crafts and activities, the Sheen Foundation for more info on the Cause for his canonization, and Bonnie's blog for more on the alleged miracle of James Fulton.

The kids also got a pretty awesome goodie bag to take home, too.
It included some great items to help them continue learning about Sheen including a Fulton Sheen Timeline,  a Fulton Sheen Graphic Novel , a World Mission Rosary, and info on the Spiritual Adoption Prayer and the Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue poem.

It was a very successful day, and several joked that it was "The First Annual Sheen Family Day," implying that we need to start planning for next year! I hope that you are encouraged to teach the kids in your life about Sheen and the faith that he loved.


  1. Are you going to do the Fulton day again? Would love to come.

    1. Hi Becky! We do hope to do it again, but don't have a date on the calendar. I imagine it will be next summer. Until then, check out my Teaching With Fulton Sheen tab above, especially for info about the Cathedral and museum. You can go see them anytime!