Monday, February 23, 2015

The Sound of Lent

Blessed in the wisdom of the Church, the Liturgical Seasons set the soundtrack for our days in both tone and content.  I have found it ever so helpful to compile literal itunes playlists for Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter.  Those songs have made me think about my music choices throughout different times of the year and how they can effect my prayer and direct my heart.  I thought I'd pull together a few of my favorite Lent musings for you here.  Unless you have made a Lenten promise about silence :) give this playlist a try:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ideas for Lent

Here are links to all of the Lent resources that I have previously posted about.  Click on the pictures to go to the original post with instructions and printables.

Lent Notes Foldable:

Lent Word Cloud printable:

What does Lent Look Like?  Printable coloring page:

Give Up & Take Up youth lesson on Lenten Sacrifices. 
***This post also contains links to some of my favorite Lenten videos and online resources.

Youth Group lesson connecting the Stations of the Cross and Lenten acts of mercy:

Youth Group lesson connection the Passover and the Passion, using the movie Prince of Egypt:

The Gospel in an Eggshell: Connecting the infant Christ with the Christ that died to give us eternal life- great especially as we have such a short time between Christmas and Lent.

 Ideas for making your own Resurrection Eggs, which are great to tell the story of Holy Week:

New Life Seed Printable:
Great for making the connection to "unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it bears no fruit."  Plant the seeds, see them die, have flowers by Easter!

Lent Youth Group Lessons, Links, and Videos

Prepping my Youth Group kids and 5th grade students for the coming of Lent involved this little foldable:
We talked about sacrifice and why they Church asks us to pray, fast, and give during the season of Lent.  Discussion led us to remember that it is worthy to make a sacrifice and offer it to Christ in connection with the ultimate Sacrifice He made for us.  It is also good to sacrifice because by removing something from our lives, it creates a hole that Christ can then fill.  Each student was challenged to make a promise to both "Give Up" and "Take Up" something this Lent.
The back of the pocket-sized foldable also has the verse from Scripture as a reminder: "Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.'" ~Matthew 16:24

Click here for the printable: (four foldables per page)

Also in my prep this week, I wrangled together some of my favorite/recommended resources, and wanted to share them with you here.  They would be useful for ages varying from Middle School- Adult.  At the bottom of the page is a downloadable pdf with a collection of all of these links so that they can be easily accessed and shared in one place.

Here are some favorite videos:

Some good studies/emails/etc.
  • Best Lent Ever: free videos from Matthew Kelly sent to your inbox
  • Word on Fire:Lent CDs, Books, DVDs from Fr. Robert Barron:
  • The Way: Video series from Real Life Catholic- Chris Stefanick
  • Lentsanity: App, all kinds of Social Media, articles, etc., all from FOCUS
  • #ShareJesus: Videos meant to be shared as evangelization tools this Lent
  • Blessed is She: Not just a study for Lent, but reflections are based on the daily Mass readings specifically for women
Still stumped about what to do this Lent?

Here is a nothing-special document that can be easily shared for ideas on Lent resources:

Monday, February 16, 2015

What Lent Looks Like

Only a couple of days remain until we enter into the season of Lent, a time to return to the Lord, to fast, pray, and give, and a time to clarify and strengthen our relationship with Christ.

The Liturgical Seasons that our Church has put in place create a beautiful rhythm for Christian life.  I also love the signs and symbols of the seasons, and plan to create a resource to use with kids as a reminder of the meaning of each season.  Up first is the Lent printable.  I have it in black & white, partial color, and full color.  You can print it out to hang in your home or classroom, or use it for a notebooking or lapbook project.

I hope you and your family experience a fruitful Lent this year!

Click here for the black and white printable:
 Click here for the color copy:
Click here for the color copy on lavender:

Friday, February 13, 2015

Seven Quick Takes: All the Hearts and Things

Oh, it's Valentine's Day.  Here's my obligatory single girl song to tell you how I feel about that:

Some friends and I call this genre "depressingly hopeful."

Ok, ok, I'm not really sad.  Here's a better song that speaks truth about who I really am:

But for real, Valentine's Day doesn't really bother me as a single person.  Some things do, but this commercialized excuse for a martyred Saint's feast day that actually isn't on the Roman Calendar isn't really a trigger for melancholy.

Plus, who can be melancholy when you receive this bounty from your students?

Appropriately for Valentine's Day, however, my sisters and I discussed John 2 this week in our cross-country-video-chat Bible Study.  John 2=Wedding Feast at Cana.  We talked about it all while drinking some un-miraculous wine.
And speaking of weddings, my cousin accepted a fun challenge from me to embarrass herself and educate the masses about the style of bridesmaids dresses from the past couple of decades.  She is a very good sport and has three posts with some highlights from various weddings she has been a bridesmaid in.  Here is one beauty, and you can click on the pic to go read about the rest.

Typically, my Valentine's Day is a good excuse to have a girls night, which I guess I am doing this year as well.  I am watching this cutie so her mama and daddy can go on a much deserved date night.

Yay Valentine's Day!

Go visit Kelly for more quick takes!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Owl Love

St. Valentine's Day is almost upon us... I thought that I would share our little owl love Valentine's bags with you!

I've done this project for several years with my students, it is a fun, no instructions necessary craft.  We start with different styles of "lunch sack" style bags.  I have learned to get the heavy craft ones from Hobby Lobby, usually available in their holiday aisles.

I then set out colored paper scraps, stencils to use for circles, glue, staplers, etc. and let the kids be creative.  Here are this year's results:

We have sweet Valentine's owls:

 And creative boys' owls:

 And cutesy girls' owls:
They always impress me with what they can come up with, even given the same materials and same instructions.  We will use these tomorrow at our classroom party for the Valentine's Card exchange.  Happy St. Valentine's Day!

You might also like these Valentine's coloring pages:

Friday, February 6, 2015

Seven Quick Takes: Days Late and Words Short

So, these Seven Quick Takes have been resting in my draft folder for a while.  When you can't even get Quick Takes written? ... Well, I'm just going to let the pictures do most of the talking about what has been going on around here this week!

We survived celebrated another Catholic Schools Week!  But really, it was great.  And my bulletin board made the Catholic Post!

I received this pretty recipe box from my niece Violet- doesn't she have great taste for a six-week-old?  It looks lovely with my vintage spice jars and avocado Kitchen Aid mixer. 
The company that makes this recipe box only makes it in three styles.  And those styles just happen to correlate very closely to the tastes of my two sisters and I.  Steph first picked out the pale turquoise box and received it as a gift- it seriously matches her whole house.  Emily got the black and gold box from Steven (Steph) for Christmas- she is classy and timeless just like that design.  Then I get the midnight floral box from Violet (ahem, Steph).  It's all perfection.

So the snow?  It happened here, too.  In the area that I drive every week, between church and work and home, snow totals ranged from ten to two inches.  How can there be that much of a discrepancy in a local area?  Regardless, I got a pretty shot of my church when it was still snowing on Sunday.  Oh, and I also have spent a chunk of time recently helping another volunteer get a website set up for our church.  (I know, welcome to the year 2000-we are a bit behind.)

Great news- my sister Emily was accepted into a Creighton Practitioner training program!  I am so proud of her for wanting to pursue this ministry, and grateful to see how she is finding a new way to serve using the gifts God has given her.  However, the other news is that she has quite a chunk of expenses to cover up front for this training.  She has started a website to share her story and help fund raise.  Could you go give it a glance?  And maybe share it with some people you know? And if you are looking for a place to tithe to this month, she sure would appreciate you helping make this dream happen!

I love the work done by Likable Art.  (This video was my introduction to their work, and it is my fave.) Graphic design, logos, videos...I keep stumbling across their work, and think, "Gosh, I love this!" and then I realize that it is Likable Art again.  Check out these graphics of a great St. Francis Quote:
(Click on any of these images to take you to their Facebook page)

My students slightly have Fulton Sheen on the brain.  Proof?  This cookie from a 3rd grader about made their year.  My room is decorated with owls...I thought that was why they were excited.  
No, they said, "If Fulton Sheen were an owl and he was on a cookie, it would look EXACTLY like that!!!"  Ok.

And finally, snowy days have given me some time for crafting.  Valentine's Cards, ready to go.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Baptism + Water Stories in the Bible Art

We are working on reviewing the Sacraments of Initiation in my classroom, and our adding our collections of projects, notes, and art into our Fulton Sheen notebooks.  I've actually already blogged about how we notebook the Sacraments, so this is not a new activity for me...however, I was so impressed with the kids' art this year that I wanted to share a few more examples.

On our Baptism pages, we add a Baptismal certificate, a set of Baptismal promises, and a "stained glass" representation of a Bible story that connects with Baptism.  You can see directions for how we made this art project, as well as get printables for all of the other Baptism activities in this post.

So without further ado, check these out:

Here we have Noah's Ark as well as Moses parting the Red Sea: (I love the color in these two!)

Here we have baby Moses being placed in the Nile by his mother, and I think the perspectives used by these artists was very unique:

These stories were both firsts for me this year even though I have done this project with several classes now- Jonah & the big fish and Jesus with the Woman at the Well:
And this was also a new story this year- a representation of the miraculous catch of fish when Jesus called Peter:

I love the kids' talent and seeing how they can take the same project with the same instructions and make it their own.  After creating their art, they had to do a little quick journal writing on how that Bible story connects with the Sacrament of Baptism. (For inspiration before beginning this art project, we brainstormed as a class all of the Bible stories we could think of that had to do with water.  The kids then had to read that story before beginning their art project- it was a great way to get them diving into Scripture and involving their choice!)

You can see a completed notebook page here:

For more info on this activity, instructions, and printables, check out this original post.