Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Pope's Homework

Raise your hand if Pope Francis made you cry sometime in the last week.

(hand raised over here, multiple times.)

The Pope's historic visit to the US was a treasure to experience, even if I was 1000 miles away.  He was here, in our country, with our people.  He was praying with us, celebrating the Sacraments with us, and speaking truth to us.  He hugged our people, kissed our babies, and took selfies with our teenagers.  He canonized, he taught, he challenged.  He showed us compassion, humility, strength, and joy.  I can't get enough of the footage from the days he was here, but one scene has become my favorite.

On Friday afternoon, Pope Francis visited Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic School in Harlem.  I was grading papers in my classroom and pulled it up on my smart board to watch.  Unfortunately my students were off for the day.  I loved watching him pull up to the waiting crowds of kids, seeing the students present their projects to him (high stakes show and tell) and listening to his warm speech about the value and community found in schools.  But my favorite part? When two students tried to show him how to use a smart board :).  Really though, I loved how he took the opportunity to showcase the true family found within a school. especially highlighting immigrants and minorities.  It was pretty cool that the kids that got to talk to Francis easy about their projects without an interpreter were the native Spanish speakers! He said that for everyone, school is like a second family.  "A family where, together with our mothers and fathers, our grandparents, our teachers and friends, we learn to help one another, to share our good qualities, to give the best of ourselves, to work as a team, for that is very important, and to pursue our dreams." (you can read the whole text of his speech here)

Even though my students were not in school, I wanted them to experience a taste of the most relatable part of the Pope's visit.   I've pulled up some videos that you can use in your school or CCD classroom, and made some matching prayer cards so that all kids can follow through on the Pope's homework!

"Before going, I would like to give you some homework. Can I? It is just a little request, but a very important one. Please don’t forget to pray for me, so that I can share with many people the joy of Jesus. And let us also pray that many other people can share joy like your own, whenever you feel supported, helped and counseled, even when there are problems. Even the, we still feel peace in our hearts, because Jesus never abandons us.  May God bless everyone of you today and may Our Lady watch over all of you. Thank you."

This video is a sweet two minute overview of the Pope's classroom visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels with the kids singing the Prayer of St. Francis over a montage of footage.

This video is about two minutes long and has the end of the Pope's speech containing the "homework" he had for the students.  (Pope Francis is speaking in Spanish, but an interpreter speaks over him at the same time.)

And this footage is the almost two hours of the Pope's arrival, classroom visit, greeting from the other guests in attendance, and his speech to the audience.  This is the footage that I watched live last week.  I am using this one in my classroom, but just fast forwarding to various clips.

Click on the image below for a printable prayer card, four per page, two sided, with a little picture of Pope Francis and the "homework" quote from the end of his speech.

What was you favorite part of the Pope's visit to the US?  What coverage do you think is most important for kids to see?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Praying with the Angels

This week, we celebrate the Feast of the Archangels (Sept. 29th) and Guardian Angels (Oct. 2nd).  If you are looking for a way to celebrate the angels with your students, you can use these printable prayer cards to help teach them or remind them to ask the angels for help throughout the day.

Click on either of the images below for a four per page printable of the prayer to you Guardian Angel:

Click on either of the images below for a four per page printable of the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Seven Sorrows and The Immaculate Heart of Mary

Today is the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of Mary.  This days honors the sacrifices and struggles that Mary endured during her life as she participated in the redemptive mission of Christ.  These seven sorrows remind us again that we can turn to Mary in all things, and she will direct us to her Son.  All of the stories can be found in the Gospels, starting with this one:

"and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” ~Luke 2:34-35

Today my students learned a little more about Mary and practiced looking up Scripture references.  We have already been talking about the Immaculate Heart of Mary during our study on St. Maximilian Kolbe and the Miraculous Medal art project we made last week.

I made some resources that you are free to use with your kiddos as well!

I used the notes below and did a Bible Jigsaw activity.  The kids each were assigned one of the Scripture references, and then had to look it up, read it, and summarize it.   They shared that summary with the rest of the class and we decided what the sorrow was in the story.  After they identified it, I gave them the "official" name and they wrote it in their notes.  Then we went on to the next group and the next story until we had found all seven.  This was a great method to review how to find things in the Bible and an effective way to hear all seven stories in a short amount of time (this whole activity took us about 20 minutes).  We will save this info sheet and add it to our Fulton Sheen Notebooking Project in the Mary section.

Click here for a blank version of the Seven Sorrows of Mary Notes that your students can fill in:
Click here for a completed version of the Seven Sorrows of Mary Notes:

I used the base of those notes and made some Immaculate Heart of Mary coloring pages as well.  The kids just got to take home this stained glass one and could color it if they wanted or give it away to someone.  Sometimes it is just good to send them out with good materials so they have the option to keep learning when the school day is over. :)  I also may have enjoyed coloring one myself!

Click here for the Immaculate Heart of Mary Stained Glass Coloring Page:
Click here for the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for Us Stained Glass Coloring Page:
 Click here for the Immaculate Heart of Mary Coloring Page:
 Click here for the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for Us Coloring Page:

Some other resources you may like:
-Holy Heroes has a free downloadable coloring book with a page for each of the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
-Mod H Mary has some super cool beautiful and free Marian coloring pages. (And this print from her Etsy shop! So gorgeous!)
-Here is a single coloring page with a small picture of each of the Seven Sorrows.
-Peanut Butter and Grace has ideas for celebrating the Feast of the Sorrowful Mother with your kids.
-Catholic Icing has tons of crafts and food ideas for the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

You might also like these matching coloring pages for the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Good To Me {September 11th, Sandy Hook, and Fear as a Teacher}

This is actually a repost from exactly two years ago.  I try not to recycle topics too often, but when I reread this recently, it the emotions and struggles struck me all over again.  There are a lot of hard, hard things happening in the world that of course trickle over into our schools.  Going through the procedures for a possible school intruder are now a part of our normal routines, just like fire and tornado drills. It isn't getting easier to be at the front of my classroom- the weight of the responsibility is something I have been made more aware of each new day.  All over again, it makes me so grateful for the hope we have in Christ at that I am in a teaching position where He can be the answer to all of our fears.

Today, I had to explain to 21 ten and eleven-year-olds what September 11th was.
A day that is forever imprinted in my memory happened before they were even born.

But after listening to this Presidential Proclamation over morning announcements at the beginning of the school day, I was surprised with, "Miss Bogner, what's September 11th?"  Amazingly, while a few students knew (or thought they knew) something about the events of 9/11/2001, many had only heard the date thrown around as the name of an event out of context to their lives and understanding. 

How do you talk to kids about such a tragedy?  How do you honor the sacrifices made without delving into darkness with ones too young to deserve a loss of innocence?  How do you tell the history without frightening them about the future?

It didn't help that memories and emotions I didn't expect came rolling over me as I listened to the proclamation and then tried to explain what had happened and why we need to remember.

The best that I could do?  I compared it to why we learn about the atrocities of WWII and the Holocaust.  "So you know that life is valuable, so that you know what happened in the past when people chose death instead, and so you can be the one to make sure it never happens again."

High walking orders for 5th graders.

It is interesting that last night I happened to read this article that has been floating around facebook.  Written as an open letter to teachers from the mother of a Sandy Hook victim, I cried through the whole thing.  When Sandy Hook happened, I avoided the media about it- switched off the TV, didn't scour the internet like most for survivor stories, changed the topic when friends wanted to talk about it.  I felt cold and unfeeling, but honestly, I couldn't handle it.  It is not that I was struck by fear that it could happen in my school, but more that you can't help living through a bit of that experience if you are a teacher.  A few days after the Sandy Hook massacre, I was on my prep period while my kids were at PE.  Sitting alone in my classroom, I glanced up at all of the empty desks, and started to cry.  I knew that my kids were safe, that they were just downstairs in the gym.  But I could help but think about a classroom of empty desks, and what it would be like if the students never came back to sit in them.  If even one was missing.  Something in the article that resounded with me was a statement by a teacher who went back after the shooting.  She said she did it because "They are my kids."  It is so true.  They may annoy me, challenge me, work me to death, disobey me, try my patience, and make my day difficult, but they are still my kids.  I would die for them, and that makes it even harder to talk about Sandy Hook, September 11th, and other times when life has been discarded like it means nothing.

And where was God in all of this, you may be thinking?  Now that I am at a Catholic School I don't have to talk around or avoid the real things that kids need to hear on a day like today.

They need to know that they can pray.  They can pray for the victims.  For the survivors.  For the sad souls whose actions hurt others.

They need to know that they can go to God in their fear.  They can be honest with Him about their feelings.  That they can put their trust in Him and know that He will carry them through any situation.

They need to know that they have adults who care about them and that they can talk to them about tragedy.  That there are good people who will always put them first, like their moms and dads and teachers, as well as people they don't know whose job it is to protect them.  Knowing that my brothers-in-law Steven and Luke, a firefighter and soldier respectively, have chosen to put their lives on the line for perfect strangers makes me love them more and reminds me of the selflessness of so many who strive to counteract evil working in the hearts of men.

And they need to know that God is good.  All the time.  God is good, no matter what the world around us is shouting, no matter what they see on the news, no matter the situation surrounding them.

So this song has been sticking with me lately.

"I steady my heart on the ground of your goodness.  When I'm bowed down with sorrow, I will lift up your name, and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy, because you are good to me."

You can get this song (and a gorgeous version of Come Thou Fount) free right now on Noise Trade.   (Still there two years later!) And/or you can get Audrey's new album, too.  Your heart won't regret it.

"Surely your goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." ~Psalm 23:6

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sainthood: A Video Playlist

We all love using video in the classroom, right?  Short little snippets with engaging visuals and strong audio- there is a place for using video in a Catholic school, CCD class, and youth group.  I've been working on compiling playlists of great videos available on YouTube to use with Catholic kids and my latest gathering is on Sainthood.  There are videos about the canonization process, heaven, the universal call to holiness, the Saints as intercessors and patrons, as well as a growing collection of short videos highlighting the lives of the Saints.  Click on the image above to head straight to the videos.

Got any suggestions?  I'd love to add more videos to the list!

You might also like:
Videos for teaching about the Sacraments.
Videos for the Year of Mercy
And a post with five guidelines for using video in your classroom.

Friday, September 4, 2015

7QT: Bible Story Post It Flip Books

Just in case you needed yet another reason to love post its, here is a quick and fun youth group (or middle school classroom) lesson idea.

Inspired by our favorite part of the Youcat, which of course is the fun little flip book which can be seen as you flip through the pages, (JK, the Youcat is great and well received by students), my youth group kids decided to try their hand at the art of simple animation by creating flip books.

We used stacks of post it notes & black ball point pens, they chose a favorite Bible Story, and about a half an hour later, this is what we had: (also, idk why almost all of the stories include water- easy to draw?  It is a common Biblical theme, I guess...)

1. Peter Walks on Water

2. Faith to Move Mountains

3. Noah & The Flood

4. Jesus Calms the Storm

5. The Flood

6. Jesus' Baptism

7. Wedding at Cana

So how did we do it?  It is rather simple:
1. Make sure the post it notes all stay in a stack.  You don't have to use the whole thing, but should probably have at least 20-30 pages for a good animation.  You can peel off the unused post its at the back when you are done.
2. If you are right handed, draw on the post its with the sticky part on the left and the open pages on the right.  Make sure your illustration is more to the right than in the center.  Leftys, do the opposite.
3. Keep it simple- not a lot of details, easy shapes, & stick figures.
4. Use a black ball point pen.  You could go back and add a little color when you are done if you like.
5. Picture what you want the first page to be and the last page to be.  Think of simple transitions to get from one to the other.
6. When you draw, press hard into the paper with the pen. Then, turn to the next page and you should see the impression from the drawing before.  Use that as a guideline to place your objects and people.  If something needs to be in the same spot, trace the impression.  If you need for it to move in the animation, take note of the impression and draw it in just a slightly different place. Then on the next page move it slightly more, etc.
7. When you are done, flip to see if the transitions work.  You can always go back and add a little more detail to make it seamless.

That's it!

OK- Challenge- Make your own Bible Story Post It Flip Books- and then post them on social media- GO!  Wouldn't that be cool to see popping up everywhere?

And because this is a quick project and there are seven videos and seven steps, I am linking up with Christy at Fountains of Home for Seven Quick Takes!