Friday, July 28, 2017

Teaching About the Mass {The Multiple Intelligences in Religious Education}

Back in this post I explained the background of the Multiple Intelligence theory and why I think it naturally has a place in Religious Education classrooms.  Providing each child we teach with an encounter with Christ in line with his or her unique dignity is something all educators should be striving for.  In this post, I decided to round up some ideas for teaching about the Mass that would cater to each of the eight smarts.  Not surprisingly, I found that each of the intelligences can be found as an integral part of our participation of the Mass.  This makes so much sense because each individual plays such an important, but irreplaceable, role in the Body of Christ.  Here is a list of just a few ways to get kids learning and serving and living out the Mass.  Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments!

Picture Smart Kids (Visual-Spatial Intelligence)
-Make a poster or flash cards of the Mass Articles and their purposes (or use these awesome cards for memory and other games)
-Play with an interactive kids’ Mass set
-Tour the sacristy with a sacristan and see the real articles used for Mass
-Create a piece of art for a Feast Day or Liturgical Season to be displayed in the church vestibule
-Use books about the Mass with pictures of the different parts of the Mass in action, Mass gestures, and Mass articles

Word Smart Kids (Linguistic Intelligence)
-Serve as a Lector at Mass
-Help write the introduction or petitions for Mass
-Write a Mass reflection based on the Scripture Readings
-Volunteer to help write articles for the parish bulletin, newsletter, or website
-Interview a priest or deacon
-Study a prayer of the Mass in depth (examples using the Nicene Creed here and here and here)
-Learn about the parts of the Mass using Scripture references or quotes from the Saints using this Mass Handbook
-Use a children's Missal to follow along with the prayers and responses of the Mass

Body Smart Kids (Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence)
-Act out the parts of the Mass using a peg doll set or other mini church
-Set up an altar with a play Mass set
-Practice the gestures of the Mass and research their meanings
-Help train younger students about the gestures of the Mass

People Smart Kids (Interpersonal Intelligence)
-Plan a specific Mass for a cause and advertise it in the church community
-Attend a training for liturgical ministers, or train someone else in a liturgical ministry
-Serve as a greeter/usher at Mass
-Visit homebound parishioners with an Extraordinary Minister of Communion
-Let the kids be the teachers- give them a leadership role and help them plan a program, after Mass social, liturgical season event, or feast day celebration

Self Smart Kids (Intrapersonal Intelligence)
-Create a personal Mass journal as a place to write, draw, and list reflections from Mass and prayer
-Design Mass journal or prayer page a leave copies in the vestibule of the church for others to use
-Write prayer prompts relating to the Scripture Readings or Liturgical season
-Pray for the Mass intentions and those on the parish Prayer Chain

Music Smart Kids (Musical Intelligence)
-Research Mass parts set to music and compare different Mass settings
-Choose and plan music for a specific Mass using the readings and liturgy
-Sing in the choir or play an instrument during Mass
-Train with a cantor or choir director
-Listen to music (like this) to learn more about the Eucharist

Nature Smart Kids (Natural Intelligence) 
-Organize an outdoor Eucharistic Procession
-Help with landscaping around the church property
-Create flower arrangements for the altar or for honoring shrines and statues in the church (bonus points if they learn about honoring Mary through the flowers they chose)

Number Smart Kids (Logical/Mathematical Intelligence)
-Volunteer with those who help count the Mass collection
-Interview a sacristan about how many hosts are used for different Masses
-Create a display about parishioner statistics with the help of the parish secretary
-Emphasize the order and structure of the Mass by using these Mass cards

Click here for a printable handout of these ideas for teaching about the Mass to the multiple intelligences:

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Order of the Mass Activity Cards

Our faith is one filled with order, rhythm, and structure.  Introducing kids to the meaning and richness behind that order, especially of the Mass, can help them understand and enter into worship with all the faithful.  I've used a couple of sets of cards about the order of the Mass for years in my classroom for this purpose, but decided to upgrade my handwritten-on-index-cards to these nice printables that I can share with you.  We typically use these as station activities during our Eucharist unit, but they also lend themselves to jigsaw activities, or you can print a whole class set and work through them together. Below, I've given you a few tips and ideas for using the cards with kids, but the possibilities are endless! I'm sure you can come up with many more uses that will fit the needs of your students!

Details and ideas for using the Order of the Mass Cards:
-Includes a Key Card to help you quickly check (or have students self-check)
-Includes Introductory Rites, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, and Concluding Rites heading cards with a border to help with organization
-Cut out and shuffle the stack and have students put the parts of the Mass in order from start to finish across a large table or the floor (better for older students or students who need a challenge)
-Label the cards with four different colors for the four main parts of the Mass so putting them in order isn't so overwhelming (better for younger students or students who need a little more help)
-Only give one part of the Mass at a time to put in order (even easier)
-Put cards in order and label with a small number on the back.  When finished sorting, students can flip them over and easily self check to see if their order is correct
-Pair with a play Mass set to help the students match the names of the parts of the Mass with the objects used during Mass
-Give the students a child friendly missal to do their own research about the Order of the Mass
-Punch a hole in the corner of the cards and put them in order on a carabiner or binder ring.   This could be an alternate way for a student to put them in order without a lot of table space or a storage solution
-Bring the cards on a carabiner or binder ring to Mass.  Help the child flip a card for each new part of the Mass to help them pay attention and learn the parts of the Mass without flipping through a missal

I also love to share the Scriptural origin of the Mass with my students and reveal how much of the Bible they know just from the responses and prayers at Mass.  This set of cards gives nine Bible references to look up that connect to a part of the Mass.  The students can look up the verses and see if they can identify the origin of the Holy, Holy, Holy, or the prayer of Consecration, etc.

Details and ideas for using the Connecting the Order of the Mass and Scripture cards:
-The tenth card of the set is a key for matching the parts of the Mass with the Bible verses for the teacher or for the students to self check
-Provide cards and a Bible to students and give them time to look up the reference individually.  Then discuss as a group what part of the Mass they think the verse matches.  Then try the next verse
-Pass out different individual cards to individual students or partners.  Have them look up the reference, match it to the Mass, and share their ideas with the whole group
-Write the nine parts of the Mass from the key on the board or a large piece of paper.  Have students look up the verses and then go write in the verse next to the part of the Mass
-Using a missal and a Bible, discuss how similar or different the Bible verses and the prayers we use today are to each other
-Have the students pick another part or prayer of the Mass and research its Biblical origins

Click here to download and print the Order of the Mass Cards:

Click here to download and print the Connecting the Order of the Mass and Scripture Cards:

Monday, July 24, 2017

Favorite Books about the Mass

Between Katie Reads posts, being a teacher, and just having a reputation as a book hoarder, I frequently get requests for book recommendations on certain topics.  Today I'd like to share some of my favorite books about the Mass for both kids and adults.  This book list contains everything from children's missals with the prayers and responses for Mass, Bible studies on the Mass, and picture books that help share themes and lessons about the Mass.  There's a little bit of everything, so I hope something new catches your eye and inspires you to learn more.  I'd also like to hear about your favorite books about the Mass- please share them with us in the comment section!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase through my link I earn a small percentage at no extra cost to you.

Here are a few more titles for you!
A Missal for Toddlers- Lescoat, Ellen
I Pray the Mass- Patricia Jablonski
I Went to Mass, What Did I See? - Warner, Katie
Fr. Ben Gets Ready for Mass- Warner, KatieThe Miracle of the Fish and the Boy, by Anthony DeStefano
Finding You, The Sisters of Life
The Weight of a Mass- Nobisso, Josephine

Jesus Speaks to Me About the Mass by Angela M. Burrin
Part of one of my favorite series of books, this Mass book takes an original approach to teaching about the parts of the Mass.  Each page has a beautiful illustration, a theme, a Bible verse, a first person message "from" Jesus, and a short prayer.  The book take stories from the Bible like the Prodigal Son, the entrance into Jerusalem, the angels over Bethlehem, the paralytic lowered through the roof, and many more and connects them to the parts of the Mass.  The text is written in first person perspective from Jesus and describes the Mass in a very personal and story-driven way.

A is for Altar, B is for Bible by Judith Lang Main
This is a sweet little ABC book with a holy object, illustration, and Bible verse for each letter of the alphabet. It's a great resource for teaching little ones, but also could be used with older kids for prayer and discussion.  I can totally see it as a springboard for an individual or class project creating their own alphabet about the Mass or the Sacraments.

With Jesus Always: My Mass Book by Sadlier Publishing
This little book came as a sample supplement for my text book series, and I think it would be a great starter Missal for early elementary students.  One side is a Mass book, and when it is flipped over it is also a Reconciliation and prayer book.  The Mass side contains the words of the Mass with prayers and responses.  It also contains a nice diagram of a church and a well done combination of illustrations and photos.

Celebrating the Eucharist: A Mass Book for Children by Twenty-Third Publications
This little Mass book is a simple but thorough children's missal, containing all the prayers and responses of the Mass.  I really like the modern cartoon style illustrations and the small size.   This would be a great resources to have in a class set or available for families in the back of the church.

The Weight of a Mass by Josephine Nobisso
If your home or classroom doesn't have a copy of this book (and its companion Take it to the Queen) it is time to add it to your library.  A detailed original fable filled with symbolism and allegory, this story of a Eucharistic miracle in an ancient kingdom can be enjoyed by young children but also discussed in depth with older children.  And the illustrations are just so, so lovely.  I use this in my classroom as a part of our Fairy Tale & Fable unit, showing the kids how traditional stories can reveal so much truth about our faith.

 Arabel's Lamb by Sherry Boas
This fictional story based on legends about the life of St. George is not directly about the Mass, but is about the theme of sacrifice and salvation.  This book would be a great discussion or journaling resource during a unit on the Eucharist.

The Mass Explained to Children by Maria Montessori
I know that the title directly says that it is for children, but I think adults could also benefit from reading this little book. The introduction for adults packs in some thought provoking material about the religious education of the young child.  The rest of the book is filled with child friendly, but rich, descriptions of the Mass including simple line drawings of the Mass articles.  Although because of the age of this book (published in 1933) it is about the Latin Mass, its value for today's kids holds true.

The Catholic Field Guide to the Liturgy by Michele E. Chronister
The author provided me with a copy of the Catholic Field Guide in exchange for an honest review.

This new book is a 156 page treasury of articles used in the Mass and other Sacraments.  Perfect for anyone who is ready to learn about about the names and purposes of these sacred items, it could be used with early elementary aged students as an introduction and even all the way up to for adults who want to learn the difference between the cassock and the chasuble or the paten and the pyx.  I wish that I had this earlier in the year during our unit on the Eucharist, but will be glad to add it to our collection of books on the Mass.

Organized by color coded categories with a convenient index in the back, each item has a watercolor illustration and detailed description that is very user friendly.  She even has a companion book called My First Book of Catholic Pictures for little learners.  Perfect for church tours, Sacramental years, RCIA candidates, Liturgical Ministers, or any curious Catholic, this handy guide is certainly a welcome tool for any classroom or home.

Brother Francis The Mass and The Bread of Life Coloring & Activity Books by Herald Entertainment
These coloring books are filled with great coloring and activity pages about the parts of the Mass, Jesus' teachings on the Eucharist, Saints, and more.  These books would make a great supplement to the Brother Francis DVDs.

The New First Mass Book by Catholic Book Publishing Co.
This book wasn't originally on my list to share, but I discovered that there is a new edition in print.  The pictured copy above is actually my childhood Mass book.  It has little 2nd Grade Katie's handwriting inside, and includes the parts and responses of the Mass, stories from the life of Christ, prayers, a preparation for Reconciliation.  It would make a lovely gift book.

And now on to a few of my favorite Mass books for adults:

The Lamb's Supper by Scott Hahn and Study Guide for the Lamb's Supper
This book has had the most influence on my understanding of the Mass out of anything I have ever read.  Dr. Hahn ties together Old Testament symbols, the Last Supper, the early church, and the details of the Book of Revelation, showing how the Mass ties together all of history and eternity.  The study guide is a great resource for personal in depth study, but I've also used it before as a springboard for small group discussion.  I cannot recommend this book enough.

The Catholic Table by Emily Stimpson Chapman
Speaking of books I can't recommend enough, The Catholic Table is phenomenal.  I wrote about it in this Katie Reads post, but its topic of food, family, hospitality, and the Eucharist warrants a place on this book list.  Reading this book would certainly develop your understanding of the Mass and all that it offers us.

Celebrating the Mass by Keven Porotta
This book is another solid resource for personal or small group study on the Mass.  Broken into six weeks of reading material and corresponding questions, it cross references  Scripture from Old and New Testament to unveil the meaning of the parts of the Mass.  If used for a group study, it already has opening questions, personal reflections, readings, discussion questions, and closing prayers ready to go, making it a great resource that is usable with little prep.

This is the Mass by Henri Daniel-Rops, Fulton Sheen, and Yousuf Karsh
I finally found an affordable copy of this out of print book to add to my classroom Fulton Sheen resources.  Part of the This is the Holy Land, This is Rome, and These are the Sacraments series, this book combines the writing of both Fulton Sheen and Henri Daniel-Rops along with the stunning photography of Fulton Sheen celebrating Mass by Yousuf Karsh.  Each part of the Mass has a 1-2 page explanation and a full page high quality photograph.  This book was also published before the new Roman Missal, but the descriptions specific to the Latin Mass don't take away from its usefulness today.  I am excited to use this with my students this year.

I love my varied collection of books about the Mass and hope to keep adding to it.  What are some of your favorites?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Sweeter Than Honey Psalm Coloring Pages- August

The big idea of our Sweeter than Honey CCD theme this year is to encourage the kids to know and memorize Scripture, specifically the Psalms, so that they know that God's promises are so sweet.

Each month, I'll share a set of coloring pages, one for each Sunday, featuring the Psalm from Sunday Mass.  Using special fonts and simple decorations, they are meant to be a quick addition to your weekly class as an aide to memorizing the Responsorial Psalm.  Add it to your opening and closing prayer, give the students a few minutes to color it during class, and send it home to be hung up on the fridge or bathroom mirror.

Here are the coloring pages for the four Sundays of August:


Click here for the full size Psalm coloring pages for August:

Click here for the half page size Psalm coloring pages for August:
(These fit perfectly inside the Scripture Book cover from this post)

I'll post coloring pages of the Psalms once a month, so stay tuned!  You might also like our Sweeter than Honey theme resources (folder covers, logo, signs, etc.) and St. Abigail and St. Ambrose patron Saint coloring pages.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Teaching to the Multiple Intelligences in Religious Education

Think about the call of the Apostles- Jesus didn't call Peter or Matthew or Philip in the same ways.  He certainly didn't use the same methods when he invited Paul, Mary Magdalene, or Martha to follow Him.  He encountered people while at work, in their homes, on the streets, on hilltops, and from the cross.  Jesus treated each person He met as an individual and continues to do so- why shouldn't we do the same as educators?  I think that looking at education through the lens of the Multiple Intelligences helps us to see how saints like St. Mother Teresa and St. Therese of Lisieux, who had such different strengths, could both love and serve the Lord so well.

Created by Howard Gardiner, the Multiple Intelligence Theory equips teachers to see various abilities, strengths, and talents combining to create smart kiddos, not dependent on a particular test scores or grades, changing our thoughts to not "if" a child is smart, but "how" he or she is smart.  This educational theory has helped me to differentiate in my classroom, reaching all students and seeing them as unique, unrepeatable, and irreplaceable individuals.   For more info, check out this pinterest board for links to research, smarts quizzes, and graphics about the Multiple Intelligences.

I think that all teachers, parents, and catechists can benefit from taking a look at the Multiple Intelligences in their homes and classrooms.  Over the next couple of months, I am going to offer a series on applying this educational theory specifically in Catholic classrooms, looking how we can present faith filled content in ways that reach all kids.  Today I'm using the Rosary as an example, but will also post ideas for teaching about the Mass, connecting kids with Saints, and helping them pray.  Each post will include a printable handout with the ideas organized by "smarts" that could be shared with coworkers, given to catechists or parents, or even used as an activity choice board for older students.

Students thrive with variations in activities and a chance for them to shine where their talents lie. Acknowledging each child’s intelligence is an echo of the individual dignity given to him or her by God. Let us strive to help all students grow in their knowledge of Christ and His Church.

Picture Smart Kids (Visual-Spatial Intelligence)
Picture Smart Kids are very visual. They learn best through seeing, not just talking and listening about a topic. Try using visual props like posters and graphic organizers while teaching, hands on manipulatives, as well as interactive notebooks with lots of pictures. To aid in learning the Rosary, use models labeled with the prayers as well as pictures of the mysteries. Use those pictures to find visual clues to help them memorize the main ideas of the stories. They also could create their own illustrations for the mysteries or lines from prayers used in the Rosary.

Word Smart Kids (Linguistic Intelligence)
Word Smart Kids can use language in powerful ways. They are great communicators, through either oral or written expression, or sometime both. Try word games to introduce new material to these kids. For example, have the kids sit in a circle and try to recite a prayer they are learning, like The Apostles Creed, one word at a time. Sarah says, “I,” Jake says, “believe,” Amanda says, “in,” …and start over again if a mistake is made until you have completed the prayer. They also benefit from writing, word cards, rhyming and repeating as they are learning.

Body Smart Kids (Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence)
Body Smart Kids learn best through movement and action. Come up with activities that get them out of their seats. Act out the Mysteries of the Rosary like plays, use sign language to teach prayers, or play games that involve movement. Teach the history of the Rosary using rocks, plastic Easter eggs, and yarn. Get the students up, pass out rocks (representing our prayers), put the rocks in the eggs (our hope in Christ), and create a spider web by clicking the eggs closed on the yarn (our connections as Christians). Hands on and tactile activities will help them acquire new info.

People Smart Kids (Interpersonal Intelligence)
People Smart Kids are always in tune with the needs and feelings of others, and have awesome leadership skills. Help your students organize a Holy Hour where they can lead the Rosary for the needs of a specific intention that they choose– a sick parishioner, a community disaster, children in impoverished countries, etc. Let the kids brainstorm how they can pray for those needs and maybe even organize some kind of fundraiser/food drive/outreach for the intention they have on their hearts. Give them the chance to shine by leading and organizing as much as possible.

Self Smart Kids (Intrapersonal Intelligence)
Self Smart Kids are very in touch with self knowledge and emotions. They will be able to remember and apply new information when they have a chance to create connections to themselves. When teaching the Rosary, encourage these kids to picture themselves being present during the different mysteries. What did they see? What were they thinking? What did they feel? Have them journal, draw, or discuss their visualizations about those meditations. They will appreciate quiet time in a church, Adoration chapel, or prayer space at home.

Music Smart Kids (Musical Intelligence)
Music Smart Kids love anything with a tune or a beat, so use this to your advantage when teaching new material. Find CDs or YouTube videos with the prayers of the Rosary or meditations set to music. Come up with rhymes or statements said to a beat to help them memorize new prayers. This works especially well with tunes that they are already familiar with– use those secular songs and make them holy! Invite them to sing or play an instrument at a Rosary prayer service or just in the classroom with fellow students.

Nature Smart Kids (Naturalist Intelligence)
Nature Smart Kids love the world around them. Get those kids outside as much as possible. Go on Rosary walks so that you can pray for the community around your church. Have those students help you plan a Mary Garden as a place of beauty and prayer. They will love seeing and growing all kinds of plants and flowers named in honor of Mary, whether you create a shrine, prayer labyrinth, or outdoor Stations of the Cross. They also could collect flowers and greenery to make arrangements for the church interior for a Mass or prayer service.

Number Smart Kids (Logical-Mathematical Intelligence)
Number Smart Kids are all about numbers. They are good with math and tend to think in a very logical and organized fashion. Let them be the “math whiz” and figure out how many years it has been since St. Dominic was given the Rosary, how many Hail Marys are said in a complete Rosary, etc. Plan a make-your-own Rosary activity and let them organize how many beads, the length of cord, etc. your class would need for each student. They even can help figure out the budget for the project and cost compare different supplies.

Click here for a two page printable with a description and teaching examples for each of the intelligences:

Read more about the Life and Dignity of the Human Person from the USCCB here.

Scripture verses for meditation:

“There are different kids of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit it given for some benefit.”
~1 Corinthians 12:4-7

"It will as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.  To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one- to each according to his ability."
~Matthew 25:14-15

"As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace."
~1 Peter 4:10

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

St. Ambrose and St. Abigail Coloring Pages

Last week I posted about my CCD Sweeter Than Honey theme for this fall, and got so many nice emails!  Thank you for your sweet encouragement- I'm very excited to be sharing this with you and your students. :)  I've been hard at work churning out more resources, and today I have a set of coloring pages for our Patron Saints for the year: St. Ambrose and St. Abigail.  Both this holy man and holy woman are patrons of beekeepers and have stories from their lives connected to honey and bees.  I think the students will enjoy learning a little more about these unique two Saints!

I've made a set of coloring pages and info pages for each Saint, and also posted an already colored version as well for you to print.  It would make a great mini poster or addition to a bulletin board.  If you are looking for Sweeter than Honey verse coloring pages, folder/notebook covers, room signs, etc. or info on the theme, check out my last post.

Click here for the St. Ambrose coloring page:
Click here for the St. Ambrose info coloring page:
Click here for the St. Ambrose info page in color:

Click here for the St. Abigail coloring page:

Click here for the St. Abigail info coloring page:
Click here for the St. Abigail page in color:

Click here for the St. Abigail and St. Ambrose sweeter than honey verse coloring page:

I'll be back soon with the first set of Sweeter than Honey Psalm coloring pages and ideas for theme bulletin boards and decorations!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Sweeter Than Honey Theme Resources

Today was one of those productive days that you dream about having in the summer.  Among other things, I finished a bunch of work for an upcoming project I am super excited to share with you- very, very soon! I decided to switch gears and do some planning for the upcoming CCD year... and then churned out a ton of completed work for our CCD theme.  I am so excited about how it turned out, so I thought I would stay on a roll and get it all posted on the blog to share with you!  If you are looking for a new CCD or classroom theme, maybe you can use our "Sweeter than Honey" idea!

The complete theme verse is, "How sweet to my tongue is your promise, sweeter than honey to my mouth." from Psalm 119:103.  Among the cute bee and honeycomb decor we'll have, we also are going to have an emphasis on memorizing Scripture, specifically the Psalms.  We want the kids to have God's promises, which are so sweet, close to their heart.

I'll be making coloring pages to match the Responsorial Psalm for each week of the school year and sharing them here on the blog starting later this summer.  Those coloring pages could go on the back of your CCD newsletter, near the bulletins at church, as that five-minute-filler we all need at the end of class, or as a take home activity.  I dream of the weekly coloring pages being collected in a folder, notebook, or little mini book, so I've already created some covers for your planning.

Here are some of the printables I have ready for you to use as you begin your planning for the fall,  Let me know if you have any ideas for the theme, or if you know of a good patron Saint we can enlist- St. Gobnait/Abigail? St. Ambrose?  Maybe both?  What do you think?

Click on the images below to download and print the resources.

Sweeter Than Honey coloring page with Scripture Verse:

Sweeter Than Honey coloring page plain:

Room signs: (Also could be used for folder covers or teacher binder labels)
(Includes Preschool, Kindergarten, 1st-8th Grade, Confirmation, First Communion, Jr. High, High School, and Office).  I tried to make a collection of all encompassing signs, but if you need a specific grade level that is not in the collection, feel free to email me at and I'd be happy to make those quick edits for you.

 Folder or notebook cover:

My Scripture Book half page cover:
This will be one place to collect the half page memory verses that I'll share in the coming months.

Gray scale honeycomb page:

Yellow honey comb page:

Black honeycomb page:

I'll be back with more soon!  In the meantime, if you see any cute bee or honey classroom decor, send it my way! ;)