Saturday, May 30, 2020

Sacred Heart At-Home VBS {Includes an editable option and all resources are free!}

The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, so I could think of no better theme as I planned activities to share with you for your families and students. With life still not back to normal, I know many people are missing out on VBS and Totus Tuus and want to support their kids' faith over the summer. Cue the best I could do to create an at-home VBS. ;)

This resource is set up with a lot of the elements of a VBS (prayer, music, snacks, crafts) but with tons of options so it can work for a wide range of ages. I also pulled A LOT of resources- more than anyone would really use -but I wanted there to be variety and choice. All of the activities are FREE so hopefully this project is easily accessible and shareable, even on a school or parish level. 

For each column, there is an idea for:
-Bible verse
-Saint who loved the Sacred Heart
-Bonus Resources (usually additional crafts or videos)
-Links for Parents or Older Siblings (to help parents feel equipped to teach their kids along the way, and to help older kids participate)

I created two different calendar options. One has a traditional Monday-Friday format, so there would be a lot of activities for each day. The second option uses the five weeks of June and spreads out ideas over the whole month. (And technically there is a third option, because I'm also giving you an editable version you can tailor to the needs of your group). All of the plans end with an enthronement of the Sacred Heart and Sacred Heart Party, which kids can do with this printable Sacred Heart Statue:

Almost every suggestion has an link to a printable, YouTube Video, recipe, etc. including the prayers and a quote for each of the Saints. I think these would be great to hang or display during the VSB, or they also can be cut apart and stapled into little prayer books:

This whole plan is completely free and available for you to email out to your friends, parish, class, school, etc. I always appreciate when people include a link back to the blog so people can find more resources, but the schedule is especially designed to be easy to share as a pdf in a bulk email, school communication system, or parish bulletin. Please share! I'm always honored to be able to help, but especially now when we can't minister to our communities in the same ways we are used to. Click below to open all the resources!

Please join me in praying and asking Jesus' Sacred Heart to have mercy on us, and on the whole world. 

***These docs are also linked directly in the schedule, but I wanted to share them here too in case you only plan to use the statue and prayers ;)

Click here to print the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue:

 And banner:

These Sacred Heart Prayers can be used throughout the week or month, and can either be cut out and displayed, or cut and stapled into a mini book.

These Sacred Heart Saint Quotes are from the five featured Saints as well a couple bonuses. They can also be displayed through the week or made into a mini book.

Sacred Heart At-Home VBS 5 Day Guide: Click here for the pdf version of the guide with all the links and info on one page for a Monday-Friday schedule:

Sacred Heart At-Home VBS 5 Week Guide: Or click here for the pdf version of the guide with all the links and info on one page spread out over the five weeks in June:

Editable Google Slides Version: And if you'd like to edit the guide, I've made a version in Google Slides (same info and links, design is slightly different and spread over two pages). Directions are included for how to make a copy or download the slides to edit.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Katie Reads {22} New Books for Catholic Kids

This stack of books makes me both so excited and so melancholy. Excited because there are some awesome titles in here that I am glad to be adding to my classroom library, but also super sad because my students are not in that classroom to enjoy them. But when we are all back together, I'm grateful to have some new resources to enrich our studies and reading. I’ve gotten a little behind on my Katie Reads Review posts, hence the length of this list, but I’m still glad to be able to share them with you and maybe there will be a few titles you can order for your own kiddos and enjoy this summer!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. That means that if you click through and purchase something, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.
***Pauline Books & Media provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
+++Emmaus Road Publishing provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
^^^Tan Books provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
===Our Sunday Visitor  provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
### Author provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I only recommend things I use and love and want to share with you. All opinions are my own. :)

I am loving the virtue program used by my school (Education in Virtue) and as we go into year three of implementation, I am always looking for resources to pull and supplement to make it meaningful for my students (especially the ones that I will have had for three years in a row.) This lovely little devotional book is something I hope to pull from for class prayer, read aloud reflections, quotes for the board, etc. It is of keepsake quality with a leatherette cover, ribbon bookmark, gilded pages. There is a virtue theme organized by month- such as humility, patience, obedience, simplicity, and charity. Within the monthly themes, there is a Saint quote for each day followed by a short but substantial reading (1-2 pages) about how a Saint lived out that virtue. While not specifically created for kids, it will be a great resource for my middle school classroom. I loved this quote that the book opens with, which I think sets the tone for what the book offers: "The object of all virtues is to bring us into union with God, in which alone is laid up all the happiness that can be enjoyed in this world. Now, in what does this union properly consist? In nothing save a perfect conformity and resemblance between our will and the will of God." ~St. John of the Cross

I love this sweet new book encouraging a conversational style of prayer between kiddos and God. Aimed I think at 2nd-4th graders, it has super cute graphics and is divided into six chapters with ten or so topics. The short, original child-friendly prayers are super relatable and then always provide room for them to write their own addition or response on the same topic. The prayers are not specifically Catholic, fyi. This is good because the book would be usable by any Christian denomination, but doesn't take advantage of rich Catholic traditions. The topics are very practical real life- things like homework, laughter, anger, birthdays, and sports. There is also a section for holidays, both secular and religious. The categories also incorporate different types of prayer- petition, thanks, etc. for every emotion. And contained in the book are some hard topics kids encounter- death of a loved one, divorce, prejudice.  These "Prayers about Things That Happen in Our World" are done in a child appropriate way, and I think would be a great tool to use for a child who needs an outlet for approaching prayer during those hard times.

I've already recommended the first book of Catholic Funny Fill-Ins and have enjoyed using it as an extra activity in my classroom when I need a game, filler, reward, etc. Fill in  a list of random adjectives, verbs, and names, and you suddenly have a hilarious story about Catholic life. Karen and Tommy Tigue (The Catholic Hipster) have created a second edition that features fill-ins all about spectacular Saints. These are always more fun with two or more people, so I think they would be a perfect way to promote some non-screen-family together time.  I'm also grateful that Pauline Kids allows in the copyright for pages to be reproduced for educators, which makes it an awesome resource for the classroom. This is such a fun and easy activity to get kids laughing and enjoying the themes of their Catholic faith. With cute illustrations complimenting the new Saint for each page, there are an infinite number of ways to complete the stories and therefore the book can be used again and again. Plus, each fill-in ends with a short interesting bio of the Saint, giving context to the fill-in story and doing a little catechesis along the way!

===Be Yourself, A Journal for Catholic Boys, by Amy Brooks (preorder the physical book for August)
Amy Brooks created a beautiful resources for tweens called the Be Yourself, A Journal for Catholic Girls and now has a companion for boys! I'm so excited to see these launched into the world, but unfortunately due to COVID related delays, the publication of the book is pushed back to this summer. However, I've gotten to view the inside pages and it is awesome! I actually might like it even better than the girls version... which is a hard thing to do! Creating a journal for a tween/teen boy is no easy task, but Amy has done it in a way that is masculine, adventurous, and fun while still creating an invitation for prayer and reflection. The pages are filled with quotes, challenges, spaces to write or create (like with mud, for example!), and guides for prayer. While it might seem like a long time to wait, I encourage you to check it out if you have a 9-12 year old boy in your life who could benefit and consider preordering!

***Month by Month with Mary: Spiritual Insights for Marian Devotion, by Guido Gandolfo, SSP
This is another resources not created specifically for kids, but I am definitely going to put to use in my classroom. The little book is perfect for carrying Marian themes throughout the entire year, especially for someone looking to live out their Consecration to Jesus through Mary or to make her a more routine part of prayer. A chapter per month contains a collection of reflections on Marian themes that match the Liturgical Year. For each month, a title or experience of Mary is highlighted to match the season or a feast day of that month. It is not a daily format, but instead offers a reading that could be reflected on once during the month, which I think is very practical. It will be a great tool with my jr. high students especially as we investigate the titles of Mary and her role in the Church.

###That Easter Sunday: A Story of Resilience, Friendship, and Hope, by Nadishka Aloysius (free on Kindle Unlimited)
This short story told from the perspective of a mouse and his family and friends retells the terrible tragedy of the terrorist bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday 2019. That loss of life and tragic attack on public worship was a difficult event to witness from across the world, but is something that should be part of our prayers as a united Church. Nadiska's story retells the events of one of bombings but through the innocent eyes of a mouse, who with childlike naivety does not understand everything that is happening. The result is an approachable opportunity to process tragedy without forcing facts on a child not ready for them. I think that this book could serve two main purposes well- First, it would certainly be a good book to read with a child who has heard about the Sri Lankan bombings or other attacks on a place of worship as a way to process and discuss. Second, I think that the book could have applications for a child dealing with many other types of tragedy- violence, death, separation, etc. I would definitely read it first and decide how to approach the topic with your child, but am grateful that this tool has been added to the arsenal of books about hard topics for kids.

and ###Prince Martin and the Last Centaur (Book 5) Free on Kindle Unlimited, preorder the physical book for April
Have you read the Prince Martin books yet? They are such a creative, fun, adventurous set of stories that are a unique addition to the short chapter book market, especially for boys! While appealing to both boys and girls, I do love that there is a consistent masculine tone set through the challenges presented and growth in the characters. I recently read books four and five, which can be read as stand along books or certainly as part of the series. Written in metered verse, they would make rhythmic read alouds for home or classroom. The chapter books are aimed at 8-10 year olds, which I think would be a good fit. There are some challenging and interesting words throughout the story, elevating the vocabulary, but the books also include a glossary with "power words" at the end.
While not a blatantly Catholic story, I really enjoyed reading a narrative where virtue was celebrated, the characters faced challenges with moral implications, experienced struggle, but showed the reward of choosing good over evil. Brandon originally told the Prince Martin stories to his son over the phone while he was working overseas, and now they've expanded into an epic collection shared from his home to yours.

Not quite a book, but I wanted to make sure that you had checked out the awesome the Letters from the Saints Subscription. Don't you love getting snail mail? This brilliant replications of real letters sent by the Saints who have walked the faith before us are sent straight to your mailbox each week complete with fancy paper and unique stamps. Reading the words they actually wrote is a perfect way to get to know the hearts of the Saints. Each letter also shares a short background for context and are set to a monthly theme. I love the "real" quality and have enjoyed sharing them with my students. I think that these letters would work best for jr. high students and up, but certainly can be appreciated and learned from by adults. For younger children, there is a companion Letter Club with a monthly letter, activity, recipe, etc. They'd make a wonderful gift for your family or as happy mail for someone you love!

Ok, full disclosure, I've just started reading this one, but I am always excited to find books intended for teens about "obscure" Saints instead of the same (beloved of course) favorites. This book tells the story of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, a Chinese-Filipino martyr. Born around the year 1600 and raised a Christian, he was falsely accused of murder and left the area with a group of Dominican priests. The original plan was for him to stop near the beginning of their journey and resettle away from the accusations, but instead he traveled with them to Japan where they made waves by entering the country both as foreigners and missionaries. Lorenzo and his companions were arrested, tortured, and tempted to apostatize, but all died brave, gruesome, martyr's deaths. A powerful story at that, but what is also interesting is that Lorenzo wasn't a priest himself as many martyrs from this era were- he was a layman, and actually a young husband and father. I'm already intrigued by his story and definitely am interested in this novelization of his life. The writing is compelling for a teen reader and is certainly suspenseful enough to keep me turning the pages. I'm eager to get this one on my classroom shelves and encourage my students to get to know this inspiring Saint.

***Extreme Blindside, by Leslea Wahl
Entertaining novels with a Catholic message are hard to come by, but Pauline Teen is doing good work bringing stories with relatable characters, interesting situations, dramatic problems, and moral decisions into print. The Blindside series (this is the second book, but I think could be read as a stand alone) uses popular interests like sports and mystery/suspense to pull the reader in and present them with situations that become teachable moments. While I do love getting biographies and other Catholic non fiction in my students' hands for catechesis in living out their faith, sometimes it is just as meaningful to allow them to experience that catechesis through the gentle act of storytelling. All art points back to the Creator, and I am glad to continue to see publishers working on stories like this for older kids that allow them to be entertained and enjoy reading fiction while not having to discern the truth and lies within the worldview presented in many books pushed on teens today.

This little booklet about the apostle to the Apostles is another title not specifically for kids, but it is a perfect resource for my students prepping for Confirmation. The booklet has a short biography, novena, chaplet, litany, other prayers all in a quick to read format or a perfect pocket resource. I've always loved Mary Magdalene and think this is a great option for helping my students get to know her too.

***A Prayer and a Pickaxe: A Legend About St. Clement of Rome, by Pamela Love, illustrated by Maggie Coburn
I love the collection of Saint Tales and Legends that Pauline Kids continues to add to (including titles on St. Brigid, St. Helen, St. Martin for example). They are the perfect length in introduce kids to the stories behind some of our favorite early Saints using memorable lessons and traditional stories. This new addition retells a legend about the life of the 4th Pope, St. Clement. The warm story and adorable illustrations end with a two page biography to share some of the facts of what is know about St. Clement's life. I think that the Tales and Legends series make a strong addition to any 2nd-4th grade classroom.

+++St. Conrad and the Wildfire, by Maura Roan McKeegan, Illustrated by Patty Borgman
Maura Roan McKeegan remains one of my favorite Catholic children's authors (she created the brilliant Old and New Series), so I was so excited to hear she has a new book out! This one strays from the previous series on Biblical Typology and introduces the reader to a little known 14th Century Saint whose story presents a powerful lesson for kids and adults alike. A wealthy nobleman, Conrad enjoyed a comfortable life until one of his decisions led to a terrible event- but then someone else was blamed. Conrad's choices about honesty, forgiveness, and making things right presents a lesson that kids are not soon to forget. Coupled with beautiful illustrations, this new book is sure to become a beloved classic.

This sweet new book records the conversation between a child and her Guardian Angel, which provides an imaginative script about the heavenly realities happening around us. The story helps the reader see the Mass from the perspective of the curious child as well as what the angel knows to be true. It is supplemented by really cool 3-D illustrations (made with clay maybe?) as well as a Did You Know? box on each page with info from the Bible and Catechism about what is occurring on each page. I like this fresh new take on helping a child enter into the Mass and seeing the union of Heaven and earth present during the liturgy, but demonstrated in such a friendly format.

This next collection of books is all from author Anthony DeStefano, who was recommended to me by a reader, and I am so glad! He has an incredible gift for taking lessons from the Gospels and weaving them into parable-like stories with lessons that are both easy to understand and still carry the depth of Christ’s teachings- which isn’t a simple accomplishment. Each book is written in fun to read rhyme usually opens or closes with actual Bible verses that inspired the story. Illustrated by a variety of artists, each has bright, creative, detailed images that help tell the story and convey the emotions of the storyline. These books are a treasure for sharing the message of the Gospel in bite size, memorable chunks. DeStefano also has a beautiful new book called Our Lady's Wardrobe teaching about Mary through the symbolic clothing she has worn in different Marian Apparitions! I've seen some of the inside pages and just ordered my own copy.

This sweet book about a lost lamb is relatable for every child who desires to be found and known. Inspired by John 10, there are also many other Biblical lessons in the symbol laden illustrations, making it a meaningful read for kids across a wide variety of ages. The warm and comforting story has a message about the Good Shepherd for all of us, but I think would be especially powerful for kids preparing for the Sacrament of Confession, as well as during times they need to learn about repenting of sin and running back to the arms of their Savior.

###This Little Prayer of Mine, by Anthony DeStefano, Illustrated by Mark Elliott
Teaching a young child about prayer can sometimes be a challenge- how do you explain and model something that can't be seen? This book gives tons of examples of how God always hears our prayers and is ready to respond to us. Prayers for every emotion and all kinds of situations are included with illustrations that have both real life and imaginative applications. I think that this would be a perfect book to read with kids to help make prayer seem like a natural and real part of everyone's day.

###The Puppy That No One Wanted, by Anthony DeStefano, Illustrated by Richard Cowdrey
Continuing with his parable-type stories, this original tale of a puppy that was lonely, hungry, and neglected but still filled with hope that he would find a home of his own. With a connection to Matthew 15:28 ("Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.") and filled with other Biblical symbols, children will feel compassion for the puppy and his generous and faithful heart. The puppy does end up finding a wonderful home, but it might surprise you who the family is that takes him in! 

###The Little Star, by Anthony DeStefano, Illustrated by Mark Elliott
It's always fun to read an original Christmas story that shares the message of the Nativity from a new perspective. This sweet book shares about the celebration in the heavens the night Jesus was born. One little star was so excited that he poured himself out to shine bright on the stable to draw everyone's eyes to the Baby King, even though the other stars didn't understand the humility and poverty of His birth. The book tells how the Little Star's generosity and love for Jesus is the reason we still celebrate by topping our Christmas trees with a star. 

###The Donkey That No One Could Ride, by Anthony DeStefano, Illustrated by Richard Cowdrey
Probably the best known of DeStefano's books (for good reason!), The Donkey That No One Could Ride is an Easter classic. This little donkey is weak and small and couldn't seem to do anything a donkey should be able to to do. But then a chance encounter changes the donkey's life, and he in turn has the honor of carrying Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. It is a perfect story of how meeting Jesus is always an invitation for growth and transformation- we encounter Him and never leave unchanged. 

How do you explain Mark 10:25, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter into the kingdom of God." to kiddos? This creative and fun story about Roxy the camel, who loves pretty, fancy things. She wants to move to a beautiful city instead of her dusty desert, but encounters a problem when she arrives. To enter into the city of the King of kings, she has to first go through a small door...and all her belongings won't fit! Roxy makes some hard decisions but the end result becomes a blessing not only for those around her, but but for Roxy herself! This tale is a perfect resource to talk about generosity and detachment from worldly things since Jesus is always the best gift we can receive.

The miraculous Feeding of the 5000 is one of my very favorite Bible Stories, but my imagination always wonders about the boy mentioned in John 6 who shared his lunch with the Apostles. In this book DeStefano imagines the backstory of the boy and why he was traveling with the five loaves and two fish. When the boy encounters Jesus, his heart knows there is something special about this teacher, so he acts in great generosity and gives the little he has. The boy witnesses a great miracle as Jesus multiplies the food to feed everyone- even with leftovers! This story of kindness and sacrifice for the good of others shows the impact that Christ can make even with small things we have to offer Him.

The Seed Who Was Afraid to Be Planted is a story about overcoming fears. With parallels to the parable of the sower, this original story from the perspective of the seed shows that we can trust the gardener. The rhyme and sweet illustrations enrich this tale of change and growing up, showing the good that can come over time even if we can't see how things will turn out in the moment. It ends with four Bible verses to continue the conversations and turn the picture book into a devotional/Bible Study.

***Update- It has come to my attention that there are some concerns about how this book could be seen through the eyes of a child who has experience trauma, especially abuse. I did not view it through this lens, so it had not set off any warning bells for me, but now after reevaluating, I agree that this book should be used with care. I was imagining it being read with a child to talk about change and fear of the unknown, and I think it still could be used in that way with discussion and support. But the imagery and language could be very scary for a child with trauma in their background or even promote a child to not report abuse. I also agree that the role of the gardener is not a great representation of the kind, merciful, involved God who loves us. I do not believe that this was the intent in any way of the author or publisher, but I will add this word of caution for parents and teachers to consider before using it with their kids, or just placing on a bookshelf for any child to pick up without guidance. Children's literature is a powerful tool to be used for the development of a child's spiritual growth, and should never be a stumbling block placed in their path.

^^^Colors of Creation, by Paul Thigpen, Illustrated by John Folley
This fun new book uses colors to teach about the days of Creation and the joy God had in all he made. I love creative writing that makes the Old Testament more understandable for the young child, and this pattern of colors alongside the order of God creating the world out of nothing is a brilliant juxtaposition. Starting with black for the darkness and adding white of bright light, then blue for water and green for plants, it finally leads to the pinnacle of creation and God's love for all humanity. The fun rhyme and beautiful paintings for the illustrations on each page are perfect for preschool-kindergartener kiddos learning both about colors and the Creation of the world. 

Heaven is a Wonderful Place, by Angela M. Burrin, Illustrated by Gustavo Mazali
I recommended this title in my recent post about Books for Grief but wanted to include it in a regular kids' book post too. This new book has lovely illustrations and is one of best I've seen at describing Heaven for a child. Focusing on Biblical descriptions of Heaven, the story is told by a grandmother to her grandchildren as they process the death of their grandfather. It would a perfect read for early elementary kids who have experienced a loss, or those that are asking big questions about death and eternity. I think this could work well for 5-8 year olds.

The Saints Chronicles Collection 4, multiple authors and illustrators
I've recommended this series before, but just added Book 4 to my library. My students and I love graphic novels- I feel that they are an incredibly relevant way to share the faith, especially with reluctant readers or kids that are predominantly visual learners.  Well written and illustrated graphic novels can convey just as much (if not more) information as a chapter book, and often do by developing and challenging reading skills like sequencing, making inferences, and understanding dialogue and perspective. The Saints Chronicles collection has a mature look for middle school or older readers and features five Saints in each book.  This edition contains the stories of more well known Saints like St. Dominic and St. Rose of Lima, and St. Margaret of Scotland, as well as the lesser known St. Stanislaus and St. Willibrord.  Creatively told by a different author and illustrator for each biography, it's like a collection of five graphic novels in one. They'd make the perfect gift to inspire virtue in any preteen or teen.

Wow. Just wow. I think I saved my favorite new book for this final spot in today's post. This collection called Stories of the Saints was in my cart a long time ago, but I think production got pushed back. I am so glad I saw it and ordered it again when it was released- I am so impressed by this unique and original addition to the Saint book market for kids. Intended more for an older kid audience, I'm grateful for a powerful and engaging presentation that is both graphically interesting and written at a higher reading level. Sometime there are only seem to be Saint picture books aimed at early elementary students, but this definitely fills a gap for older kids and does it well. It is an oversized, 12" x 8", making the powerful illustrations even more striking. The illustrations are darker in tone and very imaginative representations of the Saints' lives, not just recreations of a typical image. Some Saints have small vignettes and and some have large two page spreads, making it fun to flip through and see the variety and how they add to the story telling. The gold accents in the illustrations add a heavenly quality. The biographies of 70 Saints are included, filled with adventure and their bold witness for Christ. I love that they are organized from ancient to modern, showing how Christians have lived in every era and place. Here are a few of the inside illustration to give you a feel for the book:

Whew! What a stack! I hope there are a few titles that will tempt your kids to be reading and learning about their faith, especially during this time stuck and home and a summer that might look a little quieter than normal. Feel free to add a few in the comments or send me an email- I'd love to know what you are having your kids read, both old and new favorites!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Editable Google Classroom Assignments To Get You Through the Rest of the School Year ;)

Ok, so I'll admit that this is a bit of a niche post.

It is primarily aimed at Middle School/Jr. High Religion Teachers from Catholic Schools using e-learning who are able to assign digital homework (primarily through Google Classroom). These are some of the lessons I have been/will be using with my 6th-8th grade students and I wanted to share them with you if they will be of any help to get you through the remaining weeks of your school year. ;)

While there are some adaptations for teachers of kids older or younger, parish catechists, or parents at home with their kids, I wanted to preface this post with that audience in mind. I usually try to make my activities as flexible as possible, but obviously the way that we are teaching right now is unprecedented. If this post doesn't work for you, feel free to skip it! (I'll be back later this week with a long overdue Katie Reads post on new Catholic Kids' books!)

Today I've got six different multi day tasks designed for you to share with your students. I chose some "broad" topics that could work for a span of ages or units. Here are a few overarching details:

  • These assignments were created in Google Slides with the intention of being assigned in Google Classroom. You can certainly download them in PowerPoint and send them through email, or whatever tool you are using to communicate with your students.
  • They are totally editable. You just have to make a copy or download before making any changes. Delete, change, add- make them work for you kids.
  • Each of them is a multi day assignment- most of these were used over a three or more day span for my students, otherwise they would be way too long. You can use them multi day, split them up, or just delete slides you find less important to create a shorter task
  • Some of these are based on paper/pencil assignments (remember those?) that I would have done in my classroom if we were together. I'll add links to those if that is helpful for your students!
  • All of the resources needed for the tasks are readily available- like public websites or docs I've created. If you share the slides with your students, make sure that they can access all of the links as well. For example, if you have a closed Google Domain (many school are) they will not be able to open any of the Google docs I have linked because I am outside of their domain. You will have to make a copy, save in your own Google Drive, and link. (Unfortunately, I get a lot of student access requests to docs shared by their teachers, but I can't even email them back because of domain permissions. It breaks my teacher heart to not be able to help them- so if you are in a closed Google Domain, keep that in mind!)
  • A couple of these activities I have posted on the blog before, but I wanted to put them all in one spot so that it is easy if you are trying to figure out what to do these next few weeks!

For each task, I've got a brief description, and then you can click on the images to access the Google Slides. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions and I'll be happy to help!

Blessed Virgin Mary Scavenger Hunt
This task is based on my Marian Apparition Investigation and includes background on Mary from the Bible and Catechism, research on a title of Mary and one Marian Apparition, and a fun option about songs for Mary.

This is a brand new resource that I'll be doing with my students our last week of "school." I wanted to leave them with an idea of some things they can continue to do in the summer to keep growing and learning in their faith. I've included seven different topics for them to create goals for and the last page is a sheet that they can print/save with a summary of their goals. I'll admit that if we were in person, we'd have a discussion first about how to set attainable and purposeful goals, but I'm just going to let the kids run with it. ;)

This project was based on two units on the Eucharist and Holy Orders that I was unable to finish as planned with my students. Combining the topics and using inspiration from these Mass Activity Sheets my students got a quick review of some of the important aspects of the Mass and the connection to the Priesthood.

This was a fun, more lighthearted assignment that's goal was to get the kids thinking about the practice of their faith and what matters most to them. Each slide presents a faith based question that is totally opinion, and they had to present what their choice would be, arguing only one side. If they weren't familiar with the pros/cons (Would you rather have an all expense paid trip to the Vatican or to the Holy Land?) they had to do a little research to be able to support their answers. My favorite part was that I gave them the option to record a video of their answer and send it in, and I loved seeing their faces and hearing their answers. These would make great questions for a class meeting too!

Saint Scavenger Hunt
I posted this one around All Saints Day, but it is fun anytime. This might also be helpful if you are missing prep time and discussions for students who should be choosing their Confirmation Saints! It has lots of tasks for discovering Saints they have things in common with (name, birthday, interests) as well as getting to know "random" Saints. There are lots of links to sources to help with the search for different topics. My students really like this one! I have a similar version on paper here.

The Way of Light Easter Bible Study
This is the other assignment that I have already posted, but it is still Easter, and this would be a great way to prepare for Pentecost! This Bible Study is based on the Way of Light, a companion the Way of the Cross, so there are 14 stations to read about. (I have lots of printable resources for the Way of Light here.) Several people commented that it was too long for their students, and that's fine! You get to decide what they complete! Have them do the intro and then delete all but a few slides to complete. Or better yet, let them pick which three stories their want to read! We have our whole life to read the Bible, so there's no reason to shy away from giving them a little now to invite them to continue reading on their own.


There you go! I hope these are helpful and keep you going through the end of the school year. I see no reason to reinvent the wheel, so it is my hope and prayer that you can edit accordingly and have resources for your students without starting from scratch. We can do it!