Friday, September 7, 2012

Catholic Religious Education (CRE) Week #1

Well, here I am again. This Sunday is my 3rd year as a catechist, and 2nd year teaching the 7th Grade. We had our meeting yesterday with our Director of Religious Education (DRE) and the other catechists. Good food and good company. Just the thing to get you energized and psyched up for another year.

Good News
I think I am in better shape than I was last year. Last year, I was a big arrogant thinking that I could do a better job teaching than the book (Sadlier Religion's We Live Our Faith) and used it sparingly, trying to teach strictly from the Bible, since 7th Grade is about the New Testament. Well, it definitely humbled me. But I regrouped, dove into the book, and prepared half of my lessons for the year. I have plans to do the other lesson plans throughout the year. I have to admit I am still not a big fan of the book, but it is definitely more qualified than me.

Bad News
I have a student aide!!! And she's only a junior in high school! That's only three years older than the kids in my class. I'm not sure how I feel about this yet. Time will tell, but maybe she can add some creativity to my lesson plans that I lack.

Anyhow, this coming week I am going to be the teacher I hated in school. Most students expect the first day of class to just be an introduction, but time is precious. I only have 1 hour per Sunday and roughly 30 Sundays. So I am going to do an Icebreaker and review the Liturgical Year. This is something they should all be familiar with, but is good to start out the year with because it emphasizes the need to go to Mass weekly, something many of them do not do.

After this paragraph, I will post my lesson plan. If you would like to read it and comment on it or critique it, that would be most welcome. If not, thank you for taking the time to read the rest of this post. Good luck all my Catechist brothers and sisters.



  • Preparation for the Lesson
    • Bring Icon of the Crucifixion, candles, and prayer shoe box.
    • Set these up on a desk and make a prayer space.
    • Distribute notecards on desk
    • Write on board for them to fill out the following information on the notecards:
      • Name
      • Siblings
      • School
      • Hobby
      • Thing You Like Most About Being Catholic
      • Prayer request you have for this week (if any)
  • Introduction
    • Good morning, I am your teacher Mr. Dunn. This is 7th Grade CCD. This year we will be learning about the New Testament.
      • I would like you to set your cards aside. We will get to those in a second, and turn to page 306 in your books. 
        • We are going to read this prayer aloud together.
      • That prayer was called the Nicene Creed. It is a prayer which summarizes everything we believe as Catholics.
        • Can any of you think of where you have heard that prayer before?
          • At Mass.
        • At what point in the Mass?
          • After the Homily and before the Prayers of the Faithful.
  • Ice Breaker
    • As I said, in our opening prayer, we learned what it takes to make us Catholic. Now you are going to tell me and everybody else what makes you, you.
      • So let’s go around the room and tell me these 5 facts that make up you. You do not have to read the prayer request aloud. When you are done, you may place your card in the prayer box on our prayer table, so that no one will know your request but God.
        • Ask follow-up questions if something interests you.
  • Liturgical Year
    • We’re not going to dive into the textbooks this first week. Instead, we are going to talk about the Liturgical Year, because we are going to try and focus our weekly lessons to match up with the year.
      • Who can tell me what season we are celebrating in the Liturgical Year?
        • Ordinary Time
      • Here’s a tougher question (only if someone knows it’s Ordinary Time)
        • What week of Ordinary Time is it?
          • 23rd Week
        • How would you know that?
          • They say it at the beginning of Mass
          • It’s on the Bulletin
          • And I will put it on the board every week for you.
    • What is the Liturgical Year? Who can define it for me?
      • It is a sequence of specific seasons and feasts we celebrate during the year.
      • Put simply, it is the Church’s calendar
    • We are going to draw a representation of the calendar on the blank sheet of paper in the front of your notebook.
      • So what shape should we draw for the calendar?
        • A Line? A Triangle?
          • No, a circle. Why?
            • Because the Liturgical Year doesn’t really end.
            • It is an unending celebration of the life and mystery of Jesus.
      • Next, we are going to draw a starting line to mark the beginning of the first season.
        • What is the first season of the Liturgical Year?
          • Advent
        • What color is associated with Advent?
          • Purple
        • Why purple?
          • Because it is a season of expectation and waiting.
        • What are we waiting for?
          • The coming of Jesus, both at Christmas and the end of time.
        • How long does Advent last?
          • 4 weeks
      • So let’s draw an ending line, and color the area purple.
        • What season comes next?
          • Christmas
        • What color is associated with Christmas?
          • White
        • Why white?
          • White is a color of joy.
        • What are we joyful about?
          • The birth of Jesus and that He is with us always.
        • How long does Christmas last?
          • 2 weeks
      • So let’s draw an ending line here, and leave the area white.
        • What season comes next?
          • Ordinary Time
        • What color is associated with Ordinary Time?
          • Green
        • Why green?
          • Green is the color of life and hope.
        • During this time we as Catholics grow in our life and walk with Christ as we hope for the reward of Salvation at the end of our lives.
        • How long does Ordinary Time last?
          • 34 weeks, but the first part only lasts 4-9 weeks depending on when Easter falls.
      • So let’s draw an ending line here and color it green.
        • What season comes next?
          • Lent
        • What color is associated with Lent?
          • Purple
        • Why purple?
          • Purple is a color of penance.
        • Why do we do penance during Lent?
          • To draw closer to God through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
        • How long does Lent last?
          • 40 days.
      • So let’s draw a closing line here and color this area purple.
        • What season comes next?
          • Easter Triduum
        • What color is associated with Easter Triduum?
          • Red
        • Why red?
          • Red is the color of Jesus’ blood when he suffered and died.
        • How long does the Triduum last?
          • 3 days
        • What are each of these days called?
          • Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday
      • So let’s draw a thick red line here.
        • What season comes next?
          • Easter
        • What color is associated with Easter?
          • White
        • Why white?
          • White is the symbol of purity.
        • How long does Easter last?
          • 50 days
      • Let’s draw a line here and leave this white.
        • The rest of the space will be colored green for the second half of Ordinary Time.
          • And then, we are back at the beginning of the circle and a new year.
  • Not only does the Church have specific seasons, we also have specific days we are required to go to Church.
    • Does anyone know what these days are called?
      • Holy Days of Obligation
    • Can you define it?
      • A day during the year when you are required to go to Church or it is considered a mortal sin, unless you have a very serious reason to miss.
    • Apart from Every Sunday (write “Every Sunday” on the board), there are six of these days. Name them.
      • Mary Mother of God – January 1
        • This is celebrating that Mary is Jesus’ mother.
      • Ascension of Jesus – 40th  Day of Easter (Always a Thursday)
        • This is when Jesus went to Heaven.
      • Assumption of Mary – August 15
        • This is when God took Mary to Heaven. Unlike Jesus, she didn’t rise on her own power.
      • All Saints’ Day – November 1
        • This is when we celebrate all the saints of our Church.
      • Immaculate Conception – December 8
        • This is when Mary’s mom conceived Mary without original sin.
      • Christmas – December 25
        • This is when Jesus was born.
    • All of these are important feast days, which we are supposed to be at Church, especially Sundays. Underline every Sunday here.
      • So go to Mass every Sunday!
      • Also, you have to go to Mass. If you’re spending the night with a friend, going to their Baptist or Methodist Church doesn’t fulfill your Every Sunday obligation. Why?
        • Because they don’t have the Eucharist!
      • So I encourage you this year to go to Mass every Sunday and these other 6 days, and even more so go with your family.
  • Next week, we will start our lessons out of the book. See you then.