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CCD Week Three: What's Working

Our third CCD class was this evening. I wrote about the first week here. I must report that my door prize each week is really working well. Every week I give a door prize (a candy bar with a holy card). The children get one more chance to win if they do their homework or know the saint of the day. However, they get five extra chances if their parents write one or two sentences indicating something they learned by reviewing their child’s lesson. Last week I only had about three parents write a note. This week I had six parents indicate they had learned something. I only have twelve children in my class so this is great participation by parents as far as I am concerned.

We were studying the composition of the Bible last week. For homework they had to fill out a worksheet and list all the books of the Old Testament and all the books of the New Testament. One student came in very confused because her Bible only had forty books in the Old Testament and the worksheet had forty-six spaces. I explained that she was looking at a Protestant Bible that was missing the deuterocanonical books. That then led to a very brief discussion of the Protestant Reformation and Martin Luther. All of the children had heard of Martin Luther. However, most thought he was the same person as that other historical figure, Martin Luther King, Jr. They were amazed that the man who initiated the Lutheran Church was not the same man who gave the “I Have a Dream” speech. Glad we cleared that up.

Any one else have some helpful hints for CCD?

UPDATE: See Thoughts on Confirmation Preparation here.

Comments

Barb, sfo said…
October's coming! Give them all a Rosary and a car on how to use it. That made SUCH an impression on my older son, to receive a Rosary in religion class.
mallys said…
I make stickers for each lesson, using the "hook" (the analogy between the faith lesson and the life they know, eg. cell phones:prayer anywhere), the proclamation (the Scripture driver for the lesson)or some other facet of the lesson I want them to remember. I have used it with all grades. They love it, and I print them on my printer using address labels. I also use candy for everyone who brings their materials to class.
PS. The sticker goes on their books or prayer journal notebooks, yet another incentive for the materials to show up in class!
Dismas said…
Announce to the class that you are exhausted and that you've be advised to cut back your workload by 10%. Assuming each class is a hour in length, that leaves 6 minutes each class that you won't be teaching.

Here's the fun part. Tell the kids that you'll only be teaching for 54 minutes each class from now on. When they are done cheering, drop the other shoe and tell them that they will be picking up your slack. Tell the kids that each week a different kid is going to teach for six minutes on a topic that you have assigned.

Why do this? Two reasons: It is fun a break for everyone involved. Secondly and more importantly, the kid giving the lecture will remember what he "taught" for years to come. Why do I believe this? Because I once had to teach my fellow CCD classmates about the "good thief" that was put to death next to Christ. Almost 30 years later, I'm willing to bet that I know more about St. Dismas than, say, your average bear.

Good luck! Hope this helps.

St. Dismas
Seamus said…
I was confirmed in the sixth grade. There was one mini-lecture that my CCD teacher gave that year that made a real impression on me. Truth be told, I wish I had that lecture on tape. It dealt with the symbolic "slap" that we would receive from the bishop when we were confirmed.

We were told that "the slap" was a reminder from an Apostle's successor that we might have to suffer in defense of the faith. At 13, I had never been asked to defend anything, and being told that I would soon be "a solider for Christ" no doubt brought to mind romantic visions of going off to war. For a moment, I pictured a John Wayne movie -- my classmates and I, rifles in hand, courageously defending the Vatican against the godless pagan hordes that sought our ruin. We would do this while our mothers and grandmothers were safely at home praying the Rosary for our success. We would win, of course -- the good guys always win in John Wayne movies, after all -- and we return as heroes to our suburban New Jersey homes, where we would no doubt be met at the airport by the junior high school cheerleaders that we recently discovered weren't so icky after all. Again, I was a 13 year-old boy.

But, alas, our CCD teacher that year was good, real good. He described real life scenarios where we would called upon to defend the Catholic Church, scenarios that didn't end with parades and Medals of Honor.

He told us that in a few years, we would find ourselves in college. He told us about The Campus Crusade for Christ, a Protestant group that would actually practice how they would approach us Catholics. He told us how they would seek to lure us away from the Church that Christ himself founded. He told us how they would point to select Bible passages and ask their silly questions about the Pope. They'd ask us why we prayed to statues. He told us that they would ridicule us "with smiles on their faces." Our teacher told us something about "apologetics," but in my anger at the prospect of being tricked and ridiculed, I only gave it a passing thought.

He told us that many of us would move to different parts of the country, places where Catholics were a small minority. He told us that our neighbors there might look at us as being a little strange, even odd. Some, he told us, would even tell us to our faces that we weren't even Christians. He told us that if we ran for office, a certain percentage of the population would never vote for us simply because we were Catholics. Even the well intentioned, we were told, would ask us countless times on Ash Wednesday why we had "that dirt" on our foreheads. He said that we would often be told that we weren't "saved" and that unless we became "born again," we would surely face the fires of hell.

Our teacher went on for a few more moments, describing various scenarios that left us feeling both disillusioned and angry. In the end, however, he left us hungry -- hungry for knowledge of our faith, and hungry for the grace that we would receive on the day we were confirmed.

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