Monday, December 3, 2012


Our school is focusing on a different virtue each month. For December we chose the word kindness. Today I found a great resource that fits perfectly with this! A teacher has put together a Random Acts of Kindness project for her class. You can read all about it here: Random Acts of Kindness. The idea is to discuss doing things for others without expecting anything in return. On her blog you will find a free download with some great printables to use. What a perfect way to celebrate Advent!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Advent calendar

It's that time of year again when the Church begins a new year with the season of Advent. Over Thanksgiving Break I started looking for some new resources to use. I found a great online Advent  calendar from Loyola Press. I plan to put it up on the Smart board each morning and a student will come up and tap the date. What resources will you use this year?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Call Me Maybe Jesus Style

I am always looking for ways to engage kids in learning, whether it's English, Math, or Religion. This week I came across a video made by the youth group at a parish nearby. It fits perfectly with this week's lesson on God's call for each of us. Hopefully you can find a way to use it in your classroom!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer DIY- Frame for Gospel verse

The summer is a great time to search teaching blogs and Pinterest for great ideas. I finally decided to create on of the things that I found on 4th Grade Frolics. This blogger came up with the fabulous idea of Made It Monday. I love anything with a catchy title! Every Monday she is making something for her classroom.  She made these cute signs to display learning goals for the week. All you need is a simple frame, some scrapbook paper, and dry erase markers. Amazingly I had all of these things already. Instead of posting weekly learning goals, I am going to pick a verse from the Sunday gospel reading. Then, just to add a little more learning, I am going to coordinate the scrapbook paper to the color of the current liturgical season! (You can see by my exclamation point that it's the little things that are exciting.) When school starts I am going to hang this frame right by the door so as the students are coming and going throughout the week, they will have a chance to read and think about the verse. Then on Friday when we begin our reflection we will start by discussing the verse from the week.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Daily 5/Cafe

I am so excited about the book study that is happening this summer! Some teachers/bloggers have gotten together and organized a blog where teachers can read and discuss the Daily 5 and Cafe books and how to apply them to the upper elementary classroom. Just click on the button I've posted to the right to check out the schedule. I read the Daily 5 last summer and had great intentions, but soon fell into my old patterns for teaching reading. Hopefully connecting with other teachers this summer will help me implement new things in August. Hope you can join in on the collaboration!

Friday, June 1, 2012

End of the year

Another school year has come to an end. As always I am sad to see my class move on to fifth grade. This year the students made me an extra special card. Here is is from the front:
And a look inside:

 What a surprise when I opened it! It was full of little foldables that the kids had made! We had so much fun this year making different foldables as study tools in all subjects.  It really made my day to see them use this tool for my a thank you card! Of course I immediately began to think of ways I could use their idea to summarize a subject area next year. Now I have all summer to start planning...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Creed

This week instead of reflecting on the Gospel, I am going to use this wonderful video that talks about reciting the Creed during mass. At the beginning of the year we spent time talking about the new translation and why some of the words we say during mass were changing. This video really reminds all of us to really think about the words we are praying. I found this video from a great resource that you can find on Facebook called TheReligionTeacher. Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gospel Reflection- The Good Shepherd

Last week we had a great discussion about the idea of seeing Jesus in the people around us. This week the Gospel talks about Jesus being the Good Shepherd. You can read it here: Readings for the fourth Sunday of Easter. Since I have taken down my bulletin board about our Lenten promises, I thought it would be fun to let the kids draw their own sheep and write ways in which people will know that they are a follower of Jesus. I am always looking for opportunities to incorporate different uses for technology, so I thought it would be fun to watch a video on How to draw a sheep.  I have some great artists in my class and perhaps this will encourage them to hunt around for other videos on You Tube that will help them learn to draw.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Palm Sunday

As Palm Sunday approaches I was looking for a new idea to use with my students. I found some inspiration when I came across an idea on Pinterest that was from the website ministry-to-children. They even have a video to demonstrate the idea. It basically involves paper, water colors, and masking tape. The students make a cross out of tape and then paint all around it. The result is a beautiful painting with a simple cross in the middle. (Don't forget to peel the tape off!) After the paintings were dry the students looked at the Gospel reading for Sunday and picked out a quote that stood out to them.  It was interesting to look at the different quotes and hear why they chose them. Here is an example:

These crosses are a beautiful reminder of the Lenten season! After Easter we plan to color in the cross with a bright highlighter and then write Alleluia in black. I hope you enjoy doing this project with your students!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

In the Desert with Jesus- The first week of Lent

Tomorrow we will reflect on the Gospel from today. I am going to focus on the line, "He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan;". We will discuss the temptations that we face today that might lead us away from God. Since we have already written our Lenten promises in our notebooks, I thought we would make a visual reference to put up in the room. I'm going to have each student draw a picture of one of the modern temptations we discussed and put it next to our picture of Jesus in the desert on the bulletin board.
*I have been reading some articles on the online ministries website from Creighton University. It is a great resource that includes daily meditations and reflections. One thing that struck me was the idea that during Lent we should not only focus on what we are giving up, but what is it that God wants to give us? Something to think about this week.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

40/40 – Lenten Activities: Walk the Lenten Path

I can't believe Lent is almost here! I am spending Sunday trying to find some new resources to use this year. I am thinking about starting with the theme "Called by faith to act with generous hearts." A theme I found looking at a website from New Zealand! This is truly a great time to be a teacher, you never know where a Google search might lead you.
I also came across this link:
40/40 – Lenten Activities: Walk the Lenten Path
Lots of great ideas!
I'm going to keep working and will post other thoughts and ideas soon.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Our "Conversations" with God-Bulletin Board idea

This week in Religion I began a lesson by asking the kids to tell me what types of candy they like to receive on Valentine's Day. After writing down several different types on the Smartboard someone mentioned conversation hearts. Next I had the students write down some of the sayings that they remember on the hearts. (Examples- Be Mine, Call Me, Sweetheart) Then I asked the question, "How do we have a conversation with God?" Several students mentioned going to mass, praying, and reading the Bible. We then got out the bibles and looked at various psalms where the message was a positive phrase about our faith and trust in God. We cut out hearts out of different colors that were like those of regular conversation hearts and each student chose a verse from a psalm to write on it. Then the students added some glitter to them before putting them up in the hallway!  Here is an example:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gospel Reflection- Answering God's call

This week I am going to show the students how the readings are chosen to compliment the gospel. The first reading (1 Samuel 3:3b-10,19) is the familiar story about God calling Samuel  while he is asleep. The gospel reading(John 1:35-42) this week talks about the call of the first disciples. I am going to have the students read these on their own and see if they can figure out how they are similar. During Religion class we have been learning about the Corporal Works of Mercy. What a great tie in to what God is calling us to do as Catholics today. The students created beautiful collages to represent each of the actions. They were asked to show them in pictures and words. Here is a wonderful example:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

St. Francis de Sales and Selena Gomez

I know what you're thinking, St. Francis de Sales and Selena Gomez seem like an unlikely pair, but leave it to 10 year olds to find a connection. Each month in my classroom, the students who have birthdays get together and choose a saint for us to study. This month we are learning about St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622). He was a bishop who lived in France. To read a short biography go to  After giving my students a brief overview of his life I decided to focus on a quote of his that I had read :  "Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly." Wow, what powerful words to live by! I divided the kids into groups and had them brainstorm what that quote means to them and then they wrote it on a dry erase board. Amazingly one group came up and said that they had put their quote to music and wanted to sing it for me. "Do not wish upon a star to be anybody else, na na na na na na na na na." They were using the Selena Gomez tune, Who Says! Basically the message of that song is the same one that St. Fraincis was trying to convey all those years ago. After each group was finished, I took their picture with them holding their quote and I'm going to make a bulleting board with their wonderful ideas. Here is my favorite quote:
Hope this will inspire you to learn more about St. Francis de Sales!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Focus on the Gospel- Epiphany

Happy New Year! This first week of 2012 is the beginning of my blog, Catholic Classroom. It is my hope that I can help other Catholic school teachers and homeschoolers make real connections to their faith and share ideas. Each week I hope to write about how I plan to reflect on the Gospel reading for Sunday with my students. I have found this practice has really enhanced my own experience at mass on Sunday and hopefully my students as well. Whether you have time to quickly read the Gospel together or have time to make some real life connections, I hope that what I do will help you find the time in your busy school schedules. Along the way I will add other great teaching ideas that I incorporate in my classroom.
This Sunday, January 8th, the Gospel reading comes from Matthew 2:1-12. We will celebrate the Epiphany. I plan to begin the lesson by asking my students what "epiphany" means and  make a graphic organizer on the smart board of their ideas. I usually do this on Friday so that it's fresh in their minds for mass. However, this semester I am going to try and pick one word to talk about earlier in the week just to peak their interest for what is to come. After we reading and discussing the Gospel, I will have a wrapped box in my prayer corner. Each student will have an index card and they will write what "gifts" (kind words and actions) they can bring to Jesus this week. Since I am also the English teacher, I plan to have my students do a journal writing activity as if they were one of the wisemen who had just returned to their own country after seeing the baby Jesus.
Have a wonderful week!