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Celebrate the Seasons of Advent and Christmas with Lots of Our Theme Resources and Goodies

Find Ways to Celebrate the Seasons of Advent and Christmas with Lots of Our
Theme Resources and Goodies.

Nativity Christmas Tag Set

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Keep Christ in Christmas with

Nativity Christmas Gift Tag

Printable Litany of the Infant Jesus Prayer Sheet for Children

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Celebrate and Honor the Infant Jesus by

Praying the Litany of the Infant Jesus

Know-N-Go Nativity Story Game

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How well do you know the nativity story? Use this fun game to help learners
commit the details of the nativity story to their hearts and memories.

Basic questions about the story of the birth of our Lord are presented in a get
up and move type classroom or home education game.

Advent…The Coming F3 Activity

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Fun activity helps children learn about and invite the season of Advent into
their hearts and minds.

8 Words to Describe the Word Baby Worksheet

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Help children practicing using language skills by having them find adjectives to
describe the word baby. The picture selected shows the Infant Jesus in a manger.

Focus on Jesus' Family Worksheet

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Focus on common nouns while you teach about the Holy Family.

Christmas Phonics Tree Worksheets

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How about some phonics help? Our Christmas vowel tree worksheet set is perfect
for learners of many different ages and is simple to use. Simply select a vowel
sheet and fill in the missing blanks to create words.

Learn About the Chasuble and Liturigal Seasons Including Advent and

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This five-page set of worksheets explains about the symbolism of the liturgical
colors of green, purple, red, white, and rose (pink) and when they are used in
the church year.

Christmas Theme Adjective Worksheets

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A decorated Christmas tree helps kiddos count down until Christmas while
encouraging grammar practice and adjective use. Children simply draw or write a
noun for a person, place or thing in the boxes provided and write a few
adjectives for each.

December Christmas Preparation Themed Tactile Calendar

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This tactile calendar focuses on the month of December and preparation for
Christmas while adding life to your learning environment and providing pieces to
create a great family calendar that can be used over and over again.

Make the Perfect Little Christmas Gift to Add in Your Christmas Cards.

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It is that time of the year when we send greetings to those we value, cherish,
admire and well, just simply love. Many times we want to send a gift to everyone
on our list, but let's face it; it's just not possible. So today we have a
special little gift that you can add into every Christmas card you send this
year and yes, it fits!

Forgot to buy the Christmas gift tags? Let us help!

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We haven't bought a Christmas gift tag for the last few years. We just decided
it would be more fun to make our own.

Yummy Cookie Recipes Perfect for Christmas Snacking and Gift Giving

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Christmas Tree Math Counters Help Make Counting Practice Fun.

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Celebrate Christmas in Your Math Practice

Plan for Christmas Easily and Quickly - Christmas Planning Sheets

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From the creative mind of Shell of

Thinking Love, No Twaddle
easily be used to keep track of the tasks and activities for December or the
season of Advent.

Little Lesson of Advent Stories

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Advent and Christmas, People and their stories are great little lessons written
by Shell of

Thinking Love, No Twaddle

Little Lesson of Advent and Christmas Part I

Little Lesson of Advent and Christmas Part II

Little Lesson of Advent and Christmas Part III

Christmas wreath helps children be creative while reinforcing that God
and His love for us eternal.

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Advent and Christmas are very special times of the year for Christians. Advent
is our time of preparation for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Christmastide is a celebration of His arrival. Today we have a simple decorative
project that you can use to celebrate either aspect of this season - Advent or
Christmas. It's fun, easy and festive.

Sets of Christmas Themed Writing Paper

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Writing letters for Christmas helps children build writing and penmanship as
well as tells others they are important and valued.

Hot Chocolate always brings smiles and this gift will too!!

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Homemade gifts can be so neat to make, unfortunately they are not always as fun
to receive. We sometimes even have to quietly ask ourselves, "What is it?" But,
we are sure that you won't have that trouble with this cute yummy homemade gift.

Christmas Playclay Brings Fun and Relaxation for Kids (and Parents)

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If you are looking for a little something to help keep your kiddos occupied
while you do a few extra holiday tasks or during a family party, then our
homemade play clay maybe just the thing you need.

Easy Printable Booklet Helps Prepare Us for the Sacrament of

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This little resource booklet is the perfect printable to help prepare young
Catholics to meet our Lord in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Give the Gift of Prayer. Printable Decade - A - Day Spiritual Bouquet is
the Perfect gift for all!!

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Beautiful but easy craft combines prayer and tea and makes prayer a meaningful
gift to others!!

Advent and Christmas Coloring Sheets

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Help children learn about the story of our Lord's birth with these coloring

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Celebrate the season with Happy Holiday coloring sheets featuring symbols of
Christmas and winter.

Let the kids help create a festive Christmas meal setting

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Advent is a time of preparation. So why not give your table a few thoughts and
moments of preparation as well. Dress your table for a kids' Christmas party, a
Sunday Advent meal with the in-laws, a fun party at church or in the classroom.
You could even use these cute printables for your big Christmas meal too!

Christmas Theme Assignment Sheet Helps Celebrate the Season

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Children can use their daily work to help cheerfully pass the time until
Christmas with this check-off style assignment sheet..

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Prayer is a wonderful way to bring the true spirit of the season to the hearts
and mind of all who visit your home this season.

Month of December and Christmas Theme Incentive Chart

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Help your kiddos track progress in any area or activity with this incentive
chart featuring the month of December and Christmas.

Color the Seasons of the Liturgical Church Year Worksheet

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Help young children begin to understand the calendar of the church year with
this simple worksheet that asks children to note five different liturgical
seasons using a simple liturgical wheel..

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Use this rowed resource to keep things organized all month long. Perfect for
noting tasks, planning meals or seeing events, this resource features a cute
Christmas theme.

Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ Notebooking Set

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Set of twelve sheets allows students at any level to learn about the nativity of
our Lord, Jesus.

Math 100 Square Counting Worksheets

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Christmas Tree Themee

Christmas Cookies Theme

Nativity Christmas Tag Set

Keep Christ in Christmas with Nativity Christmas Gift Tags

Use one of these gift tags on your next Christmas present to tell the wonderful story of the Nativity and what it means to the world.

Simply print out the sheet that contains fourteen different images and cut apart the tags.

Christmas Theme Assignment Sheet with Subjects

Christmas Theme Assignment Sheet Helps Celebrate the Season

Children can use their daily work to help cheerfully pass the time until Christmas with this check-off style assignment sheet.

Columns are provided for a subject, task and a check mark to show accomplishments. Space is provided for a 3-hole punch. Six pre-printed academic subjects, including: math, phonics, spelling, reading, English, religion have been included on this resource.

This printable assignment sheet is one of a larger collection of similar resources, which can be found on our Religious Pack DVD

There has never been a better opportunity to have over 6000 printables at your fingertips.
This Friday, November 23, 2012 is having a 

Black Friday Sale of 50% off of our Educational Resources Discs

These Printables on disc would make a great gift!

Printables for TeachersDo you know a Religious Education Teacher? Our most popular Religious Pack Disc has over 3000 pdf files on it that are perfect for using in CCD classes, Co ops and Sunday Schools. Or if you are the DRE of your Catechist group, you can get our Parish Pack Disc that includes all the content of the Religious Pack, but includes (4) discs that can used among your teachers. 
Or, you could just get yourself a copy and save yourself hours of searching the internet looking for the perfect printable for your class or children to use. Your time is too valuable for that.

For the Ultimate Printables, we'd suggest ordering our Combination Pack Disc.
This (2) disc set includes our Religious Printables as well as our Educational Printables. Over 6000 pdf files would be readily available for you with this set.

All of our Printables on Disc Packs are Ad Free and very easy to navigate. They work the same way as a website with big, bright thumbnails to help you see what you would be printing.

You simply load the disc. From the main window you can select the category you want to look in. Then scroll up or down the page viewing the large thumbnails of the actual file so you can see instantly what the file would look like. When you've found the one you want, simply click the thumbnail and the pdf file will open and you can print it out!

Don't miss out. This will be the best chance to get this many printables at such a discounted price.

Below are some of the Printables categories we have on our discs. (these are from our Religious Pack)



Copy Work






Note Booking







Lesson Handouts


Virtue Lessons

Know-N-Go Game Featuring the Saints

 How well can you identify the Saints?
This fun game gets learners up and moving as they answer simple question about well known Saints.

Twelve Saints are featured in this quick and easy game including: St. Anthony, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Patrick, St. Roch, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Cecilia, St. Pascal, St. John Bosco, St. Therese of Lisieux, and others.

Instructions and an answer key are included in this resource.

This game is perfect for CCD, classroom use and could even be a great party game for All Saints Day.

St. Francis of Assisi is perhaps one of the most popular and well known saints in the world. There is so much to tell about this holy hero of the past. Many remember him for his association and gentleness with animals. Others recall the wonderful prayer of St. Francis, which tells us, specifically how to be better Christians. But I remember most fondly that St. Francis is the one responsible for the nativity scene as we know it today.

We offer these resources to help inspire young Catholics to learn more about St. Francis of Assisi.

In God’s House Worksheet

Help children learn how to show our Lord reverence in His house with this simple fill-in the circle worksheet. Children are given twelve statements with which they must decide to either agree or disagree. They make their selection by coloring or filling in the appropriate face.
The basics of church etiquette are covered.

An answer sheet is provided in the lesson.

Sixteen Inviting Ideas to Enrich Your CCD Class or Program

The learning year has just begun, and faith formation programs are in full swing. The children have registered and are filing into the classroom. You are ready to go and enthusiastic. But what happens if your students aren’t so excited about missing soccer practice, their favorite TV show, or piano lessons to attend class? Nothing is worse than to be absolutely certain that some children in your class are not very keen on being there. How do I know? Simple, I ask the children on the first night of class.

If parents are present with us in the class, I sometimes ask moms and dads to close their eyes so that the children feel they can answer honestly. (I'm pretty sure they peek, though.) I then ask who would rather be somewhere else or doing something else besides coming to class. It is very disheartening to see even a single hand go up. But I would rather know the truth on the first night; however, sad it may be, so that I can plan my year accordingly, and show up next class ready to change their minds.

I recognize that as a catechist I am competing with the world for each child’s attention. Sporting events, television shows, school functions, video games, the internet, texting, social circles, and fatigue, are all realistic factors that make demands on children’s time and energy. I generally do not feel overwhelmed with the competition, on the contrary. I feel spurred on by the challenge to reach every single child with the message of the Church – and it doesn’t involve just reading in class.

Below are sixteen different ideas to help bring the faith to life for your CCD class or Faith Formation program with easy, inexpensive, and very effective activities that are sure to help bring the truth of Christianity and the Catholic faith to life for young hearts and minds.

1. Invite your pastor to visit your class with his Mass kit. Children always find this activity so fascinating. The Mass kit, sometimes called a Mass travel kit, is a smaller portable version of everything a priest needs to celebrate the holy Mass. Children will begin to recognize the importance of sacramentals as well as the need for serving those away from a formal parish, not to mention, slowly taking one thing out of the case at a time appeals to a child’s natural tendency to be awed by the truth.

2. Ask your sacristan to give a step by step tour of how he or she prepares the altar and sacristy to celebrate holy Mass. This activity helps children to recognize the parts of the church, the importance of the altar, and the sacramentals used in the celebration of the Eucharist.

3. If your church has a cemetery, have a knowledgeable long-time member of the parish, give a tour of the cemetery to the children. Not only do the children see historical names and dates of those who worshiped in their church before them, but it is a good opportunity for your accompanying catechist or DRE to teach about reverence for the dead, how to behave in a cemetery, and the Communion of Saints. When the tour is completed, appropriate prayers may be prayed as a class on-site or back in the church, including the Eternal Rest prayer or the Litany for the Dead.

4. Have your pastor give a personal tour and talk in the church about how he prepares to celebrate the holy Mass. What vestments does he don and what do they mean? Does he say any special prayers? Are there specific tasks that he performs in the sacristy, on the altar, or in the church to prepare for his parishioners and the presence of our Lord? This helps children see the importance and reverence associated with the holy Mass, and the love the pastor has for his Bridegroom, the Church.

5. Provide special opportunities for community prayer as a CCD class or Faith Formation Program. For example, you could pray the Rosary as a group, with each child using an individual rosary and a catechist leading the bead placement. Invite a few children to read appropriate reflections on the Mysteries from the ambo. Similar activities can be done for litanies, novenas, and other devotions.

6. Lead a church tour. Give children the opportunity to explore, ask questions about and become familiar with the place that we call God’s House. As Catholics we are asked to spend a minimum of about 60 hours a year (weekly Mass and Holy Days of Obligation) in the church. It is important that children become as familiar with and as comfortable as possible in the place we hold in such reverence, so that they will feel needed and welcomed. Children need to feel a sense of ownership and belonging just as adults do. After all, each generation will attend Mass and worship our Lord, support the Church socially and financially, and be given the task of evangelizing and spreading the Good News, just like the generation before it. Every generation is important!

7. Arrange a Meet the Ministries Night. Help children see that there are many different people who work together in various ministries or groups to allow the church to serve the parish community in a very meaningful and real way. Kiddos can meet new people while they are introduced to groups that might encourage their participation – prayer groups, youth or family groups, Mass lectors, or choirs.

8. Highlight a Relic. If your church has a relic or is planning on hosting a relic, use it as an opportunity to teach about relics, saints, and reverence. It is also a wonderful chance to talk about mysteries and miracles, and how they have been an integral part of the Catholic faith both historically and in modern times. A short talk or presentation especially for children could be given by your pastor or the organization responsible for procuring the visitation of the relic such as the Knights of Columbus or other ministry. Children should be able to get fairly close to the relic, handling it under supervision, if possible.

9. Hold a yearly retreat for children. Retreats are completely spiritually oriented and are much shorter, and easier to plan and facilitate than a week long VBS type program. This single day-long program can focus on any of a number of topics: highlighting a liturgical feast, teaching children to pray, learning about the Blessed Mother or the Trinity, preparing to receive first Reconciliation or first Eucharist. I have held day-long retreats for my CCD classes for quite a few years, and they have been very well received, enjoyed, and quite memorable.

10. Invite children and their families to a Parish Mission. If your parish organizes a yearly Mission, you may approach your pastor to have the speaker address the families and children during one particular speaking block. The children and their families may be invited to sit in a specially designated or reserved area to help the speaker more easily address them – even if only for a few minutes of the planned program

11. Encourage Mass attendance by arranging for individual families or children to bring up the offertory gifts during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at different times throughout the learning year.

12. Invite children to attend the next Baptism in the church. This is very easily accomplished within class hours if you will have a child within the CCD program who will be preparing to join the church community within the learning year. With your Pastor's support and cooperation, plan for the Baptism to be the teaching event for your regularly scheduled class time. As a simple format, he could easily explain a bit about the sacrament of Baptism to the children and then baptize the child. This could be followed by a simple celebration of cake and welcoming into the church in the hall or designated room. It is important for children to celebrate as a community and see the sacraments in action. Reading about matter and form in a book is a nice introduction, but nothing takes the place of witnessing the dispensing of sacraments in the flesh.

13. Arrange for the CCD Program or a specific class within the program to lead the Stations of the Cross devotion. In some parishes, ministry groups take turns leading the traditional Lenten devotion weekly in the church. Ask for your ministry to be involved also. Ask for child volunteers to read individual stations. This can be a very exciting and welcomed task for many kiddos. If you do not have many volunteers, just a few children may be used and assigned a few stations a piece or catechists may also participate. Ask your parish secretary for copies of the devotion that is used and provide children with copies of their assigned stations so that they may practice ahead of time. Have a catechist with them during the devotion in case children stumble over words, or need help determining when to start or pause in their reading.

14. Inform families when the next sacrament of matrimony will be celebrated in the church and invite them to attend with the rest of the parish community.

15. Invite your pastor to a Q & A Night. Many children, and some adults, are not aware of all the tasks that a priest, and specifically, a pastor, performs. Ask students to prepare questions to ask their pastor, when he comes to speak. As a simple speaking idea, ask your pastor to perhaps do a Day in the Life account, which could then be followed by an open question period. For a bit older teens, this could even help lead a young person to explore the priesthood or religious life as a vocation.

16. Consider making Jesus a part of your class with Adoration. Whether you visit Jesus in the adoration chapel for a few minutes each class period or celebrate as a Religious Education Program for a half-hour monthly, incorporating Christ in the Real Presence into your year plan is awesome! We are blessed in our parish to have a pastor that holds 30 minutes of Adoration for our CCD children and families once a month. He leads and facilitates prayer, meditation, and allows for children to share any intentions they may have, which we pray for all together in the presence of our Lord. With children as young as five years old and those in the challenging tweens and early teens, the time with our Lord quickly became a monthly highlight for the children and teachers alike. Although some may be concerned about losing time to cover material in the classroom – there is nothing written in a textbook that is more important than actually being present with our Lord.

With a little planning and enthusiasm, the prospect of faith formation will be slowly become a solid priority in the life of your young Catholic learners.

Happy Birthday, Mother Mary! Party Pack

 Help Children Celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Help celebrate the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary with these cute printable table setting, party pieces and activity sheets, which highlight her birthday. Whether you want to have a special family meal or an actual party, celebrating Mother Mary’s birthday is sure to be a fun and memorable experience for young Catholics.

This printable download Happy Birthday, Mother Mary Party Set includes the following.

Place Setting Name Card (2 per sheet)
Napkin Rings (4 per sheet)
Coasters (2 per sheet)
Goblet (stemmed glass) Markers – two designs (6 per sheet)
Cupcake Toppers (9 per sheet)
Goodie or Treat Packet (1 per sheet)
Place mat – Ledger Size for two pages of 8.5”x11” paper
Place mat – Ledger Size for 11”x17” paper
Hail Favored One Coloring Sheet
Mother Mary Word Search
Mother Acrostic Bookmark featuring St. Anne, Mother Mary, and Jesus.

Using Hands-On Learning in Your Religious Education Lessons

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August 31st is the birthday of Maria Montessori, the woman behind the Montessori Learning Method. As I think of her today, I am reminded of how successful her methods have been in my Religious Education classes.

If you are not familiar with the Montessori Method, you can think of it, in the simplest sense, as learning by doing. It is active hands-on learning for children in an environment that has been especially prepared for them. The teacher facilitates rather than leads in the learning area using specially selected interactive learning tools, so that learners can make natural connections on their own. You can learn even more about the academic setup, features and strengths of this method in an article I wrote last year entitled, A Brief Intro to Maria Montessori and the Montessori Teaching Method.

When I was asked to become a Catechist years ago, I knew that I wanted to bring some of the positive experiences and activities that I had from homeschooling my own children at home, into my formal parish classroom. This meant learning by doing and interacting with the material – not just reading aloud in a classroom together.

I quickly found that I had made the right decision as my very first year brought me about fourteen children at different ages and learning levels, including gifted and challenged learners. Montessori and interactive learning were a saving grace.

I have heard over the years from Cats and DREs far and wide about how to make the classes more active or appealing to children. Montessori may be the answer. As bishops and pastors are asking families to become more involved in their child’s faith formation (even to the point of attending classes and activities together,) having class activities that are interactive, engaging, and fun becomes even more important.

I designed a few ways to get children engaging in the material in some non-traditional ways. I hope that these ideas can prove fruitful in your classroom too.

1. Have a question box.
Many children have questions that they are not willing to ask in front of others. Can my dog go to heaven? Did God create Cancer? What if Jesus doesn’t want to forgive me? My parents are divorced, can they get married again and can they still go to heaven? By creating an inviting and anonymous question box, children can put in questions that they want answered. By taking a few minutes of class time when needed, children feel a real sense of belonging without the fear of looking inadequate in front of their peers or embarrassed in front of their parents.

2. Take an interactive church tour.
Children love learning about the church – the building itself, and the sacramentals contained within it. Many children (and some adults as well) wonder what things are called, what are they used for, and why things have to be done a specific way? Taking an interactive tour helps develop reverence and while building knowledge. I have a special church tour worksheet that I created and use yearly. I attach it to a clipboard with a pencil tied on with string, and then we begin. It gives kids something to do with their hands and encourages purposeful listening. Learn more in my article called, CCD Lessons – Have You Toured Your Church Yet?

3. Use REAL things, when possible.
Whenever there is an opportunity to use the proper religious item, do so. Rather than just reading a scripture reference in your text, take out actual Bibles, pair the children in twos, and have them practice finding and reading the passages with you. The sense of accomplishment that they feel when they have found something themselves in God’s Word is very inspiring. If you are going to teach about portions of the Mass, use the actual missals from the pew. Along with a yearly missal, our church has monthly missalettes for daily Mass use, and I know for a fact that children wonder what the books are, and why don’t they have one. Our pastor uses a big print version of it during the Liturgy of the Word (not at the pulpit, of course), and I had a child ask me what the “special book” Father was using was. Children want to feel involved and a part of the congregation in a very actual sense. By letting them use the “real thing” they feel valued, and they learn how participate in Mass and grow in their faith.

4. Use Montessori Cards in the class.
I use Montessori cards featuring sacramentals in my classroom.

Montessori cards are simple little cards, which provide a picture (usually a photo) and a simple label. Although many think of them as flashcards, they are not. Montessori cards are used to teach vocabulary terms, reading skills, word and picture associations, as well as help build memory skill.

Here are a few ideas on how to use these Montessori cards.
1. Name the pictures on each card.
2. Play matching games with two identical sets of cards.
3. Sort a group of cards by topic criteria.
4. Recall narrative details about the topic. (Explain all you know about the material.)
5. Relate pictures in the set to one another.

5. Play Games to Learn and Review
The printable games that I have created do everything from teach prayers, drill the Ten Commandments, review the parts of the Mass, reinforce the Seven Sacraments and the differences in each, allow children to see and learn about sacramentals using photos and all in a hands-on format that children really enjoy using. Most games can be played individually or in teams of two or more. This is a sample of our newly updated Build Your Faith Bingo game. It is a fun game that reinforces: sacramentals from your church tour, Fruits of the Holy Spirit, identifying Holy Saints by their symbols, Mysteries of the Rosary, and the Parts of the Mass by title. It uses less color ink than our previous version and accommodates up to seventeen players at once.

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I revamped this game and many, many of our other resources to meet the needs of those who wanted to use less color ink and use our resources in a classroom or co-op setting.

6. Create a Holy Table or Mini-Altar in your classroom
I begin our class periods with prayer. Children file up to our Holy Table and bless themselves with holy water and return to their place to begin prayer. Our Holy table reflects the liturgical season in our linens and candles and displays, a large hardcover Bible on a wooden holder. A rosary is also on display along side a small decorative glass jar (which has an airtight cover) which is our holy water font. This is a basic setup, although I have other things that I put out as well. Another Cat on our parish team, has a beautiful altar, complete with big photos of our pastor and our Lord during Benediction and sacramentals from Holy Land. Oh, it is just so lovely. Children need to be able to see and touch the things that make our Catholic faith so rich and authentic.

These are just a few ideas of how you can incorporate the Montessori Learning Method into your Religious Education or CCD classroom and help you bring the faith to life in your classroom.

**If you have recently purchased our Religious Pack DVD, all the printable resources I have mentioned above are already included on your disc. If you haven’t picked one up yet, there is still time to do so. It is an easy way to view, click, and print our most popular printables and hundreds of revamped and brand new resources perfect for classroom or homeschool use.        

Creating a Living CCD Class

In teaching and homeschool circles, the word living is usually used in reference to literature.  A living book is one that brings the plot, setting and characters to life, engages the reader, and encourages completion of the work because it is so well written.  It doesn’t distract the reader with fluff and irrelevant details; rather it feeds the reader’s hunger for knowledge and enjoyment while providing incremental learning chapter by chapter.

A living CCD or Religious Education class tries to be engaging from start to finish and encourages attendance on its own accord.  Over the years, I have had children choose to attend my CCD class rather than soccer practice or tell me face-to-face how much they enjoy coming weekly because it’s fun.  Granted, some years I have been overwhelmed from issues in our family life or homeschooling and felt a bit burnt out, but I attribute my return each year to the Holy Spirit and our dedicated pastor who inspires me regularly, values the work that I and the other catechists do, and holds a retreat for us Cats annually to recharge our batteries and grow in our faith.

I am an educator by trade, and over the years have designed a layout for my living CCD class that has been quite effective.  Here is a quick overview.  I try to use a little mathematical formula for my 75 minute weekly class.  10-10-30-10-10.   By breaking up the class into increments, the children are kept interested and engaged, and lots of different mustard seeds can be planted at once, many times with tangible activities, hopefully providing a very full harvest later in life.    


10 - The First Ten Minutes of Class – Greeting, Prayer and a Liturgical Theme.
This is the time to greet and welcome students, take roll, and join in prayer.  Children (and parents who are joining us as well) approach the little altar in our class, bless themselves with holy water, and return to their spot.  I then ask for special intentions, and we pray for them and our own personal needs with a simple prayer or two – The Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, or Glory Be.  I transition into a liturgical theme featuring an event from the life of Christ, a particular feast that may be occurring on the liturgical calendar, or the solemnity or memorial of a particular saint. **

10 - The Second Ten Minutes of Class – A Quick Review of the Previous Week’s Lesson and Checking Homework.
Most times the homework I assign is reading from the text of our class – Faith and Life 2.  I will spend a few minutes for questions, and then I proceed with a review.  Most times it is oral in a game form while a few other times it is a written quiz or one of my worksheets.  If the previous lesson was using an F3 Folder, we take a look at it and review the pieces.  We then move on to covering new material.

30 - The Thirty Minutes of New Material – The New Lesson for the Week
Considering that the children in my class range in age from about seven to eleven years old, and we meet in the evenings after many children are tired because of school and other extracurricular activities, I try to keep my new information to within a thirty-minute span.  It usually includes a visual or tangible prompt of some kind (F3 Piece or F3 Folder, a religious poster to look at, teaching prop, or a sacramental of some type,) as well as a short oral presentation.  As a general rule, I will not read from the textbook or do reading as a class, as I feel that is something that can easily be done at home with a parent or other family member.   Many times, I try to incorporate changing positions around the room (gather into a circle, move to another portion of the room, move your chair to get into groups of two) to help keep children alert.

If everything goes well, we end up leaving our classroom twice a meeting.  The first time we leave our class is to see the lesson in action.  It is my goal to meet in our big kitchen almost every week to see the lesson I have just presented in action – this means using SCIENCE!  Yes, I said it; I use science to teach about the faith.  You may have heard of using videos, books, games, crafts, even a magic trick or two, but I like to use science experiments.  (You’d be amazed at how their little eyes light up when I present an experiment, and God ends up being the star of the show.)    

10 -Ten Minutes with Our Lord – Visiting the Adoration Chapel as a Class
We return from the kitchen clean up a bit and reorganize our tables, if need be, and then head out for the second time to visit our Lord in Adoration.  We are very blessed to have perpetual adoration at our parish.  We have a small, intimate and inviting adoration chapel that the children love to visit.  Each of our CCD classes incorporates adoration into their class period.  When this practice began,  I was a bit worried at the time that I would lose too much formal teaching time doing this over the course of the entire year (10 minutes x 28 formal classes = 280 minutes or almost five hours (four whole-class periods).  Even so, over time I began to see how Jesus worked in the lives of the children.  Since many children are over stimulated throughout the day, Adoration provided them with a small little gift of a few minutes of peace and silence.  They learn reverence, patience, how to appreciate solitude, and best of all, that Jesus is available for them whenever they need Him.

10 -Ten Minutes of Housekeeping – Reminders, Homework and Such
After adoration, we return to class for housekeeping details.  I assign the reading homework, and they all write it in their folder.  I give out any handouts or newsletters, remind the kids about attending Mass and completing an entry in their Mass Journal, as well as give a hint about the content for the next week’s class.

10 -Ten Minutes of Playing to Learn – Reviewing with Games
I reserve the final ten minutes of class for reviewing year-to-date content with games.  Games are usually played in teams, and everyone is encouraged to play and participate well.  Sometimes I will use a game with pieces such as putting prayers in order, reviewing the Ten Commandments, or my Tell Me About It question game; other times I will hook up my laptop to the classroom TV and play a video review game that I created.  (The kids’ love this style of review game too, as many are used to computer interaction – even at such a young age.)

To close the evening class, we finish in prayer, and I wish each child a safe and healthy week.
This is just one layout for a Living Religious Education class.  For younger children, you may want to use an 8+ style of timing, which changes the learning activity every eight minutes or so.  Older children, who should have a longer attention span, can easily benefit from a 20, 20, 20, 10 setup.

**A Note on Liturgical Theme Resources: 
If you would like to incorporate Saint study into your class and are looking for a nice intro prompt, our Saintly Symbols Coloring Sheets are perfect for this.  They are fun to use to introduce the Saint and discuss his or her symbol, plus they can be colored and used to decorate the classroom.  So far, I have only been able to post a few on the site, but our Faith Pack DVD has over 75 of them on it plus almost all of them have an accompanying fill-in biography notebooking sheet and fill-in biography learning card, either of which could be completed as a class.  You can simply use resources you have on hand or that come from your parish library.


I almost forgot to share that Our Virtue Lessons Are Back and Better Than Ever!! I'd like to thank Anabela, who dropped us a line to ask if Our Virtue Lessons are still available and are they included on the Faith Pack DVD. Find out about all FIFTEEN of Our Virtue Lessons now.

Let's Get Ready for a Great Year of CCD - Putting Together Student Binders

What I Give My Students of the First Night of Religious Education Class

As we have quite a few Catechists in our online family, I thought that I would share how I get ready for each student in my CCD class. As I updated a few things for my own needs, I thought I would share them with you.

The first night of CCD begins with the blessing of books and materials, and then we proceed to our classrooms for introductions, expectations and rules for behavior throughout the year.  I give out texts and the always anticipated student binders.

Each year, every student receives a white 1.5” 3-ring binder with inside pockets and a vinyl cover pocket as well. I like the vinyl front pocket because the children can customize a cover for themselves. This year I created a number of printable folder covers featuring four virtues (faith, hope, love and joy) and various images of Christ, the Blessed Mary and others. I posted two of them on the site, although I have more in the new faith pack DVD.

In each 3-ring binder I provide the following essentials.

Yearly Goal Sheet
To help foster independence and help children keep track of their yearly goals and personal achievements, I created a check-off sheet called Keeping Track of What I Know to help students keep track of the end of the year goals they must complete to be eligible to receive their sacraments.

Prayer Sheets
I place the prayer sheets called Prayers I Should Know and More Prayers I Should Know in vinyl heavy weight sheet protectors so that they open as a full spread and withstand the wear and tear of frequent use. (There are two versions of the Prayers I Should Know sheet. The difference is in the version of the Act of Contrition.)

As we learn and dissect prayers for their meaning, I sometimes give larger single sheet versions of individual prayers including the Our Father in color or Our Father printer friendly black and white. For your convenience, if you have our Faith DVD, you will find all of the collection of printable prayer pages including Latin and English and most with Black and white and color versions.

Ten Commandments and Examination of Conscience for Children
Additionally placed in the vinyl covers is my special gentle examination of conscience, which also doubles as a Ten Commandments reminder sheet. We use this resource all year long. An updated and re-edited version is available on on Faith Pack DVD.

Homework Helper
To conquer and keep up with homework children are encouraged to use the "To Do" sheet which allows them to easily write down and check-off weekly reading and assignments.

Newsletter and Handout Acknowledgement Sheet
Make sure that important information like newsletters, forms and handouts are seen by parents with this simple acknowledgment sheet. Parents should sign and date the sheet throughout the year as important things are sent home.

Mass Journal Sheets
As part of my yearly goals, I require a monthly mass journal to be kept. I choose a suitable style based on the general abilities of the class and I include eight blank journal pages in their folder. There are a half-sheet style Mass Journal Sheet which encourages more writing and a full-sheet style Mass Journal sheet which encourages more drawing and some writing. In years gone by I have printed mass journal sheets off on different color paper so that they stand out easily from the rest of the folder. I separate these sheets from the rest of the papers with a blank prepared F3 folder that gets used a bit later in the year.

(I sometimes add a few goodies, too. This year I think I may use my newly updated learning cards for prayers and basic catechism reinforcement. I laminate them and put them on an open clasp ring, and then it slides right into the binder.)

I hope this helps out somehow.

I want to thank Grace from the Catholic Toolbox for inspiring me to get ready and going toward the new CCD year. If you are looking for more ideas, stop by her blog.