Saturday, April 16, 2016

Religious Education Class

     I am the second grade Religious Education teacher at St. Mary's.  This year, I have a larger class with 12 students.  We meet each Sunday for a little over an hour.  Being second grade, we learn a lot about Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist- we receive these two Sacraments this year.  I try to make my RE classroom feel just like a regular classroom.  I want my students to be able to walk in and know that they're going to learn and have fun.                                                                                                                                      The RE classrooms are in the church basement.  We have partitions separating us from the 3rd and 4th grade classes.  The kindergarten and 1st grade classes have actual classrooms. The 5th and 6th grades meet in the parish hall- one in the basement classroom and the upstairs classroom.  Our 7th-12th grades meet in the basement of the priest's house.  They have actual classrooms as well. 

     Since we share our classroom with the church hall, we have tables and chairs.  This allows for meetings, funeral luncheons, etc. throughout the week.  We do have a dry erase board which is really
a white board from the local lumber yard.  It works great (just clean after each use- don't leave the marker on it for long) and is a lot cheaper.

     Last year, I added our Word Wall.  These are all of the special words that we learn and use often throughout the year.  I add them as we learn them-  Transubstantiation, Eucharist, Sacrament, priest, commandment, etc.  New this year is our "Caught Being Godly" bucket.  The kids have opportunities to earn tickets each class.  They are guaranteed the opportunity to earn a minimum of 2 each class- one for attending and one for bringing their folder.  I keep the books in the classroom.  They can earn other tickets by having their parents sign the weekly newsletter ticket.  This helps to ensure that they're reading it!  Another ticket for being kind and working quietly.  During our parent/student Sacrament meetings, they'll earn another ticket for attending.  The kids love it and always remind me to hand them out.
     I tell the kids at the beginning of the year that there is no guarantee that I'll draw tickets out of the bucket each day.  They should not expect a prize for good behavior, they should have good behavior because it's the right thing to do.  When I draw the tickets (usually 4-6 at a time), the kids get to pick a prize from the prize bucket.  They get so excited!  The bucket has stickers, pencils, rosaries, prayer booklets, necklaces, journals, cars, and other small toys.

     We also have a small altar at the front of our room.  The table cloth changes color depending on the Liturgical season (white, green, red, purple, and rose).  The altar has our Bible, a cross, our rosary, a candle, and our special intention jar.  I really stress that our prayers do not have to be just our memorized ones.  They we can pray just like a conversation or letter to God and they can be intentions for others.  This year's class has really embraced the special intention jar.  We start the class with 1-2 of our memorized prayers followed by our special intentions.  We usually have 5-10 prayers waiting in the jar!

     If you teach RE, I'd love to hear about your classroom.

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