5 Awesome Games to Play

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The best of the best. These are activities which have worked for me to teach a lesson.

  1. Tic Tac Toe; this game can be modified endless ways. But here’s the general plan
    1. To make the game: Use a trifold poster and mark off a perfect square. Evenly divide the square into 9 boxes by creating three rows across, three rows down. I would use Washi Tape, but anything dark will do. Even a marker. Make 20 beanbags from felt (10 of each color) by sewing (or gluing) around the edges leaving a hole open to fill. Sew or glue the hole shut. Alternatively, you could use small painted stones. There must be 10 of each color.
    2. To play the game: Tape a line far enough back to make challenging for the age group. Have a list of many questions for the two student teams to answer. If correct, they can toss a bean bag onto the TTT board. Here’s where the fun begins:
      1. If the team lands on a blank box, he stays.
      2. If the student lands on the other team’s box, the other team loses that spot and the bag.
      3. If the team lands on one of his own spots he has the choice to pick it up or leave it. If he leaves it, he runs the risk of losing two or more bags because the other team picked them up.
      4. The game is over when you’ve run out of questions, or there’s TTT
      5. The goal is the first to get TTT. If no one gets TTT, then one team with the most bags on the board wins.
      6. The winners get $6 each in Jesus Bucks
      7. The losers get $1 each in Jesus Bucks as a consolation prize
        It gets pretty competitive.
  1. Beatitudes Match-up Challenge: This game can be modified for anything. Such as matching verses to chapters, etc. But here’s the game
    1. To make the game: print out the Beatitudes here separating the sentence of “Blessed are…“, and “For they will…”. You can either make enough for each student, or make four sets for four teams, or two sets for two teams. As many as you desire.
    2. To play the game: start the clock. You have three minutes to match the first part to the second part. Hit the bell (or whatever you do to start and stop a game).
    3. The one(s) with the most correct matches wins $10 Jesus Bucks. Second place $6, Third place $3.
    4. Just for the heck of it, have the students complete the matching. It’s good for them
  2. Jeopardy: this game is super fun. Mine uses PowerPoint as the medium (I will post on that separately) but you can modify it by creating a tri-fold board with pockets on it. Each pocket has a dollar amount on it. As the game goes, the higher the dollar amount, the harder the question.
    1. To play the game: I use two teams and two bells. The first player must choose a dollar amount and a topic. The players ring the bell if they know the answer. The first to ring gets to answer. If incorrect, the other team has a shot. Whoever wins the square gets the points assigned. A scorekeeper is needed if you don’t use the PowerPoint Jeopardy
    2. Continue on unto you have used all the answers. You can even assign double Jeopardy questions
  3. The Rosary Mysteries Match-up: Another fun game. I use 4 felt boards with four sets of game pieces.
    1. To make the game; cut out and attach felt so they stick onto the game pieces. I laminated the pieces and used small pieces of felt which seemed strong enough to hold the piece to the board.
    2. To play the game, give four teams the game pieces and ask them to match up the mysteries under the correct mystery name. e.g. Luminous, Sorrowful, Joyful…,
    3. First team done wins $10 each member. Instruct the teams to continue to work because the first team done may not have it correct.
    4. Have the students finish the matching anyway – it’s good for them.
  4. Holy Spirit TTT game; Using the Game pieces from the TTT in number 1, enlarge these pieces to fit into the squares. Alternatively, you can enlarge this piece and attach it whole to the tri-fold. I had mine enlarged at Staples for $18
    1. To play the game have two teams each with a different color bean bag. Read these questions one by one. The team that answers correctly gets to toss a bean bag to the square to the corresponding box (Holy Spirit, Father, Son). If he misses, he has to pick up and move to the end of the line.
    2. The game ends when all the questions are answered, all the bags are on the board, or there is a TTT.

Teaching Children to Read From the Bible

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In my 7th grade class, my students are expected to read from the bible.  By 7th grade they should know the general location of the Books.  An example of reading from the Bible is, if the lesson calls on Scripture as a source, the students must go directly to the source.  I have one student read aloud. This gets their minds in motion to learn that the Bible has the answers we need in life.

As an assignment for homework I have the students read a few chapters a week.  In theory it works but in reality there will be students who won’t read the Bible.  During our wrap-up time at the end of class, we toss a ball around as I ask questions about today’s lesson and the assigned chapters.  Jesus Bucks to those who answer correctly. Some don’t understand the meaning of the chapters they read.  Some do.

Some interpret differently than others according to what is going on in their life.  This is a life lesson only reading the Bible can demonstrate.  I am fortunate enough to have the interpretations to the Scriptures so it helps me teach. I have had students question what the read.  With the help I get from the Holy Spirit, I can guide them to understanding of the Scripture and how it applies to their life today.

Please also note; there are many families who can’t afford a bible for their child.  I was fortunate enough to procure good children’s bibles which are easy to understand.  I give these to students without Bibles at home. Discreetly.

How about you? Do you have your son, daughter, student(s) read from the Bible daily? It’s great practice. Comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.

A Clever and Fun Way To Teach the Creed

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This year’s theme for the 7th grade is The Creed. The Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed. The year’s lessons center around each part of the Creed. To help the students learn the creed I developed a fun competitive game.

To make the game pieces;
1. Print out these pages four times. You will have four teams rebuild the Creed. I laminated the pages to last forever. You can find an inexpensive laminator at Amazon here (I am not an affiliate- it’s just awesome to have). Alternatively, you could paste to card stock for semi-permanency.

2. Cut out the pieces

3. Glue felt squares on the back to stick to a felt board. Or, you can give to build on the floor, or table.

4. Shuffle up each set (Do not mix the four sets together).
5. Have the students count of 1, 2, 3, 4. Then, send them to their respective corners of the room.
6. Give instructions that the students need to put the Creed in proper order. The catch is there are two Creeds in the pile, the students must identify which Creed the sentence goes with and in which order. The first team who finishes correctly wins first place which is worth $10 per player in the team. Second $6 and third $3 place also win a lesser amount of Jesus Bucks. Fourth place gets a consolation prize of one Jesus Buck.
7. Hit the Bell – or say ‘START’ whatever you use to start a game.
8. Once a team has called finished, instruct the students to continue to work since team may not be correct.

This game reinforces the Nicene and Apostles Creed and teaches the differences between two. Also helps with ‘team work’ skills. Oh! And it is fun. Breaks up the monotony of learning the Creeds.

Remember not to mix the cards together – keep each set separate.

Public School vs Catholic School

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My darling oldest granddaughter will be attending kindergarten in the fall. We’re all excited for her of course. She’s excited too. Then comes the decision “Catholic school? Or public school?”. Her mom’s decision was based on the type of school system and its test results in her area rather than on the Catholic faith. Budget came into the mix as well.

Here’s where it matters the most. Catholic schools have been notorious for their excellent education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, private schools score higher on standardized tests than public schools. So, unless you live in an area that beats their education, Catholic schools seem like the right thing to do for your child. The teacher to student ratio is lower than in public schools. The lunches are healthier, there are no governmental restrictions making cutbacks. The children learn well, behave well, and are polite. I have not met a wild child from a Catholic school (maybe they get expelled to public schools- hmmmm).

Then comes the religion part. Yes, your child is going to learn the Catholic faith. So, if this offends you, public or home school is your option. If it’s okay – then Catholic school is for you. Tuitions range from $2600-$6000. You can apply to your local Archdiocese for tuition help if needed. Also, some towns give you a tax discount if you’re not using their school system. This is far and few, but worth a shot.

I will report on how the granddaughter does in her education. It’s only kindergarten, I know, but it’s an important step into her loving education.

What’s your thought? Catholic school? Homeschool? Or Public?

10 Great Things about the Pregnancy Care Center

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I love the Pregnancy Care Center and help out when I can.  They’re always looking for volunteers and donations of clothing and baby items.  Check out their website for more information.

10 Great things about the PCC

1. It’s free. Totally free to any unexpectedly pregnant woman.
All services are free and confidential to all pregnant women and men who seek their services. Through the generosity of local churches, businesses, and families/individuals and a few grants the PCC has been able to keep its doors open since 1986. They are not eligible to receive Federal money.

2. They are giving. Their giving is without reciprocity.
Their time, dedication, baby clothes, maternity clothing, emergency formula and baby food supply, and services are given without the expectation of donation. A donation is extremely helpful, no doubt; but not necessary, at all.


3. They welcome everyone. Every race, creed, nationality, etc.
They do not judge. It doesn’t matter your economic status, the color of your skin, male or female, the cause of your pregnancy, PCC wants to help you make the right decision.


4. They have honest discussions about alternatives, if chosen.
PCC is Christian-based and therefore will not advocate or suggest terminating the pregnancy. They will however, offer you information on what abortion is in its truth should you opt for abortion. It is PCC’s hope and prayer, that you will chose alternatives to abortion whether it’s keeping the child (with ongoing support), or putting the child up for adoption. The choice is for the parent(s) to make.


5. They have free recourse for moms-to-be.
Resources such as free ongoing counseling, sexual integrity and education, baby formula, baby food, and diaper emergency supply, clothing, toys, baby equipment such as cribs are available for moms-to-be.


6. They help a mom to keep her baby (or offer the baby to adoption if wanted)
By helping mom make a decision with good conscience, mom and dad will feel 100% in control of their pregnancy. Something they feel is lost when they first discover they are pregnant.


7. They are not an adoption agency.
Because there is absolutely no affiliation with an adoption agency (or adoptive parents), there is no chance of coercion, or kickbacks, or anything illegal. PCC is transparent, ethical, and moral in all their decisions.


8. They are not an abortion agency.
Because PCC is Christian based, abortions are not advocated. There is no chance to be coerced into having an abortion at all. In fact, the PCC will help you chose the best alternative to abortion.


9. They are Christian-based.
Because of their strong Christian faith, they have formed alliances with surrounding churches in the area. There are many more alliances they are seeking and currently have plans to expand. One does not need to be Christian to obtain their services, but must understand they are Christian based.


10. They offer counseling to those who have had abortion(s) in the past to help heal.
PCC makes no judgement on any man or woman who has had an abortion. They offer free counseling for those who seek help in coping a past decision to abort. A 10-week Bible study program runs 4 times per year to help post-abortive men and women cope and forgive themselves.

Jesus Bucks Are The Best!

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Are you having concerns about class management? Jesus Bucks might be your answer. You can find Jesus bucks at JesusBucks.com. Visit their site to get the original Jesus Buck. It’s totally free.

Here are some examples of classroom problems that have changed due to Jesus Bucks.

  • Problem: arrival time is chaotic, talkative, excited, noisy, rambunctious. This takes time to settle down and get to work.
  • Cure: Jesus Bucks given to all who enter quietly, sit in their seats and work on the ‘bell work’ paper. Bell work is simply something like a word search, or a crossword puzzle, for example, that pertains to the lessen of the week.

 

  • Problem: students not paying attention during presentation of the material.
  • Cure: Jesus Bucks given to any student who paid attention during the presentation. (usually about 20-25 minutes)

 

  • Problem: Students are disruptive during class.
  • Cure: Jesus Bucks to all students who listened quietly during class.

 

  • Problem: Students not working as a team on group projects.
  • Cure: Jesus Bucks to team member(s) identified as working together for a common goal.

 

  • Problem: Students not cleaning up after themselves after a project.
  • Cure: Jesus Bucks given to those students who helped clean up.

 

  • Problem; Students not exiting timely to meet their parents.
  • Cure: Jesus Bucks on the way out the door if within 2 minutes of the bell.

 

  • Problem: Students not trying hard enough to answer game questions.
  • Cure: Jesus Bucks to anyone who answers correctly, wins the game. Losers of the game get Jesus Bucks at a lesser amount because they certainly did try to win and learned something in the process (as long as they participated).

 

  • Problem: Transitioning from one activity to another takes long with all the chatter and excitement.
  • Cure: Jesus Bucks to anyone who transitions quietly.

 

 

As you can see, Jesus is the cure for everything :-). I use these bucks as awards for good behavior and winning games. So what? What this means is the student can collect the Jesus Bucks to buy prizes at the end of the school year. I collect inexpensive items to include in the prizes available. Here’s are some examples:
• Bibles
• Rosaries
• Tiny bible key chains (like really tiny. hilariously tiny)
• Stuffed emoji clips (poop ones removed)
• Jesus inspired bouncing balls
• Coloring books for adults with colored pencils
• Fancy pens
• Fancy pencils
• Pencil cases
• Makeup bags
• Highlighters
• Markers
• Games (like travel Connect Four)
• Puzzles (like Rubik’s Cube)
• Slinkys
• Silly putty
• Artist paper and paint
• Fancy notebooks
• Fancy post-it notepads
• Locker mirrors
• Locks
• Locker accessories
• Note books
• Tiny binders
• Auto rosaries
• Book marks
• Bracelets (WWJD)
• Bracelets with various sayings on them (proverbs)
• Glow sticks
• Small flashlights with Jesus sayings
• Inspirational message pens
• Journals
• Nail polish
• Nail care kit
• Drawstring backpacks
• Drinking cups with local coffee shop gift card
• Gift cards to iTunes
• Candy and lots of it. But I put these at a high cost because I don’t encourage it, but understand that Kids. Love. Candy. What can I say.

On the first day of school, the students see a photograph of the bribe loot that could be theirs. At the end of the year, at the last class, the students are presented with the loot and prices are posted. I choose low prices for bibles and inspirational information, and high prices for games, toys, and candy. I want them to choose the inspirational, of course.

This system of bribery has worked remarkably well in my classroom. I don’t have discipline problems, or chaos. Things flow pretty smoothly and on close to schedule. Jesus Bucks can work for any grade level. My students are 7th graders. But any grade up through 8th grade works. I imagine that high school students are mature enough to contain themselves and act appropriately. If not, they need to go back to Ms. MacKay’s 7th grade and learn it.

 

Comment below and let me know what you use for classroom management.   I love to hear what others do.

Homeschool Verses Religious Education Class

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As far as I can tell there’s no difference in the level of education for home schooling religious education and in parish religious education.  Well, there might be one difference.  The homeschoolers have to come in and test out at the end of the year.  The parish schoolers just have to show up and participate.  Typically, there is no ‘test’ to speak of, but a conscientious teacher will assess for learning.

A web review indicates that the Vatican and the CCC encourage Homeschooling.  It has long standing that the parents are the primary teachers of the Catholic Faith.  The parish is secondary.

So why does Religious Education exist? You ask.  It is an adjunct to family teaching.  Religious Ed also gives students something to ask their parents about should they have additional questions.  Let’s say your student wants to apply something he/she learned from class time, the student needs to ask the parent to clarify.  Or, if the student needs to demonstrate Social Justice activities, a student needs parental supervision.  These are just two examples.  I am certain there are more.

Another concern is perhaps the parents are not feeling confident in the Catholic religion but seek to get a better understanding for their child. Religious education can help the child achieve a better understanding of the Catholic faith – thus helping the family grow.

So, if religious education classes exist, why homeschool?  Some families prefer to keep their lessons of religion within the family. It is their right as a Catholic and citizen of this free country to homeschool.  God Bless America.

All students use the same books to learn, the same bibles, the same Masses, the same penance, the same First Communion, etc.  There is no difference and each family can decide what works better for their own circumstances.

 

Keywords; religious education, homeschooling

Yes! You Should Be Able to Decide!

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I saw this statement on a pro-choice site and it occurred to me that, YES!!! Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family. As an anti-abortion Catholic woman, I totally agree.  That’s why there’s the choice to use birth control, and/or abstinence if you DEFINITELY don’t want to parent with that jerk.  You decide by CHOOSING not to get pregnant with someone you don’t want to be with.  Birth control has been proven to be effective.  If you CHOOSE to have unprotected sex, well then – you choose to have a baby because that’s what happens with unprotected sex, right?  Ya, ya, I know that birth control can fail 0.0099%.  Tell me, how in heck did it fail for over 54 million times? (The number of abortions in America since 1973 -I’m going to puke) I don’t understand that.

The next failed argument is ‘I don’t see you taking in unwanted babies’.   Well… if there were actually ‘unwanted’ babies to take in, I would.  But since the few number of unwanted babies who actually come to term are taken up for adoption lickety-split, there’s none left for me.  Babies are adopted fast.  Bring your baby to term and offer adoption. You’ll see for yourself just how fast.  There are loving parents just waiting with open arms.

The next failed argument – there are hundreds of thousands of unwanted babies now.  Where? Tell me where in America are there hundreds of thousands of unwanted ‘babies’ now. Oh! You mean children who have been mentally abused by their parents who no longer want them because they can’t handle the mental instability of the child due to their own cause? Those babies? Now that’s irresponsible.   But let’s not let the children suffer. We have homes for these children.  Where do you think they live? In a homeless shelter? In an orphanage? Seriously, people reach out to children in need ALL THE TIME.  You will find these people are Christians. Period.   It’s what we do. We protect those who cannot protect themselves. Like unborn children.

 

Keywords: anti abortion, pro life, birth control, abstinence, adoption, faith, saving lives, catholic