"The whole trouble is that -- literally -- we do not know what is good for us; and what makes the trouble still worse is that we think we do. We have our own plans for our happiness, and too often we merely regard God as somebody who will help us to accomplish them. The true state of affairs is just the opposite. God has His plans for our happiness, and He is waiting for us to help Him to accomplish them. And let us be quite clear about it: We cannot improve on God's plans." This Tremendous Lover, M. Eugene Boylan, O.C.R.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Salvation History Lesson

Station 1:  
 Today we are learning about how God connected people throughout history.  We call this Salvation History.  So, we are going to play a game where we all will have to say connected!

Game 1:  The Human Knot Game  (best for middle and oldest children)

1.     All participants in the Human Knot game should stand in a tight circle, and put one hand in the center. There should be a large tangle of hands, in which no one can tell which hand belongs to whom, and each person should grab another hand.

2.    Once everyone has grabbed a hand, participants should put their other hand into the circle, and grab another hand.

3.    When everyone is holding two hands, each person should find out who they are holding hands with. If this is being played as an ice-breaker, everyone should introduce themselves to the two other people. Make sure that each person is holding hands with two different people, or the Human Knot cannot be untangled!

4.    Untangle the Human Knot! Step over and under each other's arms, crawl through each other's legs, and whatever else it takes to untangle the knot. The only rule is that participants must hold onto the two other individuals' hands until the Human Knot has been untangled - anything else goes!

At the end of the Human Knot game, all participants should be standing in a circle (or possibly two linked circles). It does not matter if everyone is facing the same direction, as long as they are still holding hands with the same two people. This game should take about fifteen to twenty minutes.

Game 2:  Follow the leader with hands held  (best for littlest children)

                Take the children outside over a rough path, twisting, turning, and climbing.  They have to remain holding hands the whole time.


Station Two:  Timeline activity

Create a timeline of Salvation History, cut and paste activity.  Children receive timeline with squares that are labeled.  They match the icon to the part of history that it represents and draw themselves in the timeline as well. 

1.       The time line will reflect:

a.       Pre-history:  Noah’s ark

b.      The Israelites:  Moses leading the people out of Egypt

c.       Christ and the apostles: Icon wih Christ at the center surrounded by apostles

d.      Time of the Church:  Icon with early church fathers holding a script

e.      Today:  Draw themselves in the box

f.        Christ will come again:  Icon of Christ in Heaven

                -Oldest children need to read page 13 yellow box and complete activity on their own

                -Middle and Younger children will cut, color and paste with teacher guidance
Station Three: 
Lesson with me reviewing book work (God With Us, grade 6, pages 12-15) and the story of Salvation History.  Focus the children in on the fact that they are also part of salvation history.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

He is the Vine and We are the Branches

 This week's lesson focuses in on growing closer to Christ through His Church, specifically the sacraments.  Very simple oultline below!

9:15 pray

9:20 Station One

            Children will get to trace their hands on green construction paper, then cut them out (as able, adults to help little ones).  On the wall, a vine will be drawn on a long piece of butcher paper.  On the paper it will say “He is the vine and we are the branches.”  Read to the children scripture, and then they get to attach their handprints as leaves on the vine.  Grape clusters will have each of the sacraments on them.  We will remind the children that we stay attached to Christ through the sacraments.


John 15:5….I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

9:30 Station Two

            Biggest children will work on their text book reading.  Middle and Smaller children will have Getting to Know God by John Kosmas Skinas read to them.


9:40  Station Three

            Lesson with me.  Biggest children will complete book work.  Middle and Littlest children will also SING A SONG: His Banner Over Me is Love (Verse… HE is the vine and WE are the branches… stand straight and tall for the VINE and stretch out arms and legs in funny shapes for the branches).


Binder handout:  Sacrament quiz from text book, God with Us, grade 6.


Ideas from the lesson were based on activities at :  http://www.sermons4kids.com/true_vine_group_activities.htm

Friday, September 20, 2013

We are Called to Grow Closer to God

This year, we are using the 6th Grade God With Us Curriculum, but I have to supplement it to fit the needs of our younger children as well.  Here’s my lesson for Unit 1, lesson 1.

In this lesson, we are encouraging the children to grow closer to God through prayer, the Sacraments, learning Church teaching, and our families.  The older children will receive their text books for the first time, younger children will hear stories about the Saints Constantine and Helen from the book A Child’s Paradise of Saints.


9:15  Gather for prayer

9:20 Station One:  I will go over the lesson for the day, comparing how a plant needs air, water, good soil, and sunshine to the needs we have as Christians o have prayer, Sacraments, Church teaching, and our families.  These are the things that we and plants need to grow.  Children will complete their worksheet to go along with the lesson.


9:30  Station Two:  Children will plant flowers, discussing the care that plants take to grow. 


9:40  Station Three:  The oldest children will read from their text book, starting on page two.  The younger children will hear stories about the Saints Constantine and Helen from the book A Child’s Paradise of Saints.


9:50  We will gather all the children back together for a lesson re-cap and final prayer.  I will hand out the page for their binders as well.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Welcome back and the Exaltation of the Cross!

This week marks our parish's return to Sunday School!  It is also the celebration of the Exaltation of the Cross this weekend and the focus of this week's lesson.

Class runs from 9:15am to 10am, and I'm going to break up this week's lesson as follows:

9:15     Opening prayers in the Nave
9:20     All children gathered together for welcome back, I will review rules and attendance rewards
9:30     I will introduce today's theme, talking to them about St. Helena being an archaeologist of sorts and invite them to seek out the cross as well.
9:35     Treasure Hunt game!  Before class, I will hide 10 pieces of the story of St. Helena out in our church yard.  Each piece of the story is numbered and has a small cross attached.
9:40     The children will bring in the pieces and read the story of St. Helena to each other.  Each child who found a piece of the story gets to read their own part.
9:50     We'll move into our wrap up and discussion of appropriate church behavior.

That's it!  Simple, but gets them moving around and keeps the lesson interactive!  I'm ready to get going again!

Monday, October 29, 2012

New Testament

Having a new baby has certainly put me behind!

Never-the-less, I wanted to update the blog with my plan for this year! This year's lesson plans will be focusing on stories from the New Testament. Due to an increase in volunteers, I have also slightly changed my classroom style.

Each week, we will have three stations set up for the children. Station One will be the lesson station where we will break down the topic of the day and make it applicable to the children. Station two will be hearing the text that we are studying from the Bible, followed by an activity. The third station will be a craft or something for the children to take home to remember the lesson by.

Our group of children have been divided into three groups as well, based on age. The children rotate through each station in their age group, so the teachers can adjust the content as needed. We are three weeks in to a new year at this point and it is going very well! The major advantage of this style is that I only have to create one lesson plan to use for all three classes. Since we are so small, this is key!

I will attempt to post each lesson plan on here for your reference. I pray that it is a resource to all of those in the East- Catholic and Orthodox alike!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Confession....make it a family affair!

My girls were baptised Roman Catholic, so when we became Melkite, we wanted them to received the rest of their sacraments of initiation...Confirmation and Communion. This photo was taken that day...surrounded by family, we ushered the girls into the Church through the Sacraments. I have often wondered why we don't do the same with Confession. It seems that we feel this Sacrament is "too personal" to have any group expectations, but I disagree! We all sin, this is a fact. The content of that sin is personal, but the fact that Confession is a beautiful gift, source of grace, and an opportunity to reunite ourselves to the Body of Christ makes it far from only a personal, private experience! We have decided as a family to go to Confession together. My youngest does not yet go, but she comes along as well. It was beautiful! I spent time with my 8 year old helping her to do an examination of conscience, then she spent time alone preparing her Confession. I discussed what sin is with her and printed an examination of conscience for children for her to read through on her own. I was truly impressed with her thoughtfulness! (and no, I didn' "check" her sins after...those were left private) Since this was just her second time going, I printed out my guide to Confession, which helps her know what to say so she doesn't get nervous. Then, we made arrangements wih our priest to come to church early. One at a time, we each made our Confession. It was a positive experience for our daughter and is always for us. I would encourage you to consider doing the same. Don't let your children miss out on this beautiful Sacrament and source of Grace! Make the time...on a regular basis...it is well worth it!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Life

As the Church is again filled with new life this Pentecost, I am hoping that this blog will be too! We are taking our little basil plant to church today to be blessed, as the traditional color for Pentecost in the East is green-for new life.
(I found the printed image HERE and taped it on toothpicks to stand.)