Great Ideas: April/May 2016

Great Ideas: April/May 2016

by staff

Helping Hands
To set the tone for my 3- and 4-year-olds, on the first day of class we talked about the gift of our hands. I tell my little friends that God made our hands for helping, not hurting. To help them remember their promise to try their best, I used foam hand cutouts and wrote each child’s name across the palm. Each child picked their favorite color paint and placed their fingerprints on the fingers of the foam cutout with their name on it, and together we hung them on our classroom bulletin board. We put up other hand cutouts that said “Be kind,” “Share,” and “Take turns,” and in the center I put “John 13:34: Love one another, just as I have loved you.” —Liz Bradley, Saint Michael Catholic School, Garden City, SC

Grading Scale Visual
Our school uses a letter grading scale beginning in third grade, and it can be hard for students to understand what the letters mean. I made a large grading scale visual to hang in the class-room so kids can refer to it quickly. This has truly helped this year. There is an explanation next to each grade to help students reflect on why they got a particular grade. —Sharon Feist, third-grade teacher, St. Mary Magdalen School, Media, PA

Life in Jesus’ Time
My seventh-grade students complete a unit about the human Jesus, learning about how he and others would have lived at that time in history: clothing styles, occupations, faith, housing, food, pastimes, and education among others. Students pose their own questions, such as “Would Jesus have had any pets?” Students research diligently to try to fill in the gaps not included in the Gospels. We cap the unit by having a feast of typical foods of the day: figs, goat cheese, olives, flatbread, and “wine.” The students come away from the unit with a closer connection to Christ, a human being just like them!  —Judith Rath, seventh- and eighth-grade theology teacher, St. Hilary School, Chicago, IL

9/11 STREAM Lesson
As a middle-school team we used the events of 9/11/01 as a starting point for a STREAM activity in our school. In social studies, the students studied images of 9/11 and then each wrote a reflective piece on the images. In language arts classes, students wrote poems and essays about 9/11. In art, the students produced city skyline images of New York, and their language arts writing was placed on these images. In science class, students used the engineering process to build towers. In math class, they focused on number facts of 911. In religion, they studied the role the church and religious leaders played during the 9/11 events. — Christina Bresnahan, middle-school science teacher, St. Francis Xavier School, Medina, OH  

Great Ideas Grand Award Winner 2015-2016

Thanks and congratulations to Sherri Kincaid, whose Great Idea has been selected as the Grand Award winner for the 2015-2016 school year. Ms. Kincaid is a PE teacher at St. Peter Interparish School in Jefferson City, MO. Her Great Idea, “History Hunt,” appeared in the August/September issue.

Source: Today’s Catholic Teacher, April/May 2016