Easy-to-use resources for your classroom, focusing on the liturgical year, Christmas and planning and goal-setting for 2018.
By Celeste Behe
Resources for the New Church Year
Help familiarize your students with the liturgical calendar using a clever creation from the Catechetical Chameleon. Liturgical Calendar Doodle Notes give the “doodlers and scribblers” in the classroom a way to channel their creative urges while learning about the Church year. Doodle note pages identify the liturgical seasons in the familiar “wheel” design, along with the liturgical colors and their meanings. Each page is decorated with bold illustrations that may be colored, but there’s plenty of space left over for student notes and individual artistic expression. A resource best suited to grades 5 through 8, the Liturgical Calendar Doodle Notes download includes three versions to accommodate various grade levels and learning objectives.
Resources for Christmas
Young students will enjoy reviewing the Nativity story with the help of Nativity Bingo, a kid-pleaser that you can download and use right away. Nativity figures and titles of Jesus fill the squares of ten printable bingo sheets. Calling sheets are included in the download. Choose your favorite small manipulatives: chocolate coins, buttons, Cheerios rings, and the like, to use as markers. The “caller” may use the bingo images as prompts for discussion. Instead of “Bingo!” have students call out “Hosanna” when they cover all of the squares on their cards.
Fresh Looks at a Familiar Carol
“The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written in England as one of the ‘catechism songs’ to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith. The songs’ gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith,” Fr. Hal Stockert notes. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The two turtle doves are the Old and New Testaments. Discover all of the hidden meanings in “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” which is a narrative for the twelve days beginning with Christmas and ending on January 5.
Bring the song’s Christian symbolism home to your students with this downloadable decoupage ornament kit. The kit includes over 30 sheets of original illustrations from Rebecca Treon Even’s book Our Father Gave To Us The 12 Days of Christmas: A Story for All Christians. Younger students can choose from both black-and-white and color images to create gift tags or greeting cards, while older students can work on more advanced projects such as decoupage ornaments and decorated votive candles. Accompany the classroom crafting session with a video of The Carpool Choir’s rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
Christmas Word Cloud
Delight the visual learners in your class with creations from abcya.com’s Word Cloud Generator. Just plug in your text, customize layout, color, and font, and print out the finished product. For the Christmas season, use a red and green color scheme to create a star-shaped word cloud from St. Luke’s Nativity Gospel. Post the word cloud in the classroom as an engaging reminder of “the reason for the season.”
Resources for the New Calendar Year
Jan Brett Interactive Calendar
PTA meetings, in-service days, field trips, retreats: a teacher’s life is a busy one. Keep track of your 2018 activities and appointments with an interactive calendar embellished by children’s book author and illustrator Jan Brett. Begin by clicking the interactive grid of your chosen month and year, then enter your calendar details and print your personalized calendar page. Complete the project by adding a suitable topper page from a selection of Brett’s seasonal artwork. And while you’re at it, why not create calendar pages for your students, too? Fill calendar grids with class assignments, short prayers, and motivational phrases, then three-hole punch each calendar sheet for easy binder insertion.
Goal-setting and New Year’s Resolutions
It’s easy to become so focused on short-term objectives that we fail to see “the big picture.” That’s why students will learn material well enough to pass a test, but not well enough to retain the information. Math teachers can help their students set and work toward goals with nifty little charts that frame learning objectives as New Year’s resolutions. Recommended for grades 4 through 9, My New Year’s Math Resolutions charts consist of three columns: My Resolution, My Plan, and My Success, for students to fill in. My New Year’s Math Resolutions is a simple yet effective resource that promotes students’ critical thinking skills while encouraging them to take ownership of their learning.
Celeste Behe is a blogger, speaker, and ardent Toastmaster. She lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with her husband Mike and eight of their nine children.