What’s New? Advent, Geography, Anatomy Lessons, and Elf Alternatives

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The latest topics to catch our managing editor’s eye.

By Barb Szyszkiewicz

It’s beginning to look a lot like … Advent

Here’s the quickest possible way to find our Advent-related content here on CatholicTeacher.com. Save this link and use it all season long!

Don’t miss Advent resources at our sister magazines, Catechist and Catholic Digest, as well. They’re both treasure troves of information you can use in your classroom and for your own spiritual growth.

Speaking of Advent, last year we told you about Christmas Tree of Kindness, a clever app you can use with your students to encourage acts of kindness during this holy season. The app is free through Christmas for both Apple and Android devices. Download and print this flyer to share with your students’ families and your colleagues.

Catholic geography fun

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Molly Burhans has a treasure trove of information about the global Catholic Church and she’s giving the public the maps to find it.

The young founder of GoodLands, a U.S. nonprofit digital mapping and consulting firm focused on using Catholic land resources to do good for people and the environment, prepared to release more than 100 maps and data sets for free online on the new Catholic GeoHub.

The GeoHub — catholic-geo-hub-cgisc.hub.arcgis.com — is the only place in the world where Catholics can see the boundary of every Catholic diocese in the world, map the ratio of Catholic laity to priests, and even check data-based assumptions about the “Catholic carbon footprint.”

Learn more in this article from the Catholic Sun.

Anatomy class goes interdisciplinary

Learn about anatomy by moving your body! That’s the premise behind a high-school course that pairs physical education with anatomy study.

Two teachers at Baldwin High School in Pittsburgh, PA have designed an innovative new health class that may help more students decide to pursue careers in health services.
Exercise Physiology is co-taught by BHS physical education teacher, Chris Crighton and science teacher, Kent Radomsky. The course combines the physical activity of phys ed with the science of biology, as students analyze the human body’s reactions to different kinds of physical activity. “Our goal is for students to gain overlapping expertise in two different but related subject areas,” explains Crighton. “We also introduce the students to a variety of careers in which this combined knowledge may be used, including Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Athletic Training, and Personal Training.”
“Superintendent Lutz thought it would be a significant service to our students if we offered a more advanced course in this area, giving those who are interested in these career fields a chance for more in-depth, challenging work in high school, and help them make more experienced decisions about their future education plans.”
As for how the course will impact the students’ future learning, Crighton thinks it will be helpful in two ways: “This course may encourage more of our students to pursue a career in this field. On the other hand, it may also help a student decide that this isn’t a field for them, and it would be better for them to figure this out now than to start college and then have to change their major after a year or two.”

To elf or not to elf

Will you have an Elf on the Shelf in your classroom this year? Take our survey!
Our friends at Creative Communications for the Parish have an alternative to Elf on the Shelf — one that keeps the students focused on the coming of the Lord. The Manger on the Mantel: Sharing the True Gift of Christmas storybook by David Mead, illustrated by Ed Koehler, helps your primary-grade students reflect on the events of the first Christmas night and the precious gift God put on display in the manger in Bethlehem. Each storybook includes an activity sheet with an easy-to-assemble cutout manger and 24 cutout “presents” with a Scripture verse and directions for moving the manger from place to place throughout the home. These activity sheets are sold separately so each of your students can take one home and enjoy the manger with their families.

The Manger on the Mantel (Creative Communications for the Parish)

Barb Szyszkiewicz is editor at CatholicMom.com and managing editor of Today’s Catholic Teacher.

All content copyright © Today’s Catholic Teacher/Bayard.com. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for classroom/parish use with full attribution as long as the content is unaltered from its original form. To request permission to reprint online, email editor@catholicteacher.com.