What’s New? Resources for You and Your Classroom

Newly-published resources you can use in your classroom — and some for your own spiritual growth.

By Barb Szyszkiewicz

New this month: Advent resources for all ages, a timeline-based Bible, a classroom prayer book, and … saintly misquotes? (Yes, you read that correctly!)

When you teach middle-school or high-school students, it’s hard to find an Advent calendar that’s age-appropriate. Most Advent calendars are geared toward much younger children. But “God’s Word Comes Down” from Creative Communications for the Parish is just right for tweens and teens. This Advent calendar provides brief, spiritual reflections for each day. Through Bible verses and simple calls to action, this informative calendar helps teens welcome God’s Word in practical ways. This calendar is sold in multiples of 25.

Need Advent calendars for younger students too? Creative Communications for the Parish has you covered.

Advent for Kids 2018: Jesus, Open Our Hearts! by Kathy Hendricks (Twenty-Third Publications) is a 28-page book of daily activities and prayers that will help children focus on the meaning of Advent. Students are invited to record their caring actions by coloring ornaments on a Christmas tree at the front of the book. These activities and prayers are suitable for children in grades 1 through 4 and would make an excellent addition to a classroom’s morning routine during Advent.

A Season of Holiness: Advent 2018 Reflections, Prayers, and Practices by David M. Knight (Twenty-Third Publications) is an Advent booklet for you to use to grow spiritually during the Advent season. You’ll find references for the daily Mass readings, then a reflection, Scripture passage, and Advent practice for each day. At one page per day, this booklet won’t become just one more thing you’ll need to add to an already busy season: you’ll only need a few moments each day. A Season of Holiness also focuses on traditional prayers such as the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Angelus.

The Great Adventure Catholic Bible from Ascension Press combines a beautiful Bible with color-coded timelines, a 90-day Bible reading plan (which covers the highlights of salvation history), and guidance on interpreting the Bible, applying Scripture to our lives, and praying with Scripture. The Bible is divided into sections, each of which has a fascinating introduction featuring maps, charts, and historical background.

Each section has its own color, and every page of the Bible has a band of that color to help keep you on track as you read. Key events are marked with a box with extra information at the top of the page and a symbol within the text that corresponds to the box. There are ample footnotes and a mini-concordance at the bottom of each page. Every feature of this Bible is designed to help the reader place events in history, understand their significance, and learn why the message still matters today.

This Bible is colorful without being juvenile and uses the Revised Standard Version – Second Catholic Edition translation. The cover is blue vinyl with gold lettering and an embossed compass logo, and there are even two page-marker ribbons.

In the introduction to his latest book, Justin McClain notes that “a Catholic school is a place of prayer.” Called to Pray: Daily Prayers for Catholic Schools (Ave Maria Press) is filled with prayers to take your classroom through the liturgical year, prayers for special occasions, everyday prayers, traditional prayers, and even prayers written for and by students! This resource is designed for use with students in fifth grade through high school.

Don’t miss Justin McClain’s article on professional development here at CatholicTeacher.com and his column in the upcoming Winter 2018 issue of Today’s Catholic Teacher!

Set the record straight: find out whether your favorite saint really did utter that famous saying. Trent Horn’s well-researched What the Saints Never Said: Pious Misquotes and the Subtle Heresies They Teach You will help you show your students the importance of fact-checking when quoting the saints, the Pope, and the Bible. This book tracks more than 40 well-known sayings, including some that can actually lead us away from the fullness of Christian truth. It’s a fascinating resource to browse through: scholarly but approachable.

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

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