What’s New? Resources for You and Your Classroom: September 2019


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A quick look at new resources to use in your classroom or for professional development.

By Barb Szyszkiewicz

Sacrament Prep for Special-Needs Students

Our friends at NCEA profile Nancy Emmanuel, the coordinator of special needs for the diocese of Arlington.

Discovering the Love of Jesus

New from Ignatius Press, YOUCAT for Kids explores the world, the Creed, the sacraments, the commandments, and prayer. This is an excellent reference book, but don’t stow it away on your classroom shelf. Instead, keep it handy so students can use it to investigate when they have questions about the faith.

While the book is labeled for students age 9-12, there are sections that younger readers can handle, especially if teachers or parents are available to help. Footnotes at the bottom of each page provide more in-depth information for adults and older students; the top section of each page is written in simpler language and often accompanied by spare line drawings . YOUCAT for Kids is packed with Scripture quotes and effectively cross-indexed to help readers get the most out of the information it contains.

Storytelling 101

Student media-making and storytelling: An ‘edWebinar’ series from Britannica. Today 72 per cent of people’s online experience is spent watching videos. In 2016 YouTube attracted one billion unique monthly visitors, today that figure has reached three billion and by 2022 it is forecast that 82 per cent of all Internet traffic will be to view video content (Cisco); culturally, videos are becoming the new currency of communication and story-telling. Added to this, 62 per cent of us are visual learners. Media has certainly become the language of choice for today’s students. To empower the next generation of citizens to thrive in a media-centric world, Britannica Digital Learning is running a series of webinars for teachers offering advice, ideas and guidance on the basic concepts of media literacy in education and explores how videos can be used in the learning environment to inspire and engage students. Register online to access the free, live sessions.

Church History for High-Schoolers

Supplement your study of world history and Church history with Mike Aquilina’s new book, The Church and the Roman Empire (Ave Maria Press). The newest book in the Reclaiming Catholic History series, The Church and the Roman Empire covers the era from 301-490, when Christianity develooped and expanded as the Roman Empire declined.

The Church and the Roman Empire

Plenty of sidebars provide engaging back story, and Aquilina recounts what really happened in a down-to-earth but never insulting way. This book is perfect for students who want to study this time period in more depth — and will discourage any reader from thinking that history is boring.

Quiet Reading Space for Young Children

Early Learning furniture manufacturer Whitney Brothers® today announced its new Nature Reading Haven With Floor Mat Set received a Learning® Magazine 2020 Teachers’ ChoiceSM Award for Preschool, one of the most widely recognized and prestigious awards in the educational market. Inspired by the trend of bringing the outside into the Early Learning classroom, the Nature Reading Haven simulates a photo-realistic underside view of a tree canopy that beckons young children inside for quiet reading enjoyment.

Image courtesy of Whitney Brothers. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

The cozy interior includes a fitted floor pad, built-in book display shelves, viewing cutouts and tunnel openings on each end panel that provide easy access and important sight and sound supervision of children inside. It also satisfies each state requirement for a dedicated quiet space in Early Learning classrooms.

Voice-activated journey to the past teaches history

Children and families can immerse themselves in ancient history with Guardians of History™, a new interactive voice-activated game from Encyclopaedia Britannica, where players learn about the past through an engaging time-travel adventure and save history from forces that threaten it.

Free to use on all supporting devices, Guardians of History is one of the first voice-driven games that blends premium audio, engaging choice-driven gameplay, and educational content in one package.

The first episode, “The Olympia Obstacles,” is a fun, choice-driven experience where the player travels back in time to the ancient city of Olympia, Greece. The game’s setting, content, characters, story, and imagery were carefully developed by award-winning writers and expert editors who drew from the Britannica’s historical archives to ensure that the game’s fictional narrative is historically accurate. The result is a riveting 40-minute audio experience that teaches the player about Ancient Greece through dialogue, sound, and meaningful choices. Its eight different endings also stoke curiosity and make the game replayable over and over.

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.