Catechist's Corner

From Grade Level K to 8, St. Malachy's Catechists are teaching the way of the Lord to our children each week.

Catechist's Corner

Are you curious as to what your child can expect in the grade level they are about to enter in Religious Education? Below, you will find small summaries written by one representative teacher from each grade. In the excerpt, the teacher explains what a year for a student of that grade level would be like.

Kindergarten

Kindergarten class meets on Sunday mornings from 9:15 to 10:30 a.m.



Kindergarteners begin the year learning how God created the world and all the people in it. Then they learn about the Bible – the Holy Book with stories of Noah, Zacchaeus and other holy men and women. As the year continues the focus is on being part of a family – God’s family. We see how much God loves us by sharing stories of God’s Son Jesus.



We use art, crafts and music help to enhance each lesson. Kindergarten is a good time to begin our faith journey.



1st Grade

First graders are just beginning their formal faith journey. The children learn how much God loves us beginning with creation, continuing with the birth of Our Savior, Jesus Christ and all of His teaching through the use of parables. The students get a brief introduction into the sacraments, some of the saints and how to live a Christian life.



Each class begins with prayer at our class prayer table which is decorated according to the church season. The children are expected to learn from memory, The Sign of the Cross, The Lord's Prayer, The Hail Mary Prayer and the Trinity Prayer.

Class instruction is provided using their religious education book, reading Bible stories, coloring theme related pages, making crafts, singing songs and role play. Children learn to live a Christian life by choosing an activity from the lesson of the week and completing that activity at home.

By the end of the year the children have a solid foundation to begin their second year of religious education.



2nd Grade

In 2nd grade Religious Education, the primary goal is to prepare the students for First Reconciliation and First Communion .For First Reconciliation, students need to know the Act of Contrition (which we begin working on at the beginning of the year) and understand the Rite of Reconciliation. We learn about the examination of conscious, mortal and venial sins, and how reconciliation brings us closer to Jesus.



First reconciliation usually takes place around Ash Wednesday to prepare the students for the season of Lent.



First communion is the next sacrament that students receive in 2nd grade. The entire year is spent preparing students for their first Eucharist and how important it is. The students learn about the true meaning of the Eucharist and why we, as Catholics, celebrate this sacrament.



During the school year, the students also hear weekly bible stories, learn prayers, celebrate the Church seasons such as Advent and Lent, and learn about the life of Jesus.



3rd Grade

Hello my name is Sharon Stander I teach one of the third grade’s Religious Education class at St. Malachy’s parish. Our class is scheduled September through April once a week for 1 hour & 15 minutes and I usually have around 14-18 students in my class. I teach my class using a Catechist Guide book called “Faith First”. Each student has their own book & folder to keep all their hand out papers & special projects in.



We always start our class with a few prayers that the students know and also learn new prayers that can be found in our books that we recite together. At the beginning of each year each student tells us about their family and their pets whom they live with so we can get to know a little bit about each other. Each week we read 1-2 chapters in our books which each student gets to read out loud and we discuss different stories that we read. They then complete all the written assignments in each chapter then we usually have 2-3 handouts also pertaining to the chapter that we’ve read and we go over & correct the answers. They do complete tests on every 3 chapters that they read. At the end of class I usually have a word search, puzzle or anagram pertaining to their chapters that they enjoy to work on.



We celebrate the holidays with a small party after we complete our work with fun activities & a special treat which the children really enjoy. Occasionally we also get to see a religious movie and complete a work sheet afterwards.



Father Mike always has a prayer service with Reconciliation before the Christmas & Easter holidays that every grade attends together. During Lent I invite my class to attend the Living Stations of the Cross together so they can experience the true meaning of Easter.



I especially enjoy teaching one of the third grade classes every year and have been at St. Malachy’s for about 13 years. My goal as a Religious Education teacher is to prepare the children to live the Gospel in daily life and to work to prepare the way for the coming of the Kingdom of God.



4th Grade

The 4th grade curriculum includes 4 units: We Believe, We Worship, We Live, and We Pray. The first unit, We Believe, is a review of many concepts learned in previous years. This includes study of the bible and the Holy Trinity: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Students complete a cloverleaf project as part of this study. The rosary is reviewed and students make and practice praying on rosary bracelets. Other concepts reviewed in this first unit are Jesus as the Good Shepherd, the Corporal Works of Mercy, and the season of Advent. Students make Christmas cards for the elderly and shut-ins to complete the first half of the year for their Corporal Works of Mercy project.



The second unit, We Worship, is all about the sacraments. Students review the 7 sacraments in detail, using many visual examples such as pictures, holy water, oil, wafers, and even a mock wedding to demonstrate the sacrament of matrimony. Students demonstrate their knowledge learned by playing a game of sacrament bingo. Students make cards of encouragement for 2nd graders who are preparing to make their first communion. The season of Lent is also reviewed during this unit and students are invited to attend the church’s “Living Stations of the Cross” as a field trip.



The third unit, We Live, helps students take concepts learned in Religious Education, and apply them to “real life”. Students study the Beatitudes and the 10 Commandments. They learn about “good/bad choices” and “consequences” and role play to demonstrate their knowledge. They also receive a Catholic Vision of Love (CVOL) lesson on personal safety as part of this unit.



The final unit, We Pray, wraps up the 4th grade year. In this unit, students learn about different forms of prayer. We study Mary as the mother of God and review of holy days of obligation. In the final class, the teacher provides each student with information about the “their” patron saint.



Students are expected to bring their Religious Education books and folders to class, as the books are used every week. A folder is provided to each student as a means of communication back and forth between parents and the teacher. Pencils, crayons, and all other materials needed for class are provided to students.



5th Grade

Throughout the Religious Education school year, many of our lessons focus on the Sacraments and Jesus’ teachings as we further prepare the students towards their Confirmation. It’s a curious age….the tween years….and they are anxious to share their understanding, stories and experiences, and they ask a lot of thoughtful questions about God and their faith.



We spend the first couple of weeks getting to know one another – I generally begin with an ice breaker where they separate themselves based on questions like ‘who is the youngest/oldest in their family’ or ‘who’s traveled by air’. They like the game aspect, plus it helps represent how we are all similar and different from each other, and we discuss how we should embrace and respect those differences. We also start the year by sharing the ‘gifts’ we each possess and how those can be used in the service of others.



In lieu of homework, each week two students are assigned the ‘lesson leaders’ and are expected to read and lead the discussions of that week’s chapter(s). At first, some are hesitant to speak in front of their classmates, but most come to enjoy the role of ‘teacher’ on their assigned weeks. I opted for this approach since as first year middle school students, they are already working through heavier homework loads – my suspicion is that they would either forget/fail to complete and/or rush through assignments. Also, my hope through leading the lesson is they spend time preparing for those classes and gain confidence in speaking in front of their peers.



To supplement our class lessons, each year we perform one community service project (Salvation Army bell-ringing) and attend the Living Stations during Lent as a class. We have a fairly relaxed atmosphere, where everyone is permitted to speak (as long as we can stay on point), but one where we must be respectful of the person speaking at that time. We also have many celebrations during the school year, mostly around the recognition of a student’s birthday – the students never turn down the chance for a snack during class.



I very much enjoy spending time with these young students and hope I help guide them in better understanding our faith.



6th Grade

This is Carlos Turcios and I have been teaching 6 grade Religious Education at St. Malachy Church for over 8 years. My desire for teaching and living our Christian faith is to open the minds, the hearts, and the spirits of my students to the heavenly realities. The aim is for each student to connect their lives with Jesus Christ, our savior, so that they can live an abundant life. I want my students to understand why Jesus Christ came to this world and that he will come again to take us to his heavenly home. In the meantime, as we live our life on this earth we need to Know, Serve and Love our God. And to be equipped for this life journey, the 6th grade students study together the following overall themes:



  • - What we believe: The mystery of God; Jesus Christ the Son of God; God’s plan of salvation; We are his people; and that we are blessed.

  • - How we worship: How to adore and honor God -the liturgy of the church; The seven sacraments.

  • - How we put in practice our faith: Our call to Holiness (the theological Virtues; Grace and Human Freedom of Choice, Corporal Works of Mercy and Spiritual Work of Mercy); Making Moral Choices (Moral Decision; Sources of Morality; Conscience; Sin: capital sins, mortal sins & venial sins); Loving God (by studying the Natural Law and the first three commandments) ;and Loving One Another ( by Studying the Forth to the Tenth commandment); Use the Wisdom books such as Proverbs to acquire wisdom for our walk in life.

  • - How we pray: We need to be people of prayer; Different type of prayers (Morning and Evening Prayers; Expression of Prayer: Vocal Meditation and Contemplation ; Our Lord example of praying by meditation the Lord’s Prayer.

  • - And How we celebrate: The liturgical year: Ordinary Time; The Season of Advent; The Season of Christmas; The Season of Lent; Holy Week and The Season of Easter.

  • - Catholic Vision of Love: We hold 4 classes dedicated to : Vocation; Being Responsible for our own lives; Life is Worth Living and Learning How Large Love Is.

I engage the children in my class by using the Religious Education 6th grade book “Faith First”, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Bible and other teaching material about the Saints. We play games and watch videos to reinforce the material. We start every class with a prayer, so that the Holy Spirit will open our hearts and minds to hear his message. And, we end each class with a prayer so that the Holy Spirit will help us to put into practice what we learned.



To take home in their hearts even beyond 6th grade Religious Education: I want my Religious Education students to always recognize the Voice of God “to do what is good and avoid what is evil”. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we will attain perfection in holiness. Though, we need to persevere in faith until the end of life.



7th Grade

What would a seventh grade student expect to learn in my class? The student would learn that life is full choices and so we must choose. The most important decision to make in the students life would be to choose that Jesus is the most important factor in their life. Jesus teaches us that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The church directs us to Jesus and nurtures our decision by teaching and celebrating the Sacraments.



After one more year of Religious Education instruction, the students will be fully initiated members of the Church. I encourage the student to embrace the Church and be living examples of God's love.



8th Grade

The Mystery of God is an important theme in our eighth grade Religious Ed classes. Lessons based on the Scriptures from the Old and New Testaments and a study of the Sacred Tradition of the Church give us deep insight into the significance of God’s revelation and presence to his people throughout human history and in its fullness through the Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus.



On Pentecost the Church was born and we as members of the Church preparing for Confirmation reflect upon the significance of our Baptism, the power of the seal of the Holy Spirit, and our anointing with the oil of gladness that strengthens us with the love and gifts of the Spirit to be more like Jesus.



A review of the sacraments, lessons from Bishop Zubik, music, visits to the church, a Confirmation retreat, learning about saints, the study of the liturgical year and how and why the Church celebrates, and the Catholic Vision of Love are themes we address throughout the eighth grade as the students come to a realization of their significance and importance as members of the Church.



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