Beatitudes Activities: 11 Teaching Ideas for Religious Educators

Beatitude Activity Ideas

One of the most commonly requested topics from teachers, catechists, and fans of The Religion Teacher has been the Beatitudes. I cannot believe this is the first time I’ve ever written or created something about this important set of teachings of Christ.

I took a little time and did some brainstorming on all of the different ways I might teach the Beatitudes to young people today. Here are a few of my favorite Beatitude activity ideas from my list. Feel free to add yours in the comments below.

11 Beatitudes Activities to Try in Class

1. Rewrite the Beatitudes in your own words.

Similar to the Ten Commandments activity (link), students will be able to come to a deeper understanding of what each beatitude means if they are able to paraphrase what Jesus actually said. You will have to do some work to define and explain terms like meek, poor in spirit, righteousness, etc.

(Download a worksheet for this activity. See below.)

2. Create hand motions for each beatitude.

It is very likely that in order to teach the Beatitudes, you want them to memorize or at least come to understand what they mean when reading them. One way to accomplish both tasks is to create hand motions and gestures to help remember and understand each one.

For example, the students could make crying gestures for “mourn” and rub their stomachs for “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” Give them the opportunity to come up with the gestures and hand motions to help them remember them.

3. Draw a symbol next to each beatitude.

If you give the students a print out of the Beatitudes, have them draw a symbol or icon next to each one to help them remember what they are and what they mean. For example, they might draw a heart for “Blessed are the clean of heart” and the peace sign for “Blessed are the peacemakers.” They could draw a shouting face for “Blessed are you when they insult you…”

They could even pick out and draw some “emojis” to go along with each Beatitude.

(Download a worksheet for this activity. See below.)

4. Match the Beatitudes.

Split each Beatitude into two parts and use the Matching Game Template to create cards to use in centers or as practice at the students’ desks. Save some time for creating the cards in class. It takes a little while to cut out the pieces and color the backs to make sure you are matching the beginning of each Beatitude to its end.

5. Compare and contrast the Beatitudes and the Ten Commandments.

Using a Venn Diagram, have the students compare and contrast the Beatitudes with the Ten Commandments. Have them label one circle “Beatitudes” and the other circle “Ten Commandments” and give them Bibles or written copies of them. Allow the students to be creative in the things they write down as differences and similarities, but challenge them to think deeply about the meaning of the words in each set of precepts.

6. Create a Beatitudes collage.

Gather magazines and give them to the students to cut out clippings to make a collage for all or just one of the Beatitudes. It might be best to assign each student one Beatitude and have them present the collage to the class. Post the collages on the walls when they are finished.

(Download a worksheet for this activity. See below.)

7. Create a Beatitudes journal.

Have the students pick one Beatitude each day and write about how they lived it throughout the day. Make it an ongoing project and ask them to share their experiences along the way. If they are really committed to it and doing each Beatitude on the same day, commit yourself to living it with them and praying for them to live each Beatitude to its fullest each day.

8. Match a Beatitude to a famous person.

Once the students have a good understanding of what each Beatitude means, give them some time to think of a famous person who exemplifies each Beatitude. If you have some extra time, have them copy out or cut out pictures of these famous people and paste them on on a sheet of paper or worksheet with all of the Beatitudes.

(Download a worksheet for this activity. See below.)

9. Match a Beatitude to a character in a book or movie.

In the last idea, the students matched the Beatitudes to a real and well-known person. In this version of the activity, the students think of fictional characters that exemplify each Beatitude from books and movies. Like the last idea, have them copy and paste pictures onto a separate document as a part of this activity.

(Download a worksheet for this activity. See below.)

10. Rewrite “happy” instead of “blessed” and discuss.

It’s commonly said that what Jesus meant when he said “Blessed are . . .” is really “Happy are . . .” This changes the perspective on the Beatitudes because it shows that living each one not only results in a blessing, but it makes a person happy and joyful about life. This is a great way to counteract the impression that doing what is right has to be hard.

11. Pray with the Beatitudes.

Start your class prayer with the Beatitudes. Turn each one into a prayer. For example:

Lord, make me poor in spirit, so I can receive the kingdom of heaven.

Lord, when I mourn, help me find comfort.

Lord, make me meek, so that I may inherit the land.

Lord, help me to hunger and thirst for righteousness, so I may be satisfied.

etc.

(Download a printable handout with these prayers. See below.)

Downloadable the Beatitudes Worksheets

So you might be thinking, “Great, thanks Jared, but this just adds more work for me. I still have to create all these things myself.” Yeah, I get that.

That’s why, after I wrote this post, I created handouts and worksheets that go along with some of these suggestions. So, if you want to save yourself some time and just download some printable Beatitudes handouts and use them right away, click on the link below and enter your email address:

Get the Beatitudes Worksheets

This download includes the following printable Beatitudes worksheets:

  • Rewriting the Beatitudes Worksheet 
  • Beatitudes Symbols Worksheet
  • Beatitudes Collage Worksheet
  • The Beatitudes of a Famous Person Worksheet
  • The Beatitudes of Fictional Characters Worksheet
  • A Beatitudes Prayer Handout

May God bless us and make us happy as teachers seeking to share God’s love with others.

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About Jared Dees

Jared Dees is the creator of The Religion Teacher. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Ave Maria Press and the author of 31 Days to Becoming a Better Religious Educator, To Heal, Proclaim, and Teach, and Praying the Angelus.

Comments

  1. Maria Luisa Provezza says:

    Dear Jared Dees, I haven’t known you yet, but I find your website really very interesting. I’m a R.E. teacher in Italy and last year I wrote an exercise-book to use in class for high schools as I think that is really difficult to teach Religion in Italy. R.E is not compulsory and you have to find lots of ideas to share with the class if you want to teach something. I think it could be really interesting if we can share ideas or way of teaching. in Italy you can’t make your students pray in class, you have to teach the history of all the religions, Jesus Christ’s life, the birth of the Church, The Bible, the new religious movements, all which is connected with moral values and ethics.
    Thank you for your hints.
    I hope I’ll hear from you soon
    God bless you
    Maria Luisa

  2. J. Colosso says:

    Thank you so much for sharing God’s words. You are doing God’s work! Hopefully our students will continue to follow the Lord because of our sincere efforts in guiding them.

  3. dorothy Lukacsko says:

    THANK YOU JARED. THERE SEEMS TO BE A LACK OF INTEREST IN TEACHING THE BEATITUDES. SOMETHING I DON’T UNDERSTAND AS AN RE TEACHER FOR CONFIRMATION. WHERE ARE WE LETTING THE CHILDREN DOWN IN OTHER AREAS?? APPRECIATE YOUR EMAILS. NOW I RECOGNIZED JARED DEES WHEN I HAVE A NEW EMAIL. GREAT WORK THANK YOU AGAINS

  4. Jim Ryder says:

    Thanks Jared,
    I used the “in your own words” and “make a symbol” exercises today, along with the prayer. It went fairly well. I’ve always found the beatitudes difficult to teach. This gave the students something to grab onto.
    God, bless, Jim Ryder Loyola High School, Detroit.

  5. Christina says:

    Thank you for your help! I have taught The Beautitudes several different ways, but there is very little out there for ideas, and not everything works for every child. I wouldn’t give up, but I can see how it is too much work for some to teach this. Finding this resource has made this so much easier and more fun.

  6. Melverne Fox says:

    Thanks so much for the Beatitudes worksheet very helpful

    M Fox

  7. Thank you, you are a blessing. Reaching young minds all the way from Toronto, Canada!!

  8. Nisha says:

    Thank you Jared for being a great resource for us!