10 First-Week Mistakes You Must Avoid This Year

First Weeks of School Mistakes

It is time to return to the classroom! Are you ready? I always find that it is a little bit difficult to get back into the swing of things. It’s hard to jump right back in and pick up the momentum where you left off the year before. I know that I’ve personally made many [...]

Save Your Voice and Your Sanity: 3 Ways to Effectively Get Students’ Attention

Getting Student's Attention

The class mumbles with whispering for a few moments. It grows to a murmur and before you know it, they are nearly shouting to the people next to them. How do you get their attention? How do you snap them out of discussion mode and back to listening mode without raising your voice? I’ve used [...]

A Surefire Way to Effectively Communicate with Parents

Communicate with Parents (Get it on the Calendar)

In order to really make an impact on the faith lives of our students, we have to be intentional about building bridges between us as religious educator and our students’ parents. We cannot sit back and wait for the parents to encounter Christ on their own. We have to develop relationships with them that are [...]

Teaching with the Joy of the Gospel

Teaching with the Joy of the Gospel

Some teachers and catechists walk around with so much joy. You know the people I’m talking about, right? They’re always smiling. They’re good listeners and they always put a positive spin on things. They never complain. They get excited when they talk about their lesson plans or activities. They’re humble. They want to know about [...]

If You Can’t Change What They Think, Change What They Feel

Change How They Feel

When I was a high school theology teacher, there were two incredibly intelligent students that, I have to admit, were a challenge to teach. Ben and Jerry (not their real names) were smarter than me and they liked to show it. Any chance they got, they would question what I was teaching with counter-arguments and [...]

Forming Children as Intentional Disciples

Forming Intentional Disciples as Children

Among the many great books that were published during the Year of Faith in 2012-2013 was Sherry Weddell’s Forming Intentional Disciples. The book is meant to clarify an important distinction between being “Catholic” and being a “disciple.” It begins with the statistics about participation in the Catholic Church today that confirm what many of us [...]

Now You Can Teach Like Pope Francis!

Pope Francis: Master-Teacher

Have you paid close attention to Pope Francis’s homilies and speeches? He follows a consistent format that all teachers, catechists, and communicators can use. For Pope Francis, three is a magic number. Beginning with his first homily to the Cardinals the day after his election, he tends to focus on just three words, questions, or [...]

The Most Important Piece of Advice that New Religion Teachers and Catechists Don’t Want to Hear

Advice for New Teachers

I am blessed to live and work near the University of Notre Dame. Summers are always a great time here. I’m a graduate of the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program and my wife still works for one of the ACE programs so I get to hang around people who are passionate about Catholic education [...]

Webinar Recording: 13 Ways to Become a Better Religious Educator During Summer Break

Better Religious Educator Summer Webinar Recording

It was so great to have everyone at the summer break webinar in June. Whether you are a catechist or religion teacher yourself or a catechetical leader looking for resources to give to your volunteers and staff this summer, I hope you will enjoy this recording of the presentation as well as the free handouts [...]

Are You a Witness? A New Focus on Teaching AND Testimony

Are You A Witness?

“You will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and Samaria, and all the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 I started something new this semester and it really made a big impact on my students. I started using a new approach to [...]