Monday, November 25, 2013

Saint Scripts 2 Review

I was given the opportunity to review Saints Scripts Series Two from Equipping Catholic Families which was a collaboration of mom and daughter.  Her daughter, Kelly, provided the wonderful and unique artwork and Monica did the rest!  They're a great team to teach others about the Saints and Mary!  Each saint kit includes 20 full color saint cards with picture and biography. Each kit ALSO includes 20(+1) half page black and white templates with the colorable picture, plus information format for kids to research and fill in the Saint details.  Monica includes instructions and suggestions for different ways of using each Saint Scripts Cathletics Craft Kit at home or in the classroom!  Once you purchase a saint kit, then Monica sends you the link to download it to your computer.

This weekend, I brought them to my Homeschooled Religious Education class that meets once a month.  During the rest of the month, the parents are teaching their children at home.  My job is to assess their progress and help fill in the gaps if needed.  Our syllabus doesn't address saints until early next year, but Monica sent them to me so I could review the kit during the month of November so I brought them in.

Here is what I did: I had printed out the saint cards on cardstock for durability.  I placed them out on a table and my class gathered around.  I have young students from 5-7 years of age so some are early readers and others are just learning.  They're first reaction was to guess who the saint was and they were able to tell some of them from Kelly's artwork.

Kelly's artwork is really special.  It has a fun and youthful tone to it.

 Then the readers in the group, took initiative and read the saint names aloud.

This started a discussion of what each saint was holding and why they were holding it.

They especially liked the archangels and Mary.

I had out the black and white templates and waited for their response.
It was as I suspected, can I do this one?  Can I take it home?
They were eager to learn about the saints!

It worked wonderfully well at exciting my class with learning about the saints.  
The illustrations drew their interest and the map made it real that these saints once lived and walked this earth.  And that they too, can be a saint.

Thank you Monica and Kelly for giving me this opportunity to review one of your saint kits!  I intend to print out a second copy of the colored ones to be used for a memory game and will let them pick a saint from the pack of black and white templates to learn more about with their family.

Peace & Blessings,

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King


Today is the Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King who is king over all creation.  In the Catholic Church, we celebrate it each year on the last Sunday before Advent to remember His authority over us all. For my class today, I spent some time teaching my class about Jesus Christ as King.

We made these book marks that includes a prayer.

And then followed up on an activity that they were supposed to do at home with their families.  
They had been instructed to write a Family Mission Statement.

We talked about how Jesus is supposed to be included in their Family Mission Statements.  
That by obeying,being kind and loving; they honor Jesus when they treat their family in a loving and obedient manner.

We then decorated our mini Christ the King cakes (banana bread with chocolate chips).  
The gum drops represents the jewels and the Rolos represents the gold found on royal crowns.

We had a great class celebrating Jesus Christ as King!

Peace & Blessings,

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Rock Solid Faith Study Bible Review

I was contacted by DJC Communications to review a Zondervan NIV teen bible.  Rock Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens, obviously has teens as its target audience and based on the masculine cover, it would draw the attention of young males rather than girls. I must say for starters, it is not a Catholic bible nor does it have an imprimatur stamp of approval. I verified this by checking the USCCB website to see if it's listed on their approved translation list and it is not.  This is a protestant study bible but does it mean, that it's not useful to Catholics? Absolutely not. It's an incomplete bible (i.e. Maccabees), however, if a teen has a strong foundation in their Catholic faith then they can certainly use this study bible. If they do not, then I would advise to look for a Catholic study bible. My son has a good foundation in his faith, so I have given this bible to him.  

What I most appreciated about this study bible are the features found in each chapter. For young learners or for those who are not familiar with the bible, these features aid in learning and helps with making scripture understandable.  The features include:
  • Rock Solid Promises which teaches what is and what is not promised in the bible
  • Rock Solid Principles which applies the bible to relationships, sex, money and more
  • Rock Solid Plans which explores God's plan in daily life
  • Unshaken People which provides scriptural examples of overcoming challenges 
  • Unshaken God which points out God;s unyielding attributes.
  • Additional features at the back of the bible include reading plans, topical indexes, a concordance to help find verses and colored maps.
I especially liked the Think section in the Rock Solid Truth because it makes the reader think about and apply what they are learning as they read the bible.  It helps bring God's truth to your daily life.  I believe it also helps the reader put into action what they are learning.  For it is not enough to just read the Word, we must live it in our words and actions.

The only aspect that I did not like, is the lightness of the text especially in the titles and numbering of each chapter.  One aspect that I question is whether teens would be drawn to this in a book format when we live in a world of technology.   I'm not a teen and for someone in my age range, I prefer to have the bible in a book format rather than reading it on a screen.  I would think the opposite is true for teens so hopefully Zondervan has an app that can be downloaded on an iphone or ipad for those who prefer technology over books.

I was given a complimentary copy of Rock Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens from DJC Communications.  No monetary compensation was given for my honest review.

Peace & Blessings,

Halloween/All Saints Celebration

My RE class is different this year from previous years because the program changed from a traditional RE format where the kids are taught in a classroom by a catechist 3 times a month to being homeschooled by their parents.  Now I only have my students once a month and my job is to review and evaluate on what they've been learning.

My first review class was on Catholic Parenting and the families had been instructed to do various activities such as having a special dinner to honor your dad or father figure.  For this week's activity, they were told to tell their dad what they love about him and share fun memories with them.  Each week had a different activity with the goal of drawing the family closer together as a unit and towards God.  My students shared their experiences and then we reviewed the importance of prayer, especially before meals.  To build on the idea of prayer, I put a number of different objects in a bag and pulled them out one by one, asking if anyone knew what it was, i.e. rosary, bible, candle, holy medal, holy card, holy water, children's devotional...etc.  Then I asked what all of these items had in common and what they are used for... a couple of children responded correctly "to pray."

And since our class was right before All Saints Day, I made these saint cards emphasizing virtues:

I made each child a set focusing on girl saints for the girls and boy saints for the boys.


With the extra time I had, I decided to have a mini All Saints party.

We had a Happy Saints Memory Game that I had printed on sticker paper and adhered to foam squares:

We used Jennifer's Saint Guessing Jar Game which was a huge hit.  Here was our set up:

Lastly, I sent my students home with a All Saints themed Halloween goodie bag:

Each bag included a Hershey's Chocolate bar with a Shine for Jesus wrapper, a holy card, a rosary, an angel coin and Halloween chocolate kisses.  

Happy belated All Saints Day!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Bible and Prayers For Teddy and Me Book Review

I was given the opportunity to review another children's book called Bible and Prayers For Teddy and Me as part of the Kregel Blog Tour Program.  This book is geared towards very young children and I would also say, towards boys. There are some pictures with girls but it did seem that the main buyer would be purchasing it for little boys.  The cover has a soft puffiness to it that's fun for children to hold.  As the title indicates, it is a bible with prayers after each section. It's meant to be a first bible to teach children the main stories. The prayers are designed to draw the young child into the story as well as to teach them how to pray to God.  The poetic style didn't flow strongly throughout the book - it was definitely a bit disjointed.  The illustrations are super cute and drawn in a style ideal for children.

If you're looking for an introductory book to teach your very young child about the bible, this book fits the bill.  The added bonus is that while your child is learning about the bible stories, he is also learning how to pray.  I would also note that the bible stories are told in a basic format as to include all Christian denominations.  I enjoyed the book and would recommend it for young boys.  I did bring this book to my CCD class of 6-8 year olds and it didn't draw much interest.  I would say that their younger siblings would be the target group.

I was given a complimentary copy of Bible and Prayers For Teddy and Me by Christina Goodings and illustrated by Janet Samuel for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was given.

Peace & Blessings,