I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I love incorporating new ideas into the classroom with each new school year, and this year has been no exception.

Over the summer (while working with a couple classes of teachers doing the ACE program through Notre Dame), we had a guest presenter who did a mini poetry workshop. We did an activity where she gave each group a stanza from Oh! The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss, and she had very basic rules for our groups of 4 people:

1) Everyone has to say at least something by him/herself.
2) Everyone has to say at least something together/as a whole group.
3) No one cannot say anything - in other words, all must participate.

So, the first time wed did the exercise, it was just reciting the lines from the poem.

Then, the same rules applied, but we were instructed to add a movement to just about every word in our section.

And so, after having a little bit of time (i.e. a couple of minutes) to work on that, we all presented (again) with our movements.

And, finally, we did it a third time - but that time, it was done from memory.

Now, that wasn't the end of the activity - she followed it up with a writing exercise involving advice in verse about teaching, but the activity itself gave me an idea for introducing the Nicene Creed this week to my students...

So...I put up the rules on the board (one set at a time), and the students went around the first time just reciting the words of the Creed from their small groups (using the rules stated above). Then, after giving them minimal time, they did it a second time - with movements. And the third time, it was from memory.

As students left the classroom yesterday, I had them "tweet" on an exit slip (140 characters or less, of course!) about their takeaway from the activity. One student wrote, "I didn't know it could be so easy to learn the Creed!" and another said, "I had a lot of fun doing movement with the Creed, and I learned a lot."

If nothing else, it got them out of their seats...and it got them thinking about the Creed. We get into its history and meaning today before moving into the Trinity later this week.

Now, if only I can incorporate this activity into Language Arts soon...I think that might be something those kiddos would respond to...

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