Sunday, October 28, 2012

St. Marianne Cope and fun craft

This Sunday for my Religious Education class I decided to teach more about the Saints. With All Saints Day coming around the corner (Nov 1) and the fact I've learned two things about my class:  That, one, none of my K/1st grader children ( except my 6 yr old daughter) in our Religious Education class has ever even heard of Saints, and two, nor ever heard their stories. I began to incorporate stories of the Saints just for this very reason. I will admit its a bit of a challenge since I have very limited time to teach them stories from the Bible and catechesis all at the same time , adding in the stories of the Saints to me is just as important.

I know our religious ed director has started a Kids Club for the kids each week on Thursdays and has been teaching about the Saints. Sadly though , only the kids from the school, have been benefiting from this even though its open to the community( we are the only ones that do not have children in the private school and do attend).  Parents outside the private school are NOT taking advantage of the the Kid's Club and it makes my job all the much harder because the children could be learning about the Saints from the the Kids Club rather then me having to cram more into my lesson plans when we are only there for about an hour and twenty minutes ( give or take).

 I find it just as important for my class of K and 1st graders  to learn about the Saints as it is for me to teach my own children about them. Whether your Catholic or Protestant, we all have holy people in our faith that our children should be learning about. These people lived , died, and gave up their lives for God. These people where men, women and even children who wanted to live the way God wanted them to live. They lived pure, holy, and for Him. Many weren't perfect , some started out life not living for God at all, only to find later on in life that God had other plans for them, and others started out life holy and continued to live for God until their last breaths. They lived, taught, ministered, and even were martyred in the name of Jesus Christ.  So why are we as parents lacking in teaching our children about the Saints, and more importantly, why are we lacking on passing down our faith to our children and not teaching them the real reason for Halloween?  Just as Christmas has a real reason for the season (which isn't Christmas trees and presents) there's a real reason for Halloween too( honoring those that have died and have gone on to Heaven), that many miss, and dismiss as a pagan, commercialized holiday.

Last week I had taught the kids about Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. We had a lot of fun reading, talking and even making an Indian head dress and Holy Card about her.  They also learned more about her at Kids Club so that was a good thing too because it solidified the lessons we had her at home and Maggie was able to remember her when I asked today if anyone remembered the name of the Saint from last week.
This week was St. Marianne Cope. She too was cannonized last Sunday along with St. Kateri.
We read  a story that I printed off of a website called Strange name I know. But it has free printables on the website and had the story of St. Marianne Cope that I was able to download and print. After we read St. Marianne's story and discussed the fact she was a sister (nun) , something not commonly seen here in our area, and that she took care of lepers ( not leopards..ha, ha). We learned that she did such an amazing thing by caring for sick people that no one wanted to take care of. St. Marianne lived for quite some time and it wasn't leprosy that killed her , actually neither she nor her group of sisters ever contracted the disease ,but she passed away from a heart attack.  Her story of going where God called her to be without question was very inspiring.

We always follow up our lesson with some type of coloring page or craft in our class. This helps to be a visual aid of what the kids are learning. Not to mention, kids love crafts. I've yet to really meet a child that doesn't have a crafty side to them.
Our craft idea I borrowed from Catholic Icing, and it turned out to be a great hit. The kids really loved the puppets we made of St. Marianne. I believe right now on the Catholic Icing website you can get a free ebook on how to make different types of puppets. Though for some reason I haven't gotten the ebook yet in my email. I can't wait to get it so that we can make other puppets too.  This particular craft I looked at online and eyeballed it, and it turned out really super cute. In fact another teacher noticed them and just though they were so cute. I'd have to agree, they sure where.

This one I created first. I always make a craft first so I can see what supplies are needed, what to cut, how much to cut, and if there is anything I need to take into consideration when having to do it with a group of kids versus with just my own girls.
This craft was easy to put together, even with 8 children with varying degrees of abilities. Though we had one that needed some extra attention we were able to make this and they did turn out great.
I learned to keep the beaded rosary on, we needed to use our hot glue gun. Not something I allowed the kids to use. But I had them bead their rosaries and each child stood in line as I glued them on to their St. Marianne puppet.   Then used a white crayon to write her name, though most of them can't read it , they can see it ,and maybe just maybe, their parents will see the name and look her up on their own and learn a little about her as well.

Here was Maggie's finished St. Marianne. She sure did a great job, and I'm not sure how her name came out backwards in our picture. Ha, ha.
Even though I believe the craft is directed for preschoolers, even kindergardeners and 1st graders have tons of fun making their own puppets so they can recreate the story of St. Marianne.

Next week I won't be teaching Religious Ed as we'll be heading out to Cincinnati, Ohio for more doctors appointments with Maggie, but be rest assured I'll be working on my next set of lesson plans.

I plan on talking more about sisters and seeing what I can find for my K/1st grade class that will help them understand that, yes, there are priests, but that there are sisters out there who help do the work of God as well.  If anyone has any suggestions please take a moment and post them in the comments. This is the first year I've taught younger ones so I've had to revamp what I do and what I use to teach.

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