Especially for Teachers
We've selected content from the Christian Education pages that is of special interest to Church School teachers.
by Kristina Wenger, M.A.
Staff Assistant for Internet Ministry to Teachers
As a new school year approaches, it is good for us teachers to think about how to improve our teaching methods so that we can be more effective. One way in which we can become better teachers is to sharpen our preparation for each class that we teach. Thinking through our lessons ahead of time, planning them, writing them out (or at least jotting down notes), and trying out activities or crafts before we do them with students are all ways in which we can improve our preparation and thereby become better teachers.
The Antiochian Department of Christian Education partners with the Orthodox Christian Education Commission to prepare curriculum materials for all ages. Preview the materials in the catalog, and then order from the Antiochian Archdiocese Bookstore (the best price for many items) or from OCEC's online catalog.
New! The Sunday Gospel Program, “Let Us Attend,” now includes a Reader Theatre page! The page provides the gospel as a script for reading aloud the different parts. Taking the parts of Jesus, the disciples, the crowd, the women disciples allows the students to come closer to experiencing the presence of Jesus. The goal is for the students to get to know Jesus Christ through the gospel. Although they hear the gospel in the Divine Liturgy, it is chanted in a continuous rhythm, unlike what occurred in reality.
Here is how to use this resource. 1) Let the children read through it once silently; 2) discuss the various feelings of the characters and how they would have spoken the words they did; 3) assign the parts and read aloud; 4) discuss how they felt about Jesus’ words—did they get a different idea of Jesus from this passage?
No doubt Jesus would have paused before answering certain questions. Those who addressed Jesus undoubtedly were taken aback at some of his responses. For the older students, add three components. 1) talk about where Jesus would have paused before answering, and where the crowd would have been silent in amazement, 2) use the footnotes of the gospel to enhance their understanding of Jesus, and 3) look at the gospel passage just before the reading to find other hints as to why Jesus said/did the words/actions of the day’s gospel.
"Knowing Your Faith" is a program designed to work with the OCEC textbooks from grades K through 5. A minimum number of prayers, icons and content questions have been chosen from each text for the children to know. With repetition, these objectives can be met and progress can be made in the religious education of our youth. Parent and teacher letters, and teacher aids are included.
There are 80 cards, 8 1/2" x 11" in size. Each card features a full-color photograph on the front. The text and suggested activities printed on the reverse sides of the cards provide simple explanations of each picture and are meant as guidelines to encourage further study. The cards break up into four clearly defined sets: Sacraments, Feast Days & Services, Great Lent & Pascha, and Divine Liturgy. Packaged in its own colorful storage box, the Teaching Pictures will be useful for all grades of the curriculum. Order from the Antiochian Bookstore.
These are useful for framing when the feastdays are celebrated, and are a valuable supplement to any educational effort. The subjects include Christ, the Mother of God, saints, and major feasts of the Church year. An accompanying instructional booklet includes explanations of the theology of the icons and the spirituality expressed in each icon. The most complete and accessible icon collection for popular use. A bi-lingual edition, Vengan y alaben al Senor, includes a booklet in Spanish with the English commentary printed on the back of the icon prints.
FREE DOWNLOAD! Although each Christian generation has its own unique challenges there were those followers of Christ – in various times and places – who suffered extraordinarily for the Faith. They gave their lives completely through sacrificial service or in death, " for the sake of Christ and the Gospel." Saints in Times of Trouble bears witness to twelve such disciples.
FREE DOWNLOAD! The North American Saints Activity Book is the first in a series of online resources from the Department of Christian Education of the Orthodox Church in America. It offers biographical information about twelve saints whose lives and witness built up the Church in America.
In addition there are striking black and white drawings of each saint, based on their icons, and an array of puzzle activities which will give students a challenging and enjoyable way to learn more about each one. A special feature of the book is a map for each saint, tracing the path of his travels and witness.
Potamitis Publishing publishes Orthodox children's books, in both English and Greek. Filled with lush and vibrant images, praised by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew the 1st, these books offer engaging stories that make Orthodox teachings accessible for little ones and adults alike.
Visit the Orthodox Church in America's Department of Christian Education website at www.dce.oca.org.
- Complete (FOCUS) Units. There are five units: Monasticism, Journey to Pascha, The Nativity Season, My Orthodox Family, and The Theotokos. The units consist of of 5-8 lessons written at five levels, preschool-adult.
- Mini Units. There are 15 multi-leveled units of 1-2 lessons, including Mission, Repentance, and Champions of Faith.
- Teacher Resources. In this category there are 182 articles, handouts, music, bible stories, tools, and activities.
We finally have an Orthodox Children's Bible Reader in full-color, and wonderful quality. The Old Testament selections number 75 and include seven of the stories of redemption heard on Holy Saturday. I was pleased to see these as they form the context for understanding Christ's death and resurrection.