Teaching Faith First


Viewing Curriculum Through the Lens of Faith
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Teaching the Faith-Filled People Feature

The Catechism of the Catholic Church emphasizes that the Church’s “holiness shines in the saints” (CCC 867). Our Church has always honored and learned from the lived example of the saints. This is especially true in the Faith First Legacy Edition, where you and your staff will find countless stories of holy men and women who are models of faith because they have lived out their love for God in extraordinary ways.

In every doctrine chapter of the Faith First Legacy Edition, Grades 1-6. your catechists/religion teachers will find a special feature called “Faith-Filled People.” These profiles introduce the children to saints and heroes of our faith whose lives witness to God’s presence in our world. Learning about the saints helps us to remember how to live as children of God and leads us to deeper faith in Christ.

Along with the portraits of the saints found in the student text, the Faith First Legacy Edition Catechist/Teacher Guides provide further information about the holy men and women presented in each chapter. This supplementary resource can be found in the Background box at the bottom of the pages on which the “Faith-Filled People” feature appears. These boxes provide biographical details of the saints’ lives and additional facts about how they lived their faith.

In addition to “Faith-Filled People” allowing children to come to know the most important models of the Catholic faith, this feature can serve as a springboard for creative activities for the children and more in-depth learning about these individuals and their impact on the Church. Here are some ideas for helping your catechists/religion teachers enrich their children’s study of the saints throughout the year.

Saint Booklets: Children at all grade levels can begin to compile profiles of the saints in a booklet or notebook early in the year. This project will vary depending on the age-level of the children. Primary age children can create a separate page for each saint they meet in the Faith First Legacy Edition. Suggest that the children print the saint’s name at the top of the page. Encourage catechists/religion teachers to work with the children to write a short prayer to the saint that they can copy onto their paper. The page can then be decorated, perhaps with a drawing of the saint which illustrates how the saint lived his/her life. The weekly individual pages can be collected into a booklet with a cover drawn by the children. Intermediate and junior high age children can create more complete saint profiles by using books on the lives of the saints, often found in your parish Religious Education Center or school library, to write short biographies of one or more of the saints found in each unit of Faith First Legacy Edition and assembling them into a booklet.

Researching the Saints: There are several on-line web sites that provide biographical information on the saints. Here are four children can visit.
www.faithfirst.com Saints can be found in the Kid’s Clubhouse (primary grades); the Kid’s Only Club (intermediate grades); and the Teen Center (junior high). Faithfirst.com offers a search engine for saints found on the Faith First web site. To access this information, direct the catechists/religion teachers to have their class go to the saints page at their grade level. The children can type in the name of the saint they want to learn more about in the Search faithfirst.com box and then click on “Go.” Additional profiles of famous heroes of faith can be found on the “Back in Time” page in the Kids Only Club section and the “Life Timelines” page in the Teen Center
www.newadvent.org. Find individual biographies of saints on this site by going to the word “saint” in the alphabetical index.

First Person Narratives: After researching a saint, intermediate and junior high children can take on the persona of the saint they studied by writing a first person account (For example, “I am Saint Francis of Assisi”) of how the saint lived his/her faith. Children can give oral presentations to the class or prepare written reports. If the class decides to do oral presentations, have the catechists/religion teachers encourage the children to use costumes and props to bring their saint’s “autobiography” to life.

Parade of Saints: This is a wonderful activity for younger children that will get parents involved in learning about and celebrating the saints’ lives. It is especially appropriate for All Saints’ Day. Encourage catechist/religion teachers to send a note home asking parents to help their child find a saint they would like to portray. In the note, supply the parents with the saint web sites listed above. Once the children and their parents have chosen a saint and learned some of the details of his/her life, parents can help their child make a costume befitting the saint and a placard the children can wear to identify their chosen saint. The children can parade into Church at the beginning of an all-school or religious education program Mass or during class sessions, they can parade from class to class. Take pictures of the children in their costumes for the parish bulletin or school newsletter.

Saint Cinquains: Cinquains are five-line unrhymed poems. Creating them can be an engaging activity for children older than fourth grade. Have the children work independently or in groups to choose a saint they want to profile in a cinquain. Have them use the format and example below to write their saint cinquains. The children’s poems can be used to create an interesting bulletin board display.

The saint’s name
Two words describing the saint
Three “ing” words about the saint
A four word sentence or phrase about the saint
A one-word synonym summing up the saint’s life

St. Joseph
Carpenter, husband
Trusting, loving, obeying
Faithful to God’s plan

Litany of the Faith First® Saints: Throughout the year, catechists/religion teachers can work with the children to write a litany prayer praising the saints presented in their Faith First texts. As the children learn about a saint in a weekly chapter, the class can write an acclamation about the saint’s life. For example: St. Frances Cabrini, you taught us to care for the sick and the homeless; St. Peter Damian, you showed us that all people are a blessing from God. When the catechists/religion teachers pray the litany with their class, invite them to have the children respond “Pray for us!” after each acclamation.