One of the things the catechist introduced just for the oldest children was the use of communal prayer - the children ate it up!
Another insertion were command cards correlating with the Books of the Bible work, but that required them to pull out the full Bible, read and copy passages, and truly begin to analyze various components of the Bible and how they fit together. This was a work they took very seriously and the laminated cards with which they received instruction showed a beating by the end of the year!
And two girls in the after-school atrium planned a special treat for the atrium children towards the end of the school year. They took each card from the History of the Gifts and selected a food item corresponding with that particular gift.
They prepared note cards to tell the story and place the food items in place of the usual boxes and trinkets. When all was said and done, instead of a figurative "it was like a banquet prepared for the people", it was a literal "banquet prepared for the people!"
|Parousia muffins - corn muffins with a cross drawn|
with a sharp knife dipped in turmeric.
|star cookies, candy hearts|
|Had to have the French fries! see below!|
|Each of the children wrote a prayer|
or an offering they could make on their own blank page
The funny thing is... it all started with the OLD History of the Gifts material. This is the original Gifts strip, made by myself and two catechists almost 5 years ago. But at the time, we put together just laminated images for each of the gifts, with very few objects. It's what we had readily accessible at the time. One of the photos, showing plant life that we use for food (vegetables) was yellow string beans.
The after-school atrium children usually arrived right after school, with many hours between themselves and lunch - and several were just plain hungry! One girl, who usually came a bit early and visited with me in my Montessori co-op room across the hall from her atrium commented that she "liked to get this work out because of the French fries." They made her less hungry somehow ;) Well, I didn't know WHAT she was talking about. I had to laugh when she showed me the photo - it could truly look like French fries to a hungry child! I did explain they were actually beans and much healthier than French fries. She didn't care, she just thought we should have a "French Fry-day" (instead of "Friday" since class was on Thursday at the time). Well, one thing led to another and soon enough she and her friend were planning a new History of the Gifts presentation complete with real foods, of which my son and I were privileged to help make some!
It was funny - but it was also very reverent! And it got the children thinking about the gifts of God in their own day to day lives - on a new level from just this grand presentation we give that DOES lead them to think in terms of their own lives - but somehow, this food thing made it that much more immediate. They were hungry! Physically! And, on this one day, they were nourished!
EDITING 9/12/13 - the girls who initially planned this presentation are 2 of my current 5th graders. They want to do it again! I am going to suggest real grapes with the crucifix - and maybe something bitter too - Death (bitter) and Life (grapes to symbolize the wine that becomes His Blood).