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Thursday, September 23, 2021

"My First Catholic Church" Book in Spanish! {¡Mi Primer libro de la Iglesia Católica!}

Earlier this year I brought you a guest post with a free project that ended up being widely popular. LHBR reader Helen Tine offered a flexible resource for creating a mini book to help young Catholics learn the nomenclature of the items used during the Mass, and also encourage them to grow in familiarity with their own parish church. You can find the background info and all the printables in this post.

Immediately after posting, I had several requests to offer this resource in Spanish- which is always something I am happy to help facilitate, but is out of my personal skill set. Anytime a volunteer wants to step up and help translate, proofread, etc. a new version of something offered here on the blog, I am so grateful! You can find other translated resources at these links: Spanish  Dutch  French

I appreciate both the generosity of Helen and the dedication of the volunteer who worked hard to translate this book. (With more resources to come!) Feel free to reach out if you have any requests for other resources on the blog and what language you would like to see them in!

Click here to see the original project in English:

And click here to find the same resource in Spanish!

And if you are looking for a project for older kids, this Sacrament Scavenger Hunt has a similar objective, or you might also like these Mass Article Graphic Organizers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

"Notes from Our Lady" Bulletin Board Set

I posted a little classroom tour on Instagram a few weeks ago and got tons of questions about this bulletin board! These narrow bulletin boards have presented a bit of a challenge to decorate, so for a couple of years I featured #NotesFromTheSaints with a rotating collection of Saint prints and handlettered quotes. Ready to change it up this year, I'm featuring #NotesFromOurLady! I've picked out a collection of quotes about Mary from the Bible, Catechism, Saints, and other authors to rotate every week or so. Paired with my favorite Mary poster from Catholic Paper Goods and a little Ave Maria banners, this stack of 35 mini posters presents teachings about Mary that are good and true and beautiful, and making it easy to work in a little extra catechesis and inspiration for my students.

While you might not have need of bulletin board decor, these Marian quote posters have lots of applications. Print a favorite from the collection to hang above your desk or kitchen sink,  use the 1/4 scale set as note cards, or pull quotes from the list to write in your planner.

I love using a clipboard on a display like this- it adds a little depth, makes it easy to hang up the prints, and even allows you to "store" the set all in one place. You can print the Ave Maria banners and the set of quotes below.

Click here for the Ave Maria mini banners. Print on colored paper, trim, and you've got a bulletin board header!

You can pair with your favorite Marian image, but if you like the Miraculous Medal poster I used in my classroom, you can purchase it from my friend Shari at Catholic Paper Goods. She has it both in her shop and on Etsy. With her digital download, you can easily send it to your local office store to print inexpensively. I trimmed the white edges off mine to make it fit on my bulletin board.
(She also has the same image available as a sticker too! Oh, and I love her Marian coloring page bundle!)

Click here for the 35 Notes from Mary quotes. This pdf is a regular 8.5x11" size, so they are quick and easy to print on a regular printer. I grabbed a variety of shades of blue paper from my stash and have them on my clipboard ready to rotate each week.

Or if you'd like to print the quotes on a smaller scale, this pdf has four quotes per page:

Aaaannnnddddd... I might have Mary on the brain for a while, because I have a little surprise!

After all of your excitement and support for Through the Year with Jesus: Gospel Reading and Reflections for Children, I'm so happy to share that a companion book called Through the Year with Mary: Ponder and Pray Together with Children is on its way!

Similar in structure but independent from the first book, Through the Year with Mary offers weekly readings, prayers, and art covering Marian devotions, apparitions, Saints, stories from the Bible, and more. Each reflection invites the the children to connect the teaching about Mary to how she helps us to know and love her Son, Jesus. All of the quotes from this "Notes from Mary" bulletin board set are actually in the book somewhere, showing the great variety of wisdom we have as a Church on our Blessed Mother.

Through the Year with Mary should be available before Christmas, and I can't wait to see it at work in your homes and classrooms! I'll keep you in the loop when it is available for preorder, and in the meantime, I'm working on lots of freebies to help you teach your kiddos about Our Lady. 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Pilgrimage Postcards

Hi Friends! Well, it's been quite a while since I've posted new content on the blog- the longest stretch between posts since I started ten years ago, to be honest! Don't worry, nothing is wrong- life just has been busy! Summer was filled with tons of wonderful time with my family. I've been working hard to pick up a book more than I pick up my phone (I'm at 48 completed books this year with several more already started!). Back to school has been a little crazy, but it's so, so good to be back in my classroom. And I have lots of exciting projects in the works I can't wait to tell you about.

One to mention now is that I am in between blog email subscription services this month. If you are used to receiving LHBR content right in your inbox, no worries, I'll be back, but just have some bugs to work out. I am likely going to start offering a "monthly newsletter" style subscription versus a "blog roll update/every new post" as it had been in the past. One reason is that I have a decade of content to point you towards, and with a monthly newsletter I can dig some things from the archives that fit well for upcoming seasons and feasts as well as share new resources with you. Never fear, all the content on the blog will always be free and easy to access. That won't change! If you have any questions while I work out the details, don't hesitate to contact me at looktohimandberadiant (at) gmail (dot) com.

Have you ever been on pilgrimage? Whether across the world to a well known site or just across town to a local shrine, a trip made for a religious purpose can be an intentional and memorable way to draw closer to God. 

Providential Co.'s beautiful pilgrimage themed calendar inspired my classroom door decorations at the start of this school year. I snatched up one of her calendars on sale this summer, pulled off the wire binding, trimmed the edges, and had twelve mini posters to use in my classroom. I love the vintage postcard style she created, and after they were hung up, my mind rolled toward a fun first-week-of school activity I could do with all my classes. Inspired by the Christian tradition of pilgrimages, I want my students to know about their purpose as well as the many holy sites around the world. So I made a quick little project that was a great "ease in" activity for everyone and added to our classroom display. The kids flipped through the collection of student created postcards while they waited in line or went in and out of the classroom. I think this would be a great mini unit or open ended project for your middle or high schoolers!

A quick note- Providential Co. is all sold out of her awesome 2021 calendars. I have chatted with her and she plans to have a new calendar for 2022, so be on the lookout! In the meantime, if there is a particular pilgrimage image that you love, she does have them available as large art prints (Lourdes, for example) or sets of postcard sized images here and stickers here.

If you 'd like to teach a pilgrimage project with your own students, I have a few resources for you to get you started!

We used these booklet style notes to discuss the basics of pilgrimages and pilgrimage locations around the world and locally. The booklet also contains a page for researching one pilgrimage location.

After doing some quick research on a pilgrimage location of their choice, the students' task was to create a postcard as if they had traveled on pilgrimage to that site. You could adapt your expectations to whatever standard, but for this simple project, my students had to write a 2-3 sentence message describing their pilgrimage (including some features of the site) on one side. On the blank side they needed to create a simple illustration depicting the pilgrimage location. Some kids drew the outlines of churches/shrines, some Marian apparitions or Saints, and some drew flags of the countries or word banners with symbols tied to the reason for the pilgrimage. There are so many possibilities to stretch this to older or younger kids, or to a short and simple project or something with greater detail.

You also could use these same materials to research one specific pilgrimage site as a class, studying its features, history, and unique story. The resources work just as well for a famous international location, or discussion how your diocesan cathedral or a local church or shrine can be a place of pilgrimage.

You can use the Pilgrimage Postcard and notes as they were created, or I'm also including a digital version that you can edit (or share more easily on a platform like Google Classroom). The editable version will open in Google Slides. To edit or share with your students, you will need to either download or "make a copy" into your own Google Drive. Instructions are in the notes section of each file.

Click here for the Pilgrimage Postcards as a pdf.
These are far from perfect, but are where we recorded our discussion each day. There are a couple of videos I used with different classes, as well as a few quotes from Scripture and the CCC.

I hope you and your students enjoy these resources!

If you are looking to do some research on a specific location, I will recommend checking out the actual websites of both local and international pilgrimage sites. Some places offer virtual or video tours, or even just collections of photos with descriptions. 

Here is a basic list of sites I have found that offer virtual or video pilgrimages. I'll try to add more as I find them- and if you know of a good one that is missing, leave a comment or send me an email!

And I'd also like to recommend that you check out The Little Pilgrim- they have a bunch of exciting projects in the works, all intended to help kids have an authentically spiritual and educational experience while on pilgrimages. Her Instagram is also filled with tons of awesome info on the history of Catholicism and Saints in the United States of America!

Monday, June 28, 2021

American Saints Activities- All Free Resources, perfect for the month of July!

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Looking for some activities to celebrate faith in the month of July? I created this at-home VBS last summer featuring some of our inspiring American Saints. Since then I've added even more resources and just checked/corrected some of the broken links and updated Ven. McGivney to Blessed! 
Here are some of the features of this American Saints collection:
-All the resources are free! Some are things I have created, but I also link to coloring pages, recipes, videos, and songs outside of my site. 
-You could do an in depth study throughout the month on lots of the Saints, or just choose a couple that your family would like to learn more about.
-I provide way more resources than you would ever need, so it is easy to pick and choose what fits your child's age and interests.
-If you would like to share this collected in a school/parish setting, you are always welcome to, and there is also an editable version you can tailor to your audience.
-For a more formal classroom/homeschool application, there I've added a biographical info sheet as well as a Google Slides version for Google Classroom.
-There are resources included in the overall list for adults too so that you can learn about these inspiring people alongside your kids!

Continue below for all the resources. Note that the photos are not updated, but the links to the documents should all be corrected. ;)

All you holy men and women of America, pray for us!


Leading up to the 4th of July, I wanted to create a shareable resource for your homes and parishes to celebrate and learn about the many, many faithful men and women who have impacted our country. This collection of activities could just be a resource for your home, can function as an at-home VBS, or can be easily shared out to your school or parish as an optional resource. There's even an editable version at the bottom to tailor it to your needs. Included are a few theme printables and then a pdf collection of (all free!) links highlighting fourteen American Saints (or soon-to-be Saints) including prayers, biographical videos, coloring pages. etc. There's also a column with resources for parents and older kids to help you research and learn alongside your kids.

Fourteen Saints are included. Honestly, my original plan was for ten and I just couldn't eliminate anyone on my brainstorming list. ;) Included are Americans spanning several centuries, men and women, lay people, religious, and priests, and Saints who are Black, White, and Native American. Each has a powerful and unique story of how they followed God's will and made our country a better place. I think that learning from their example and asking for their prayers is one of the best things we can be doing with our families right now.

There are many, many more Catholic Americans that could have been included, but I hope this starts you down the path of studying them and doing your own research. Theoretically, your family could study a new Saint every day for two weeks. Or you could spread the activities out over the month of July. There are lots of ways to jump in and no wrong method.

Before beginning the activities about the individual Saints, there are a few overall projects to set the vision for studying these holy men and women both as inspiration and as a challenge to pursue holiness ourselves. First, there is a map of the USA and an info sheet with a list of the fourteen Saints, the main states they lived in, and a symbol to add to the map. This page also lists the other Saints, Blesseds, Venerables, and Servants of God connected to America. Older kids could research them and add them to the map as well!

There is also a Litany of American Saints where your child can write in their favorite American patrons. The America the Beautiful Saints flag would be great to print out and display during the month as a reminder to ask for their intercession.

This resource is set up with a lot of the elements of a VBS (prayer, music, snacks, crafts) but with tons of options so it can work for a wide range of ages. I also pulled A LOT of resources- more than anyone would really use -but I wanted there to be variety and choice. All of the activities  are FREE so hopefully this project is easily accessible and shareable, even on a school or parish level.

For each Saint, there are links for:
-Prayer/Song/Bible Verse
-Short Videos
-Links for Parents or Older Siblings (to help parents feel equipped to teach their kids along the way, and to help older kids participate)

This whole plan is completely free and available for you to email out to your friends, parish, class, school, etc. I always appreciate when people include a link back to the blog so people can find more resources, but the schedule is especially designed to be easy to share as a pdf in a bulk email, school communication system, or parish bulletin. Please share! I'm always honored to be able to help, but especially now when we can't necessarily minister to our communities in the same ways we are used to. Click below to open all the resources!

First, here are the overall theme printables. (These are also linked in the shareable activity page as well.)

Click here for the American Saints Map. This helps identify the varied locations of the fourteen featured Saints across the United States, and also gives a list for further research:

Click here for the Litany of American Saints printable. You can fill in ten of your favorite holy men and women from America:

Click here for the American Flag Saints printable to display as you learn:
Click here for a Saint Bio Page if you'd like to complete a more formal study as you learn about the Saints:

Click here for the two page America the Beautiful pdf with links for the 14 Saints. This version cannot be edited, but is meant to be easy to share:

Click here for the editable version of the resources. It is a Google Slides file, so you can edit/add/remove to fit your audience. In order to make changes, you'll need to open and make a copy to edit in Google Slides or download and then edit in PowerPoint:

Click here for a Google Slides version that is perfect for a student project or classroom assignment, especially if using Google Classroom. (Note that I did not update the images in this set):

A special thank you to Shari from Catholic Paper Goods for offering a set of her stellar coloring pages for free to help round out the resources! She also has stickers, Saint trading cards, and more in her shop! Here are a few of her pages that are included in the links above:

And Kristina Markford (you might remember her super cute Emmaus Road Pegs shop) generously is sharing these awesome mini posters featuring 18 American Saints. You can find her on Instagram here.

All of those activities are free, but I also have been collecting books about these (and other American) Saints both to read myself and for my classroom. I'm still gathering titles and have some reading to do first, but hopefully I'll be able to do a Katie Reads post with some book suggestions! Feel free to drop any good titles about American Saints in the comments!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

 June is the Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus! His merciful, abundant, radiant love is evident in the artistic images of the Sacred Heart, helping us come to know and love Jesus more and more. I have lots of resources to help you pray and learn this month, including some new freebie printables to help you decorate your home in honor of this special devotion.

Click here for a free printable of my block carving of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: (Feast Day 6/11/21)

Click here for a printable of my block carving of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: (Feast Day 6/12/21)

And here for one of the whole Holy Family with their Sacred, Immaculate, and Pure Hearts:

This post features a fun Sacred Heart "statue" for your kids to color and a banner to hang up:

This clickable/sharable calendar can work as an at-home-VBS spaced out over a week or the whole month. It also is easy to share with your classroom, Religious Ed program, or homeschooling group. There's even an editable version you can tweak to fit your needs.

Here are a set of prayers perfect for the Month of the Sacred Heart and a little booklet with Saints' quotes about the Sacred Heart:

This set of Google Slides is great for middle school elearning or to save as a classroom assignment in the fall:

Pray the Sacred Heart Novena and keep track with this Color-a-Novena: (start on June 2, 2021- or anytime!)

Click on any of the images below for various Sacred and Immaculate Heart Coloring Pages:

And click here for a Holy Family Hearts Embroidery Pattern:

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Guest Post: "My First Catholic Church Book" Free Project

I'm so happy to bring you a guest post today with a project that I think many of you will be excited to share with your kids or students. Helen Tine, a mom and parish catechist, has created this beautifully simple book to help young Catholics learn the nomenclature of the items used during the Mass, and also encourage them to grow in familiarity with their own parish church. She generously desired to share it with LHBR readers so other kiddos benefit from it!

She provides a basic structure that names about twenty sacred articles with short, child-friendly descriptions. The pages can be printed and stapled/bound/hole punched, but also fit perfectly in a 4x6 photo album. The pdf includes all the pages, thorough instructions, as well as sample pictures if you'd rather use those instead of taking photos in your church. 

I think this book would be a great end-of-the year keepsake for a classroom (especially following or in preparation for First Communion) or could be a great family project over the summer. Check out the Q&A below with Helen as well as some pictures of the book she created. The link to the printable is at the bottom of the post.

If you are looking for a project for older kids, this Sacrament Scavenger Hunt has a similar objective, or you might also like these Mass Article Graphic Organizers.

***Update- This resource is now available in Spanish!

My First Catholic Church Book by Helen Anne Tine

-What was your original intention of this project?

When my children were little, they loved the ‘first words’ board books which contain pages of words with corresponding colorful realistic pictures. The books were a fun way for my children to learn the words for everyday objects, like articles of clothing (socks, pants, shirt) and common household items (cup, plate, bed, chair). I searched for a similar book to help my children learn the names of things in a Catholic church; when I couldn’t find such a book, I created this one for my children. 

My book contains pages of things we see in a Catholic church with corresponding pictures. Through the years, the project has expanded to include assembly instructions and sample pictures, so others can create the book.

-How do you think creating this book could benefit Catholic children?

While many Catholic children’s books focus on what we do in church during Mass, this book focuses on what we see in a church. A Catholic church is full of unique items including kneelers, a tabernacle and holy water fonts. This book helps children learn the names of items in a Catholic church as well as briefly explaining the purpose of each item.

-What tips do you have for parents/teachers working on this project?

Make it your own! This project includes sample pictures from our parish church, but since many Catholic churches vary in architecture, I suggest personalizing the project by taking your own pictures. The process of taking pictures in a church is a great way for children to see these objects up close and for parents to start a conversation with children about their purpose and importance. Don’t expect to take all the pictures in one session, especially if younger children are involved in the process! You may want to take only a couple of pictures after Mass each week or visit the church during the week to take pictures.

And there are also various options for assembling the book. I used a 4x6 photo album, but there are more creative ways to assemble the book like laminating the pages or having children cut and glue the pages onto cardstock.

-What are some adaptations for older/younger children?

Throughout the project, I share some ideas for how children can get involved with the picture taking process. Children can decide if they want to be in the pictures and choose where to take some of the pictures. Depending upon the chosen assembly method, children might be able to create the book by themselves. Older children could read the book to themselves or to younger children.

Click here to open the free printable pages, photos, and instructions for making your own "My First Catholic Church" Book!

Thank you Helen for sharing this awesome project with us!