Digital Discipleship: Transforming Ministry Through Technology

Archive for the ‘Advent’ Category

Advent Activities

With Advent around the corner, families and catechists may be looking for an activity or two to engage the children in learning more about Advent!  Here are a few websites that I discovered that you may wish to use:

Advent Activities: OSV offers a checklist to get ready for Advent, Advent and Christmas recipes, crafts and more.

Advent Resources –  Here you will find activities, calendars, inspiration, Jesse Tree, prayers and an online Advent retreat from Loyola Press.

Advent –  A variety of Catholic Digest articles.

Advent: Jesus Is Coming –  The Saint Anthony Messenger Faith formation team offers short and helpful Advent articles here.

Advent Liturgical Season –  At the Wm H. Sadlier website, you get a wonderful Advent liturgical season overview.

Advent Prayer – 4CatholicEducators – com provide you with a collection of Advent links with articles, activities, and Advent Calendars.

How can you use this material? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. If you are communicating with your families through FaceBook, then each week you can choose a link and add it to your wall with a short Advent message.
  2. You may simply want to send an email to your families with a short Advent message and the link you are referring them to.
  3. If your families are “Twitter” followers, you can tweet a short “Twitter”message like – Here’s your checklist – http://bit.ly/vvcZd7 to get ready for Advent.  (Note: This will bring you to – Advent Activities – Preparing for Jesus an Advent Checklist ).

Hope you find these links of interest to you.  Would love to hear how you may be using these links in your catechetical program.

Of course, if this article was helpful, please click the “LIKE” button below.

Copyright 2012 Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF

Advent Videos

How will you use videos during this Advent season?  I just checked the Digital Catechesis Video library and I discovered at least 10 Advent videos.  Here’s a sampling of three of the videos in the digital library:

Christ is Coming – This 5 minute advent meditation focuses on the coming of Christ into our world- not just as a child in a stable but as the bringer of justice and freedom.

Advent Conspiracy 2010 – This film uses popular Old Testament Scriptures juxtaposed with modern music and nativity silhouettes to help the audience to see Jesus in their hectic holiday lives.

Advent in Two Minutes – Check out Busted Halo’s two-minute video that describes why we celebrate Advent and wait to celebrate Christmas.

I love this wonderful digital age that we live in.  There are some wonderful resources that are FREE that we could use for our Advent Ministry.  How?  Here are three(3) suggestions:

  1. For the first week of Advent, and every week after that, add an Advent Video Link to your Facebook page/wall and add a reflective comment with a question.
  2. Engage in an Advent sharing with your friends. For example: If you “Tweet”, using 140 characters, tweet an Advent message related to the video and include the link.  Normally, Twitter will shorten the link.  If it does not, you can go to http://bit.ly – to shorten your URL.  Here’s an example: Wondering why we celebrate Advent! (Link) Why do you do Advent?
  3. Using your iPad or iPhone with an LCD projector or TV connection, show one of the videos as a prayerful reflection before your class or adult meeting.  Remember to practice before your session to make sure that all is working.  Remember that you’ll need an audio connection.

For those who are not members of Digital Catechesis, you are invited to join (It’s FREE).  If you are a member, and you discover other Advent videos that you would recommend to us, please come and add them to our Digital Library.

If you like these suggestions, please click the “Like” button.  We’d also like to hear your suggestions for using Advent videos.  Do add your comments in the “comment” section of this blog.

Advent Blessings!

Copyright 2012 Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF

 

Engage Parents Through a Blog Site

One of my favorite training websites is hosted by SimpleK12Team!  Just recently they highlighted how a blog could be used to engage parents.

Does this sound familiar?  “Are you tired of the ‘bottomless backpack’ and the mysterious, vanishing handouts? You hand students papers to give to their parents, and they’re never seen again.”

Their suggestion – set up a class blog!

Find out how to engage parents through a blog here:

http://www.youtube.com/simplek12team#p/u/20/TPzy5Rcga04

Of course, there are many ways you can use a blog in your religion classroom.  For example, parents love to see their child’s work that they do in your class.  With a blog, you have a great medium to display and show off students work for all their parents to see.  If you’re projects are created using traditional methods (e.g., paper and crayons), here’s where you can involve the youth group to help scan and prepare the class work so that it can be in a digital format.

Most children in the home environment, use a computer or a tablet (iPad, etc).  There are apps like Animoto (free), Drawing Pad, Screen Chomp and others that students can use to create a project.  When they have completed their task, they can email the link (or embed code) to you.  You can then add this information to the class special project page.  This assignment can be described on your blog and parents can direct their child to work on this project.

Would love to hear from you how YOU are using a blog to communicate with your parents!  I invite you to share your story here!

I have two examples to share with you.  One represents a music teacher – http://mrsmcivorsmusicblog.blogspot.com.  The other represents another elementary educator in a regular classroom –  http://carsonsbrighteyedbears.blogspot.com.  As you review these examples, note how each teacher provides brief and helpful information to their parents.

Remember to click the “Like” button, if you learned something today!

Trouble viewing on YouTube? Try viewing on Vimeo 

Using Facebook During Advent

Many of us have Facebook accounts.  But the question is – How are we using them?  Most of us are using them in a wonderful casual way to stay connected to our family and friends.  That’s great!  That is one of the key reasons we have a Facebook account.

However, once you have a FB account, you can easily set-up a Group!  Yes, there are three types of Facebook Groups:

  • Public (Open): everyone can see the Group, find it in a search and make posts
  • Closed: everyone can see the Group, but only members can see (and make) posts
  • Secret: only members can see the Group, see and make posts

Any of the group styles will work!  It is your choice!  Let’s say you will use the “secret” group option.  To learn more about this type of group, read the Social Media Examiner Post about How to Use Secret Facebook Groups to Enhance Your Business  you’ll notice that a business group may utilize this type of function. As you read this post, allow your imagination to consider how a FB group could be used in your ministry setting with families this Advent season.

To begin the conversation, I’m going to suggest how I would engage families in a weekly reflection on the Sunday Advent Scripture readings using a FB Closed group.  I would:

  • Create a FB group and remember to describe your group and choose and image/photo that will represent the group. (Note – Let’s assume that our parish program registration forms asks for Cell Phone number, email address, FB information, and Twitter handle. )
Description of Faith Parents group.

Group Description

  • Two weeks before the First Week of Advent, using the family email addresses, I would send a “brief” email inviting the families of the children that are in my class to participate with all of us during the Advent Season by taking a few moments out of their busy schedules to read and reflect on the Sunday Scripture readings.  Tell them that there will be a link to the Sunday Readings for them each week.  When they are ready, they can share their comment or question on our special group FB wall. Or, send a flyer home to the parents via your students and include an announcement in your parish bulletin about the group.
  • One day after the email is sent, send a “tweet” and “text message” to invite your parents to read the  email message from you.
  • One Week Before Advent begins: Invite each family to the FB group.
  • Post the Sunday Scripture Readings for the 1st Sunday in Advent, using the link from the USCCB Readings website.
Advent FB Reading

Facebook Closed Group

To get the conversation going, you may have encouraged several of your parents to post their reflection early in the week.  Make sure you check the posts at least once daily and comment back.  Remember, this is a place for a simple online conversation and sharing about what these Scriptures mean to you.

  • At the end of the Advent Season, thank  your parents for their participation in the Advent Scripture sharing.  You may want to use a Zoomerang survey to get feedback about their experience with this online faith sharing activity.
  • I hope that this article has sparked a possibility or two in your imagination.  More importantly, I trust that you will share your story about how you are going to use (or thinking of using) a FB group in your ministry with families, or youth groups (13 and older), or RCIA ministry.  Looking forward to hearing from you!  Join in the conversation!

Remember to click on the “like” button if you like this post.  Or, forward this link to other catechists who would be interested in hosting an Advent online Scripture Reflection group with parents, young adults, and anyone who is interested in sharing online.

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

Using VoiceThread for Advent Prayer

What is VoiceThread?

In the VoiceThread Workshop handout, it is described —

A VoiceThread is an online media album that can hold essentially any type of media (images, documents and videos) and allows people to make comments in 5 different ways – using voice (with a microphone or telephone), text, audio file, or video (with a webcam) – and share them with anyone they wish. A VoiceThread allows group conversations to be collected and shared in one place, from anywhere in the world.

One of the best examples I’ve seen is Weather: Art and Poetry by students in Mrs. Mattson’s 3rd Grade class.

Now imagine how you could use this tool for Advent Prayer.

I would encourage you to do the following:

  1. Explain the season of Advent to your students.
  2. Break the class into 4 groups.  Group 1 students will work on prayers for the first week of Advent, Group 2 the second week in Advent, etc.
  3. Guide them in creating an Advent Prayer for their assigned week.
  4. If you do not have computers in the classroom you can —
  • Invite students to write and create their Advent prayer on an 8 1/2 x 11″ sheet of paper. Later, you can scan  this image to use in the class Voice Thread.
  • Or, assign the students to work on their prayer at home on their computers, tablets or any other digital tools that can be used to create a JPEG file.  You could use a variety of tools: MS Paint, MS PowerPoint – saving in a JPEG format, or Google Docs – Presentations, or any other tool that allows the student to create a text and graphic file that can be easily saved in a JPEG format.

If you have access to computers during your session, you can create the Advent Prayer during your class.

  1. Where students have an electronic file, guide them how you want to receive this file – via a thumb disk, email you, add to a Dropbox sharing file or any other way that you can easily receive the file from a student.
  2. Once you have the electronic files, you can add these images in the order of Week 1 through Week 4 on the VoiceThread tool.  (Remember you will need to sign-up for an account).  Here is also an opportunity to invite a high school student to work with you on the project.  You can briefly introduce them to VoiceThread and this blog article to become acquainted with the project.
  3. Once you have the Advent VoiceThread set-up, you can add it to your website, class blog, write a short article for your parish bulletin and invite members of your parish and families of your students to come to the Advent VoiceThread to add their comments and/or Advent prayer.

When you have your class Advent VoiceThread online, do come back here to share with us what your class did.  We all would love to hear about this project with your students.

Visit the VoiceThread website to learn more about this wonderful tool.

If you like this post, take a moment to click on the LIKE button below.

Copyright ©2011 Caroline Cerveny

The Advent Season – Week 4

I am always amazed at how quickly weeks pass!  Here we are, in the 4th week of Advent.  And I trust that you continue to be inspired by the reflections, music, and PowerPoint presentations that are available on the Internet.  More importantly, these are often projects that can be created by your students or yourselves.  Imagine the pride felt when one of these projects is available to share with members of their parish and families.

Fourth Sunday of Advent ReadingsDecember 19th


Music

Celebrating Christmas


The Advent Season – Week 3

As we immerse ourselves in the season of Advent, over the next two weeks, I will share with you videos, music, and various presentations that I’ve located on the Internet.  May these materials be an inspiration to you as you enjoy what others, who are like you, have created.  If you like, you may forward the blog link to other catechists, parents, friends or anyone in your parish communities who would like to pause for a moment to prepare their minds and hearts over these next weeks for the celebration of the Lord Jesus into our lives!

Third Sunday of Advent Readings December 12th


New Original Christmas Song performed by Kristen Trayer and set to the edited images of the timeless movie “The Nativity Story”. This song is available for purchase on iTunes. This video will warm your hearts, inspiring feelings of love through the humble perfection of the Nativity. Celebrate his birth all around the Earth, it’s Christmas!

Student Project

The Season of Advent

Student Advent Project

Advent History

Advent

Advent History

Advent Prayer

Advent Prayer

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