Saturday, January 21, 2012

Report Card Comments

It’s that time again teachers detest and dread as much as the students. It is report card time and teachers have the overwhelming task of writing constructive, insightful, and original comments on a classroom full of students.

Report cards give parents essential information about their child’s progress and the teacher comments can indicate how a child is performing in different areas. These written comments should highlight the student’s strengths and offer ways the child could improve his or her academic work and/or classroom behavior. These comments can also indicate a need for improvement by turning the words around a bit by making them into a goal for the child to work on.

Parents love to hear about how their child is doing in class and enjoy comments on their child’s report card. It is a good idea for catechists to write something positive about each student to help the child’s self esteem. If only negative statements are written, the parent may feel overwhelmed and thus be unable to help their child. Parents are more willing to cooperate if a comment concerning their child’s weakness follows a positive one. Therefore it is more productive to state a student’s strength first, then follow it with your concern – but make sure that is written in a constructive way.

Positive comments on a report card can inspire students to live up to their teacher’s observations. For example, if the teacher wrote that the child excels in “Being dependable” or “Shows outstanding sportsmanship,” these statements could become part of the student’s self-image. It is important for teachers to remember that their written words can motivate and challenge their students to be their best.

Words that promote positive view of the student:

• thorough
• caring
• shows commitment
• improved tremendously
• has a good grasp of

Examples of definitive words that should be avoided are:

• the child will never;
• the child will not or won’t;
• the child cannot;
• the child will always
• the child is unable

Since your comments need to be as specific as possible, avoid using ambiguous words alone such as wonderful, good or great. Focus on the student’s strengths and give encouraging comments when students are making some progress.

Well written comments can give parents and students guidance on how to make improvements in specific academic or social areas. When concerns are evident, teachers must be precise and give examples of what the student needs help in. You can also give suggestions on how they as parents can help as well.

Words and Phrases to use to convey that a child needs help:

• could profit by
• requires
• finds it difficult at times to
• needs reinforcement in
• has trouble with

For example: Tommy listens and comprehends new information quickly. He answers questions correctly in class and enjoys participating in activities. Tommy is capable of doing his homework, but has difficulty turning it in on time. Tommy requires help with organizational skills and could benefit from using an Agenda/Planner Book and binder with color tab dividers that are specifically labeled for CCD for keeping papers organized. Tommy also needs encouragement and this will help reinforce him to complete his work and turn it in on time.

Here are a couple of sites that have some good report card comments: 100 Report Card Comments Teacher Comments on Report Cards

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bible Story Graphics

Need some cute Bible story graphics for various crafts, games, activities, and what-not? Here are tons of Bible story graphics that are FREE! All the graphics are done by Richard Gunther and there are NO copyright restrictions.

All from

Bible Story Graphics

* Note that any pictures from the books can be captured and used as well.

Old Testament

New Testament



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Church Potluck Recipe: Cajun 15 Bean Soup

At home we LOVE this soup on a cold winter day and since we started a new Pot Luck activity at our church I thought I would bring it. After CCD we have a Pot Luck Luncheon once a month featuring our priest who enlightens us with his wit and wisdom about the history, mystery and majesty of the Catholic Church.

This is what I fixed to warm us up and to share with the congregation along with some hot buttered corn bread (Jiffy corn muffin mix).

Cajun 15 Bean Soup

*I make this the day before and in the morning I warm it up in the microwave and put it in my crock pot on LOW to keep it warm. I take the crock pot with us and plug it in my CCD classroom and go to Mass. After CCD I just take it down to the Fellowship Hall and plug it in there. I warm the cornbread up in a microwave and place it on the table next to the crock pot.


• Hurt’s HamBeens Cajun 15 Bean Soup (dry beans and flavor packet in a bag)
• 1-2 lbs. of regular or mild Italian sausage (I use Jimmy Dean HOT roll sausage)
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 15 oz. can stewed or diced tomatoes
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Cooking Directions

Soaking: Place beans in a large pot, cover with 2 quarts of water. Allow beans to soak overnight, or at least 8 hours.

1. After soaking, drain water, add 2 quarts of water. Bring beans to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2 ½ hours.
2. In a skillet, sauté onion, garlic and sausage until sausage is browned.
3. Drain excess grease and add contents to beans along with tomatoes, lemon juice and Cajun flavor packet.
4. Simmer another 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Servings: 16 (1/2 cup cooked)

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Students

From time to time teachers will acquire new students during the year. It is an awkward situation for the new student and teachers must help the student feel welcome and comfortable in the classroom. How can you make the transition smooth for all your students? You might want to pair the new student with a student in the classroom that is welcoming, warm, and friendly. You can also have each student in the classroom introduce themselves and later play some Ice Breaker Games to help make the new student feel welcome and become familiar with the class.

You should also have a welcome packet prepared in advance. It is imperative that catechists be prepared and have all the necessary print outs readily available and stashed for quick retrieval at all times. This packet should include all the information/handouts you passed out during the first day of CCD.

Things to have handy:

1. Have an Introduction Letter to Parents. It is a great idea to take the opportunity to introduce yourself by welcoming the students and the parents in a letter their first day of CCD. It provides the parents with information of what is expected in the classroom and what the students will be doing during the year. It can also inform parents of the expectations and rules of the class that will help in making the classroom productive, creative, and enjoyable year for all (this can be a separate page that parents must sign and return to you). Teachers can also ask if parents are interested in volunteering and for any information that can help aid them in better understanding their child and their needs.

2. Provide Volunteer Sign Up Sheets for parents interested in helping at CCD. Volunteers in the classroom can be a blessing IF done correctly and IF it is planned ahead. Nothing is worse than having a volunteer not know what to do or be in the way. Here are tips that should be done to have a good volunteer program in your classroom.

3. Have the parents fill out a Class Contact List to obtain information that can help aid the catechist to understand their child’s needs and how to contact them.

4. Provide a calendar of the CCD schedule (days and times CCD meets), upcoming events, such as class field trips and future parent-teacher meetings, etc. and the policies concerning them.

5. Go over the classroom rules and requirements with the new student. It would be a great review for the whole class to be involved in this. You can make it into a game by asking the students various questions about the classroom. (You could also play these games the first day of class to review the classroom rules and requirements.) Classroom Jeopardy

Free PowerPoint Games- Make your own PowerPoint game (Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?, Password, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Twenty Questions, Guess The Covered Word, variations of the game Hollywood Squares, Weakest Link, Concentration, etc.) to review classroom rules and requirements with your students. Classroom Rules: Must and Mustn’t Reviving Reviews: Refreshing Ideas Students Can’t Resist/Review Games (adapt these games to fit your needs) Can you name the classroom rules? (adapt this game to fit your needs) “Who Wants To Be A Winner” game
Download these PowerPoint presentations for use in your classroom. These games can be modified with your own questions to create an interactive review for your students.

Also from An alternative way to play the game above not using PowerPoint presentations.

Type the questions on a piece of paper. Cut the questions apart and put them in a small box. Divide the class into two teams. Each team gets three options, each of which can only be used once during the game. Write the three options on the board. When the team uses an option, it is erased. The options which the team can use are: Pass, Ask a Friend on their team or Ask the Whole Class.

To start the game, pick a number. The team which chooses the number closest starts first. The first player on the team chooses a question from the box without looking at the question. The player then reads the question and decides if s/he knows the answer. If the player does not know the answer, s/he may pick an option. If the child passes, the player whose turn it is next can have a chance at answering the question. If the pass option is used, it is then erased and cannot be used again by that team.

When all the options are used by a team, the players must try to answer their own question even if they don’t know it. When all the questions are gone, the game is over. The teams get one point for each question and the team with the most points win. Of course you must ask the player, “Is that your final answer?” The kids love this game!

Things to review:

• Basic classroom rules.

• Classroom attendance and tardiness guidelines. Make-up work policy.

• Classroom grading policy.

• Amount of homework and homework policy.

• Policy for addressing academic and behavioral problems.

• The CCD program’s discipline policy, including procedures regarding absence and tardiness.

• The timing of report cards and progress reports.

• Emergency procedures for bad weather and other events.

• How to contact the teacher.

• Etc.

*Be sure to ask the parents and new student if they have any questions that they may have.