by Scrapbooking through Lent
If you are willing to use a creative and entertaining teaching tool to present a serious and sacred season, then you are invited to try scrapbooking through Lent. Just add your personal enthusiasm to this guide and you can present a multi-week project that will encourage learners to discover for themselves some of the spiritual richness of the centuries-old spiritual disciplines of Lent.
One Month before Lent…
begin gathering supplies and encourage donations of scrapbooking materials from students, parents, and parishioners.
You will need the following: construction paper (eight pieces for each scrapbook); markers; scissors; glue sticks; paper punch; yarn or brass fasteners; and a stockpile of magazine cutouts, stickers, and random appliqués that fit the Lenten theme.
According to the age of your learners, students can assemble their own scrapbooks or you can assemble scrapbooks for younger students. Scrapbooks can be as simple as eight pieces of construction paper punched and fastened together with yarn or brass fasteners.
Two Weeks before Lent…
introduce the scrapbooking project as an easy and enjoyable way to plan and reflect on Lenten activities throughout the six weeks of Lent. Focus student interest and attention by displaying a completed Lenten scrapbook or sample pages.
Distribute pre-assembled scrapbooks or assist students as they make their own. Then have students design the “cover” of their scrapbook with their names and a title, such as “Celebrating Lent” or “Lenten Activities.”
Open a discussion with students about Lent and the scrapbook project by writing three key words on a large piece of poster board: “prayer,” “almsgiving,” and “fasting.” Review the meaning of each word, consider Lenten activities related to each, and write these in the appropriate columns. For example:
saying grace before every meal
going to Confession
praying the Way of the Cross
donating allowance to charity
giving time to help others
helping at a food bank
not eating favorite foods
reducing computer game time
watching no TV
Following this discussion, have students open their scrapbook to the next page and title it “Lenten Ideas.” Have them use the craft materials to fill the page with a collage of pictures, symbols, and words that represent how young people can pray, give alms, and fast during Lent.
Collect and store all scrapbooks for the next class session.
The Week before Lent…
arrange children in small groups, redistribute scrapbooks, and allow time for children to share their collage pages with one another. Then have them put “Week 1” at the top of the next blank page in their scrapbooks.
Display again the poster board listing ideas for prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. Then ask each child to decide on three Lenten activities to concentrate on during the first week of Lent. Invite children to select materials from the stockpile that they can use to illustrate or symbolize the Lenten activities they have chosen. Have them arrange materials on the page and then glue them in place. If necessary, children can use markers to clarify illustrations.
Complete the lesson with a prayer asking for God’s blessings on all of the activities planned for Week 1. Collect and store scrapbooks.
plan time at the beginning or end of each class session to repeat this process. Be sure to allow time for the children to reflect quietly on how they lived the Lenten activities they chose the previous week.
don’t throw away those scrapbooks! Completed scrapbooks can serve as each child’s personal record and reminder of how he or she grew in faith during Lent 2011.
Or, respecting each child’s privacy, the scrapbooks can be used as discussion starters for your class next year. Or collage pages might provide a seasonal backdrop for next year’s learning space.
Lee Danesco holds a Master of Arts degree in teaching from Brown University. She has served as a DRE and a pastoral associate, and she is a published author. Her first book, Planning a Youth Service Week, was published by Twenty-Third Publications in 2001. The Confident Catechist was published by Saint Mary’s Press in 2007.
Copyright 2011, Bayard, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, redisseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of Bayard, Inc.
This article was written by the Catechist Staff and appeared in Catechist magazine, January 2011.
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