How to Find What is True on Facebook

I haven’t been posting much about the racism, violence, and controversy that have enveloped our nation. I have become convinced this is an historic time, and that we are seeing what the US was like in the 1960s all over again.

But as a white person growing up in a white community surrounded by structural racism, I know my knee jerk reactions tend to be ill-informed, even if they are well intentioned. And quite frankly, who needs to hear from one more “born again” white anti-racist about how holy I am now?

The ugly truth is that I have to constantly question my sub-conscious responses built as a child.

Like any other type of recovery, I do anti-racism work one day at a time. Most days I will have internal voices, and often external voices, flooding me with images and words and feelings that I know are damaging. My job is to identify what is untrue and hurtful and say no… over and over again.

But I have hope for myself, and want to share my process with you.

To rewrite my internal script, and resist the racist vortex I live in, I try to take the advice of this week’s Sunday reading:

“whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.” –Philippians 4:8

It is so hard to find reliable sources that are gracious and just. Lately it seems you can’t get a following if you’re not rude and crass. I try to follow and support and understand black-led efforts for justice and peace, particularly ones I learned about while I was living in the Hough neighborhood for 8 years.

Here are a few sources of information I follow on Facebook (and before that, in real life) that help me focus on what is true, honorable, just, and excellent:

Because of Them We Can

Equal parts history, news, and inspiration, this page is full of heart-warming content

Black on Black Crime Inc

“Why don’t black people talk about black on black crime?” Oh wait. They do. All the time. It’s just most white people don’t listen until it’s about them.

This Cleveland-based organization is one of many similar ones in the country trying to use arts, public forums, outreach, political action, and dialogue to address the underlying issues causing high crime rates in our city/cities. If you’re not in Cleveland, find and support an org like this near you.

National Black Catholic Congress

I’m Catholic, and was a member of an amazing Afro-centric parish. Our quiet Mass was 90 minutes of spirituals, and the big service was 2 hours with full Gospel choir, African drums, praise dancers… Talk about lovely and praiseworthy!

“I give you praise / I give you praise…” Oh, sorry, did I wander off into worship again? Just thinking about it and I am transported.

The US Black Catholic Conference is a wonderful place to learn about Black Catholic history, news, and how to support justice efforts aligned with Catholic social teaching.

Freshwater Cleveland

Though this isn’t solely about Hough, I find it to be the most positive and realistic source of news on the neighborhood. Neighborhood Voices used to be my favorite, but it looks like it went under. Sad.

If you want to hear about what’s honorable and excellent in Cleveland, check it out. Support local media that shares positive and honest information about people of color.

Otherwise all you will see is memes and mug shots.

What are your favorite sources for just and true media? Comment with links!

New Course: Keys to the 3 HSE Tests

In August 2017, Ohio Department of Education approved all three national exams as official assessments to earn a High School Equivalency Credential:

  • GED® Test
  • TASC Test &
  • HiSET® Exam

Save yourself from wasting time searching, and spend it getting hands-on with the best resources to get you started navigating all three HSE exams.

Keys_teakwood

The Literacy Cooperative has generously sponsored a live training to help Cleveland-area educators learn about working in a multi-assessment environment, and become more familiar with the TASC and HiSET exams.

The workshop filled up quickly, and we have had interest from all over the state. To help spread this vital information, I developed an online version of the live workshop.

The video-based lessons are full of curated links to save you time and help you understand key differences in the exams.

In addition, you can still gain the value of networking by commenting on the lessons to share insights and resources.

 

I look forward to diving deeper with you into the three exams, and reflecting on what this means for us as adult educators. Hope to see you in Keys to the 3 HSE Tests!

Tale as Old as Time: A Library in Need

Like many of you, I love my local library. I also love parody videos.

What do you get when you put them together?

A librody?

For a laugh, watch “Heat and Cool Our Library,” a parody of “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast. Pay attention for a familiar voice and face!

I live in the most rural county in Ohio. Our small town library is the only one in the county open 7 days a week, but has occassionally closed for furnace repairs. The whole HVAC system needs replaced, plus some ductwork and a reconnection to the boiler. Our lowest quote was $79,500. For all the bells and whistles, the highest price was $120,000.

This once-in-a-generation repair will keep our library functioning for decades. With Ohio’s hot summers and snow-belt winters, we NEED our HVAC system to continue offering:

  • Book clubs,
  • Seed sharing,
  • Computer use,
  • Notary services,
  • Video rentals,
  • WiFi hotspots,
  • and much more!

And as a public library, those services are free for anyone–especially important for our neighbors most in need.

Our Library is open 7 days a week, offers teen services, streaming eMedia, and much more!

Henderson Library transforms lives by partnering with community organizations to offer adult literacy classes, tax preparation, meetings for home school families… the list goes on and on! Along with a warm place to stay, our library is a critical resource for individual and community development.

AND… we continue a 200 year tradition of libraries in small town Jefferson, Ohio. This year we have been celebrating our Bicentennial with fun (free) events for all ages.

1817 to 2017: 200 years in the making

As a Bicentennial Birthday Present, I have set a goal of raising at least $500 to help keep our library open and comfortable for years to come.

But I need your help.

Henderson Library needs your help.

Jefferson area citizens need your help.

You can donate online, or send a check to:

Henderson Memorial Public Library (HMPL), 54 E Jefferson St, Jefferson, Ohio 44047

Will you help Heat & Cool Our Library? ♪DONATE!♪

The Results Are In: Edtech Alone Will Not Fix Adulted

Adult educators: consider carefully before investing in more devices and edtech products! 

Do students need tech skills for success? Yes. 

Do they need to perform well on computer-based testing? Yes.

Will edtech products increase student outcomes? That depends.

The Joyce Foundation funded a study to determine if edtech products would make a significant difference in adulted outcomes. Their conclusion? Probably not.

What does this mean for funders, administrators, teachers, and edtech companies?

First of all: Funders, Invest in Educators

Silicon Valley, and your entourage of investors, please consider throwing money at educators over edtech. Seriously, slow down. ROI in the edtech marketplace is siphoning money away from ROI for society.

Investors who look for quick tech money, do so at the expense of what actually works for education.

Second: Edtech Companies

Having participated in this study from the vendor side, I suspected it would confirm that products or devices alone do not improve outcomes. 

This is disheartening for organizations who were hoping the research would give them a leg up on competitors. 

But the truth is that programs need to buy the materials that their teachers and students feel comfortable using.

Although some of my colleagues would beg to differ, I really think what matters in the end is the teacher, not the product. The “best” product is the one you actually use.

Teachers: Learn how to troubleshoot

My look at the preliminary study data suggested a correlation between the digital literacy of the teacher and student usage of technology. My assessment of a TEACHER’S digital literacy seemed to line up with their time-on-task reports. 

However this study did not measure the variable of teacher’s digital literacy. So how did I know?

I used a quick behavioral assessment: If a teacher did not know how to troubleshoot login issues, then they generally did not feel confident implementing edtech products. The students of less confident teachers showed less time on the product, particularly out-of-class time. If the teacher wasn’t comfortable with tech, their students didn’t get to the point of working independently.

While edtech alone isn’t correlated to outcomes, self study DOES increase success rates. But student self-study requires teachers to be able to troubleshoot their students’ use of materials.

Webinars, out-of-state trainers, and vendor technical support can only do so much in those situations. A part-time teacher who encounters any sort of issue with technology in class will just shrug their shoulders and fall back to paper copies or lecture. Same with students who are juggling other responsibilities to make time to study.

Should we expect any different? 

Adulted instructors (in this study or otherwise) are generally not paid for planning time & offered minimal PD. They are rarely, if ever, paid to support students outside of class. So what teachers really need is…

Administrators: Research-based Best Practices

If edtech doesn’t improve the outcomes of adult ed programs, what will? 

Dr Carmine Stewart and Omobola Lana worked together on “A Framework for Program Improvement in Adult Education.” This guide, published by The Literacy of Greater Cleveland, offers a list of research-based best practices for adulted programs.

To download the guide, visit their Publications page and click “Quality Framework.”

Examples for Best Practices include:

  • Managed enrollment
  • A supportive student environment
  • Assessing learners’ progress

This is what I was preaching last week during my Blended Learning course for Virginia Department of Corrections educators. Plus it was my mantra for years as the National Teacher Trainer for Essential Education (GED Academy). 

Edtech is not enough. Teachers and administrators matter.

When people ask me how to set up their adult education program, I always recommended blended learning–a mix of student-led use of technology, and face-to-face instruction. It’s gratifying to see the Joyce Foundation make the same recommendation.

However, this study presents a challenge to administrators working overtime to build, purchase, or implement edtech solutions for adult education. 

News flash: teachers don’t all know how to use this stuff! And more National Trainers is not the sole solution. Once the Expert goes home, to implement research-based best practices, teachers need: 

  • embedded professional development, 
  • on-site technical support, 
  • local professional learning communities, and 
  • regular reviews of data for accountability. 

Adulted teachers are scrappy, creative, passionate… and underpaid. We’ve been doing more with less for decades.

Local administrators can improve outcomes by offering educators planning time, program support, and incentives for implementation… not just more edtech stuff.

That’s what the research suggests, anyway.

I Took the GED® Test…How Can I Get College Credit?

In January 2016, the GED Test changed its scores from pass/fail, to three different levels:

GED Performance Levels
Source: GED Testing Service
  • 175 College Ready + Credit
  • 165 College Ready
  • 145 Pass: High School Equivalency

Find more details in the Quick (Unofficial) 2017 GED® Test Update: Only available until June 30, 2017!

The new GED College Ready Plus Credit is a recommendation for colleges & universities to accept a GED Test Taker’s score to count towards college credit.

What does that mean?

If you do well enough on the GED Test, you can save yourself time & money by starting in higher level classes. Skip Math 101 for a more interesting statistics class, for example. GED Test scores can equal up to 10 college credits…that’s almost one entire semester!

But you can’t skip a class everywhere you apply. GED Test Takers who want to make the most of their high scores may want to look closely at where they apply to college.

To find out if your GED College Ready + Credit Scores are worth $$$:

  1. Start by checking if your nearby college or university is part of the ACE Credit College & University Network. I sorted this list by state so I could easily scan which Ohio institutions are on the list. In some cases, I see two branches of Kent State University, but not the branch nearest me. Hmm…
  2. Next, contact the Admissions department. Ask if they accept College Ready + Credit. Even colleges within the network can determine whether or not to accept certain types of credit.
  3. Even after contacting the Admissions department, they will likely give you the name of the department head, or someone else who will have to approve your application to transfer credit. If the answer is yes, then ask for the forms. If the answer is no…

This is when you change from a prospective student to an advocate.

So for example, maybe Youngstown State University’s English department is okay with giving 1 credit for Reasoning through Language Arts, but the History department has not made a decision about the Social Studies credit. Each department or dean the right to make their own decision (more about the process).

However, in many cases, a department chair may have no clue that the GED College Ready Plus Credit even exists, or what it means.

If they say “no,” or they haven’t heard of it, this is your chance to teach them!

  • If you are a test taker, explain how hard you studied, the skills you learned, and more.
  • If you are a teacher, share the Performance Level Descriptors, and a press release from GED Test Service about the new passing level.

Want more details on cool new tips and tools for GED® Test preparation?

Learn More

If I Ran the School: Blended Learning

If you ran a school for at-risk teens or non-traditional adult learners, what would you do?

I’ve been fortunate to work in adult education, where this question gets asked daily. What do you do when 100% of your students have the most barriers to learning, and a bad taste in their mouths?

What works, and what doesn’t?

I would focus on two words:

BlendedLearningCover

Next week, I am facilitating a live course about BLENDED LEARNING for Virginia Department of Corrections educators. 

Want to join us? Sign up for details about how to follow along online!

Tell Me More

Here’s a closer look at common adult education program structures (and why I think blended learning is the best):

Business as Usual: Face-to-face Instruction

No matter your student population, some teachers are all about classic face-to-face group instruction:

  • lecture,
  • textbooks,
  • long videos,
  • and now many students ignoring it all in lieu of cell phones…

Okay, Ferris Bueller is a super exaggeration. I mean, I have seen some really excellent group instruction: engaging, interactive, relevant. But… it’s still face-to-face group instruction.

“What’s wrong with business as usual?” you ask.

Well…if you miss a day, you’re behind. Or you show up, but you don’t understand it, you’re behind. Guess what? Most at-risk students already start BEHIND!

Actually, the truth is that a slim majority of high school students actually pass with business a usual. At least, they graduate.

But I’m not worried about “most students,” and neither are you. We’re worried about the ones who didn’t get it the first time, the ones who fall through the cracks.

What alternative programs do high schools or adult education classes offer for the large minority of students who do not succeed in traditional face-to-face group instruction? How do they stack up against 

Worst Outcomes: Self-Paced Online Learning

A few years back, some members of the educational press were crowing that MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) were going to be The Golden Ticket that was going to FIX education!

As predicted, MOOCs did not fix business as usual… follow up studies showed that only 10% of students who enrolled completed a MOOC.

These outcomes could be improved by adding elements of faciliated coursework. But that required removing the Massive and Open parts of a MOOC. Then it’s just an OC (online course), and stops being entirely self-paced.

The high school where I worked fell into a similar trap as MOOCs. The district offered online learning for students with barriers:

  • teens who had babies,
  • were ill for extended periods, or
  • their behavior was too disruptive.

Most of the at-risk online students didn’t have the discipline to complete their coursework. For the 10% of motivated, self-paced learners, online learning is critical.

But purely online learning needs additional support, not less than traditional teaching. It works well for traveling artists & athletes, not discipline cases.

Moderate Success: Dual Enrollment

With the merger of workforce development and adult basic education through WIOA, career pathways are all the rage.

Dual enrollment combines high school level study with post-secondary credentials.

Technical training, classes at a local college campus, and supervised work-study tend to help students persist in learning, and give them a head start on productive careers.

There are plenty of data backing up the effectiveness of these programs for those who enroll.

Men in ties in a carpentry workshop
Returned soldiers at vocational training in Queensland, 1920

So why aren’t they top on my list?

These approaches are not scalable because enrollment is limited.

And limited enrollment is a good thing! Specialized technical training is not for everyone, especially when we’re preparing people for jobs that won’t exist a decade from now.

On top of that, the students with the most barriers–OUR adult basic education students–are often the least likely to benefit from highly structured programs.

Best Solution: Blended Learning

What can we do? 

How can we consistently improve outcomes for adult education or alternative high school programs?

How do we reach the at-risk adults and teens who lack:

  • the stability for dual enrollment programs,
  • the discipline for self-paced online learning, and
  • the attention span for face-to-face instruction?

We throw in a mix of each with blended learning!

Blended learning combines face-to-face, instructor-led programs with self-paced student use of technology.

Multiple pathways are accessible for students in the same building. Through online learning, students can engage the world… while maintaining the support and continuity of instructor oversight.

WhyShouldWeBlend

Vulnerable students of all ages need genuine human connection to successfully graduate.

But they also need the flexibility and autonomy to make their own choices, and accommodate the messiness of life.

Graduate schools have figured this out: they are expanding their reach by adding flexible, blended learning programs that encourage individual inquiry while developing a community of scholars.

Those at “the top” of their careers share the same barriers as those who are most vulnerable:

  • unpredictable schedules,
  • work and family responsibilities,
  • need for increased support, and
  • an inability to participate in an immersive on-campus experience.

Blended learning meets all those needs, plus it’s scalable. Thus blended learning is the optimal solution to prepare at-risk high-school-level graduates for a 21st century economy.

Graduates will be entering a world that mixes:

  • oversight and autonomy,
  • independence and teamwork, &
  • technology and human connection.

Blended learning prepares students for the “both… and” aspect of our strange new world.

“Blended learning is the optimal solution… for a 21st century economy.”

Next week I look forward to discussing the details of how to implement blended learning in adult education programs. I hope you can join us!

 

Tell Me More

Why Do Rainbows Remind Us of the Dead?

Like grass withers in circles in a field, sometimes we come to a season when it feels like people are dying all around us. In truth, people are dying every day. But in these past couple weeks, I feel the breeze from death’s scythe circling me as people I know are cut down in their prime.

On those days, clouds cover my heart.

Death and rainbows have been a theme of this week. After the spring storms flooding Northeast Ohio, social media is flooded with pictures of refracted light and attributions to the beloved deceased.

What is it about these bright, thin glimpses of color that remind us of our loved ones who have gone before us?

Monday, Memorial Day in the US, was a Rainbow Day. It’s already marked off as a day to barbeque and remember the dead. On top of that Ron Cramer of Jefferson fame had a fatal heart attack while running a 5K, an experience he survived exactly four years ago.

Ron leaning against a stone cross in a graveyard
Ron Cramer

The news added a litany of stories to our extended family gathering, and I just got quiet (which is very out of character!). That evening, our immediate family went cycling, training for a long distance bike ride. Rain was forecast, so we put on our raincoats.

Instead of asking not to bike, our boys wanted to get wet. They laughed about “getting skunked” by the water sprays that soaked their butts. We peddled through a sunshower, when the warmth was on our backs, but heavy drops still peppered our faces.

Then we came out the other side of the storm to a rainbow.

Full_featured_double_rainbow_at_Savonlinna_1000px
Double rainbow by Wikimedia user Lauri Kosonen

A rainbow by itself is just color, a distortion or mirage. We can’t touch it, but it reveals a hidden truth about the spectrum of light that is hidden from our eyes on ordinary days.

I believe it is the experience of a rainbow that reminds us of dying.

It is the experience of peddling hard through a storm, and being rewarded with beauty on the other side. It reminds us how to be grateful for things that can’t last.

The death of a friend reveals something to us that is usually hidden in our workaday world: that the spectrum of life is more than the sum of our works.

Simple drawing of a rainbow

It hints that there is something more, something deeper. There is something in a human life that disappears as soon as we try to touch it or put in in a box, but that stays with us long after the mirage has faded.

I found myself singing:

“Alleluia, the great storm is over,
Lift up your wings and fly.”

The Teacher of Ecclesiastes also put this experience into verse (12:1,5,7):

Remember your creator in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come,
when one is afraid of heights,
and terrors are in the road;
the almond tree blossoms,
the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails;
because all must go to their eternal home,
and the mourners will go about the streets,
and the dust returns to the earth as it was,
and the breath returns to God who gave it.

Grief is a storm that comes in waves. But when mourners gather, we do so to remember the vanity of life with gratitude, and with a hope that at the end, there will be rainbows.

GED® Test Prep Resources

Smiling girl in graduation cap
Graduation Girl by flickr user BdwayDiva1

Thanks for coming! I am Meagen Farrell, author of Teaching Adults: A GED® Test Resource Book avaiTeaching Adults GEDlable from New Readers Press, and previously National Teacher Trainer for GED Academy (among other products offered by Essential Education).

Looking to pass the GED® Test, or to help someone study?

You’ve come to the right place! Below you will find a collection of resources for anyone, anywhere to study for the GED® Test*. In addition, many states offer the HiSET Exam or the TASC Test to earn a High School Equivalency Diploma.

Warning: Many sites are free because of advertisements.  Don’t click on the ads!!!

Other sites give free trials to sell their paid services. Ask yourself: is it worth it to pay for this?

Check out my latest post with updated links:

Top 30 FREE Websites for GED® Test Prep and Workforce Development

Helpful Links

[Note: these links were good as of October 18, 2016. If you find any broken links, please comment or contact me to let me know. If you are a long-term follower, this post serves to archive the content on the previous page “GED Test Prep.”

I am moving on to become Director of Religious Education at a church in Northeast Ohio. Follow my blog for updates, teacher resources, and spiritual reflections.]

*GED® is a registered trademark of the American Council on Education (ACE) and administered exclusively by GED® Testing Service LLC under license. Any content on this website is not endorsed or approved by ACE or GED Testing Service.

My First Classroom: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

One of the biggest differences between teaching adult basic education and teaching K-12 is the classroom. 

Or lack thereof.

Teaching adult literacy and GED Test Preparation, I taught everything from basic pronunciation to chemical equations. WHERE you explain poetry or fractions… that could be anywhere. Literally half of my time teaching adults had nothing to do with teaching. It was mostly: drive to a community center, set up, coordinate tutor-student pairs for 90 minutes, clean up, drive to another site…repeat at a shelter, in a church basement, or an outreach program. At one point my schedule took me to two sites each day, four days a week, with Friday to do paperwork.

Single floor brick building flanked with trees. Sign for Cassidy Center above glass double doors
Where I teach religious education, full of multi-purpose rooms. Looks a lot like other places I taught adults.

On Monday morning, I would walk into a church multi-purpose room and unlock a metal cabinet. From there I would pull out the supplies I needed to make coffee. Next I would put out the sign-in sheets next to a crate of manila folders documenting student work. Usually our cabinets held shelves of workbooks and I would have to go down the hall to make copies in the office, usually in the middle of “class.” We had a few well-used manipulatives like flashcards, fraction stacks, and colorful bingo chips. But since adults in my programs worked at their own level and pace, we never had large group lectures.

Metal shelves holding miniature chalice, paten, altar cloth, and other materials for children to use.
Instead of cramming everything in one metal cabinet, I can space it out for the children to access.

Imagine: each person deciding where to sit, most of the time head down in focus, or leaning over to talk with a tutor. Everything else about the space changed between each class I taught: round tables, long rectangles, desks against a wall… plastic chairs, folding chairs, pews in a hall… One site we were surrounded by high ceilings and stained glass windows in the back of a church. Another site was a dimly-lit, cinder block basement with moldy carpets.

Teaching adults, even as a teacher trainer traveling from workshop to workshop, I rarely had any control over the lighting, the chairs or tables, the temperature, the decorations on the walls… I learned to just walk into a place and make it my own as best I could. I learned to ignore or adjust to the physical backdrop and focus completely on individual students and the words and numbers in front of them.

Until this year.

Small books, folders eith coloring pages, and baskets labeled things like
Child-sized bookcase with work about the Mystery of the Kingdom of God

As a volunteer catechist (that’s Latin for “teacher”) at my local church, I finally have my own classroom. I teach 3-6 year olds using a Montessori-inspired curriculum called Catechesis (Latin for “teaching”) of the Good Shepherd. My students still work at their own level and pace, but I had no idea how much it would transform my teaching to pay close attention to THE ROOM.

Short bookcases and pre-school sized desks and chairs
The right-sized furniture makes a big difference for little people.

I agree that the physical environment matters for learning, but years in adult basic education trained me how to cope without control over my surroundings. Adult educators, particularly those in highly controlled residential facilities (i.e. Corrections) have to be some of the scrappiest, most resourceful people on the planet. I still have the habit of arriving 15-30 minutes early and staying late for set up and clean up, but now I can do so much more with the 75 minutes when my students are present.

Ten wooden sheep in a sheepfold with a shepherd lying down at the entrance
The Good Shepherd: namesake of this program

Yesterday I spent the whole day cleaning, organizing, purging the room from unwanted leftovers of yesteryear, and materials that are not age appropriate. 

Table covered with red cloth, candles, and prayer cards. Bookshelves with abacus, stamps, Playdoh, and more.
Our prayer corner and practical life works are much more attractive without distracting junk.

As I cleaned, I realized that there are a few things I ignored all year (out of habit) that are now within my power to fix. Take this faded construction paper… before classes resume in September, I’ll replace or cover it. I have time planned in the workshop to replace some of my first-attempt, makeshift materials with painted wood. The apple borders are an unnecessary decoration, and take away from the solemnity of the altar work.

Small wooden chairs and tables making a makeshift altar, lecturn, and tabernacle, with a calendar on corkboard.
I didn’t notice the black background was faded and torn. This sends a message to our students.

Becaise this experience is nee, it’s taking up a lot of mental energy to force myself to pay attention to the physical environment. But that’s one of the gifts of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and the Montessori approach in general. We are asked to slow down and pay attention to the unnamed or subconscious messages we send to children through objects and behavior.

Small, painted people in front of an altar table
Jesus said “I have sheep not from this sheepfold.” I painted these figures to represent [Left to Right]: Ireland, India, Bolivia, Germany, our Pastor Fr Sheridan, Lebanon, Uganda, Japan, USA, Australian Aboriginals.

Catechists have a lot of flexibility in the materials, so the physical materials can be an opportunity to set up students to later absorb some bigger theological concepts. For example, in an age of violent anti-Semitism, I find it critical to emphasize the Jewishness of Jesus and His first disciples.

12 Apostles and Jesus gather to celebrate the Passover Seder with four glasses of wine. We don’t know what they were singing on the way to the Mount of Olives, so I taught the kids “dayenu.”
Each Apostle is stamped with his name and a symbol representing his life or death.

I also developed a couple additional presentations that I want to document and share this summer, like the 3 socks of the 3 poor girls saved from slavery by St Nicholas, Bishop of Myra. This work fit in nicely with the parables about finding the hidden treasure in the field, and selling everything for the precious pearl.

Legend has it that St Nick threw 3 bags of gold into 3 stockings for poor girls in trouble.

This coming year, I hope to expand on this work in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd by using some of the principles, and even some materials, to teach adults who are new members in the church (RCIA). Adults as well as kids need the space to work with their hands, and reflect on their personal connection with the Good Shepherd.

Index cards, cotton balls, colored pencils, all make sheep
Adults like to color sometimes, too.

What do you enjoy about having a classroom? Or what would you add if you had one?

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