Written by the Sisters of Notre Dame, the new 2009 edition of Christ Our Life, grades 1-8, continues to provide the thorough foundation of our Catholic faith that the series has been known for. In this new edition we’ve paid special attention to helping children turn their learned faith into a lived faith.
- Original spiral curriculum ensures consistent progress and development
- Faith content is developed throughout with Scripture integrated into each lesson
- Four pillars of the Church—Creed, Sacraments, Commandments, and Prayer—are integrated
- Abundant prayer opportunities invite personal and communal prayer
- Catholic Social Teaching connects with real-life faith
A copy of the Catholic Prayer for Catholic Families is included with each Student Book allowing parents the convenience of having traditional prayers and suggestions for everyday prayer in one handy book.
Christ Our Life is found to be in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
View samples: http://www.loyolapress.com/christ-our-life-2009-view-online-samples.htm
About the Author
Since their founding in 1850, the Sisters of Notre Dame have embraced religious faith formation and identity as part of their congregation’s ministry. They authored Christ Our Life to extend theirr commitment to pass on the Catholic faith and through this new edition continue to provide solid doctrine, scripture, and tradition—with Jesus as the heart of every lesson.
The 2009 edition of Christ Our Life, grades 1–8, offers the original spiral curriculum first developed in 1973—a model that others imitate because it insures that fundamentals of our faith are taught and reinforced at all grades. Students and teachers will benefit from the extensive teacher preparation and resources. Christ Our Life nurtures catechists’ own faith as they prepare their lessons using in-depth preparation pages that precede every lesson.
Read an Excerpt
Welcome to Christ Our Life
Since 1973, Christ Our Life has taught children that Jesus is the one around whom each of our lives is centered. This thoroughly revised edition encourages prayer and guides children to a deeper personal relationship with Christ. It teaches them how to live out their faith in their daily lives and in communion with the Church. Based on a spiral curriculum, it integrates Scripture, Catholic doctrine and Tradition, and the Church’s social teachings into each lesson. Christ Our Life empowers teachers and parents to grow in their own faith as they pass on to children the love we find in Jesus.
To ensure consistent progress and development, the Christ Our Life series employs the spiral curriculum, originally introduced by Loyola Press in 1973. The program for each grade level builds upon previous ones, following a pattern of continuous growth in depth and scope.
At the heart of the Christ Our Life program is a harmonious integration of Scripture, tradition, and action. In the spiral curriculum, Scripture is centered between the four fundamental themes of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Creed, Sacraments, Morality, and Prayer. In addition, Catholic social teachings are woven into each chapter to encourage active participation in the faith.
- Student Book
- Two Music CDs
- Catechist’s Guide (School and Parish editions available)
- Blackline Masters, including assessments
- Catholic Prayer for Catholic Families
- Online Program Support www.christourlife.org
- Faith content is developed throughout with Scripture integrated into each lesson.
- Family resources connect family and faith to enrich the children’s experience.
- Traditional and familiar prayers invite personal and communal prayer.
- A Moment with Jesus provides opportunities for prayer in every chapter.
- Punchouts and pullouts bring the content to life in hands-on activities.
- Parish religious education and Catholic school needs are met using the same Student Book.
- Christourlife.org offers online support, including chapter reviews for the children to test their knowledge.
Appealing art and graphics capture children’s attention.
Prayer is integrated throughout using traditional and guided prayer.
Scripture and doctrine help children learn the traditions of the faith and know the Bible as God’s Word.
Two additional sections cover Special Seasons and Lessons and What Catholics Should Know.
Punchouts and pullouts in the back of the book provide hands-on, grade-specific activities.
- Review of the lesson involves parents in each chapter.
- Building Family Faith offers ideas and activities to reinforce learning and involve the family.
- Family resources are available online in Spanish.
- Family Feature at the end of each unit offers additional support for parents.
- Catholic Prayer for Catholic Families contains traditional prayers plus suggestions for everyday prayer. Free book for every Christ Our Life family.
School Teacher’s Guide
- Faith Focus is introduced in the first lesson and enriched in remaining lessons.
- Flexible structure adapts easily to include liturgical seasons and special feast days.
- The Catechist’s Handbook is included in every guide.
- Preparing for the Faith Experience offers background resources and support.
- Special Seasons and Lessons provide lessons on liturgical seasons and saints’ feast days.
- Saints and Feast Days provide a description of the lives of dozens of saints and the lessons they teach us.
- Web support and resources are featured at christourlife.org—register with access code XXX-XX-XXX.
- Lesson scripting for new catechists has flexibility built in for experienced catechists.
- Music suggestions are offered throughout each chapter and within the Catechist’s Handbook.
The Catechist’s Handbook
The Christ Our Life Catechist’s Handbook is included in every Catechist’s Guide. It provides essential information to help catechists build their programs on a strong foundation.
- The catechist’s important role in faith formation is featured as central.
- Background on children’s developmental stages and areas of growth in faith and spirituality supports catechist’s effectiveness.
- Teaching techniques, tools, and methods section offers ideas for variety and creativity.
- Music list provides age-appropriate resource recommendations for each chapter.
- Catechist tips provide novice catechists with important information on the basics of teaching.
Free components with every Teachert’s Guide
- Blackline Masters (includes assessments)
Online Support at www.christourlife.org
Christourlife.org is a free Web site that offers a wealth of resources to support and enhance the program content. To access protected catechist materials, you will need to register online with access code XXX-XX-XXX.
- Online Lesson Planning provides convenience to new and experienced catechists. Customized plans can be saved and modified for future use.
- Interactive Chapter Reviews allow children the opportunity to test their comprehension and prepare for upcoming assessments.
- Activity Finder offers over 400 activities for all grade levels and learning styles.
- Sunday Connection provides background information and classroom activities to explore the Sunday readings. This service is also available as a free weekly e-mail subscription.
- Blackline Masters for the entire program are conveniently available online for easy printing.
- Seasonal Resources feature great ways to connect faith to the liturgical year.
- Family Resources in Spanish are available online to print and send home for families whose primary language is Spanish.
Two teacher-preparation pages introduce the background information and preparation steps for each chapter. The preparation begins with the Faith Focus, which provides the theme of the lesson.
Reflecting on the Faith Experience encompasses a consistent three-step preparation process—Listening, Reflecting, Responding.
- Listening: A Scripture passage related to the Faith Focus invites the catechist to listen to God’s Word.
- Reflecting: A reflection on the theme provides background information and links the Faith Focus to the catechist’s own faith life.
- Responding: A prayer starter relates the chapter theme to the catechist’s role and invites a personal response to the Faith Focus of the lesson.
Preparing for the Faith Experience provides an overview of the themes for the lesson, as well as additional information to make lesson preparation easier.
- Multiple references to Scripture, the Catechism, and other resources provide background reading recommendations.
- Catholic Social Teaching themes are integrated throughout the program.
- Bulletin-board ideas and images are suggested for each chapter.
Three-Step Teaching Method
A three-step teaching method—Centering, Sharing, Acting—provides the children with routine and repetition to aid in understanding the content and learning to pray.
Step-by-step directions clearly show the progression of each step in the chapter. These numbered steps guide new and experienced catechists through the chapter.
Lesson activities focus on the three-step teaching method—Centering, Sharing, Acting.
- CENTERING: Activities that engage interest or provide review
- SHARING: Activities that present the message and lead the children in prayer
- ACTING: Activities that encourage the children to live the message
- Step-by-step numbered directions clearly show the progression of the lesson.
- Enriching the Faith Experience includes additional options for extending the lesson at the end of each chapter.
- Icons in each chapter make it easy to locate key elements: Prayer Opportunities, Catholic Social Teaching, Specific Teaching.
- Checkpoint questions help catechists assess the outcome of the lesson.
The Program Structure
The Christ Our Life series uses a holistic approach to faith formation. A variety of methods and techniques ensure that the Good News is conveyed in ways suited to various learning and teaching styles.
Each chapter can be spread over four or five days. Lessons for Days One through Four are designed to be 30–40 minutes long. Lessons for a fifth day can be developed by choosing one or more activities from the Extending the Chapter or Enriching the Faith Experience section.
Because children need structure and delight in predictability, the weekly lessons have a similar pattern:
- experiences leading to a faith message
- faith message, usually from the Bible
- creative activities to internalize the faith message
- and relate it to everyday life
- age-appropriate variety of prayer experiences
- application of the faith message to everyday life
Preparing for the Year
- Use the Planning Calendar on pages OV-14–OV-15 to develop plans based on your school calendar and the year’s activities, liturgical seasons, and feasts.
- In the column on the right, space is provided to note activities that will influence class time and content, such as dates of the movable seasons and days of the Church’s liturgical year, holidays, and celebrations in honor of Mary, such as a May crowning.
- Use the Table of Contents and your goals for the year to determine which chapters and special lessons you will teach. Note these on the Planning Calendar.
- To meet the needs of the children and to adapt to your local circumstances, you might combine or extendsome chapters.
- Write the Scripture verses used in each lesson on note cards and keep them in order in an envelope. When these Scripture verses are read during class, place the appropriate card in the Bible. Reading in this way will reinforce the children’s reverence for and understanding of the Bible as God’s Word.
- If you wish, remove the pullouts from the back of theStudent Books and plan to distribute them when needed.
- Write the children’s names in their books.
There is no adequate substitute for parental involvement in a child’s faith formation. Parents have the privilege and the responsibility to nurture the life of faith that their child received at Baptism. They are the child’s first and primary teachers in the ways of the faith.
“Adult catechesis, designed especially for parents, also helps them nourish their own faith, as well as that of their children. Such programs help parents to understand important issues in their own lives and the lives of their children, such as preparation for reception of the sacraments or the question raised by particular moral concerns in the light of the Catholic faith.” (National Directory for Catechesis #54, 10, C)
The Christ Our Life series encourages parents to share with their child their own response to God’s Word. A parent-catechist meeting held early in the school year helps parents more effectively guide their child in living the Catholic faith as he or she learns about it this year.
See the guidelines for a parent-catechist meeting and a sample meeting on pages T403–T406. Keep in mind that the children may come from a variety of family situations. Be careful to respect each child’s experience of what family means to him or her.
Preparing for the Week
Each chapter in this guide presents a wealth of ideas, prayer opportunities, teachable moments, and activities. The ideas on these pages can help you understand how each section functions and offer suggestions for how to use the program.
Background for the Lesson
- Prayerfully read the Listening and Reflecting sections.
- Conclude your preparation in prayer, using your own words or the prayer suggested in the Responding section.
- Use the suggested Scripture, Catechism, Church Documents references, and Scripture for Further Reflection for additional insights or clarification.
- Read the Learning Outcomes for each of the four days.
- Read the chapter in the Student Book.
- Review the Get-Ready Guide for suggested learning outcomes, an action plan, and additional background relating to the content to be taught. Gather necessary Materials for the lesson.
- Read the Enriching the Faith Experience suggestions at the end of the chapter. Activities from this section can substitute for activities found in the lesson or can be used to extend the lesson. Decide which options best meet the needs of the children.
- Annotate your manual. Make notes that will help the flow of the lesson. Use a highlighter to set off sections you plan to use.
- Familiarize yourself with the scripted teacher-talk in boldface type so that you can present the lesson in your own words as you teach. Avoid reading from the Catechist’s Guide.
After the Lesson
- Evaluate your lesson, using the Checkpoint at the end of the lesson plan to assess whether the outcomes have been met.
- Write follow-up comments on the lesson plan in your manual. Record ideas for improvement. Consult helpers, parents, and the children who participated in the class to help determine the activities that worked well and those that might be improved.
Online Lesson Planning
In addition to these ideas, you can create and customize your lesson plans at www.christourlife.org. Register online with access code XXX-XX-XXX. Features of christourlife.org include the following:
- Additional activities, which are available to integrate into your lesson
- Customized plans, which can be saved for future use
- An e-mail option that allows you to share your plan with others
- Personal notes, which can be added to your lesson plan
- A complete materials list, which can assist in class preparation
View samples: http://www.loyolapress.com/christ-our-life-2009-view-online-samples.htm
The following calendar alerts you to lessons, celebrations, meetings, and projects that require advance planning. Space is available in the right-hand column of each month for you to note other activities you may wish to conduct.
- In Chapter 6, the procedure for celebrating the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is reviewed. You may wish to teach this chapter earlier in the year. Lesson 9 in the Special Seasons and Lessons section has an additional plan for the celebration of this sacrament.
- You may wish to correlate the study of the Commandments with the Beatitudes.
1. Set the date and time for the parent-catechist meeting (pages T373–T375).
2. Plan your schedule for the lessons this year. If you wish, incorporate the lessons provided in Special Seasons and Lessons (SSL).
3. Remove the Scripture prayer booklets and other perforated matter from the student books if you prefer not to have the children do this.
1. Check on resources and materials needed for Chapters 1–4.
2. Plan for September feast days. (Saints and Feast Days, pages T338–T339)
1. Check on resources and materials needed for Chapters 5–8.
2. Plan for October feast days (Saints and Feast Days, pages T340–T343).
3. Plan for Feast of All Saints for November 1 (SSL 1, pages T262–T266).
4. Set the date and time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation in Chapter 6.
1. Check on resources and materials needed for Chapters 9–11.
2. Plan for November feast days (Saints and Feast Days, page T344).
3. Plan for Advent (SSL 2, pages T267–T272).
1. Check on resources and materials needed for Chapters 12–14.
2. Plan for December feast days (Saints and Feast Days, pages T345–T346).
3. Plan for Christmas (SSL 3, pages T273–T277).
1. Check on resources and materials needed for Chapters 15–16.
2. Plan for January feast days (Saints and Feast Days, pages T346–T347).
1. Check on resources and materials needed for Chapters 17–18.
2. Plan for February feast days (Saints and Feast Days, pages T347–T348).
3. Plan for Lent (SSL 4, pages T278–T284).
1. Check on resources and materials needed for Chapters 19–20.
2. Plan for March feast days (Saints and Feast Days, pages T348–T349).
3. Plan a celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent if you wish (SSL 9, pages T305–T308).
4. Plan for Holy Week and Easter (SSL 5, pages T285–T290 and SSL 6, pages T291–T295).
1. Check on resources and materials needed for Chapters 21–22.
2. Plan for April feast days (Saints and Feast Days page T349).
1. Check on resources and materials needed for Chapters 23–25.
2. Plan for May feast days (Saints and Feast Days page T350).
3. Plan for Pentecost (SSL 7, pages T296–T300).
4. Invite parents to a May crowning (SSL 10, pages T309–T312) or to the celebration at the end of Chapter 25.
SCOPE AND SEQUENCE
The fourth-grade program of the Christ Our Life series, God Guides Us, focuses on the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes as guides for living.
The children should
- grow in understanding and appreciation of God’s call to eternal life and his ever-present and loving guidance.
- choose to live the Commandments in the spirit of the Beatitudes.
Prayer in this grade
- Acts of Faith, Hope, Love, and Contrition
- Come, Holy Spirit (short form)
- Queen of Heaven
- Way of the Cross
- Morning Offering
Table of Contents
Program Overview OV-1
Planning Calendar OV-14
Scope and Sequence OV-16
We Come to Know God T1
Note to Families T1a Chapter 1 God Reveals Himself to Us Through His Son T2
Chapter 2 God Speaks to Us in Scripture T12
Chapter 3 God Speaks to Us Through the Church T22
Chapter 4 God Offers Us Eternal Life T32
God Strengthens Us to Be Holy T41
Chapter 5 We Are Called to Follow Jesus T42
Chapter 6 Jesus Invites Us to Receive God’s Mercy T52
Chapter 7 We Worship God T62
Chapter 8 God Gave Us Laws for Living T72
Chapter 9 We Honor Mary T82
We Love God T93
Chapter 10 We Show Our Love for God T94
Chapter 11 We Love All That Is Holy T104
Chapter 12 We Keep the Lord’s Day Holy T114
Chapter 13 We Grow in Holiness T124
We Love God’s People T135
Chapter 14 We Honor and Obey T136
Chapter 15 We Respect the Gift of Life T148
Chapter 16 We Are Faithful to Ourselves and Others T158
Chapter 17 We Respect What God Has Given Us T168
Chapter 18 We Respect the Gifts of the Earth T178
Chapter 19 We Speak the Truth with Love T188
Chapter 20 We Live God’s Laws T198
Jesus Leads Us to Happiness T207
Chapter 21 Happy Are the Poor in Spirit T208
Chapter 22 God’s Sorrowing and Meek People Receive a Special Promise T220
Chapter 23 God’s People Long to Be Clean of Heart and Holy T230
Chapter 24 God’s People Bring Mercy and Peace to Others T240
Chapter 25 God’s People Are Happy T250
Special Seasons and Lessons T261
The Year in Our Church T261
1 Feast of All Saints T262
2 Advent T267
3 Christmas T273
4 Lent T278
5 Holy Week T285
6 Easter T291
7 Pentecost T296
8 The Guardian Angels October 2 T301
9 Reconciliation Service T305
10 Queen of Heaven T309
What Catholics Should Know T313
What Catholics Should Know T313
Prayer and How We Pray T315
Prayers We Pray as Catholics T316
The Rosary T319
Mysteries of the Rosary T321
Stations of the Cross T322
Celebrating and Living Our Catholic Faith T323
Living Our Faith T327
The Bible and You T332
Showing Our Love for the World T333
Student Book Cover Prayers T335
Saints and Feast Days T337
Calendar of Saints and Feast Days T337
The Catechist’s Handbook T351
The Catechist’s Handbook T351
Profile of a Fourth Grader T352
Areas of Growth T353
The Catechist T354
Tips for Good Catechesis T356
What the Catechism Says to Catechists T357
Techniques and Tools of Teaching T358
Creative Activities T364
Teaching Exceptional Children T366
Multicultural Awareness T369
Catechist’s Resources T371
Parent-Catechist Meeting T373
Music List T376
Directory of Suppliers T383
Online Resources T385
Scripture Index T399