A blessed month of October to all!
We have been busy preparing for an exciting Church School year, planning a number of new projects that should be available within the next few months. In the meantime, we want to share some of our news and wish everyone a fruitful Religious Education year!
Mini Teaching Units
Lately, we have been receiving inquiries on how a teacher could use our resources as part of a more comprehensive curriculum, with a common theme not necessarily linked to a specific time of the year. Our lessons and online material are already organized according to broader themes and seasons, however, we were intrigued to combine some of them into mini teaching units.
We just uploaded a new webpage, which showcases several such mini units, each one with an overarching theme. Every unit can be taught over the course of a few weeks, with each lesson illustrating the main theme in a different way.
Even if you have used some of these resources in the past, they are worth exploring again. As our online material has been accumulating, even we discover things that we have forgotten we created ourselves!
GOArch Teacher Certification Program
For the past two years, Orthodox Pebbles creator Natalie Tzobanakis has been working on the Teacher Certification Program of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. She is now excited to be getting close to its completion! Admittedly, it has been a long process, but a very rewarding one, and this is why we are sharing this here, hoping to inspire fellow religious educators to follow the same path.
Natalie can confidently say that the program provided her with a deeper knowledge of the theology and practices of our Church, and a more concrete foundation on religious education methods, while also offering an opportunity for personal reflection and introspection. Overall, she feels that she gained the ability to respond to challenges in the classroom more effectively, organize more comprehensive lessons, and better serve our youth in developing their own relationship with Christ.
If you are not familiar with this program, we definitely recommend checking it out!
Retreats by Orthodox Pebbles
We have been receiving inquiries about retreats these past few weeks, and we realize that now is the time that many parishes plan their activities for the year. We would love to come to your own space to organize a creative and interactive educational event for young and old alike! All participants will delve deeper into an Orthodox theme, while the adults will also explore ways to effectively teach a religious education topic, at home or in the Church School classroom.
As an alternative to a live Orthodox Pebbles retreat, we will be more than happy to help you plan your own event, with custom-made material according to your parish needs.
Please feel free to CONTACT US!
Old Testament resources/New Antiochian Archdiocese curriculum
We were very excited to learn that the Department of Christian Education of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America recently launched a new curriculum on the Old Testament. The first part is now available, and they plan to keep working on this theme throughout the year. Their other activities, such as the creative festivals, will also be based on the Old Testament.
For a while, we have been thinking of doing more work on the Old Testament, so this gives us one more reason to do so. Expect to see new Old Testament posts on our website this year – some especially prepared with the Antiochian Archdiocese curriculum in mind. In the meantime, we already have free crafts and teaching printables for you to use if you are exploring the following Old Testament themes:
- The Ladder of Jacob
- Moses and the Burning Bush
- The Ark of the Covenant
- Aaron and the Staff that sprouted
- Gideon and the Fleece
- Isaiah and the Tongs
- Ezekiel and the Sealed Gate
- Daniel and the Mountain Unhewn
- Zachariah and the Seven-light Lampstand
Even if you are not following the curriculum by the Antiochian Archdiocese, working on the Old Testament is most appropriate for the months preceding the Nativity of Christ. You can combine the above material with our free lesson on the prefigurations of the Theotokos. We have also created a craft kit on the same theme, containing gaming cards and crafting templates to help offer a rich learning experience.
Fall teaching material
As always, the resources on our website that are most appropriate for the current season have been grouped together on these pages:
We extend our warmest wishes to all our friends and fellow Orthodox religious educators. May we all have a blessed Church School year!