Tuesday, October 2, 2012

CONFIRMATION: Reflection Journals

One of the main goals in confirmation should be to find out what the students think about what they've been taught.  The higher order of Bloom's Taxonomy of action verbs expects students to be able to apply their knowledge to situations, to break down ideas and find support for them, to take ideas and come up with or propose new conclusions, and to defend judgments based on evidence.  You want students to be able to develop, argue, explain, illustrate, compare/contrast, infer, summarize, justify, and even criticize. 

A confirmation journal is a great way to have students practice those things as long as the requirements are appropriate.  If you have students simply tell you what they learned in one paragraph, you need to have them write another applying it to their lives.  Be sure to require them to write it using their own words, complete sentences and correct capitalization and punctuation.  And by all means, remind them that it's ok to disagree as long as they tell you why, it's ok to be unsure about things, and it's definitely ok for them to be honest about what they think

Specific Weekly Journal

Sample questions: 
  • What life lessons have you learned about the Parable of the Sower?  How would you explain that parable to a friend?
  • Write the meaning of the first petition of the Lord's Prayer in your own words.  Many of your friends (and perhaps you yourself) do not honor this petition.  Give at least three reasons why you think the world has such little reverence for God's name.
  • Let's imagine for a minute that you were created by an all-powerful being who is so pure that anything the least bit dirty is immediately destroyed if it gets too close to him.  You know that it's only a matter of time before you will face him.  You know there's a book out there that gives you the secret to survival.  What do you do?  What are the requirements for survival and can you survive?
  • What do you find most confusing about the sacrament of the altar or Holy Communion?  A lot of churches believe different things than we do.  What are some of them?  Explain why it matters.
  • Give an example of a situation when somebody might not be baptized but can be saved and give an example of a situation when somebody might be baptized and may not be saved.
General Weekly Journal

If you want them to do a general reflection every week have some guidelines:
  1. List one thing that you found interesting, surprising, or that you disagree with or have questions about.  Tell me why that was your choice.
  2. Tell me how it changed your thinking.
  3. Tell me how it should change your life or the lives of others.
Be sure you collect them and read them from time to time and make positive comments!  I would bet it won't be long before these become the highlight of your week.

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