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LearningCycles series The Way of the Cross Creative Activities for Teaching the Passion

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Creative Activities for Teaching the Passion
LearningCycles series
The Way of the Cross

The LearningCycles series offers a creative approach to faith formation based on different learning styles, appropriate for K-5th graders.  Each LearningCycles unit generally includes seven workshops: Art, Story & Games, Drama & Activity, Music, Kitchen, Movie, and Publishing.  This series works well for whole family/intergenerational catechesis and is a great basis for grandparent camps or other vacation bible schools.

For centuries, Christians have walked Stations of the Cross as a way to engage in the mystery of Christ's death and resurrection. This resource uses some of the traditional stations to talk about what it means to fall down, to carry heavy burdens, to be a friend, to share comfort and to discover new life in unexpected ways.

Much of what we focus on this unit is rather dark, and sometimes we wonder how to present such things to our children. We believe the best answer is to tell the story as authentically and simply as possible. The story is powerful enough to touch hearts of any age. We don’t need to reduce the story to an over-simplified, sugar-coated fairy tale, but we also don’t want to get so mired in the violence and cruelty that we never get to the hope of Easter morning.

At the heart of this story are many complex emotions. Children can understand most of the emotions of this journey – fear, disappointment, compassion, betrayal, surprise, and most of all love. As beloved children of the Risen Christ, this story is their story too. We cannot keep it from them. We must trust that God will work in wonderful and mysterious ways to be more and more revealed to them as they walk this journey.

This LearningCycles unit is based on a simplified version of the Stations of the Cross (condensed into seven stations).

  • Art Workshop – Talk about falling and create a handprint wall hanging that can be used as a reminder of Lent. (Station #3: Jesus falls down)
  • Publishing Workshop – Learn about different styles of crosses and talk about carrying heavy burdens. (Station #1: Jesus carries his cross)
  • Drama Workshop – Talk about friendship and examine the interactions Jesus had with his friends on the way to the cross. (Station #2: Jesus is helped by his friends)
  • Movie Workshop – Watch scenes from a movie about being comforted and talk about the ways in which Jesus was comforted. (Supporting DVDs can be found for sale here.) (Station #4: Jesus is comforted)
  • Story Workshop – Read stories about the Cross and talk about nails. Optional activity for making crosses from nails. (Station #5: Jesus is nailed to the cross)
  • Kitchen Workshop – Use “Resurrection Rolls” to talk about how Jesus’ body was prepared and glimpse into the empty tomb. (Station #7: Jesus is laid in the tomb)
  • Music Workshop – Children will use music, motions, and noises to describe some of the emotions of Holy Week. (Station #6: Jesus dies)

Click to find additional resources for use with this unit.

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This is a downloadable, reproducible product sold with a lifetime parish or school license. Please read the full license terms below.

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This reproducible eResource is sold with a lifetime license for use within a parish, school, or diocesan office. You are allowed to make unlimited copies for use within your own community. You may also email these to members of your team or participants in your program. If you serve more than one parish or school, each should purchase its own license. You may not post our eResources to any web site without explicit permission to do so. Please contact us if you have any questions. Thank you for cooperating with our honor system regarding our product licenses.

Format: eResource
Product code: LR111
Dimensions: 8½" x 11"
Length: 42 pages
The Pastoral Center / LeaderResources
Written by Tracey E. Herzer