Introduce the theme of the lesson: ‘Catholic Social Teaching’ – guidelines to help us remember how God wants us to live.
Start by revisiting the principles of Catholic Social Teaching (CST) or, if you haven’t done the previous lesson, provide a short introduction to them here.
Ask pupils to name any of the seven principles that they can remember. Then click to reveal the seven principles
• Ask pupils what they remember about each. Then click to reveal detail.
• Ask pupils to note this information in their books. They could do this creatively, by drawing themselves in the centre of the page surrounded by the principles with short descriptions.
This exercise asks pupils to read news stories and consider how the events affect our human family.
By applying the principles of CST to the news, the pupils will be able to judge not only whether something is wrong but why it is wrong.
• Divide up the class into pairs or groups of 3.
• Hand out a newspaper and a set of coloured pens (7 different colours) to each pair or group.
• Tell the pupils to look through the newspapers to find examples of events where CST principles are involved. These could be examples either of where they’ve been upheld or where they’ve been ignored.
o For example: a report about a war or refugees would touch on Dignity of the Human Person and Care for the Vulnerable; a report on the climate crisis would touch on Care for God’s Creation.
o Tell pupils that the headline and first paragraph alone ought to give them enough information – they don’t need to read the whole of every story.
• Ask pupils to highlight the headline in the corresponding colour of the CST principle. (If you don’t have all the colours, don’t worry; the pupils can make their own coding system, perhaps using initials.)
o Some stories will touch on more than one principle. Highlight all that apply.
• Don’t strive for a completely accurate list of principles matched to stories. It’s the exercise in directed reading that’s important.
After 5- 10 minutes of highlighting, take stock of how pupils are progressing.
• Ask for a few examples of articles highlighted.
• Are pupils spotting much the same articles or different ones?
• Do some colours appear more than others?
• What sort of a picture is emerging from today’s news?
Continue with the exercise until you feel it is time to move on.
Invite group sharing.
• Ask pairs/groups to select two or three articles they wish to read in full.
• As they read through, they should highlight anything that further touches on the CST principles.
• Then, ask them to write down:
o What the story is about
o What CST principles they think it touches on and why
o What they think ought to be done to improve the situation for the people involved OR how CST principles are being upheld
o Be ready to present the story to the class.
When all have had a chance to do this:
• Ask a pair at a time (perhaps 3-5 pairs in total) to come to the front to talk through an article.
• Invite everyone to join in generating ideas towards finding a solution.
Or if you prefer:
• Team up pairs/groups with another pair/group to look at each other’s work and share ideas on what could be done.
The above task will have prepared the pupils to work individually.
• Ask pupils to choose one issue they’ve read about and write a paragraph on what they think can be done to resolve it or to protect those involved.
• Ask them to include a way in which they can play a part.
Click to reveal ideas of how they can play a part:
– Telling others about it e.g. friends and family
– Donating to a charity involved
– Donating toys to charity shops
– Praying about it
– Being more ‘green’ and recycling or reusing more, turning off lights at home
– Being more respectful to others, using kind language
– Writing to their MP, council, person in charge
• Take a few ideas and discuss any school or parish activities they could get involved with.
This is the end of the news exercise and marks a distinct change in tone.
• Ask children to look at their hands – has any ink has rubbed off on them?
• Say words to the effect of:
Sometimes reading the news leaves a mark not just on our hands but on our minds. News writers make the news sensational so that people will read it and that means that shocking events get a lot of publicity. You might end up thinking that the world is a frightening place. But it’s not.
• If possible, invite the pupils to wash their hands. If not, give them the chance to stand up, shake themselves down, stretch and physically change position.
• Remind pupils that:
Click to play a montage of images to music of some of the good things in God’s creation.
Draw the lesson to a close with the following teaching in these or your own words:
Solving the world’s problems is not down to us. We only participate in God’s plan for His creation. But we can play a part in God’s plan simply by being kind and compassionate people in the small ways that present themselves every day.
Invite children to join together in a prayer of thanksgiving:
When I have food,
help me to remember the hungry.
When I go to school,
help me to remember those who cannot.
When I am at home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all.
When I am in good health,
help me to remember those who are ill.
And in remembering, help me feel compassion
and be concerned enough to help
those who cry out for what we take for granted.