By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
Schools across the diocese took different approaches to educating their students about the pope’s visit to the United States. At diocesan schools, individual teachers planned what papal coverage they wanted in their classroom or as part of homework.
Here is a sampling of what happened last week during Pope Francis’ first U.S. visit:
In Alec Clark’s fifth-grade class at Lourdes Catholic School in Bettendorf, students viewed an interactive map of the pope’s journey to the U.S. They intertwined learning about Ground Zero in New York City with studies about St. Junipero Serra, who Pope Francis canonized during his U.S. trip. Clark’s students also were assigned to watch one papal event and write a summary about what happened, along with a few sentences on Pope Francis.
At Regina Junior/Senior High School in Iowa City, junior high students gathered in the multipurpose room while high school students went to the gym to watch the pope’s address to Congress, said Principal Glenn Plumber.
Seventh-graders in Colleen Tallman’s class at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Davenport researched Pope Francis’ life prior to his election to the papacy. Students were assigned nightly journal entries in which they focused on an article they read or a broadcast they watched during his U.S. visit. “Each day we talked about what they learned and what Pope Francis’ message was to the particular audience.” Kindergartners at St. Paul’s celebrated with cupcakes and prayer and colored a picture of the pope.
At Assumption High School in Davenport, students in honors Spanish 4 class watched the pope as he spoke at St. Patrick in the City Parish in Washington, D.C. The students listened to the message in Spanish. Teacher Jodi Smith said, “When the pope said the Our Father in Spanish, I was so pleased that our students could recite it along with the pope. They enjoyed watching it, as well as understanding the prayer and the pope’s message in his native tongue.”
At Keokuk Catholic Schools, students discussed the pope’s arrival, his messages and each day’s visit during morning circle prayer. They also talked about the canonization of St. Junipero Serra. Individual classes did writings, drawing and watch several of the pope’s events on television.
At St. Ambrose University in Davenport, a television was set up in the gathering space at Christ the King Chapel for students to watch papal events.