Since this is a very new and unfamiliar way for us to facilitate our PSR program this year, rather than make a PDF guide on the how to’s for PSR families and email it out to everyone once at the start of the year, I’ve decided to make a post on our parish website that I can update as needed as the year unfolds. Despite all our best efforts, I’m sure there will be some hiccups and challenges this year, especially in the beginning as we all learn how to to use each piece of the program and work-out any kinks, so as difficulties arise I will be going back to add/edit/clarify or give workarounds that may be needed for some devices or situations on this post. If you run into a problem, please refresh this post to ensure you have the latest version and check my comments or directions. If you still are having a problem, are confused about something, or just need some guidance, please reach out to me via email or at the parish office. I’m happy to give direction and encouragement as I can — I may not have the answer off the top of my head, but I promise to help and support you in these new ways of learning and facilitating lessons as we work together for your children’s religious education.
For our Parish School of Religion this year, there will be two web applications we’ll be using: Google Classroom and a new digital textbook series by Sophia Institute called Spirit of Truth. I hope the guide that follows will be helpful to communicate the “lay of the land” for this year of religious education and to help you navigate these two web applications for yourself and to communicate to your child.
There are helpful links on our parish website to make accessing Spirit of Truth for both students and parents/teachers and the various Google Classroom pages for our different grade levels as easy as possible — See Below. Please note them under FAITH LIFE -> PSR Program. Under the sub-menu for PSR Classrooms are links to the particular Google Classroom pages for our PSR Grade Levels. The Spirit of Truth link under the PSR program menu goes to the web browser login for the Student Portal (Ideally, students can use the App on an iPad or tablet device in the home as this will work best – but you can access the digital workbook via a web browser if needed). The Parent-Teacher Login link takes you to the teacher login page where parents can log in to access the lesson plans to facilitate in the home.
Please give this entire post a read first before attempting to follow some of the directions. Some things are referenced early on and later explained more fully in this post. Thanks.
GOOGLE CLASSROOM FOR PSR
Place and Use of Google Classroom for PSR Grade Levels
Each PSR grade level will have its own Google Classroom page which families will be invited to join after they register the child(ren) for PSR this year. I’ll begin inviting families to join these classroom pages on Wednesday, 9 September. In order to accept the invitation and join the Google Classroom, you must either have a Gmail.com account or a Google Account. If you don’t have a Gmail.com email address or have an email address tied to a Google Account, you can easily use your current family email address (be it yahoo, att.net, columbus.rr.com,etc.) to be your Google Account username and then to set up a password for the account. Click here to set up a Google Account with your existing email and be sure to click “use my current email instead”
For each PSR grade level, the Google Classroom will be our “home base” of sorts from which weekly lessons will spring – be them facilitated by parents in the home or virtually about every other Sunday thru a virtual class using Google Meet or Zoom to gather the children together in community. With the Hybrid PSR plan, teachers and parents will be on a rotation walking the children through the lessons to come to better know, love, and serve the Lord Jesus. Our first PSR session will be virtual with the teacher on Sunday, 13 September from 10.10 – 10.50 am thru the Google Classroom pages. The schedule of Virtual and Parent-led sessions can be found on the main PSR page ( here ) and below.
** High School PSR **
Those young people attending high school PSR this year will only use Google Classroom and Meet or Zoom. They will not use the Spirit of Truth program.
Google Classroom for a Virtual Sessions between teacher and class
On the Sunday of a virtual PSR lesson, please help your child log in to their PSR Classroom page. On the default Classroom page called “stream”, the teacher will post a link to the video conference call around 10.05 am. If you visit the page too early, the link may not be there, so just refresh the page on occasion before 10.10 am until the link appears from the teacher. Help your child click the link to join – they may be asked whether or not to allow access to the device’s camera and microphone. We do encourage the kids to be as present as possible in the virtual way as they can with a camera and microphone. The teacher will lead the children in prayer and facilitate the lesson for that day. The teacher may choose to end the virtual lesson a bit early to give the child time to complete an activity or two with the Spirit of Truth student app/website. Or, the teacher may assign some of the activities to be done at some point during the week for reinforcement.
PSR Virtual Sundays
Sept: 13 and 27
Oct: 11 and 25
Nov: 8 and 22
Dec: 6 and 20
Jan: 10 and 24
Feb: 7 and 21
Mar: 7 and 21
Apr: 11 and 18
May: 2 and 16
Google Classroom for parent-facilitated lessons with their child
Between the Virtual Sunday Session and that Tuesday evening, your child’s teacher will post a guide for parents on their Google Classroom page for the parent-facilitated lesson. This guide will communicate to you which lesson is next is that parents will facilitate in the home over the next week and a half and some suggestions as to the warm-up activity, lesson activity, etc.. Parents will have access to the teacher’s lesson via their Spirit of Truth parent login but will have to make some adaptations as these lessons are designed for in-class/in-person. If you have several kids at home somewhat close in age, you could have an older child sit-in on the younger child’s lesson as a peer so they could do some discussion, group-tasks, and activities together. We ask that the home lesson be 30-45 minutes in length — so not all activity options need to be done each week — the teacher will identify a couple for you to do with your child. You may comment on teacher posts for any more information or questions. Brian McCauley will also be trying to watch posts to supports parents as needed.
PSR Parent-Facilitated Lessons
Oct: 4 and 18
Nov: 1, 15 and 29
Jan: 17 and 31
Feb: 14 and 28
Mar: 14 and 28
SPIRIT OF TRUTH – OVERVIEW VIDEO
SPIRIT OF TRUTH – STUDENT APP & WEBSITE
There is a Spirit of Truth Student Portal/Digital Student Workbook to complement and reinforce the lessons facilitated by parents and teachers. The student portal was written first to be an App for an iPad or tablet device and later translated to work in any web browser. The portal works best if the student can install the App and run it on an iPad or Tablet. If this isn’t an option, there is a website you can visit and login via the browser — some interactions may be a bit awkward or clunky using a mouse or trackpad since it was designed with touch-screen gestures in mind.
Download App or Use Web Browser
Here are the links:
** Update on Student App: Since the Student App was written for iPad’s and other tablets, if you choose to use it via a web browser, you need to use your mouse or trackpad with gestures similar to a tablet. For example, when you login and come to the Unit/Lesson slider, you can point and click on an activity to complete, you must hold-click and drag the slider so it moves. Whatever activity is centered in the white selector box is what you can click on to launch.
Spirit of Truth – Student Login Credentials
Unless you’ve been emailed something different, your child’s login name is the first letter of their first name and entire last name followed by 43130. For example, John Smith’s login would be jsmith43130. Your child’s password is their date of birth in this format: DDMMYYYY. For example, if your child’s birthday is June 25, 2006, their password would be 06252006. Please ensure your child’s username and password works sooner than later.
SPIRIT OF TRUTH – TEACHER-PARENT ACCESS
Login Credentials for Parents
With the PSR Hybrid model, parents will be facilitating the lesson about every other week with their child using the teacher edition with the lesson plan on the teacher portal of the Spirit of Truth website. You can access the parent-teacher login via our parish website under the Faith LIfe – PSR Program or via this link ( here ). For all parents, I’ve used the email you registered with to PSR as both your email address for the username and email address for your password. To be clear, both your email address and password is initially set to your email address. Once logged in, I strongly encourage you to change your password by clicking the 3 vertical dots in the top right corner of the window and drilling down to select “change password” from the menu. Please ensure you can log in sooner than later.
USING THE SESSION PLANS in the TEACHER EDITION for PARENTS to FACILITATE the LESSON
Parent-Teachers will need to review each lesson and do some preparation as to which parts of the lesson they will lead their child through and what adaptations they will make to the lesson since it will be facilitated in the home and not the classroom. Please allow yourself 30 minutes each week to review the lesson and make preparations. Not all of the Warm-Up or Activities will need to be completed. It’s best to think of a lesson as a toolbox full of different tools you can select from to teach a lesson. If you were to do every option and part of the lesson, it would take about 90 minutes. For the parent-facilitated lessons, we suggest you choose 1-3 of all the activity options to do with your child so the entire lesson, prayer, warm-up, activities, etc. takes between 30-45 minutes in total.
Here is a short video of how to navigate the lesson on the teacher portal… each section is further explained for our PSR program below in the different sections that follow.
PARTS OF A LESSON IN THE TEACHERS GUIDE
Unit Overview (picture below)
At the beginning of each unit, there is a Catechist Introduction which introduces in an adult-level the content that the teacher or parent will be communicating to the children in the various unit sessions. The series doesn’t expect teachers and parents to have a formal education in theology so the lesson overview is a means to develop the teacher/parents understanding of the topic in theology so as to better support them in teaching the material and responding the questions the children may ask on the topics at hand. Please read the unit catechist overview before teaching the lessons within that unit. Since parents will be teaching every other week, this unit overview may even be worth reading as you prepare for each session to bring the content back in your minds.
Lesson Overview (picture below)
Once you select a Session within a Unit on the left column, the main page will display the Lesson Overview tab to give you the learning goals, vocabulary (for the teacher), Catechism references if the teacher wants to do more reading for preparation, materials that could be needed, and the prayer for the session.
Lesson Planning – Warm-Up (picture below)
After you review the Lesson Overview, select the Lesson Planning tab and the main content window will change and you’ll now see two sub-tabs: Warm-Up and Activities toward the top. The Lesson Planning window will note to begin the lesson with prayer then facilitate the warm-up activity with your child. Again, do your best to select/adapt the parts of the warm-up that can be done with your child in the home since we aren’t holding classroom sessions at this time.
Lesson Planning – Activities (picture below)
After you review the warm-up, click on the sub-tab toward the top called Activities. On this page, you could see anywhere from 2-6 different lesson plan activities — remember if every activity option is done the lesson would take about 90 minutes. Teachers should include on their Google Classroom posts some direction for parents on the weeks when they are to facilitate the lesson as to what activities options might be best for the home. If there is an occasion when a teacher doesn’t give any direction as far as which activities to do for the lesson in the home, please look them all over and select 2-3 that can be most easily adapted to be done with your child in the home. Additionally, there are follow-up interactive activities on the Student App for each lesson that can be done – these are always identified in bold font within the lesson to designate them as activities in the Student App to be completed. I strongly suggest your child does at least 2 of the Student App Activities for each lesson in the home for accountability.
SUMMARY – LESSON FLOW PLAN
Opening Prayer (Lesson Overview Tab)
Lesson Plan – Warm-up (Lesson plan tab)
A few of the Lesson Plan Activities (Activities tab)
The child completes 2 of the Student App activities for the lesson either within the Activity time or during the week as reinforcement.
Offer of Support
Again, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me by phone or email if you’re struggling or having difficulties and we’ll try to figure things out together. You are welcome to ask your child’s teacher questions by commenting on their posts, but especially with more technical questions, I encourage you to just come to me.