This time I'm more aware of how the system works. Let's see if we can't whip something up.
The title of the unit is "The Catholic Sacramental Vision", and the general idea is to give students a grounding understanding of what a sacrament is that will assist them in grasping particular sacraments later in the course.
A look at standards and content: The first thing we'll do is collect material from standards and textbooks that will all be broken down into Big Ideas, Essential Questions, and Understandings.
First let's look at the Diocese's official standards. Which ones will I be accomplishing with this unit?
- demonstrate an understanding of concepts underlying the Catholic sacramental life and its relationship to lived grace, ritual, prayer, and service.
- describe the relationship between Jesus, the Church, and the seven sacraments.
explain the meaning of the Mystery of the Incarnation, Paschal Mystery, Pentecost, Church as the Body of Christ, and their effect on the development of the seven sacraments.
- identify major developments in the history of the sacraments.
- explain what realities of human life are celebrated by each of the sacraments.
- identify the major symbols used in each of the sacraments and the key aspects of ritualizing these sacraments.
- explain Eucharist as the source and summit of Christian lifestyle.
- examine and explain the liturgical year as an expression of the sacramental life of the Church.
I bolded the areas that are appropriate to this topic. Notice that I left the issue of "service" out. Originally I planned to devote an entire unit to this topic. However, I now see that it fits particularly well in the unit about the Eucharist as the "Source and Summit" of Christian life--hence also the source and summit of service.
Now let's look at my expanded version:
- The Catholic Sacramental Vision
- Investigate different ways in which the desire for God manifests in every person.
- Explain the distinctive nature of Christian prayer and its vitality to human life.
- Differentiate between “chronos” and “kairos” and assess attitudes towards time using these distinctions; identify liturgical time as “kairos”.
- Examine the origins of the words “sacrament” and “mystery” and trace their development toward referring to the seven sacraments.
- Categorize signs, symbols, and sacraments based on the notion of sacrament as a sign that makes present what it signifies.
- Differentiate between private prayer, communal devotion, liturgy, sacramental, and sacrament.
- Recite the definition of a sacrament from CCC #1131.
- Outline the four-fold pattern of all liturgical prayer.
- Differentiate the seven sacraments from the broader category of human ritual.
- Explain grace and locate where grace is operative within Christian prayer and the sacraments; leitourgia
- Compose a diagram of the roots of the seven sacraments, especially in the words and actions of Jesus.
Now let's see what kinds of stuff my textbooks talk about:
- Sacramental awareness: sense of the sacred; dullness to the sacred and its causes--busyness, suffering, ignorance. The cure: taking a closer look.
- Grace: God's loving presence in the world
- Ways of communication -> body language -> God's body language (all the hints of God in everyday life--'sacrament' in a little sense -> friendship as a sacrament of God's love.
- Listening and responding = sacramental skills
- Symbols - in-depth explanation. Symbol vs. Sign (plural vs. singular meanings; symbols are natural; symbols are deeper); Cultural vs. universal symbols. Literal vs. symbolic thinking; Symbols as the "language of faith"; sacraments as symbols
- Rituals as symbols in action. Practical vs. symbolic action; sacramental rituals combine these. Ritual vs. routine. Ritual as play. Characteristics: meaningful movements/gestures; repetition; symbols; connection to important past events; significant words; active participation. Sacrifice. Ritual vs. magic.
- sacraments are the "especially priviledged moments in which Christ communicates his grace through certain words and actions"
- Prayer - all kinds. Prayer roots us and then uproots us.
- The Church as a Sacrament of unity
- Definition of a sacrament
Patricia Morrison Driedger:
- Signs vs. symbols
- Christ as the primary celebrant of the liturgy
- Liturgy as an anticipation of heaven (play); souls in heaven in liturgical communion with the Trinity and each other.
- Common vs. ministerial priesthood
- Why you go to Mass vs. not
- God is outside of time but he enters into time so that we might know him
- Annual Christian feasts, esp. Easter, the first.
- In the liturgical year, the Church unfolds the Paschal mystery--pillars
- Sunday, Lord's day, 8th day of the week, 1st day of creation, 1st day of new creatino
- unform liturgy unites people
- liturgy of the hours: praise offers in the midst of life
- liturgy not tied to any one place
- liturgical objects
Very different emphases here. In my case, time is of the essence. I will not be able to cover everything. I bolded stuff that I would especially like to communicate.
Now let's speculate on possible student misunderstandings about the sacraments:
- The main difference between a "good" and a "bad" Mass is how it makes you feel, during and afterward.
- The primary purpose of the sacraments is to teach people good behavior.
- Rituals are meaningless repititions for the sake fostering conformity.
- God doesn't care about how or when we pray.
- God doesn't normally speak to us.
- Symbols are nice for poetry, but in the real world, ordinary speaking is all that we need.
Good. I think that covers it. Now let's gather this mess into a unit.
First, we need to divide the material into their three priorities: (1) Big Ideas and Core Tasks; (2) Important to Know and Do; and (3) Worth Being Familiar With
(1) Big Ideas and Core Tasks
Big Ideas: symbolic communication, ritual, sacramental awareness, dual sense of sacrament, grace, sacred time
- Communicate using symbols; interpret created and natural symbols; interpret nature along theological lines.
- Design meaningful and purposeful ritual.
- Reflect on the meaning and the movement of Grace in a particular Mass.
(Understandings are below)
(2) Important to Know and Do
- Essential terms: sign, symbol, sacrament/Sacrament, ritual, grace, kyros.
- The difference and interrelation between sign and symbol.
- The distinction and interrelation between practical and symbolic in ritual.
- Observe and recall specific words and actions at Mass.
(1) Worth Being Familiar With
- Word origins and meanings: sacrament, sacrifice, mystery, liturgy.
- Active participation as a central concern of liturgical reforms in the 1960s.
- Forms of prayer, their advantages; Prayer as rooting-then-uprooting us.
Now, I need to remind myself about the characteristics of Understandings and Essential Questions:
- Cause genuine and relevant inquiry into the Big Ideas and core content.
- Provoke deep thought, lively discussion, sustained inquiry, and new understanding as well as more questions.
- Require students to consider alternatives, weigh evidence, support their ideas, and justify their answers.
- Stimulate vital, ongoing rethinking of big ideas, assumptions, prior lessons.
- Spark meaningful connections with prior learning and personal experiences.
- Naturally recur, creating opportunities for transfer to other situations and subjects.
Also, EQs have the following types:
- Topical vs. Overarching
- Open vs. Guiding
Let's construct two pairs of matching topical and overarching questions related to this unit:
- Topical: Why does the Catholic Church use ritual as a means of transmitting the goods offered by Jesus? Overarching: What difference does it make in life whether one operates with a symbolic awareness or a purely literal awareness?
- Topical: What role does time play in the Catholic sacramental vision? Overarching: Does God care about how or when we pray?
In the case of Understandings, it will be especially important to tie these to the "Big Ideas": symbolic communication, ritual, sacramental awareness, dual sense of sacrament, grace, sacred time
As with my "essential questions", I can synthesize these basically into two "Huge Ideas": the first dealing with human action and communication that is deliberately meaningful, and the second dealing with the presence and movement of God within that action. Let's take those two and extract some understandings that we can pick from.
Why study ritual? So what? - Ritual is as old as human kind, from which we infer that something in human nature craves ritual. Ritual seems to be a very basic and universal way that humankind communicates with reality, both seen and unseen. No other human phenomenon--not entertainment, labor, or even sex--has commanded quite the depth, seriousness, and profundity as ritual--except when these things have been integrated with it.
What larger concept, issue, or problem underlies ritual? - Ritual is deeply ingrained in our nature, but in our alienation and our modernity, we have lost touch with the skills and habits of ritual people. Specifically, our perception has become literal, and it has become more and more difficult to see with poetic and spiritual eyes.
What couldn't we do if we didn't understand ritual? - Besides completely missing the point of the Mass and being unable to participate in it mindfully, if we do not educate ourselves about ritual, our understanding of human beings will be very incomplete. More to the point, if we do not develop skills in perceiving and acting through symbol and ritual, we ourselves will be incomplete--our view and our understanding will be truncated, bare, and literalistic.
blah blah blah. I have to watch the clock here, so I'm going to skip the rest of this and get straight to the point. Some things I need to keep in mind:
An Understanding is: (note that there is an 'or' between each of these)
- An important inference, drawn from the experience of experts, stated as a specific and useful generalization.
- A transferable, big idea having enduring value beyond a specific topic.
- An abstract, counterintuitive, and easily misunderstood idea.
- Best acquired by "uncovering" (i.e., it must be developed inductively, coconstructed by learners) and "doing" the subject (i.e., using the ideas in realistic settings and with real-world problems.
- A summary of important strategic principles in skill areas.
- It has endured over time and across cultures because it has proven so important and useful.
- It should endure in the mind of the student because it will help the student make sense of the content and it will enable transfer of the key ideas.
Two matched pairs of understandings:
- Topical: A sacramental awareness consists of symbolic communication and a spiritual openness to God's presence in the ordinary. Overarching: Ritual is a basic way that we collectively communicate with reality, both seen and unseen.
- Topical: The traditional forms of Catholic worship serve as mutual communications in the relationship between the Church and the Lord; this is the source of their power. Overarching: Our choices in prayer are relevant to God insofar as they manifest our will (or lack thereof) to holy love.
GOOD. I spent a lot of time on that. Moving on.
IF the desired result is for learners to...
- A sacramental awareness consists of symbolic communication and a spiritual openness to God's presence in the ordinary.
- Ritual is a basic way that we collectively communicate with reality, both seen and unseen.
- The traditional forms of Catholic worship serve as mutual communications in the relationship between the Church and the Lord; this is the source of their power.
- Our choices in prayer are relevant to God insofar as they manifest our will (or lack thereof) to holy love.
And thoughtfully consider the QUESTIONS:
- Why does the Catholic Church use ritual as a means of transmitting the goods offered by Jesus?
- What difference does it make in life whether one operates with a symbolic awareness or a purely literal awareness?
- What role do time and rubrics play in the Catholic sacramental vision?
- Does God care about how or when we pray?
Then, you need evidence of the student's ability to...
- Sacramental awareness
- Student-designed symbols
- Natural objects and phenomena for theological meaning
- Designing a meaningful opening ritual
- Interpreting actions and gestures of ancient ritual
SEE FROM THE POINTS OF VIEW OF
- Faithful Catholics in locales where sacramental awareness is still strong
- Those for whom ritual--a Rosary, a prayer--has become their last grasp on life's meaning.
- One's own level of "sacramental awareness".
- What messages God may be trying to communicate that have gone unheard.
So the assessments need to require something like...