Kathy DeBellis Capstone Project 2018

Kathy DeBellis
kathy.debellis@yahoo.com 
St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church
Seminole, Florida

DDBC Summer 2018

 

Our Catholic Ancestry, The Jesse Tree Website

Faith practices begin at home and are essential for family Catholic identity.  Teaching Faith Formation to parish children once a week for a 90-minute session has its challenges. Because of time restraints, the 90-minute lesson must be well organized, easily understood and engaging to be effective.  Preparing for an upcoming class, using digital technology such as a custom website, can begin at home during the week allowing for more time for a deeper and enriched learning experience in the classroom.  It would also be accessible for children that miss class or are homeschooled.

Web 2.0 and Digital Discipleship Boot Camp

The first generation of the World Wide Web (WWW) was mostly static HyperText Markup Language (HTML) pages for reading and information whereas the second generation or Web 2.0 embraced a social culture.  It has become an interactive dynamic web experience for people to collaborate and share information online using social media, blogging and Web-based platforms.  It is a people-oriented technology movement that is easy to use, even by non-experts.

Digital Discipleship Boot Camp (DDBC) https://ddbcformation.org/overview/course-info/ is a structured course of study that offers survival skills to parish Catechetical leaders of any level and anyone else interested in how web-based technology and social media can be applied in ministry settings.  This is an excellent course to build on your technology skills by participating in eight modules that develop hands-on training in areas such as social media platforms, blogs, wikis, website creation, and other web-based applications.

The Jesse Tree Website

There are many website builders to choose from on the internet.  Cloud-based wix.com is a free hosted website builder.  This means they provide everything you need for a complete website: the editor, the web space and a domain name. Premium plans are available for purchase.

Using Wix, I created a website, https://debelliskathy62.wixsite.com/advent/welcome for my parish Faith Formation students to learn about our Catholic ancestry using a Jesse Tree activity during Advent.  Students and their families can access the website from their home computer or mobile device for self-paced study which would be continued in the classroom.  Page tabs help navigate the site, beginning with the Welcome, Lesson and Flier tab.  I included a brief description of my credentials and step-by-step instructions for the weekly lessons, the craft lesson and a flier that can be distributed to the students.  Keeping this project professional, I had the fliers printed at Office Depot on 28lb high quality white flier paper.  The fliers will be distributed at the beginning of Advent and are intended for the parents to ensure that the lesson goals are clearly communicated.

The Advent tab gives a brief background about the Season of Advent.  The Advent wreath photo was a free upload from a photo sharing site.  There are many free photo sharing sites that have royalty-free stock images.  I mostly viewed images from pixabay.com, Google images and unsplash.com. I was mindful of copyright protections and set filters for “free to use or share”.

The Jesse Tree tab and its sub-pages are the focus of this webpage, including the history of the Jesse Tree and the symbolic ornaments are of people, prophesies and events from The Old Testament leading up to Jesus’ birth.  The Jesse Tree photo is an original photo of mine.  Each week of Advent has its own tab and contains seven days of colorful ornaments that were colored by former students.  Ornament stories were paraphrased from material found in Catechist Guides from Sadlier’s We Believe Grade 6 and Loyola Press’ Finding God Grade 5 and Grade 6.  Bible reference buttons were taken from biblegateway.com, New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE).  Our classroom students follow a reading format, meaning that volunteer readers read first, then instructor-selected readers read next.  This format will continue for this web-based lesson.

The Printables tab contains five pages of ornaments along with a .pdf button to click and print on any printer.  The ornament printables were originally found on the internet in 2015 and I’ve been using them each year since.  However, as that site is no longer available, I recommend you find other reproduceable images. Here’s one source I discovered. https://redheadjulie72.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/easy-advent-idea-with-the-jesus-storybook-bible/  The Jesse Tree meanings can be found at https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=545.  The ornament pages will be distributed to the children at the beginning of Advent and, if time permits, they can color them in the classroom or bring them home.

The next tab of the website, Jeopardy, is an interactive game using flipquiz.com, a free classroom review game that is based on TV’s game show.  Students can test their knowledge at the end of each week’s lesson.  During the testing phase of this web site, it is noted that the game works perfectly using a computer but has technical problems on mobile devices.

The final tab is the References page.  This is a list of sources used to create this webpage.

Conclusion

The Advent Jesse Tree website is meant to be utilized in the classroom at the beginning of Advent.  You can assign the children the website at home and then continue the lesson in the classroom on the second week of Advent.  It is my prayer that this will be the first of many web-based lessons that I can create to enrich Family Formation ministry at my parish.