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What Did Pope Francis Really Say Last Week? A Lesson Plan

Saturday, October 03, 2015

What Did Pope Francis Really Say Last Week? A Lesson Plan

A solid week has gone by since Pope Francis’s historic visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, and the dust has finally settled. The pope is back in Rome, kids are back in school, and public transit in the cities is back to normal.

What did Pope Francis really leave us with? What was the essential question of his lesson to the students (and, by extension, kids everywhere)?

If only we had...a lesson plan!

Well, lucky for you, ACE has received exclusive access to Pope Francis’ actual, totally real, not-at-all-made-up lesson plan from his visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels. When you really think about it, is it any surprise that Pope Francis, a former high school teacher and professor wrote out a lesson plan?

Here it is, reprinted in its entirety for your enjoyment and edification:

Lesson to students at Our Lady Queen of Angels
8th Period
September 25, 2015

In the context of the World Meeting of Families, how can the school function as a “second family” as it serves students and the larger community?

Students will be able to explain the importance of dreams, joy, and Jesus in our lives.

Scrapped for time, but thankfully students will already be in their seats upon teacher’s arrival.

Vicar of Christ will engage in culturally responsive pedagogy by showing understanding for students’ rich cultural backgrounds and prior experiences and affirm them:

“They tell me that one of the nice things about this school, about your work, is that some students come from other places, and many from other countries. That is nice!”

Pontifex will model that every minute counts:

“Thank you for letting me come, and I ask pardon from your teachers for “stealing” a few minutes of their class time. I know that you don’t mind that!”

His Holiness will activate prior knowledge by referencing an earlier speech to Congress about an American hero:

Check with Social Studies teacher re: possible integration to Civil Rights unit?

“I want to talk a little bit about . . . the Reverend Martin Luther King. One day he said, ‘I have a dream.’ His dream was that many children, many people could have equal opportunities.”

Servant of the Servants of God will emphasize joy throughout the lesson:

NOTE: “The finest teachers offer up their work with generous servings of energy, passion, enthusiasm, fun and humor — not necessarily as the antidote to hard work but because those are some of the primary ways that hard work gets done.” (Lemov, 2010)

“Wherever there are dreams, wherever there is joy, Jesus is always present. Always.”

Vicar of Christ will check for understanding, cold calling students:

“But who is it that sows sadness, that sows mistrust, envy, evil desires? What is his name? . . . The devil. The devil always sows sadness, because he doesn’t want us to be happy; he doesn’t want us to dream.”

NOTE: I think I provided the answer too quickly...add more wait time next time.

Prince of the Apostles will give students assignment:

“Before going, I would like to give you some homework. Can I? It is just a little request, but a very important one. Please don’t forget to pray for me, so that I can share with many people the joy of Jesus. And let us also pray that many other people can share joy like your own, whenever you feel supported, helped, and counseled, even when there are problems.”

NOTE: This will be hard to assess, ask Instructional Coach (St. Peter) for assistance or suggestions.

Bishop of Rome will end class in a prayer — “Padre Nuestro.”

NOTE: Do I use the Padre Nuestro too much? Maybe show a YouTube video next time.

For further reading, students may read  ACE’s recent Op-Ed pieces in the New York Post and Fox News for lesson feedback and analysis.


Photo courtesy of Kathleen Brogan.