Advent in Action: Putting Our Faith into Motion for Our Students

The following article was contributed by Keven Rinaman, Director of Technology, Calvert Catholic Schools, Tiffin, OH.

The air has cooled down, the days are getting shorter, and some of us have started to see snow on the ground. We have just spent time with our families to give thanks for all of our blessings and now we start preparing to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Advent is a special time of year that allows us to focus not on ourselves, but rather those around us and those less fortunate. While we lead up to our Christmas celebration, it is important that we take time to live our lives in the way Jesus demonstrated to us, giving of our time and talents to help others.

The Advent in Action project is an opportunity to put this into motion for our students to see. It was created by coupling a passion for educational technology with Catholic education. Using the annual “Children’s Advent Calendar” posted by Loyola Press, an interactive calendar was designed using Google Slides. This slideshow allows community members to click on a date and be taken to another slide showing the daily theme with a picture/video of students living out the concept.

Here is the 2017 Advent in Action calendar from Calvert Catholic Schools:

While it may sound like a cumbersome task to use at your school or parish, there is a template that takes most of the work off of your plate.

  • Ensure that you have permission to use everyone that will be featured throughout the calendar.
  • Open the template and make a copy for yourself.
    • Click “File” then “make a copy…” Save to your Google Drive.
  • Find volunteers for each day.
    • Create a shared document where volunteers can see dates.
  • Give each volunteer a “due date.”
    • It is worth creating a folder in Google Drive to help organize each submission.
  • Publish the Slideshow to the web.
    • Click “File” then “Publish to web.” Select the settings you prefer. It is best to set the time for as long as possible; this helps it feel like an interactive calendar instead of a slideshow.
  • Embed Slideshow on your school website.
    • Click “File” then “Publish to web” followed by “Embed.” Select the settings you prefer, copy the HTML code, and share it with your webmaster.
  • Each morning, add the media to the correct date on the Google Slideshow.
  • Each morning, publish the pictures/videos for that day on the school/parish social media using the hashtag #AdventInAction.

If you are a visual learner, please see the tutorial on YouTube.