Today we are starting a new series of blog posts where we will highlight some members of our community and sharing with you how they used some of our resources and products. We’ve written before about how creativity breeds creativity, and we love seeing how communities use our products. While our coloring posters are typically used in church congregations, we saw many schools who found creative uses for using coloring posters at school – especially our Stations of the Cross posters during Lent. Special thanks to Fran Walsh and all of the students and staff at St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Oxford for providing the great photos.
We asked Fran Walsh, the Chaplaincy Youth Worker at St. Gregory the Great, to tell us a bit about the school and how they used our Stations of the Cross Coloring Posters. She shared about their experience about using coloring posters at school below.
St. Gregory the Great Catholic Secondary School in Oxford is part of a Multi Academy Company with seven other Catholic Primary Schools in the area; together we make up the Dominic Barberi MAC. We have been looking for ways to work together to develop the faith and spiritual life of our schools, and the Stations of the Cross Coloring Posters offered us a perfect joint project to work on together.
Each school had two stations to colour in over Lent; some offered the opportunity to a particular class, other passed the station around to multiple classes, and others left the colouring in one place and let the students come during break and lunch times to colour. Towards the end of Lent each school sent the coloured stations back to St Greg’s school where we framed them and then made them available to all the DBMAC schools to use. Some schools used them in classrooms, while others used them throughout their whole school, local community acts of worship, and Mass and Reconciliation Services.
We put the Stations up in the Reception of St Greg’s as a permanent visual reminder that as staff and students walk into the school, they are walking on holy ground.
Unexpected Joys While Using Coloring Posters at School
I would like to share with you some of the unexpected joys that I experienced that came from colouring the stations with the secondary school students.
It was one of the first warm days we had in spring and I sought out the sunny outside areas of the school to set up my colouring tables. Lugging the big tables out on my own, I feared this may all be in vain if the students took one look at my offering and thought it was babyish. But something in me made me persist.
I taped down the huge colouring sheet so the wind would not blow them away and placed the new felt tip pens in baskets on each table. The bell rang, I sat at one of the tables and waited to see if anyone wanted to colour. To my delight, a large group of y11 girls (16 year olds) were thrilled at the sight of a colouring table after they had experienced a stressful exam. They sat happily for 20 minutes colouring and chatting and winding down from the stress. I smiled to myself as I heard them say, “this is so nice, I feel so relaxed” and “I can’t remember the last time I did this” and “Miss, you will be back here at lunch won’t you?”
Using Coloring Posters at School is Great for Boys As Well
A small group of boys (also y11) joined me at the colouring table and they were the most unlikely group to want to do this! We chatted and got to know each other, and I am convinced they shared more about themselves because the focus was not solely on them. We were working together on something rather than them feeling pressured to answer questions. These boys were new to the country and their English was not yet very good; colouring needed no great discussions to make it work, and we got on perfectly well with our unique form of broken language!
Others looked on and a group of younger y7 students (11 years old) came to investigate, teachers on duty looked over longingly, people looked out of windows from above and everyone seemed to wonder what we were up to!
Students came back day after day to colour a bit more, and watch their contribution grow.
In tutor time each day, for fourteen days, the students read the scripture of one of the stations. As the month went by, students made the connection between what they were colouring and the scripture they had heard in the classroom. As the colouring grew, the pictures became clearer, but also the message behind the images became illuminated in their minds. The tutor time, scripture, Gospel Assemblies and colouring all worked together to build connection points in their minds about the message behind the Stations of the Cross and the seasons of Lent and Easter.