Faith Portfolio

Kali Brasseur's Faith Portfolio


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Faith Portfolio Introduction

This blog has been created as a space for me to share my professional Faith Portfolio.  I will be using this space as a place where I can share my growing faith, and where I can indicate growth in five categories: prayer life, teaching the faith, witness to Catholic education, nurturing of personal faith, and practice of the faith.  I hope that I can share things like my experiences at mass, my passion for my own faith, and personal reflections, as well as photos and other memories.

A bit about me…

I was baptized Catholic when I was very young, and I have always attended mass with my family.  As I’ve grown my participation in masses has changed, but I’ve always felt like an active member of the Catholic community.  I went through the sacraments as I grew up, I participated in mass by serving and reading, and attended events like YC (a Christian event for youth).  When I went away to school, I did have trouble being away from my faith community, and I found it difficult to get used to the new church and new priests.  However, I did take several classes about Catholicism and Christianity, which allowed me learn more about my faith.  I also was lucky enough to take part in a youth pilgrimage to Le Puy-en-Velay, France with the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Since I’ve come back home I have been very grateful for my faith community and I’ve gladly re-entered the parish.  I have continued to participate in various ministries, including serving, reading, and eucharistic ministry.  I am so happy that I was given the opportunity to work in the Catholic Schools, a workplace where I am able to share my faith with staff and students.  I have been working at ways to integrate faith into my lessons, and I enjoy celebrating seasons like advent and lent with the school.  I believe that working in an environment like YCS will allow me to constantly grow in my faith, and I’m very grateful for that.

Navigating this portfolio:

You can browse the five categories by following the links on the right side of the screen, or by clicking here:
Prayer Life
Teaching the Faith
Witness to Catholic Education
Nurturing of Personal Faith
Practice of Faith

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Prayer Table

My prayer table during Ordinary Time

My prayer table during Ordinary Time

When I first arrived at St. Pat’s as a teacher, I knew that I wanted to do something special with my prayer table.  In fact, I knew even before I came to the school, as I’ve often bought my mother tokens and art that she can put on her table, and looked forward to doing the same with mine.  I hope that I can continue to build what’s there, year after year, but I am glad that there is an aspect or two that is unique to me on my table.  I bought the table runners in Mexico some time ago (in green, purple, and white), and I think they’re very beautiful.  I also have a beaded cross that my mother gave to me a few years ago, that I hold very dear to my heart.  

As I continue to grow, I hope that I can continue to find things that inspire me and my faith, and that I can share them with my students.

My cross and table cloth, both from Mexico.

My cross and table cloth, both from Mexico.


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My bulletin board, displaying a crucifix and two Bible passages.

My bulletin board, displaying a crucifix and two Bible passages.

I think it’s important for students to be able to see symbols on a daily basis that our school is a Catholic school, and that because of this we are committed to creating a community in our school of people who care about one another and are compassionate toward all people.  I think that the crucifix is a reminder to students that in our classroom they are in a sacramental space, where faith is celebrated and we can share closeness with one another.

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Our theme from last year and the year before, “Just Believe!”

I also have two Bible passages that share with the students the theme from this year and last year.  I really like this year’s theme, “Rooted in Faith,” and am looking forward to the transition during the three-year progression of this concept (GIFT: Growing in Faith Together).  I think it’s really important for students to see the connection there, and the metaphor of using nature (rooted, nurtured, growing) is an excellent way to depict our closeness to God, and the GIFT he’s given us by providing us with life.

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Our theme this year, “Rooted in Faith”


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The Flood is over and the ark has landed.  Noah lets all the animals out and says, “Go forth and multiply.”

A few months later, Noah decides to take a stroll and see how the animals are doing.  Everywhere he looks he finds baby animals. Everyone is doing fine except for one pair of little snakes.  “What’s the problem?” says Noah.
“Cut down some trees and let us live there,” say the snakes.

Noah follows their advice.  Several more weeks pass.  Noah checks on the snakes again.  Lots of little snakes, everybody is happy.  Noah asks, “Want to tell me how the trees helped?”

“Certainly,” say the snakes.  “We’re adders, so we need logs to multiply.”

Heather shared this joke with me the other day, and I promptly shared it with my class too.  Sometimes sharing lighter things like jokes can show students that faith is appropriate for every aspect of their life, and it doesn’t always have to be profound and serious.  It gives students a chance to see religion in a more relatable way.


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Permeation

As a math teacher, the concept of making sure that faith permeates my teaching can be overwhelming.  I’m a firm believer that most of the permeation does not happen in explicit teaching (particularly in a math classroom), but through every day interactions with students.  Taking advantage of those teachable moments and allowing conversations to build naturally is the best way to allow students to see that faith permeates our entire lives.

However, when I do see opportunities to connect my faith and math explicitly, I do take them.  An example of this is in the Sequences and Series unit of Math 20-1.  This is the first unit of that course, and it is an excellent opportunity to discuss Fibonacci, Phi (the Golden Ratio), and the relationship between math, nature, and God.

A powerpoint slide that I use in Math 20-1.

A powerpoint slide that I use in Math 20-1.

I firmly believe that there is a strong relationship between God and math.  A few years ago I read the book Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer, and it vocalized many things that I already believed.  The world is so incredible, and our universe is so complex.  It is utterly amazing that everything aligned in a way that would allow us to exist, to be the way we are, to have our consciences and to be able to function in our ecosystem.  It is an astounding number of coincidences that leads me to believe that it isn’t coincidence at all.

“Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.” – Galileo

That math can be used to describe our universe so accurately is amazing to me, and having a firm understanding of math can help us to better understand our world, our existence, and God.  The  incredible complexity of nature and its relationship to math is aptly described in Vi Hart’s videos on Fibonacci.  Students really enjoy these videos.  Vi Hart is a “mathemusician” who talks about complex mathematical concepts in an easy-to-understand way (and she talks really fast!), and she is famous for her doodle games.

Here are the videos I show:

I find that these videos get the kids interested, and it shows them how much math is all around us.