Teacher Support Materials Simplify and Enrich Planning
When it comes to figuring out what and how to teach, there’s no need to start from scratch.
Start by determining what ideas you want students to explore and how much time you will have.
Then, choose curricular materials that will help you to get there. And by that we mean teacher guides and lesson plan manuals and resource guides. Our rich collection of educator materials support your work and mission.
Think of these support materials as your launch pad, the starting point. They map out the directions for where you want to go. Then you can add in student text as source material for the content you’re trying to provide.
First, some terminology.
What are teacher support materials?
Curriculum planners create a map of the big picture goals and key concepts that will drive your learning program.
We have developed three big ideas that encompass the key values and purpose of Jewish education programs. Click here for the Big Ideas in Jewish Learning guide, developed with educators Lesley Litman and Ellen Rank.
Teacher guides provide strategies for how to engage students and how to structure learning sessions, and ideas for teaching in various environments and with students of different needs.
Lesson plans put together activities, methodologies, and techniques into a detailed guide for facilitating a lesson. After completing a lesson, you can reflect on how it went and tweak the lesson plan for the next time.
Using support materials
Lesson plans are your starting place. We've done the heavy lifting for you, developing objectives, the timing and pacing, activity ideas, discussion prompts, etc. As you consider your available time or student needs, you may come up with your ideas for modifying those lessons. The point is that you don't need to reinvent the wheel.
For example, say you’re looking to teach Jewish values. The Living Jewish Values Series and The Hero in Me are two different courses whose teacher materials provide essential pathways to navigating the core concepts of personal values.
The lesson plan manual for the Living Jewish Values Series offers a great balance of being both detailed and adaptable. You could use ready-made lesson plans to use as is or adjust for time or differentiated learning.
There are three lessons about the value of emet, truth. One lesson plan poses the following essential question: How important is truth? The lesson opens with the story of George Washington and the cherry tree, and invites student reflection and discussion about telling the truth in difficult situations.
Then the lesson plan suggests two experiential learning activity ideas, one for 30 minutes and another for 15 minutes. You could do both, or choose one, or use those ideas as inspiration for a related activity. Students can choose their activity and refer to their accompanying materials as text reference to complete the work.
The Hero in Me is a course developed in collaboration with Beit Hatfutsot: The Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv that explores character building through inspirational profiles.
The teacher support materials for the course include many lessons that include experiential and project-based learning activities, which provide additional opportunities to explore core themes.
The experiential learning allows students to apply what they've learned via hands-on activities, and they can further engage with the material via art, music, skits, and more. For example, in a unit on creativity, an experiential learning activity guides teachers on how to help students create a museum-style exhibit about Jewish creators. All this is in the teacher guide.
The PBL ideas allow teachers to guide student-driven projects with real-world applications. The teacher guide, for example, outlines how to inspire a project about chesed and tzedakah after learing about the value of fairness, and how to adjust for students of different abilities.
These are just some small examples of how teacher support materials such as lesson plans and teaching guides can drive your curriculum and simplify your prep.
Want even more tools for professional development? Visit the Plan section of our website.
For a calendar/daily planner/visual organizer, The Teacher Planner is an indispensable resource.
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