Learning Paths for Teachers

by Anna Zehr Matthew Mast


Utilizing The Dock for Learning as Teacher Preparation for the School Year

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COVID-19 may have caused the cancellation of large gatherings of teachers, but it hasn’t cancelled the creative abilities of teachers to adapt to new circumstances and prepare in other ways. We offer the following content as one option for teachers, principals, and school boards to consider when planning for teacher orientation in their schools and communities.

Since many teachers had planned to take several days or a week to attend an event, we suggest that teachers dedicate several days in their own communities to preparation for the school year. The Dock offers thousands of recordings and documents that could provide a starting point for teacher orientation. The lists below were curated by long-term educators to highlight some of the best content in various categories.

We encourage teachers to take a group approach to this preparation. Teachers prepare best in collaboration, and the conversation that happens in a group is one of the significant benefits of a large gathering. While this year it may not be possible to gather with hundreds of other teachers, smaller groups could gather and reap many of the same rewards. Perhaps all the teachers from a school could gather for one or two days of focused preparation. If it is not possible to gather with teachers from the same school, perhaps teachers who live in the same geographic area could gather. Groups could plan to eat lunch together to maximize the benefit.

School boards who planned to send their teachers to an event could ask their teachers to devote several days to this sort of development. A school board or principal could enable that gathering by identifying a place and time, or by providing lunch or supper for the teaching staff.

Whether the teacher listens to content alone or with a group, there are ways to maximize the learning that occurs. Here are some ideas to try after listening to a session:

  • Think together about ways in which you’re already applying the teaching strategies described.
  • Talk about ways you could strengthen your practices and methods.
  • Choose one or two new things you’re going to try.
  • Choose a core subject (math, reading, etc.) you’re going to focus on teaching extra well this year.

We offer this suggested schedule as a starting point for groups to plan their time together.

Sample Daily Schedule

All Teachers Together

Listen to one segment of a multi-session series

· Give time for discussion
  • Series to Consider
    • Becoming an Effective Teacher (Anthony Hurst)
    • Texts for Teachers (Steven Brubaker)
    • Biblical Integration (Daniel Rutt)
    • Series options in the lists below are marked with an asterisk*.
Breakout 1

Split into grade level groups to watch or listen.

  • Choose content from Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary/Middle School, or High School

All Teachers Together

Discuss the content experienced so far.

  • What are your take-aways and applications?
  • What are your lingering questions?

Listen Together

  • Consider listening to a presentation on Learning Difficulties, Class Culture, or Classroom Management.
Eat a meal together.

New and less experienced teachers could round out their preparation by listening to at least one presentation from each of the following categories: learning difficulties, classroom management, and class culture. In addition, they should take in as much content as possible from the most relevant grade level section to their teaching position. The grade level sections below are Lower Elementary (Grades 1-3), Upper Elementary/Middle School (Grades 4-8), and High School (Grades 9-12).

Besides learning about methods of teaching core subjects such as math and reading at their grade level, new teachers also need to spend time thinking more generally about how to plan lessons and assess the learning of students. The shaded section in the New Teachers category provides videos and lesson plan templates to help teachers start thinking about these important topics.

The lists below include more content than any school could hope to cover in a few days of teacher orientation. In addition, these are only some of the resources available on The Dock. In many cases, related items are listed on the page for each item; those related items may offer additional help in a given area.

We hope that this material will assist teachers in their preparation for the school year ahead. We pray that God will bless the efforts of school boards, principals, and teachers as they engage in the challenging work of this year!

Click on a title below to expand the section.

Preparation for New Teachers—General

The items below will help new teachers start to think about the vital topics of planning lessons and assessing the learning of students. Some of the documents are templates that can be edited.

Speaker Title Format
Anthony Hurst *Becoming An Effective Teacher Audio

4 sessions

Steven Brubaker *Texts for Teachers Audio

4 sessions

Jonas Sauder Essential Personal Qualities of Teachers Audio

1 hour 24 minutes

Deana Swanson Incorporating Good Books into Any Curriculum Audio

1 hour

Paul Harrison Start with Simple: Tips to Make the First Year Less Stressful Video

5 Minutes

Preparation for New Teachers—Lesson Planning and Assessment

Speaker Title Format
Peter Goertzen What do Teachers Do? Focusing Your Lessons with Objectives Video

6 minutes

Rolin Martin The 4 Ms of Effective Objectives Video

15 minutes

Brian J. Martin More than a Grade: Assessment as a Teaching Tool Video

5 minutes

Betty Yoder Help for the Beginners and the Experienced Document for new teacher orientation

25 pages

Jonas Sauder Basic Lesson Plan Template Document
Arlene Birt Introduction to Teaching Master Document (includes lesson plan template) Document

General Interest for Experienced Teachers

Speaker Title Format
Daniel Rutt *Biblical Integration Audio

30-40 minutes each session;

Video summaries, 2 clips

5-6 minutes each

Daniel Rutt Biblical Integration Summary Video

2 clips

5-6 minutes each

Kyle Lehman *Swords to Ploughshares: Knowledge to Wisdom Audio

30-40 minutes per session

4 sessions

Gerald Miller *A History of Christian Education Audio

1 hour per session

4 sessions

Sharon Martin Called to Teach Audio

1 hour

Sheldon Kauffman Peaceful Classrooms Audio

1 hour

Howard Bean 40 Things I’ve Learned in 40 Years of Teaching Audio

1 hour 24 minutes

Content for Lower Elementary Teachers

Speaker Title Format
Carolyn Martin Welcome to First Grade Part 1 and Part 2 Audio

1 hour per session

Verlin Miller Teaching Elementary Math Audio

50 minutes

Glenda Miller

Ruth Anna Kuhns

The Exciting Journey: Guiding Your Class to Successful Reading Video

12 minutes

Ruth Anna Kuhns Making Elementary Math Come Alive Video

2 clips

2-3 minutes each

Yvonne King Show Them, Tell Them; Techniques to Share the Story of the Bible Video

3 clips

6-10 minutes each

Becky Bollinger Sing, Chant, Learn: Making Memorization Easier with Songs and Chants Video

8 minutes

Martha Stoltzfus &

Karen Yoder

Helping Struggling Readers Video

5 minutes

Marla Bear Children Thrive on Routines: The Power of Rhythms for Individualized Classrooms Video

8 minutes

Yvonne King Responding to the Challenge: Teaching Lower Elementary Video

6 minutes

Yvonne King 10 Resources for Elementary Math Review Document

Content for Upper Elementary/Middle School Teachers

Speaker Title Format
Sharon Yoder 3 Components for a Successful Reading Class Audio

1 hour

Sharon Yoder Teaching Fictional Elements in the Reading Class Audio

1 hour

Jonas Sauder Developing Levels of Reading Comprehension Audio

2 hours 14 minutes

Jonas Sauder Speaking Skills Across the Curriculum Audio

1 hour

Amy Zimmerman Making Your Curriculum Work For You Audio

1 hour

Melvin Lehman Teaching Math Audio

1 hour 40 minutes

Bethany Peachey STAR in Reading Video

5 minutes

Rebecca Beiler Turn and Learn Video

5 minutes

Denise Martin Ways to Call on Students Video

4 minutes

Amy Zimmerman Too Long, Too Hard: Making Your Curriculum Work for Your Class Video

6 minutes

Content for High School Teachers

Speaker Title Format
Sharon Martin Conquering Subjectivity in Assessments Audio

1 hour

Dana Atkinson The Hills and the Valleys: Geology from a Young Earth Perspective Audio

1 hour

Dana Atkinson Astronomical Adventure: Is Orion’s Belt a Waste of Space? Audio

1 hour

Rolin Martin Girls and Math: How Going Beyond the Rules Helps Students Engage with Math Video

9 minutes

Peter Goertzen Teaching Church History Video

5 minutes

Linked Resources

Peter Goertzen World Cultures and Geography Video

5 minutes

Sharon Martin Rubrics Video 3 minutes

Document: 3 sample rubrics

Brian J. Martin Now They Know: Why and How to Differentiate Instruction Video

5 minutes

If your subject areas are not listed here, you may want to browse The Dock further.

Learning Difficulties

Speaker Title Format
Lynell Nissley Exceptional Learner: Defining the Terms

A series of blog posts that should be read first to give an overview to this complex topic. Dyslexia is a common disability that teachers will encounter, so special attention could be given to these blog posts.

Blog Posts
Anthony Hurst ADHD Audio

1 hour

Becky Bollinger Dyslexia: Signs, Symptoms, and Solutions Audio

1 hour

Becky Sue Kreider Trauma: How Can I Teach This Child? Audio

1 hour

Deana Swanson Accommodating Special Needs in the Classroom Audio

1 hour

Hannah Johnson Memory Video

8 minutes

Wesley King Coping with RAD Audio

1 hour

Lynell Nissley Resources to Consider Document

Developing Class Culture

Speaker Title Format
Anthony Hurst Components of Classroom Culture Audio

1 hour

Jeremy and Diana Sauder Improving Communication with Your Students Part 1 and Part 2 Audio

1 hour each

Melvin Lehman Authority in Action Audio

50 minutes

Sheldon Kauffman Peaceful Classrooms Excerpt Audio

7 minutes

John Mark Kuhns Relationships with Students Video

4 minutes

Joseph Shantz Enjoying School, Delighting in God: Classroom Culture Video

5 minutes

Classroom Management

Speaker Title Format
Conrad Smucker Managing a Multi-Grade Classroom Audio

50 minutes

Howard Bean Discipline: Preventive and Corrective (Grades 3-up) Audio

1 hour

Brian Martin Setting Up Your Classroom to Enhance Student Learning Video

4 minutes

Karen Nolt Sample Classroom Procedures (5th grade) Document

 

Regina Martin Classroom Management Plan (Grades 1-3) Document
Amy Zimmerman Code of Conduct Document

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