Teaching thematic units can be extremely rewarding. Integrated curriculum reaches a variety of learning styles by helping students to take control of their own learning while having tons of fun. Instruction is planned to accommodate individual interests while fostering teamwork. The content is centered around a theme with hands on activities and weaving various disciplines around a central idea.
Setting the stage provides my students with the magic needed to believe! We don't mimic camping, we are nestled deep within an enchanting forest with a babbling brook perfectly twisting through our campsite. Our fire crackles, glowing red, orange, and yellow. The night animals are on the prowl as we learn by lantern light and listening to nocturnal sounds.
Our learning begins the week prior to our themed days. We draw upon our schema and build upon our previous experience to learn about forest animals and camp safety. As the our week long event draws near, the kids collaborate to decorate the campsite.
Have you ever seen HGTV? At some point the designers kick the homeowners out so that there is an overwhelming emotional connection to the final design. My units are no different. To ensure ownership, the kids help with the backdrop and hang the decorations with my assistance, but once the final bell rings, my doors are locked closed where I bring in the necessary props to make this experience authentic.
Students are further engaged when weaving our spring content in this culminating unit. Insects and life cycles are hands-on and exciting for our young learners. After eight years, I've acquired a collection of creepy crawlers that captivate my young learners and inspire a full day of themed learning.
Interested in learning more about student engagement? Here is a GREAT resources to get you started:
Crash Course: The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me
This incredible resource will take you through 17 “courses” that will not only teach you about the essentials of student engagement… but will also teach you priceless lessons about becoming the best teacher (and person) you can be! Not to mention, you’ll be breaking out in both tears and laughter within minutes! #so inspiring
Click image to link to my book review of Crash Course: The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me. Don't forget to grab a tissue!