A Thematic Unit Approach to Teaching and Learning:
What is a Thematic Unit? A thematic unit is a way of teaching and learning where by many areas of curriculum are connected together and integrated within a theme. It allows for learning to be more natural and less fragmented. It is a great alternative to the traditional school day that is divided by time devoted to different subject areas where children practice exercises related to nothing more than that activity. Topical units are ideal for creating an environment and climate that facilitates a child’s search for meaning and supports language development.
Creating a Thematic Unit:
Pick a Theme Integrated learning units are usually centered around a theme or topic. Questions to consider when picking a theme are:
- What is my child interested in?
- What do I hope my child will learn?
- What background does my child already have?
Create Specific Activities Brainstorming for specific activities can at times be overwhelming. With a little creativity any learning activity that you can come up with can easily be modified to fit a theme. Some questions to consider when developing activities are:
- Is it developmentally appropriate for my child?
- Is the activity meaningful and worthwhile?
- What will my child take away from the activity?
Implement the Theme Once you have a general plan laid out there are some final questions you need to ask yourself. They are:
- What resources (books, manipulatives, craft supplies, etc) do I need?
- How will I assess development and unit success?
- Does the environment need to be modified or rearranged?
- How will I end the unit?
While what provided below is not exactly thematic units, they are activities that can be used within thematic units. These categories will expand as we explore so I do hope you check back often!
(click the images to be taken to the corresponding section)