Daily Schedule

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Thematic/Project Approach

Summers-Knoll uses school-wide monthly themes as a way to integrate content areas in a way that makes sense to children. We hope to foster process learning and active involvement for ALL students with diverse learning styles. Thematic units involve activities designed to cross several areas of curriculum, and build on students’ prior knowledge and interests. Plus, it is a way for us to build relationships between all of the classrooms, as there are usually one or two opportunities each month to gather meaningfully in larger groups.

Other benefits:

Learning in-depth factual information
Becoming physically involved with learning
Learning process skills
Learning "how to learn"
Integrating learning in a holistic way
Promoting group cohesiveness
Addressing individual needs
Motivating children and teachers
(Kostelnik, M.J., Soderman, A. K., & Whiren, A. P., 2004)

You can see the 2011/12 themes for the year listed on your right. You will notice that there is a good distribution between social studies, science and literature. As stated above, however, we do cross-curricular activities within a theme.

Our first theme of the 2011/2012 school year is Our Backyard. We decided to make this a two-month theme as there are always a couple weeks of getting settled and learning the routines of the classroom. We didn't want to short-change this important topic - it really is one of the cornerstones of Summers-Knoll! All the teachers are very excited about this first theme as it will give us plenty of opportunities to get outside and explore. 

In my class, children should expect to take plenty of walks - a "listening" walk, a backyard bird walk, and a tree walk. The County Farm Park will be our science lab as we discover what lives under a rock, under a leaf, in the grass. We will also use nature as inspiration for cooking, writing and art, and quiet reading times will have bird song as accompaniment as we read in trees and on picnic blankets.

This will also lead very nicely to our big trip in October to Howell Nature Center!

If you have any questions about using a thematic approach to teaching, please don’t hesitate to ask.

1 comment:

Odie Langley said...

Great to have you back on Susan and I really like the simple bird feeder you have pictured. Can't wait to start seeing what the children are up to this year.