Daily Schedule

Friday, August 19, 2016

Themes and Projects - Why We Do What We Do

Part of what makes Summers-Knoll special is our use of school-wide themes and a project-based approach. This is the best way we have found to integrate content areas in a way that makes sense to children. Our main goal is fostering process learning and active engagement for ALL students with diverse learning styles. Thematic units involve activities designed to cross several areas of curriculum, and builds on students’ prior knowledge and interests. Plus, it is a way for us to build relationships between all the classrooms, as there are usually several opportunities throughout the year to gather meaningfully in larger groups.

Other benefits include:

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 2016/17 themes listed on the right of this post. There are three main themes, with each one lasting about 3 months. That said, themes are always revisited and expanded throughout the entire year. This gives both teachers and students time to delve into the subject area and explore it more deeply.

Our first theme for the 2016/17 school year is EXPLORATION. I will be using an amazing book as our shared text – “How to be an Explorer of the World”. This will naturally lead to many possible projects – children may become “mini-museum curators”, for instance, or work together on a field guide of County Farm Park. I’m excited to see where the students will lead!

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