Using Themes with Academic Impact
Comparing the past and present is a perfect theme for the month of November.
I LOVE thematic teaching.
I fully believe it is beneficial for the kiddos, too.
It helps cement new concepts. Encourages “buy in” and involvement. It allows full immersion into topics that may otherwise be a little abstract.
I also believe that a theme must be meaningful, carry academic weight, and last quite a bit of time.
Our first grade team’s school year is designed around our social studies and science standards. Our themes last an entire month and coincide completely with those standards. You can read more about our thematic teaching schedule on my “Focusing Theme” post.
November is a super fast, short month for us. It’s also extremely busy. We will go on a field trip this month, have two days off for Veteran’s Day (YAY and THANK YOU VETS!!) and a full week off for Thanksgiving! (Those used to be furlough days – now they are just built in as unpaid forever non-school days and I’m TOTALLY ok with that!)
The social studies standard we chose for November is comparing life in the past to present life. Looking back at pilgrims, Native Americans, explorers and pioneers and understanding the beginnings of our country and Thanksgiving all fit in nicely with that first grade social studies standard and this time of year.
Here is a little of what we do.
Comparing the Past and Present – Shelter Materials and Structure
Comparing the Past and Present – Modes of Transportation
This Native American in a canoe craft accompanies an expository writing assignment wherein the kiddos describe what they would enjoy seeing back in the time before modern conveniences. There are differentiated lessons in this unit to meet the needs of K-3 students.
Comparing the Past and Present – Classroom Tools
Comparing the Past and Present – Modern Conveniences / Inventions
We explore how inventions have made our lives easier. The kiddos in our 2nd grade classrooms have taken this activity to the next level with the more advanced writing lessons and make lengthy expository reports on the modern invention of their choice. Several black lines are included in this resource, and children are also encouraged to come up with their own ideas, or to explain precisely how these modern inventions have affected their daily lives.
Comparing the Past and Present – Vocabulary
Each month I put on my focus wall vocabulary words that we will cover throughout the theme. November’s changing time theme is no exception. All of my vocabulary words for each month are laminated and have sticky magnet tape on the other so I can easily throw them up on the white board and remove them and move them with ease.
Comparing the Past and Present – Investigating Changing Times Through Word Work, Reading, Writing and Math Activities
Comparing the Past and Present – The Bundle
Both units are more than enough to fill the month of November and support a comparing past and present theme or unit of study. They are available in a $$ saving bundle, too!