Classroom Toolkit provides is a full year’s worth of goals and descriptions for interconnected thematic units…available for download in the PDF format.
These files describe how to plan and manage a full year’s worth of instruction.
Thematic Units deliver the similar benefits as student projects. Thematic Units weave content areas together, so that each student’s engaged personal experience of the curriculum integrates with their experience of the world.
This integration of knowledge, concepts and skills creates unique learning experiences for each student, experiences that students want to share. Experiences that students share build a self-reinforcing system…a system that perpetuates itself in habits of life-long learning.
Thematic Unit Goals
A systematic instructional year means that ideas and concepts build upon each other, and that students develop a rich fabric of understanding…concepts and applications.
The contents and parameters of this rich fabric of learning can differ for each student. If students experience both self-assurance in their own learning, and a connection with that learning to their own life experiences, then the students can share, communicate, defend, and
On the other hand, textbook or high-stakes test driven instruction…or…if driven by whatever activity the teacher finds for the day; then students have nothing to connect the learning to. When students lack anchors to connect to learning. Students must rely on short-term memory tricks (and work hard) instead of building and integrating long-term memory.
How to Organize Theme Materials
Classroom Toolkit offers a a strategy for building resource files, for a year’s
worth of themes. Knowing the year’s themes in advance means that you can pick up materials wherever you go, toss these materials into
appropriate folders or boxes, and enjoy a lot of resources for late-in-the-year units…without a lot of extra work.
Thematic Units Focus the Curriculum on Meaningful Learning
Thematic Unit Goals (PDF Format) Select here to download a printable copy. You must have Adobe(TM) Acrobat Reader installed
1. My Place in the Universe
Students explore and inquire about their personal world, and the world beyond what they see and know.
a) Students observe changes in objects over time and relate these to Earth changes by recording data and making graphs.
b) Students arrange events in time and actions into sequential order. They interpret data and make graphs of their generalizations.
c) Students obtain information from various sources and communicate scientific data to others.
d) Students use the vocabulary associated with changes made by objects and generalize to the Earth, planets, and stars.
e) Students use appropriate units of measurement to describe changes.
2. Cultures of My State
Students identify themselves and their ancestry as well as the unique heritage of others.
a) Students know what geography influenced people as they moved into their state.
b) Students analyze and describe how a community is similar and different from other communities, and identify cause and effect relationships.
c) Students describe how regions of their state, the United States, and the world are similar and different.
d) Students learn what traditions, customs, and folkways identify the cultures of their state.
3. My Health
Students enhance the quality of their lives by radiating high self-esteem and exercising the rules of self-care.
a) Students sequence, order, and classify health events and arrange these events on a timeline.
b) Students communicate health data and information using graphs, tables, and visuals.
c) Students make inferences and predictions using scientific data, and form conclusions and generalizations about these events.
d) Students perform experiments related to health and to record their observations.
4. Choosing My Careers and Professions
Students choose careers and professions after considering the values and benefits these have for their lives.
a) Students respond to job-related communications, and to persuade, reason, and inform others through personal communication.
b) Students classify, compose, elaborate, and expand the central ideas related to careers.
c) Students problem-solve about job markets and career choices, and make decisions about the personal choices that create a future for better living.
5. What Produces Wealth for Society
Students discover what worthwhile assets are available for use and for trading, and discover ways they can participate in economic development.
a) Students analyze data and interpret graphs and charts related to the United States’ Economic system.
b) Students use basic math operations to solve problems and make choices among alternatives.
c) Students estimate solutions to a problem situation, and analyze and solve problems that show how land forms and areas of their state produce wealth.
6. Protecting My Environment
Students learn of the potential dangers to their environments from the consequence of wrongful disposal of materials, and to develop an opinion about possible solutions to these problems.
a) Students interpret pollution information and changes to the environment.
b) Students learnthe vocabulary of pollution, environment, of recycling trash and garbage.
c) Students will relate recycling, conservation and technology to daily life as they solve problems and make decisions.
7. Effective Natural Resources Use
Students increase awareness of available natural resources for use, and evaluate the potential scarcity of these resource if these resources are wasted or not used in a correct manner.
a) Students gather information about trees, mining, water use, irrigation in different regions of the United States, make inferences, and write persuasive letters.
b) Students state their opinions about wasting and saving energy, and develop a strategy for natural resources use.
c) Students study their home and campus, and record data related to recycling.
8. Our Role in Government
Students understand the part citizenship plays in government, and make informed choices in the electoral process.
a) Students demonstrate civic responsibility and explain their interpretation of public and governmental processes.
b) Students research the different electoral parties involved in elections and discover what these parties stand for, give opinions on their ideas.
c) Students predict the outcome of changes to our government and decide what would happen.
9. Responsible Citizenship
Students learn the important roles that each person plays in the welfare of their country
a) Students demonstrate civic values by participation in local and community events.
b) Students speak up for beliefs and rights, and respect the rights of other people.
c) Students recognize the role that they play in keeping their city clean, in using resources wisely, and in participating in government.
d) Students learn the importance productive citizens, and predict the consequences for society when people participate in a responsible manner.
© 1994 by Ana Patricia Gonzales. All rights reserved.
Thematic Units Documents
Thematic Units Pre-Configured Research