Thursday, August 2, 2007

Curriculum Ideas: Thematic Approach

One of the best ways to integrate subjects is to focus on a single theme using the thematic approach. Lessons could be made to revolve around a theme to make it more meaningful to the students and utilize more of their talents in all the different aspects of learning. It also creates avenues for teachers to be more creative and more expansive in their approach to their lessons.

Wanting to enrich my curriculum and after getting tired of the pragmatic approach to teaching I tried to experiment using the “thematic approach” that I have learned in one of the seminars I attended to. In every quarter I focus on a certain theme and to my amazement and satisfaction it has opened a lot of doors to varied activities I had not realized were there ready to be tapped. It just needs some planning, creativity and the readiness to put more effort in your teaching and more involvement in your child’s effort to learn.

One of the themes I have developed is: “Appreciating Different Cultures”

After reading stories of children with different traditions and culture, I discussed with them the importance of ancestors, tradition and culture. I followed this immediately with asking them to fill out a family chart complete with pictures of family members. I gave my students an assignment to make a list of what make their ancestors important to them. When they came back with this assignment, we put all their list together to make a longer list. Then I sent this flyer to the parents outlining the activities on the theme: Appreciating Different Cultures).


“Appreciating Different Cultures”

Social Studies Subject Integrated with Reading and English

Dear Parents,
We are inviting parents or friends who can come to our class and talk to the students about culture/s they are familiar with or have had a background study on or simply part of their personal experience.

Your participation will be credited to your child’s grade for this project. Please include any object/activity that your child can use to accompany your presentation, i.e. artifacts, maps, music or recitation of literary pieces. Please use the form below for your reply.

* Please examine some pictures of the cultural presentation visits of parents in our class.
Reading: (In lieu of book reports)
Students will make an album of a country of their choice with its symbol, map, location, customs, traditions or values and other special facts. The project should have a five-page minimum of handwritten or typewritten information and double-spaced for reading convenience. Each page should have an illustration/picture of the facts presented.

Students will do an interview with grandparents, whether it be their own or others’, about the country of their origin and the cultural traditions and values they have handed down to their children and grandchildren. See a sample of a student’s grandparent’s interview.

We will also be having a “Language Banner Parade” in the school playground, where each students after having learned some foreign words/phrases will make a banner out of big construction papers ( 12 in x 20 in) and list down some of these words/phrases to be shared with classmates and schoolmates during class breaks. See pictures attached.

** Celebration of Multicultural Days in Our Class**

On this day there will be a culminating activity where all the themes from the above subjects will be credited. Children will show a special presentation of dances, shows and poems learned from parent/guest presentations. Each child will bring a particular dish/food from a particular country or culture to be shared in class. The menu for that dish will also be brought to class for enrichment purposes. Parents and guests are invited.
Parent’s Reply Form
Date: _______________________
Child’s Name: _________________________
Culture to be Presented: _______________________
Date of Presentation: _________________________________
Comments: ____________________________________________________________
For the interview with a grandparent ( as mentioned in this thematic approach) you may want to use this form.
An Interview with a Grandparent
Interviewer (Name of the student doing the interview): __________________
Date of Interview: ______________________________
Grandparent’s Name: __________________________________
Where and how did the interview take place? ___________________________
Interviewer may starts to say:
I am grateful to you for giving me a chance to interview you. I am doing this interview for my class. It is a project given by our teacher to learn more about our ancestors, and since you are a very important person in my ancestor line, I would like to know more about you. Some of the questions are optional. We will skip the questions that you are not comfortable to answer.
What were the things you enjoyed when you were a child?
What are some of the things your parents taught you that you think are important to you?
What traditions/customs do your family continue to celebrate or practices, and values that your family honors?
What were some of the things you did together as a family?
Is there any particular object you have that has been given to you by one of your ancestors that you consider very important?
What are some of the things you want other people to know
about you?

Thank you for making this interview possible. I love you, Grandma.


Another Theme I have used in a quarter is: “Great People Who Have Made a Difference in Our Lives”


Reading and English – Submit a book report using any of the forms given to you about the life and achievements of a great person you admire.

Social Studies, Reading and English - An album on the lives of great people. A page report of each great person, a minimum of five sentences and in paragraph form, in the child’s own handwriting. If it is possible, a picture or a drawing of the person for additional points (10 points). Examples of these great people are: President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Louise Braille, etc.

Impersonation of one of the great persons in the student’s album of great people or the great person in his/her book report. The student will impersonate this person at our Open House. He/She and together with his/her classmates who are doing the impersonation speeches will be the live models for the visit of parents to the school on that day. The students should be dressed like the person that they are impersonating.

Please note: These projects follow the reading and discussion of many important people in the class.

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