Theme Ideas

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by amakaye, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    All right all you creative teachers...I have been offered the opportunity to teach summer school (called "Summer Cool")at my local school district. I need to come up with theme ideas for two "fun" classes that I can incorporate some reading, etc. into. The classes will be for students going in to first and second grades, and run two hours a day, four days a week, for two weeks. Last year I did Insects and Oceans, and I want to do something different. I was thinking of maybe doing a series of books, (such as Clifford) and that way we could do different themes every day. Do you think kids would enjoy that? What other suggestions do you have? (I am currently a junior in an Elementary Ed. program. I have lots of experience, but not a lot of materials, etc., so I need ideas with things that I will be able to find cheaply or at the library or whatever)
     
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  3. Jenn247

    Jenn247 New Member

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    How about a book workshop for one week? You can use Clifford as a jump start or Serendipity books has some really cute books w/ neat illustrations that have morals in each story. Perhaps morals could be at the back of your theme? An undercurrent if you will. Book making is cool and not to expensive...you can use many varieties of books.
    For a second week what if you act out the book or some other book. The kids could "build" a set and put on a simple play on the last day for the parents. In New York near where I teach there is a place called recycled materials resource. There was one in NYC too, I use alot of recycled materials in my teaching, cheap! Good Luck I hope this helped!
     
  4. Play to Learn

    Play to Learn Comrade

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    I have a 2nd grader and clifford I would say is too young for them. She was teased in first grade for having Pooh on her shirt. The kids are growing up too fast these days. I think you would lose their interest with clifford. What exactly will you be doing each day. Is it only reading activities?
     
  5. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I can really do whatever I want...reading activities, games, art projects, puzzles, etc. The emphasis is mostly on fun activities, with some "learning" thrown in. I guess I'm really just looking for themes that I can carry out for two weeks and be able to plan a variety of activities around. For example, last year we spent each day learning more about a different insect, making a craft, etc. I'm just having a hard time thinking of creative ideas...burnt out at the end of the semester, I think. Are there other series of books that would lend themselves to this idea? Or an author? otherwise, it could be something complete topical, and I could find books and activities that related. Thanks!
     
  6. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Apr 5, 2006

    Several authors to consider: Steven Kellogg (a lot of tall tales), Leo Lionni, and Mem Fox.
    Themes: kites and flying things, maybe some type of summery food like watermelons, animals are always popular.
     
  7. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Dr. Suess... You can do so many fun things with him.

    Theme: sea/ocean/underwater, jungle
     
  8. Play to Learn

    Play to Learn Comrade

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    What about a hawaiian theme? You could make leis out of straws, paper and string, teach pattern making that way. Read to them about Hawaii, listen and dance to Hawaiian music. Have a blow up pool with pillows or a towel for them to sit in and read.(you can get this at the dollar tree) Have everyone bring in a citrus fruit, and make fruit juice. It goes with you theme (Summer Cool).
    Find a recycling craft book. One year that my own children were in a summer day camp the teacher had a recycle craft book. That year they made so much neat stuff. You may be able to find some activity with a search on the web for recycling crafts.
    Another thing is do a reading day, make bookmarks, Design and cover a book, Repair old books from the library. Make, design and start your own journals (encourages writing). Make a book called Summer cool, if you have a camera take pictures and put them on copy paper let them write why Summer's Cool. slide into protective clear sheets and place in a three prong folder(cheap and easy). Good Luck I hope I have given you some useful ideas.
     
  9. ABall

    ABall Fanatic

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    Apr 5, 2006

    I liked the Hawaian theme (have you ever seen a Oriental Trading Co. Catalouge, its filled with ideas for that stuff.

    But what about a space theme?
    you could paint moon rocks ( glow in the dark paint)
    make paper rockets (then use the film canister/alkaseltzer tablet to launch them)
    make moon goo/alien snot (green gak)
    NASA has a cool kid part on their website.
    Make parachutes for small figureines (toy soldiers work good)
    check www.learningpage.com for more experiments, planet facts etc.
    play space bingo use planets, commets, rockets, astronuts, sun, moon starts etc for the spaces.
     
  10. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    That's a great idea. You can get lots of stuff from Oriental Trading Co. for cheap.
     
  11. Tch4th

    Tch4th Rookie

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    Apr 5, 2006

    Eric Carle books

    I team-teach 2nd grade in the summer and we use several of Eric Carle's books. We make sock caterpillars with The Very Hungry Caterpillar and pretzels out of biscuit dough with Walter, the Baker. We are able to get in lots of math and reading and the kids seem to enjoy it. They are entering the 2nd grade the next year and the activities don't seem too "young" for them.
     
  12. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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  13. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Thanks for all the ideas...I'm thinking that one of the classes will be "space explorers." I think Eric Carle books will be my other option...I have to make sure I can brainstorm enough ideas for two weeks before I turn my proposals in tomorrow. Thanks again!
     
  14. Play to Learn

    Play to Learn Comrade

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    I just wanted to add, Nice site Special. Also The space theme, you can get free stuff online for that. I'll go look up my information and let you know the site. You can get stickers, postcards. I once found large posters of the Earth (lost that website though). Be back later to post it for all of you the one to get the stickers and postcards if you want to get them.
     
  15. Play to Learn

    Play to Learn Comrade

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  16. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    When I've taught summer school to that age group I've done an Around the World Theme. We visit each continent and read non-fiction books to find out about animals, culture etc and then we read folktales from each place too. We make passports and journals that look like suitcases so they can write about what they are learning. We also make an art project to go with each country or continent that we visit. There are TONS of ideas. My folder is overflowing with ideas, but I haven't taught it in a few years.
     
  17. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Okay...I think I've settled on "3...2...1...Blast Off!" (a space theme) and "Around the World in Eight Days"...now I just have to plan the activities. I want to get as much as possible done ahead of time, as I will be studying abroad in Spain for 6 weeks and coming back 5 days before classes start. I'm already stressed just thinking about it :) Thanks for all your help!
     
  18. Play to Learn

    Play to Learn Comrade

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    Glad to hear you got some great ideas. I like the around the world theme too. My kids 7 and 9 would like those topics. Have fun planning, dont stress go with the flow.
     
  19. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    A really resourceful (cheap) theme would be recycling. All the activities and crafts could use recycled materials. You could have a recycling fashion show, make a collage of recycled materials, make instruments and create music, the kids could write a play about recycling, learn songs about it. You could do a contest like the inventor show and choose the best recycled inventions. You could have them bring their lunches in reusable containers. Or else, collect the recyclables the whole session and count them, weigh them, and graph them at the end of camp.
     

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