themes or no themes

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by clynns, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. clynns

    clynns Companion

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    Jul 30, 2009

    I am grade chair this year and one of my fellow K teachers from last year will be with me again. However, a teacher from another school is coming in to fill our third K position. She is very much into weekly themes. I'm not. I have so much to teach that I feel weekly themes will require me too much time looking for theme ideas. I'd much rather use my time planning and preparing to teach what my kids need to learn. Maybe I'm this way because I'm a newer teacher. I think themes are cute but I'm more concerned with making sure my students can meet the standards to go on to first grade. I would love opinions either way about this.
     
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  3. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    Jul 30, 2009

    We use a basal program, MacMillan Treasures. Each unit is 3 weeks long and revolves around a theme. Most of the themes are science and social studies topics, which is very helpful and more interesting for the kids. There are some weeks that I do have a special theme, but it's not often. Some of the weekly themes are fire safety, Dr. Seuss, all about school, pumpkins, etc.

    I understand what you mean. Weekly themes are fine and cute, but if it doesn't correlate to what is required I have to think twice about it.

    Our team does a lot of planning together, but our grade chair is great. She values us as individual teachers and allows us flexibility. The best part is, as a group we brainstorm different ways to incorporate the themes into standards based activities.
     
  4. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Jul 30, 2009

    You can get the children to meet and exceed state standards while teaching with themes. Themes help me focus my energy, ideas, plans so that I'm not soo all over the place. It also helps kids understand things as a whole - not parts (putting pieces together afterward).

    There are teachers who simply use cutesy themes and, taken to extreme, can distract from quality learning. But I know that my kids do better because I teach using themes (and it shows on state assessments)
     
  5. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Jul 30, 2009

    I agree. I do not see anything wrong with themes. A theme can last four weeks or be only one week long. As long as she is meeting the standards and her kids are engaged and learning and she is able to organize her themes, I do not see an issue with themes. We need to remember that these kids are 4 and 5, why not make kindergarten and teaching fun with themes.

    When I taught kindergarten, I used both Open Court at one school and Houghtin Mifflin at another school. Both of these reading programs had themes that lasted for about one month, 4 weeks. In addition, I also incorporated themes. So, I may be doing 2 to 3 themes a month. My kids still learned to write, read, and understood their number concepts.
     
  6. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jul 30, 2009

    Our reading curriculum (Harcourt Storytown) is focused around themes. We try to align social studies and science units to correlate with these themes. For example, we have to teach weather for science and a theme for Storytown is "Whatever the Weather." If it works, it does, if it doesn't, oh well. Not all of the things we have to teach align with a Storytown theme.

    Overall, I don't like themes-they seem very "pre-school" to me. There isn't anything wrong with them-I just don't like them. To each their own!
     
  7. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Jul 30, 2009

    We base our themes on our Social Studies/Science standard for the week. We fill them in based on what makes sense for the time of year and end up 50/50 but may have months of all science or all SS. However, we don't go overboard on making the theme fit everywhere else, if we have great stuff that fits the theme, scope and sequence, and is DAP that is great, if not it is more important to fit the standards we need to teach. Between 6 teachers and mostly recurring themes we have quite a bit to choose from for each theme and can incorporate it quite a bit in other areas. I really enjoy pulling it into reading/writing activities like comparing a factual book to a fictional story about the theme or even KWL charts.
     

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