Maybe it’s the “intermediate” teacher in me, but I really do not see the point in themes. I LOVE reading teacher blogs – it’s one of my addictions, one that keeps me up on nights when I should really be asleep because the baby’s going to be up in an hour, but I just have to read this cool blog post. I love seeing everyone’s ideas and finding out what other teachers are doing. I’ve been turned on to the Daily 5 this way, and found great ideas to use in my centers. I recently figured out how to use Pinterest (here is my board, btw) and that is a whole other cycle of interesting ways to see what everyone is doing. I love it, I really do – the collaboration inspires me.
However, the more blogs and pins I read, the more I see of this forcing everything I am doing into a “theme” that does not match anything I am teaching (pirates, camping, frogs etc.) Don’t get me wrong, I understand the purpose behind thematic units and finding connections. I create units to connect my science and social studies units to my reading or my math, where I see that it fits. For example, we are reading books on animal folktales right now, simply because we are studying animal characteristics in science. I understand how connecting everything makes kids remember it. What I don’t understand is how putting a picture of a tent on a number card, or even adding pictures of tents and saying that you are doing a camping theme in your math unit is helping your kids. I think it’s just taking up unnecessary time when there is already so much to do.
Okay, end of rant. If you really love themes, keep on doing them, it’s your time, not mine. This is just food for thought. BTW – here is a group of centers based on animal characteristics that my students are working on right now. I’ll eventually tweak it and put it up on TPT, but for right now here is a google doc FREE for you, just for sitting through my rant.