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Thematic Units and Lessons
by Marcy Hemminger

    9 thematic units have been carefully chosen for you! Topics are FUN and familiar to most
    children aged 3 to 6 years. 

    Research (and intuition) tells us that if we can connect new information to our past experiences and knowledge, we keep it. Isn’t that your goal with young learners? Using this thematic strategy of tying in concepts, information and skill development under a theme to promote interest and relevance is tried and true. Thehousekeepingse thematic units are packed with ideas addressing eight cognitive areas:

    • Art & Craftsorder online04
    • Cooking & Snacks
    • Fingerplays & Songs
    • Games
    • Language Arts
    • Math
    • Science
    • Social Studies

    Here are the 9 exciting thematic units included in my early childhood curriculum resource system called, “Setting the Stage for Learning”:

Creepy Crawlers
This thematic unit gives children the opportunity to explore the world of bugs, both through teacher-guided activities and self-discovery in independent play. Think about all of the different types of "bugs" around us.  From flying to crawling, from floating to burrowing, there are bugs everywhere! Through tips and thematic lesson plans I will show you how to create a rich environment letting your children have a peek into this fascinating world. Sample:

Let’s Go Shopping
Let your class have the opportunity to act out "shopping experiences" both as consumers and retailers!  This thematic unit guides you in ways to let the children's imaginations develop through the use of props and activities in the world of shopping and learning about stores and store workers.  Thematic lesson plans show you how to make your room "commercial" rich with the use of signs, pictures, and mock set-ups of a variety of different kinds of stores.  Thinking through the eyes of the children you work with, select stores and shopping events that are meaningful to them and that relate to their personal experiences.  Sample:

Outer Space and Beyond
Take a trip to explore outer space!  The purpose of this unit is to begin to let the children investigate and observe the moon, the sun, planets and other stars.  Letting them imagine a world beyond, both in reality and in fantasy.  Imagine creating a room that looks like the night sky.  I will share with you ways to provide opportunities for the children to glean information about space from books, songs and activities.  I will help you brainstorm for ways to introduce the idea of "space" to these young children, thinking about constellations, galaxies, aliens, and space travel.  Sample:

Me and My Family
In this thematic unit, children demonstrate their love for the chance to explore themselves and their families as well as finding out about the common characteristics of all families in their community and throughout the world.  The thematic lesson plans encourages you to fill the room with "people" using pictures, family portraits, posters and books about families as well as learning about their own bodies.   The thematic activities suggest ways to have children listen to, discuss, interact and model actions of children and other familiar family members.  You will be encouraged to think of everything from body parts, senses, body functions, growing up, families and family structures as you develop this theme. Sample:

Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes
This unit is so much fun as the children discover, recite and act out common Mother Goose nursery rhymes! I show you how to make the room filled with nursery rhymes with ideas for posters, pictures, artwork, reproduced rhymes and mock set-ups of favorite and familiar nursery rhymes.  Think about the rhymes that the children already sing and say and the common threads between them: people, foods, animals, and royalty.  Children love drama and this unit provides an excellent outlet for the creative nature they have.

Children seem to have a fascination about dinosaurs.  Perhaps it is because dinosaurs can be scary and yet safe at the same time since they no longer exist.   I share ways in this thematic unit that you can create an environment that looks as if the children have stepped back to a time millions of years ago.  You are invited to think about the climate, topography and vegetation as you prepare the classroom.  In these thematic lesson plans, the children will be discovering the types, habitats, food sources, and possible reasons for extinction.  They will also learn about the paleontologists that have uncovered their bones. Sample:

Old MacDonald’s Farm
No matter where you live, children are interested in life on a farm; the animals, jobs, farm equipment and growing plants. As you prepare to set up this theme, I suggest ways to include what you see, hear and smell on a farm.  From the animals to the tools used, from the farmer to his jobs in managing the farm, the farm and farm life are very multifaceted. I suggest ways to bring those images into the classroom by using signs, pictures, and even animal sounds so that the children feel as though they have stepped out into the country.  Sample:

On the Road Again
The objective of this thematic unit is to give the children the opportunity to learn about and experience traveling by land, air and water vehicles. Vehicles are everywhere around us.  They are where we live, work and play.   I encourage you to think about the vehicles you see everyday and add signs, toys, pictures and mock set-ups of those types of travel as you plan and develop this thematic unit. The suggested thematic activities include vehicles that fascinate the children in your class, such as fire engines, buses, airplanes, bikes, boats, and unusual working machines.  Put on your hat and let’s go! Sample:

Under the Boardwalk
Most of the children have had some experience with the ocean.   They have a fascination and wonderment about sharks and whales, curiosity about unusual fish and means of protection, and find otters, seals, dolphins and penguins fun to watch.  To expand upon this natural intrigue, this thematic unit explains how you can prepare the room with the sights and sounds of the ocean. The thematic lesson plans enable you to give the children the opportunity to learn about the ocean and what is contained within.   The children will be discovering types of ocean animals: mammals, fish, mollusks, crustaceans and plants, habitats, ocean food chains, ocean vehicles and exploration through fun, hand-on activities. Sample: 

General Theme
This thematic unit area is to provide activities for children to be incorporated anytime and with any theme.  They can be mixed and matched with the themes in “Setting the Stage for Learning” or adapted with one of your favorite themes! The thematic lesson plan ideas are considered "generic" and therefore broad and open to adaptations.  Their purpose is to be a guide for the teacher, to be open-ended, with the results that are best suited to the children that you serve.  Sample:

Holidays are a big part of a child’s life. Whether it is to press dried flowers into a card for a beloved parent for Valentine’s Day or to learn about patriotism and our country, children around the world celebrate holidays.  Some of the holiday lessons are secular and other are religious in nature and should be reviewed before presenting.  The thematic lessons are to be used as a guide and offer suggestions of questions to ask and topics to discuss. This thematic unit offers fun and informative ways to share holidays beyond just singing songs and making crafts.  Science, Math, Language, and Social Studies activities are incorporated

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