Sunday, June 11, 2017

I Love Theme-Based Learning


This is a little girl who is completely engaged in the world of bugs. Because our theme for Mother Goose Time last month was "Bugs and Other Crawly Things," her and her brother have devoted so much of their energy to finding bugs, asking me to find them information on specific bugs, reading about bugs, and creating bug habitats. They are completely engrossed with bugs. And this is why I absolutely love theme-based learning. 

When I first began teaching third grade in 2000, public school education was very much going away from the form of theme-based learning, where you teach your students everything there is to know about a certain subject. I understood why the leaders were against this. Teachers had been teaching about topics such as "butterflies" or "the desert"  but the real work that was necessary to learn the objectives wasn't being focused on. The students were walking away knowing a gigantic amount of information about butterflies but not how to correctly punctuate a sentence. They knew all of the different deserts of the world but not how to read four syllable words. 

I've always been so grateful to the themes that I've taught over the years, because these themes have always been a vehicle in which to learn the objectives. Most of the time our themes came from our social studies and science curriculum. In 4th grade I taught about the pioneers and had my students write pioneer journals. Through this they learned how to write creatively and how to use "voice" and good "word choice." (This was through a writing program called the 6 + 1 Traits of Good Writing). 

In public education (in the younger grades) the thought is still that the lamguage arts and math objectives are the most important thing and that the social studies and science objectives come in second. As a now homeschooling mom...I can now say that I think they are equally important. Without a theme that grabs a child's interest, they don't have anything exciting on which to build their writing. This is okay for students who don't struggle, but the struggling ones need themes that grab them! And even for the students who don't struggle, learning how to indent at the start of a paragraph is far more exciting through writing about a sarcophagus!!! 

I want my children to love learning and the actual content of "bugs" and "deserts" and "farms" is just as important. This is what fuels the love of learning. And this is why I love that MGT bases their program around themes. They teach important content through these theme about the actual subject matter and they use the subject matter to teach math and language arts objectives. I love it. 



I'm not kidding you when I tell you that they were searching all day for slugs. 



They found their slugs and created the ultimate home for them. 

Strong B pulled out our Storybook of the Month and tried to identify bugs he had found throughout the day. Reading, researching, exploring, searching...all beautiful things accomplished through a theme. 


*I  receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for my honest sharing of experiences, resulting from our personal use. All opinions/thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.

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