Pacing Calendar Linky Party

There's  a new linky over at Who's On First? that I wanted to join! Nicole is struggling with incorporating themes and asks that we link up to share how we plan themes in our classrooms.

I absolutely love teaching with themes. If you're not familiar with Kindergarten/1st grade standards, here's one word to describe them: repetitious! Good gravy! I start teaching place value or addition in the first quarter and come the 3rd or 4th quarter I'm STILL teaching it! Sure, it gets progressively more difficult/in depth, but addition is still addition whether it's 3+0 or 23+14. Although we may cover pictographs, circle graphs, line graphs and bar graphs, it's still graphing for weeks on end! Reading is much the same - cvc words turn to cvce words, digraphs replace blends, but it's all still reading. I think that without themes my days would tend to blur together and there would be very little excitement. I mean, how excited do we expect kids to get about moving from single digit to double digit addition? Click here to see the pacing calendar for my district - K-2nd is common Core, while 3rd and up is still Oklahoma P.A.S.S.

Also, since I teach in a low-income school, many of my students have very limited background knowledge. Teaching with themes allows me to expose them to things they might not ever have experienced before! I usually plan my themes with the seasons. Here are my themes, roughly in order, some I may do a week, some 2-3 weeks, it all depends on how my kiddos react.

Here's how I do it: if we're doing Apples this week and the pacing calendar says "Continue with objectives from Week 6 & 7. Add in 1.OA.8 Determine the unknown whole number in an addition or subtraction equation relating to three whole numbers.", then I simply make our word problems relate to apples (apple trees, picking apples, variety of apples etc), our graphs this week will follow CCSS but be related to apples - either tasting, size/measurement etc. In reading we will be examining the difference between fiction and non-fiction books, so I will be reading a variety of apple books aloud and then doing Venn Diagrams to compare/contrast etc. We are also doing "RF1.3a Know the spelling-sound correspondences for common consonant digraphs (two letters that represent one sound)." so I will bring out my Apple Digraph sorting activity:
Our Art project will involve apples but incorporate Art standards, we'll do a Science Experiment involving apples, like "Does One Bad Apple Spoil the Bunch?" etc. Basically, I teach the standards, but i try to relate them to apples in some way. If I can't find an apple activity for a standard and I don't have time to make my own, I just teach the standard anyways. On average, about 80% of my day will incorporate the theme.

Now, when I switch over to Pumpkins next week, the kids will be all excited about the new theme and most won't notice that we're still doing cvc words and digraphs/blends, because now the activities have pumpkin graphics. It's like putting a fresh coat of paint on a wall - makes everything look new and exciting again!

Hope that helps Nicole! Remember to head over to Who's on First to see other ways to use themes in your classroom!

3 Rustle Up A Response!:

Stacy K. Wolf said... Reply to comment

I can not get the link to your district's pacing calendar to work. would you mind emailing it to me?

Stacy K. Wolf said... Reply to comment

I can not get the link to your district's pacing calendar to work. Would you mind emailing it to me?

Who's On First? said... Reply to comment

Wow! Thanks! You're the first one to post! :-)

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