Thematic units are a developmentally appropriate strategy to integrate the arts. A thematic unit is the organization of a curriculum around a central theme. It is a series of lessons that integrate subjects across the curriculum, such as math, reading, social studies, science, language arts, and others that all tie into the main theme of the unit. Each activity should have a main focus toward the thematic idea.
You will develop a written activity plan that centers around a thematic unit for one of the following age groups (Toddlers, Preschool, or Pre-Kindergarten) The activity should have a central focus that supports the main idea of the thematic idea and include dance, music, art, drama, or creative movement.
The activity MUST be developmentally appropriate and encourage active exploration of materials and ideas. For the most part, the children should be able to do the activity with minimal guidance from their teachers, although teachers should interact with children, asking questions to encourage exploration, curiosity, problem solving, language development and deeper thinking. Dittos/coloring sheets, flash cards, product-oriented projects (crafts), etc. will not be considered developmentally appropriate activities. The activities should be open-ended, encourage exploration, discovery, creativity and allow the children to build their own knowledge. These should be planned for centers or small groups, not the entire class (whole group). They can also take place outside. Each plan should focus on a different area of development (Emotional and Social Development, Health and Physical Development, Approaches to Learning, Language Development and Communication, or Cognitive Development).
Each activity plan should include the following and follow the format below: (see attached lesson plan document)
1) Title of the Activity and age of the children participating
2) Area of Development (Domain) (Emotional and Social Development, Health and Physical Development, Approaches to Learning, Language Development and Communication, or Cognitive Development) PLEASE CHOOSE ONLY ONE AREA.
3) Goals addressed: If you do not have a goal listed you cannot get full credit for other sections. The goal is what you want the children to learn from the activity. Be sure to list the goal (with letters and numbers included) EXACTLY as it is worded in the original NCFELD document.
Goal APL-1: Children show curiosity and express interest in the world around them
4) Materials – List all of the materials you will need to do the activity. Pretend that you are planning an activity for a substitute to do in your classroom. He or she will not be familiar with the activity, so you will have to state everything for them.
5) Related Thematic Unit: Choose a thematic unit that is age appropriate, ties into the content, and reflects the goal and activity. Example: Thematic Unit: Butterfly and Caterpillars: Kindergarten: Main focus: Investigate and understand basic needs and life processes of plants and animals. Plants and animals live and die (go through a life cycle) Off springs of plants and animals are similar but not identical to their parents and one another : Art activity that supports the main focus of the thematic unit: Stuffed Newspaper Butterfly
6) Procedures – Step-by-step instructions for doing the activity. Also include how many children will be doing the activity with you. These should always be for a center or small group of children (ex-5 preschoolers, 3 toddlers). You will need to discuss where the activity will take place. Be sure to include what THE CHILDREN will do in the activity. Watching you do an activity is not an open-ended activity for the children. Again, think of that substitute. If you don’t tell him or her the procedures, your goal for the activity may not be accomplished. Write down everything! (dance, music, art, drama, or creative movement activities are acceptable for this Key Assessment)
7) Higher Level Questioning- What open ended questions will you ask the children to encourage them to think about their activity and guide them toward meeting the standard? What questions can you ask to identify if the goal has been mastered? (minimum of 5)
8) In addition to your written plan, you will teach the activity and post to Flipgrid. (Pretend you’re teaching to a group of students. You do not have to teach a real group of students.)
1. Tell us the name of the activity, age group, goal you chose,etc.
2. Walk us through the activity- how you made it, what the children will be doing, etc. Be sure to show an example of the completed project.
3. How does the activity connect to and support the main focus of the thematic unit
4. Discuss some of your open ended questions and how they reflect the goal you want the children to master .
5. What was the goal of your activity? What content did you want the children to master?