I agree that the theme topics are engaging. We always do some thematic lessons at the beginning of the year when we are launching a theme. However, our required curriculum is so jam-packed that I do not have tons of time to venture out and do separate units to compliment my themes.
Some of the themes we have picked in the past are already part of our curriculum. The solar system is part of the 3rd grade curriculum in our district, so the Planet 13 theme worked well. The Team theme is always great because made sure to we read lots of books with teamwork as the theme. The Racing and Hollywood themes lend themselves less to academic tie-ins.
Our theme for this year is Pier 13. As cool as it would be do an entire unit on Ocean Life or something of that sort, there is just too little time. However, during my nonfiction unit when I am teaching students about text features and different text structure, I will likely choose texts that highlight marine-life. I will also be sure to use theme-related texts in guided reading when possible, but a whole unit devoted to a theme topic is nearly impossible to fit into our curriculum.
Thanks for the great question!
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