Using theme units or thematic units with lesson planning can be very beneficial for you and your students. I have found that using themes in my classroom makes lesson planning a snap! It will save you time and allow you to immerse your students in the vocabulary and concepts surrounding that topic.
Create a lesson plan template
Templates are a great way to save time with lesson planning with theme units. I use a template for my lesson plans, so for each theme, I plan the same kind of activities based on my template. Here are some examples:
ELA instruction: During Monday’s ELA group I introduce the theme vocabulary and we write sentences as a group using the vocabulary words. In Wednesday’s ELA group, we go over form/feature/function for those vocabulary words, and on Friday we write either a group story or paragraph using the words.
So for each new theme, all I have to do is pull the new vocabulary words from that theme’s bin, and my ELA lessons are good to go. I don’t have to spend any time coming up with vocabulary words to work on, I already have them laminated in each theme’s bin.
Fine motor & writing: On Tuesdays, we do a craft/writing activity that relates to our theme, so I pull out the templates for the crafts, and my paras prepare them and copy the writing sheet that accompanies the craft.
I go through my lesson plan template and quickly plug in the information for the new theme, and my whole week is planned … Lesson planning with theme units really couldn’t be any easier.
stay organized for easy lesson planning
I keep my themes organized in bins, labeled with the theme on the front. All of the instructional materials for that theme are stored in the bin.
When I am doing my lesson plans, I pull the theme bin and make copies of activities or books. I also pull out the hands-on materials for task bins and workstations.
Tip: Don’t discard extra prepped materials that didn’t get used. Instead, put them in the theme bin to reduce next year’s prep.
Benefits of theme units for lesson planning
- I can use the materials in the theme bins to do all of my lesson planning, regardless of the subject. With just a little prep, I am all set for the week.
- It immerses students in the vocab and concepts when the theme is embeded across the subjects and school days. This is particularly beneficial & important for student with language based disabilities such as autism.