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Themes are a way of understanding new concepts. They provide mental organizing schemes for students to approach new ideas (Caine & Caine, 1997; Kovalik,

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Presentation on theme: "Themes are a way of understanding new concepts. They provide mental organizing schemes for students to approach new ideas (Caine & Caine, 1997; Kovalik,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Themes are a way of understanding new concepts. They provide mental organizing schemes for students to approach new ideas (Caine & Caine, 1997; Kovalik, 1994).

2 Thematic Teaching Cognitive research shows that educational programs should challenge students to link, connect, and integrate ideas and to learn in authentic contexts, taking into account their perception of real-world problems. (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 1999; diSessa, 2000; Linn & Hsi, 2000). Degree of Abstraction More concrete   More abstract (bats, weather, Arbor Day) (diversity, systems, change ) Degree of Authenticity More contrived   More authentic (story problems,) (what flowers can we plant at school)

3 Thematic Instruction Student choice invokes critical thinking, decision making, and reflection. When students are asked to select from alternatives, they are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning process (Beane, 1997; Caine & Caine, 1994). Level of Student Autonomy Many student choices  More teacher decisions

4 Thematic Instruction Students learn through different modes, styles and multiple intelligences. Teachers should access and integrate these modes for increasing opportunities for students to access and retain new knowledge (Gardner, 1993). Research on brain-based teaching explains that the brain learns, and recalls learning, through nonlinear patterns that emphasize coherence rather than fragmentation. The more teachers make connecting patterns explicit and accessible for students, the easier the brain will integrate new information (Hart, 1983). Connecting patterns Three of many possible Linear (vine model) Radial (daisy model) Interlocking (rose model)

5 Thematic Instruction Connecting patterns Three of many possible Linear (vine model) Some piece of each lesson connects Radial (daisy model) Lessons are unified by a central theme Interlocking (rose model) Each lesson is somewhat dependent on the others

6 Thematic Instruction Connecting patterns Linear (vine model) Some piece of each lesson connects with others, two at a time Looking at seeds  Seeds have characteristics we can measure (Science) Measurement can help us describe things, like animals (Math) Descriptions are made more complete using language, such as when we describe our school yard (Language) The description of a place often makes us think of the history of the place, why people changed the place… (Social Studies)

7 Thematic Instruction Connecting patterns Radial (daisy model) Lessons are unified by a central theme are animals make sounds have inspired music live in places can be counted have parts like people Bats

8 Thematic Instruction Connecting patterns Interlocking (rose model) Each lesson is somewhat dependent on the others How can we tells the different kinds of bats? How can we describe different kinds of bats using words? Where are the habitats where bats live? What kind of habitat do bats live in?

9 Do You Know Beans? Soak your beans over night. Bring the soaked beans to class the next day. While your beans soak, plan a way to sprout your beans using materials that you can bring in. Keep track of the source of your ideas for sprouting. Draw and write out your plan neatly to hand in with the source(s) listed. You may NOT use soil to sprout the beans. You may leave them to sprout in our classroom, but if you do your set up must account for your absence.

10 How can you link this with Math Language arts Social studies Art How can you make the results from one subject be important for what is done in the other subjects?


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