Thematic Planning in Senior Classes

In Infants it can often be easier to adopt a thematic approach to your planning. This can easily be done when looking at topics in Aistear. When I moved to Senior Classes last year I looked at some topics across the three SESE subjects and at first I looked for opportunities to integrate them and take a thematic approach. While it proved difficult and took some time to plan I found it really worked in my class as the students looked at a topic from many different angles. Here are some examples of my thematic planning.

In Geography I had planned to look at rocks and soils and I chose to also focus on earthquakes and volcanoes. This linked to many other subjects. In History we looked at Pompeii and we also did some research on some of the largest earthquakes recorded. The children really enjoyed this and did their own research at home. In Science we looked at structures (also 3D shapes in Maths). We investigated what shapes we could see in famous buildings and we also looked at Japanese Pagodas (from children’s own research). These buildings have stood through numerous earthquakes and we examined how they were built. We then made our own structures and to test them we put them on a bed of jelly and shook the jelly. There were many interesting findings including what to use to stick the sticks together blu-tack or marshmallows. Finally we were covering report writing in English and using the childrens’ own research they wrote a report on an earthquake of their choice. This gave the children to record their own research using specific headings and really consolidate everything in the topic. An integration chart for this topic is available on Mash.ie.

Another theme I used was the famine. The Great Famine in Ireland is an important part of Irish History and we spent some time looking at the cause and effect of the famine. We also looked at famine in some third world countries and found out that the same problems lead to famine now as they did in 1845. We made a potato maze to see how potato stalks grow towards the light. Finally to link with English we read the novel Under the Hawthorn Tree. I found my class really engaged with the novel as they now understood the history of the famine. The children themselves agreed they learned so much more from the novel as they already had the knowledge from History.

While it is not always possible to integrate across all subjects. I think this approach does help in Senior Classes. It can guide their own research and project work too. An example of my thematic plan is now available on mash.ie.

If you have any questions on the above post, please send me a PM.

A.M.

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