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Using Universal Themes in 5th Grade

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Using Universal Themes in 5th Grade
Old 07-18-2011, 06:11 PM
 
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Someone was chatting about a classroom theme, and I saw a post somewhere where a teacher used the word

ANT-icipation. I thought that was cool.

Then it reminded me that when you learn about adding depth and complexity, there are some universal themes. I was told that change works well and also systems. You can talk about the human body system, and government.

With change, you can focus on Exploration, conquistadors, and how the world for the Native Americans changed once the Europeans arrived in America. Change could also work with the American Revolution, and Puritans kicking various members out to start their own colony. Finally, change works well with Manifest Destiny, and the Westward Movement - Trail of Tears. Change works for erosion and the rock cycle. I suppose you could tie it into the water cycle, photosynthesis, chemical reactions and digestion too.

Fifth graders get to see the puberty film in the spring. Sounds like change to me!

Change
1.Can be natural or man-made
2. Different kinds of change
3. Is inevitable
4. Necessary for growth

Patterns
1. Have segments that are repeated
2. Allow for prediction
3. Have eternal order
4. Are enablers

Systems
1. Are many parts arranged into a unified whole
2. A group of elements that work together
3. Are manmade or natural

Conflict
1. Composed of opposing forces
2. Natural or man-made
3. Intentional or unintentional
4. May allow for synthesis and change

A Few Basic Generalizations

__________are reciprocal and interdependent.
__________is inevitable.
__________can be natural or imposed.
There are __________within__________.
__________can be positive or negative.


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Themes
Old 07-18-2011, 07:18 PM
 
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Sounds like someone has read the work of H. Lynn Erickson! I'm going the same route in my classroom.
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All Systems Go
Old 07-19-2011, 03:57 AM
 
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I loop with kids for 4th and 5th grades and our overarching theme is "All Systems Go" and our school's mascot is "Explorers." We also organize ourselves around science in 4th grade and social studies in 5th as much as we can and then integrate other disciplines. I teach in a year round school and we have trimesters so here are the trimester themes (though they are undersr construction now due to the new standards):

1. Stayin' Alive (Exploring Ecosystems, Goverment)
2. Slippin' and Slidin' (Exploring Land and Water, Geography, Water Cycle, Rocks & Minerals, Indiana History)
3. Pushin' & Pullin' (Magnets, Electriity, Economics, Inventions)

4. Comin' to America (Exploration, Native Americans, Colonies)
5. Movin' & Groovin' (Revolution, Founding Documents, Laws or Motion)
8. Blastin' Off (Space, heading to Middle School)

Even during the first week while we are establishing our procedures, we talk about how we are a classroom system and talk about how it contains smaller systems (Learning Clubs, Study Buddies, Book Clubs) and is part of larger systems (Grade Level, Intermediate, School, District, COmmunity, ect.).
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Old 07-19-2011, 05:41 AM
 
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My team mate and I are going to organize each quarter around a universal theme. We're using Systems, Change, Structure, and Conflict. I'm really looking forward to it as it gives me a different way to think about the content as well!
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