Primary Chalkboard: Back to School Planning: Teaching with Themes Throughout the Year

Back to School Planning: Teaching with Themes Throughout the Year

Hi everyone! It's Leslie from First Grade and Flip Flops! Hard to believe that back to school is in full swing for some of our teacher friends! I still have a few weeks left but it doesn't mean that I am not in school mode! I have been busy planning and getting ready for the year by prepping beginning of the year homework, information packets, making a new decor set, and the list goes on and on! 

This meme is the story of my life! 

One of the things I want to share with you is how I plan during the year. Of course I teach to our curriculum maps. That is a must! They are always in my plan book and I refer (and agonize and sometimes have an adult beverage just to sift through some of those tough standards I have to teach!!) to them constantly as I am planning weekly. It takes me at least 2 hours or more just to plan some weeks because our curriculum (like yours) is so. packed

One aspect of planning that I do is that I love to teach with a weekly theme in mind. It's not all the time (sometimes, I go with the theme of our weekly story) but it really helps to give me direction as far as gathering materials for my instruction. I tie in the standard to the theme (if I have one) to help make my planning and instruction go more smoothly-- plus, the kids love knowing what we're learning about. 

For example, we had an Olivia week where we learned all about Olivia. It happened to be that that was our story in our reading series. So I placed books about Olivia, books about pigs, all their literacy centers were pig or Olivia based (and skill targeted), and they had an activity where they had an art gallery walk just like Olivia in the story. 

I usually plan by seasons and if you were to take a look at my file cabinets (well, I rather you wouldn't as they are a HOT MESS! ha!) and my teaching tubs, I have them set up and prepared by what I teach by season. Here are just some examples:

Sometimes we get to it and sometimes not; you know how that goes! Our days are so packed with standards, curriculum, and pacing-- that sometimes we can't always fit it in! I do want to note that although I did list some holidays, our district has gotten very strict with mentioning anything of the sort. Who knew that Santa was another bad "S" word? LOL!! In all seriousness,  just to be on the safe side, check with your district to see what their policy is. For example, this year we weren't allowed to do anything Grinch related even though I could have tied it in with all the standards we were teaching that week (in ELA). I was very sad

This is just a sample of what I've taught throughout the years and if you have other ideas that you'd like to add to the list, we'd love to hear them!! 

And I've got a little {FREEBIE} for you to download, print, and keep in your plan book! It might come in handy when you are planning. 

I hope that this helps you with your planning as your school year begins! I know that it really helps me! Don't forget to check back with us for more fantastic ideas to help you with back to school! 

Take care!! :-)

Lots of love,

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