What are Thematic Units?
Thematic units are a group of lessons that incorporate most or all of the disciplines (language arts areas, math, science and social studies) into a unit of study that revolves around a single theme. They provide unity in learning as students are able to apply knowledge around a common theme into different cognitive skills.
Thematic Work Stations Using President’s Day Activities
President’s Day is a good opportunity for kids to begin building a background of knowledge in American history with fun and interesting activities. Setting up independent group activities after learning about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln In February will familiarize children with important figures in our history. They won’t soon forget our founding fathers with these fun work stations.
After reading about Presidents Washington and Lincoln (and others) and recalling and writing facts, set up these work stations to reinforce what the students learned.
Great Books to Share for Learning about Presidents
Arts and Crafts
Place models and supplies for students to create portraits of the presidents. Use a construction paper collage method. Provide sentences for younger students to match (literacy) and let older students create their own.
White cotton is used for Washington’s hair. Use a white napkin for his collar.
Black shapes create Lincoln’s beard and hair.
Use these models for younger or less able students.
Write sentences or a descriptive paragraph of the two famous February presidents. Use work from the creation station. Have a word bank available for younger or less able students. Include words like top hat, beard , three cornered hat, president, or whatever words are appropriate for what has been learned and discussed.
Writing Around the Room:
Give the students a sheet on a clipboard for writing words they can find around the classroom that begin with letters in PRESIDENTS DAY.
Students read and follow directions step-by-step to create a Lincoln’s log cabin snack. Have supplies at the learning station along with directions. Picture clues will help kids read directions!
Washington-Lincoln Venn Diagram
Start a Venn diagram to compare the two presidents. Students can copy this in the writing center. Place blank Venn diagrams in center. Older and more capable students can research books or internet to add facts.
Math Learning Station:
Incorporate this center after introducing coins and money in whole group instruction. Students will learn the names of presidents (and forefather Thomas Jefferson) and value of the coins and dollars.
Students will love using real or play money coins, tracing paper and crayons to make crayon rubbings for coin impressions. There are lots of ways to use the coins in this center at all levels.
Here are a few ideas:
- Pre-schoolers and kindergartners can count and sort the coins.
- Use coins for patterning.
- Use pennies to show multiplication arrays
- Have cards with names of coins, value and president’s names for matching.
- Students can solve money problems. What presidents are used in coins that are the answer.
- Have different amounts of money on task cards.Use the smallest amount of coins possible for making that amount. What presidents were used? example: 35 cents is a quarter and a dime. Washington and Eisenhower.
Read or tell the story (it’s actually a fable that was made up to make the First President seem more personable) about young Washington telling the truth about chopping down his father’s cherry tree before using these two learning stations. Pass out a fresh cherry for each child to eat and have them save the pits. Compare these with a few other fruit seeds like apple, pear, watermelon.
Have students observe different seeds and compare them to the cherry seeds. View seeds with a hand lens magnifier. Draw and describe 2 or 3 seeds. Draw the tree or plant that would result from the planted seeds.
(you may wish to do this as a whole group for a culminating activity, and just for fun!)
Kids will love this. Place 2 graham crackers in a baggie. They can bash and bang to make crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a plastic dessert cup. Add 2 tablespoons cherry pie filling. Top with Cool Whip.
Need more ideas? Make these cute President’s Day Cupcakes.