Teaching in Themes
An Approach to Schoolwide Learning, Creating Community, and Differentiating Instruction
Katherine Clunis D'Andrea
Teachers College Press
How do teachers and schools create meaningful learning experiences for students with diverse skills, abilities, and cultures? How can teachers authentically assess the learning of their students and build on their strengths and interests in ways that enrich the larger community? How can schools become places where everyone is learning from each other? These are the big questions that guide the work of teachers at the well-known Mission Hill School in Boston and that are addressed in this book. Teaching in Themes will help schools incorporate a whole-school, theme-based curriculum that engages students across grade levels K–8. The authors provide detailed descriptions of four thematic units: U.S. History and Current Events, Ancient Civilizations, Natural Science, and Physical Science. Readers see how teachers and students design emergent inquiries within the themes and create artwork, music, science presentations, and a variety of hands-on learning experiences that support differentiated instruction across the curriculum.
Examples of whole-school projects designed to create a deep sense of immersion in a curricular theme and to build a multi-age learning community.
Details of how teachers developed rich curriculum tailored to their unique students.
The insights of legendary educator Deborah Meier on how whole-school thematic units were used to encourage collaboration among teachers.
An afterword by teachers (and filmmakers) about the thinking behind their work featured in the widely viewed film series “A Year at Mission Hill.”
Deborah Meier has spent 50 years working in public education as a teacher, principal, writer, and advocate, and received a MacArthur “genius” Award for her work in New York City's East Harlem. Matthew Knoester is an assistant professor of education at the University of Evansville. Katherine Clunis D’Andrea is a teacher at the Mission Hill School in Boston and an adjunct professor of education at the University of Massachusetts Boston.