Thematic planning and curricular integration for the classroom

The topics and units chosen for school planning should be based on concepts. For example, a unit on “bears” or on the “circus” would not be concept-driven. However, other types of units on “how animals live”, “immigration” or “communities” are concepts that provide a basis for the units to be taught.



Thematic units are powerful to build and maintain student interest , and that is why it is very important to be clear about what they consist of. Students at all levels should be motivated to learn, so even though reading can be leveled to group students, for example, they will all be reading on the same topic. Therefore, the advantage of using thematic units should also be the ability of the teacher to introduce them appropriately in order to expand the ideas and the content in a positive and effective way and in an adapted way.

Contrary to what is taught with notes recycled year after year, thematic units of study never stagnate, as they are made up of more practical and dynamic activities. As a principle, in order for you to plan the course well with the integration of the thematic units based on concepts, you must select a unit and build from it. It starts with concepts, objectives, materials, and an element of time. You can also ask the students what they like or what they are interested in , which will vary in each class and at each level. Let them also assess their own learning and the content of the unit, or decide where you should modify the lessons or materials according to the interests and level of the students.

And above all, do not forget that the thematic units and projects based on concepts are wonderful in the development of a sense of pride and ownership in learning on the part of the teacher, and it is a way of differentiating and seeking originality in the teaching, so necessary today.



Considerations to take into account in planning


  • Unit duration: one week, two weeks, four weeks, etc. How much time do you have for the implementation of the unit?
  • Content areas to integrate: if it is social studies, what concepts are being used, what do you need to coordinate, if you can establish relationships with other subjects …
  • Expectations of the curriculum of your school. Look for checklists of skills and concepts built into each unit, what activities will be used to reinforce skills as presented, or set up meetings to compare methods and ideas with other peers.
  • Availability of materials: you must have both those provided by the center and other types of complementary materials that you have, or can buy or find.
  • Introduce technology: ensure that technology is present in each unit or project. Projectors, videos, online educational games , didactic applications, conscious and responsible search for information, principles of robotics …



  • Songs and poems: find interesting resources that can be used for classes, for possible active breaks, circle times … such as music. Review the practical materials that are necessary for each specific topic, but also other aspects such as the vocabulary that you want to use in the unit.
  • Art and Projects: Look for original projects and ideas to expand the units. For example, create an art center, a traveling book … these types of experiences can be incorporated at the end of the week, at the end of the unit, at the end of a specific project … and can be extended to the home environment.
  • Available space: it is very important to always keep in mind the available space when planning experiences and practical activities, since if you do not do it, the projects could eventually be frustrated and didactic planning not be completed properly.
  • Student needs: always keep in mind the needs of each student and each group regarding whether there are or will be necessary different styles of learning, language, attention, etc.
  • Look for the difference: a good way to look for the difference in a planning is to establish activities related to going out of the classroom, coming into contact with groups or special groups, etc., always keeping in mind the theme of the unit. For example, in a unit based on studying and getting closer to the planets, it may be a very good idea to go on a night out in the country or attend a science or astrology center. If, on the contrary, the unit is immigration, it could be excellent to come into contact with groups of young refugees or asylum seekers and then work on the evaluation and individual analysis of the experience.
  • Unit and student evaluation: at this point you should think very well about what the criteria to take into account will be. Problem solving, creativity, group work, understanding, responsibility, empathy … although everything will depend, to a large extent, on the type of thematic unit that is being carried out.

Leave a Reply