ERIC Number: ED376929
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Apr-6
Toward a Theory of Thematic Curricula: Constructing New Learning Environments for Teachers and Learners.
Freeman, Carole Cook; Sokoloff, Harris J.
A theory of thematic curriculum emerged during the development of a thematic unit on pets, entitled "Pets and Me." The unit, intended for preschool through grade five, focuses on the human-animal bond, incorporating language arts, math, science, social studies, physical education, art, and music activities. "Pets and Me" was developed, field-tested, and published by a group of educators that included two education department faculty, eight preschool and elementary school teachers, and a veterinary school faculty member. An analysis of the data collected during the unit's development led to the differentiation of three distinct constructs: (1) facts and information; (2) topics; and (3) themes. Each of these constructs plays a different role in children's learning. Facts focus on basic information and on narrowly defined ideas understood as discrete items. Topics provide a context for facts and information, and present a way of organizing discrete bits of information into classes of experiences recognizable by scholars within traditional disciplines. Themes, defined as broad existential questions, transcend disciplines, allowing learners to integrate the information and topic within a context of the full range of human experience. (Contains 19 references.) (MDM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 4-8 1994).