Thematic units offer teachers a useful, logical, and flexible way to organize for interdisciplinary/cross-curricular teaching over a block of time (Tchudi, 1991). Throughout the unit, teachers are able to integrate content area study and engage students in meaningful and functional learning activities (Tompkins & Hoskisson, 1991).
Themes may be focused on a specific content area, or they may be more global in nature. For example, in the language arts, the focus of a theme may be a genre, such as fairy tales or realistic fiction. Thematic units may also center around global topics such as conflict and cooperation. Teachers can relate insights and understandings in one discipline, such as literature, to other disciplines, such as science and social studies.
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