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Theme Based vs Book Based

I've always taught, more or less, to a book. I find amazing books to read aloud or book talk for independent reading and then I teach mini-lessons around the themes or sign posts in each book. I am a reader, this makes sense. I believe I am who I am in huge part because of the massive amounts of reading I have done.

But my teaching has shifted recently. I am now teaching gifted and talented students in grades 2-5. I am also taking a couple of graduate GT courses to complete my GT certification. I am motivated to change by what I am learning. I am working on developing a core curriculum for gifted and talented in our school. We only have the kids for three (sometimes two) brief 30 minute sessions per week. My colleague and I have decided that this is no longer appropriate or effective for our students. We have decided to create more of a seminar or workshop curriculum based on one hour and a half session per week instead.

I am basing my new structure around global themes. The first will be Self-Determination. So instead of working mini-lessons around a book, I'll be finding books and resources which fall under the theme. I'm also going to focus a lot of attention on the vocabulary and people associated with each theme. I'm hoping this will help kids see how successful people took control of their destiny in different ways despite failures and challenges.  I think this will open up the world for my kids in so many ways. I am excited for this intellectual activity and hope to share as I go.


  1. Your students are very lucky for your open mindset and learning-focused approach to teaching. It does sound exciting!

  2. Sounds like an interesting approach. Good for you for being flexible.

  3. This sounds very cool - please write about how it goes!

  4. Do you follow Holly Mueller? She teaches 5th and 6th grade gifted, I think. She teaches by theme also. She could be a good resource for you.

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  6. Kimberley, I admire how you are always rethinking, reworking your craft. The idea to switch to a workshop/seminar format is really interesting to me. Can't wait to read about it later this year!


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