Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Thematic Unit: Myself (Senior Class)

The theme of 'Myself' is a popular unit of work at the start of any school year. Here are some activities I have used with 4th and 5th based on this theme.

1.a) Art: Van Gogh's Self Portraits

Study Van Gogh's self portraits and facts about his life. Have the children draw their self portrait on a sheet of card. Using the tips you can find here, have the children paint a thick textured layer of PVA on their page. They can then put paint on top of this and use a plastic fork to gently add texture (optional).

b) Art: Andy Warhol

Study the work, life and artistic style of Andy Warhol. Have the children create self portraits (with or without a mirror) on a sheet of A4 paper. Once they have completed the drawing, have them use carbon paper and a paper clip to copy the portrait 4 times onto a sheet of A3 paper. Once they have completed this, paint the portraits in various bright primary and secondary colours.

2. Music: Almost There

Sing the song 'Almost There' from Disney's 'The Princess and the Frog'. You can find the backing track here. Discuss what the song is about, times when they faced difficulties in trying to reach a goal, etc.

3. History: Place Names

Have the children discuss the name of their town/locality (English/Irish) in pairs and attempt to guess what the name tells them about the history of the place. Discuss as a class. Give some examples and discuss the meanings behind various Irish place names (see this source for information). Have the children look at a map of their local town, with street names marked on it. With a partner, discuss and write down what these street names tell us about the history of the town (e.g. castle street, market street, etc). To conclude the topic, get the children to research the history of their town online (either in school or at home) and create a fact file/project on the history of their town.  

4. Geography: Mapping

Show the children the 'Understanding Map Keys and Symbols' activity featured on Ask About Ireland and answer the questions with your class. Discuss the map located here in a similar manner. Complete the 'Make a Map Key' activity on Ask About Ireland after this. Discuss and model how one would go about creating a map of their locality/their trip to school (start with the road, add in water features, add in symbols, etc). Add a key to the bottom of their map to decode their symbols.

5. Science: The Senses

Discuss this powerpoint as an introduction to the lesson. Split up the class into groups. Create a station for each sense: a set of tasting droppers (salty, sweet, bitter, sour), sound boxes to match similar sounds with each other, smell jars (label as vanilla, almond or vinegar), a sight station (where they have a close up picture of something and must say what the whole picture would be) and a touch station (where they must catagorise the feel of objects as smooth, rough, soft or hard and then guess the object). Have the groups rotate around the stations and complete the worksheet. Conclude the lesson with an interactive game on the senses.

6. SPHE: Myself

Any of the Walk Tall lessons would suit this theme.

7. English: Poetry and Creative Writing

Discuss and recite the poem 'All My Great Excuses'. Write their own poem about homework excuses. Creative writing could also be linked to the theme of 'Myself'.

8. Gaeilge: Mé Féin
Teach the language of a comhrá based on the theme of Mé Féin. Model the comversation and then have them practice it in pairs:

Dia Duit. Dia is Muire duit.
Conas atá tú? Tá mé go maith/dona.
Cad is ainm duit? ____ is ainm dom.
Cén aois thú? Tá mé _____.
Cá bhfuil tú i do chonaí? Tá mé i mo chonaí i _____
Cén rang/scoil ina bhfuil tú? Tá mé i __________.
Cén t-ábhar is fearr leat? Is fearr liom ________.
Cén bia is fearr leat? Is fearr liom __________.
Cén scannán is fearr leat? Is fearr liom ______.

After practicing this comhrá for a few days, have the children write a piece about themselves in Irish on this worksheet and add a picture of themselves to the top. Give them a word bank for difficult words if you feel this is necessary.

If you are on the look out for more thematic unit ideas for senior classes, check out my 'Italy', 'Space' and 'The Aztec Empire' thematic unit posts.

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