Thematic Unit

Thematic Unit: The North Pole

Is there anything more magical than the North Pole? I love to bring a little of the North Pole magic into my classroom using this great thematic unit featuring Santa and his Reindeers!

Kids love having Reindeer Day, Elf Day, Jingle Bell Day, Santa Day, and of course North Pole Day (Polar Express Day).

Everything you need to bring in the magic is included in our North Pole Thematic Unit. (Enhanced by it's companion Polar Express Unit). And even better, with all of our thematic units the academic learning is not put on hold for the holidays, rather academics are enhanced with holiday fun!

Building Readers: Laying a Strong Foundation

Imagine building a house and beginning with the roof! You don’t need construction experience or a degree in architecture to know that this will not lead to a successful end. Just as the building of a house needs to follow a certain order, skills for reading also follow a sequence. In fact, research has shown that most students learn to read following the same sequence of skill acquisition. What does this mean as we teach beginning readers? 

Parents, students, and even teachers are often so anxious to start the reading process that beginning readers are frequently presented with words before they are ready for them. According to reading research students should first work with letters. In fact, the youngest of students should concentrate on capital letters; once they know the uppercase letters, the lowercase letters are easier to learn. Sight words can be introduced along the way, but not at targeted levels until students have a grasp of letter knowledge. 

Although it’s often tempting to jump into phonics in order to please parents and administrators, research has shown that students with strong phonemic awareness skills tend to be better readers than those who do not participate in as many of these auditory activities. Before connecting letters and sounds, students should clap out syllables, play with rhymes, and isolate initial sounds in words. As students continue on the reading continuum, they can work with letter sounds and then decoding.

These are just a few examples related to the sequencing of reading skills; there are entire books devoted to this subject! Just keep in mind that as you make your weekly and daily plans, you must always consider the sequence of skills. A simple solution to ensuring that the correct reading sequence is followed is to use the materials in our many thematic units. Starting with the Alphabet Fair at the beginning of the school year and continuing with successive units, skills are addressed in the sequence recommended by research. The Kindergarten Kiosk units can supplement any reading program, providing timely activities for practice and intervention.  Our units also include math, science, writing, suggested literature, and more cross-curricular fun.

All of our products can also be found at our Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Plants: A Thematic Unit for Early Learners

Actively engage young learners in the world of plants by using this cross-curricular Plant Themed Unit. Strategically Linked to the common core, this "Developmentally Appropriate" Thematic plant unit is divided into areas of literature, media, music, art, literacy activities, math activities, worksheets, science activities, creative writing, word wall words, and guided reading. 

The activities are clearly written, easy to use, and need limited amounts of preparation. The lessons are fun and engaging and will leave your classroom or homeschool students begging for more.

Includes instructions for creating a quality "Plant Themed Science Center."

Includes instructions for creating a quality "Plant Themed Science Center."

Contents Include

Math Center Activities

Flowering Math: Joining Sets

Watermelon War: Comparing Numerals

Garden Party: Demonstrating Subtraction 

Counting Seeds: Count out items to match a given number.

Planting Seeds: Making Combinations to 10 

Adding Flowers

Garden Takeaway

Plant a Garden Ways to Make 8

Reading Center Activities

Flower Garden: Reading Sight Word & CVC Word Sentences (or alphabet recognition).

Tip Toe Through the Tulips: Alphabet letter sound fluency (or sight word fluency)

Run Rabbit Run: Alphabet Letter Fluency

In the Garden: Naming Sight Words

Greenhouse Words: Reading Sight Words

Blooming Words: Isolating Phonemes & Writing CVC Words From Dictation

The Garden Show: Writing Color Words

Science Activities

Building a Science Center

A Seed Grows: Planting a seed in a bag

Kitchen Science: Edible Dirt

Plant Parts: Observation of Plants

The Thirsty Stem: Capillary Action In Plants

Seed Sorting: Using the Scientific Process

Art Projects

Plant Parts: Portfolio Sample

Artful Flowers

Mother's Day Flower

Fingerprint Flowers


Watermelon Pie 

Inch by Inch (adapted) by David Mallet

Plant A Seed

Guided Reading

The Little Seed


Plant Word Wall Words

Prompts: All About Seeds,What I Know About Plants

I Can Writing: Label it, list it card it

Supporting Materials

Further extend the learning with these Jack and the Beanstalk themed materials

*Purchase below from our secure Squarespace store. Save $2.00 on the thematic unit by adding the code plants at checkout. 

 Or, if you prefer, find us here on TPT.

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In Like a Lion? Or In Like a Lamb?

Have you heard the saying “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb”?

The phrase refers to the weather in March (which, in some regions, starts out cold and ends warm). So where does “In like a lion, and out like a lamb” originate from? According to The Paris Review, the phrase was first recorded in the early 1700’s and may be linked to the Constellation of Leo rising towards Aries the Ram….. time honored folk-lore indeed.

Children love the discussion of lambs and lions in regards to weather patterns. Creating a graph or documenting the lion/lamb days on the calendar gives students a authentic reference for data gathering and recording.

I enjoy extending that data gathering into all areas of academia. I am excited to share with you the thematic unit, Lambs and Lions.

Contents Include:


Lamb and Lion

March Wind


Lamb and Lion Portfolio Page


Lamb and Lion Sight Words

Lamb and Lion Alphabet Fluency

Lamb Days: Reading Simple Sentences


Flip It: Decomposing Numbers

Baby Lambs: Using Ten-Frames

Lambs and Lions I Can: Matching Equations and Sumbs

Math Calendar Numbers

Guided Reading:

Lamb and Lion Reader


Lamb and Lion Word Wall

Writing Prompts

Write the Room: Sight Words

To get you started,

enjoy this original song and poster, included in the unit.

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Ocean Thematic Fun

Young learners love learning about the ocean! This week we are studying about ocean life. Did you know that octopi cannot hear, have three hearts, and blue blood? That jellyfish do not have brains? That sharks never sleep; they swim continually? That dolphins sleep with one eye open? That a shrimp's heart is in it's head? Well these are some of the interesting ocean facts we have been learning.

Here N. writes something that everyone should know before boating in the ocean. "Because sharks can eat boats." "Nuf' said."

We have been using that excitement to practice academic skills. Beside making our amazing hallway ocean as seen in the header above, today we labeled ocean animals at the writing center, wrote what we know about sharks at the science center, and played many math and reading games in-between.

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An Arctic Winter

The great Arctic Freeze is here once again! Capitalize on the weather through winter related units and activities. Investigate the Arctic and the Antarctic. Read the guided reader Arctic Friends, compare quantities with Polar Bear Fishing, construct walruses, and sound out words with the game Arctic Hunt. Next, turn your attention to the Antarctic and the penguin. Write about penguins, read about them, construct penguins, and play penguin games such as Rescue the Penguins - a teen math game and March of the Penguins, a letter fluency game. The Arctic air is cold, but make the best of it with our Arctic Freeze activities!

Snowman Fingerplay: Poetry in the Classroom

Five Little Snowmen Fat.
Each wore a funny little hat.
Out came the sun
Just to chat.
What a sad thing was that!
Down, down, down.
I have enjoyed this finger play for many years with literally Hundreds of kindergartners. Download this freebie, copy, cut, laminate, and
attach to sticks and the poem is ready to go!

Click to Download

If you wish to have the entire "Standards Aligned" unit, it is available here.

Table of Contents

Literacy Activities:
Snowman Spill: Automaticy of Lowercase Letter Sounds
Snowman Match-up: Matching Letters and Sounds
Build a Snowman: Blending and Segmenting Words
Snowman Melt: Reading High Frequency Words
Draw a Snowman: Reviewing Early Phonics and Phonological Skills
My Favorite Things: Identifying Medial Sounds
Beginning Sounds: Identifying and Writing Beginning Sounds
A-Z: Fluently Connecting Dots From a-z.
Writing the Alphabet A-Z and a-z: Practicing Alphabet Letter Formation

Math Activities:
Snowball Fight: Comparing Numbers
The Snowman's Buttons: Decomposing Numbers
Snowman Sets: Joining Sets Using a 10 Frame Strategy
Snowman Sums: Making a Sum of 10 Using an Unknown and a KnowN Addend With Visual Representation.
Symmetry Snowman: Symmetry Activity
Snowman Puzzles: Using Geometric Shapes to Construct a Snowman
The Tallest Snowman: Measurement
Snowman Number Hunt: Matching Quantity and Numerals
Math Journal Prompt (Labels): Joining Sets

Guided Reading Books
The Snowmen (Level B)
The Snowmen (Level C)

Writing Prompts/Word Wall
My Snowman
How To Build a Snowman
Snowman Word Wall
Snowman Label-it (3 Levels)

The Melting Snowman: Observing States of Matter
Science Journal Page: Why does the sun melt the snowman?

Art Projects
Snowman Gallery Art Show
Marshmallow Snowman
Shape Snowman
Painted Snowman Portfolio Sample

Five Little Snowmen
I'm a Little Snowman
Drawing a Snowman

Happy New Year: COMPLETE Thematic Unit

Although learning to tell time is not a math skill, and is not included as a Common Core Standard in kindergarten, the teaching of clocks as a tool for mathematical thinking is crucial. 

A clock is made of the numbers 1-12 laid out in numerical order. This alone makes the clock a handy aid when teaching counting and cardinality. Giving a student opportunity to work with clocks help develop number recognition, sequencing, and numerical order.

I think I have introduced clocks the first day back from winter break for the entire 23 years of my career (thank you Ruth Hepworth). Waiting for Monday morning, right at my carpet/calendar area, I have my little student size Judy Clocks ready to go and my copy of Hap Palmer’s, Paper Clocksready for the play button to be pushed. After we have manipulated the clocks to the song a couple of times, I love to have the students construct their own clocks to take home and show off their new skill of telling time to the hour. 

You may wish to check out our Happy New Year Unit that focuses on ways to measure time: Clocks and Calendars.

Christmas Around the World: World Tour Mega Bundle

We have received numerous requests for a bundle of our Christmas Around The World products, and here it is! We are offering this for a great savings of $7.00, priced at only $18.00 for 370 pages of around the world cross-curricular fun for grades Pre-K, T-K, Kindergarten and 1st Grade.

Contents Include:

Christmas: A World Tour Part One

Part One of the “Around-The-World Tour” is filled with time-tested, quality activities that are strategically linked to Common Core Standards. It is divided into areas of literature, music, art, literacy, math, social studies, creative writing, word wall, and guided reading.

Part One Contents


The activities include:

Literacy Activities
Australia: Surfing Santa: Segmenting Words
Russia: Land of the Sweets: Comprehension 
France: Le Reveillon: Rhyming
Greece: St. Nicholas’ Boats: Naming Sounds
Italy: Befana’s Toys: Changing Initial Sounds to Make New Words

Math Activities
German Advent Calendar: Solving Problems Using Mental Math Strategies.
Denmark: Nisse The Elf: Subtraction
Africa: Candle, Candle: Decomposing Numbers
Canada: Tree Delivery: Making Combinations for 10
Spain: Spanish Shoes: Writing Numbers
England: Stocking Stuffing: Counting Objects For a Given Number

Songs and Fingerplays
Germany: O Tannenbaum
Australia: Six White Boomers
Denmark: Ten Little Gnomes
Spain: Navidad

Art Projects
Germany: Star Christmas Countdown
Russia: Nesting Dolls/Nutcracker
Denmark: Danish Christmas Heart
Spain: Balthazar & the Wise Men
Africa: Candle Art
Canada: Strip Christmas Tree
England: Christmas Cards
France: Christmas Santons 
Greece: Christmas Fishing Boat

Australia: Pavlova

Country Word Walls

Guided Reading
Christmas Friends: Sight Word Reader
Class-Made Book: Around the World

Part Two of the “Around-The-World Tour” 
is filled with time-tested, quality activities that are strategically linked to Common Core Standards. It is divided into areas of literature, music, art, literacy, math, social studies, creative writing, word wall, and guided reading.

Part Two Contents
United States of America

The activities include:

Literacy Activities
USA: Decorate Away: Blending Phonemes
Bahamas: Junkanoo: Using Common Nouns in Complete Sentences
Israel: Identifying Letters or Decoding Words
Italy: Befana’s Toys: Changing Initial Sounds to Make New Words
Mexico: Poinsettia Race: Naming Letters Quickly
China: Christmas Lanterns: Writing Alphabet Letters

Math Activities
India: Diwali Day: Identifying and Comparing Numbers
Sweden: St. Lucia Day Deliveries: Composing Teen Numbers.
Peru: Fiesta de Navidad: Classifying and Sorting Objects
Scotland: The Mischievous Elves: Identifying Numbers

Songs and Fingerplays
India: Little Clay Lamp
Sweden: Lucia Day
USA: Ring Your Bells
Peru: Fiestas de Navidad

Art Projects
India: Clay Lamp
Sweden: Star Hats, St. Lucia Wreaths
USA: A Gift for Mom & Dad
Bahamas: Starfish Santa
Israel: My Star
Italy: My Ceppo
Mexico: Poinsettia Construct
Scotland: Shape Elf

Australia: Pavlova
Peru: Panettone

Country Word Walls

Guided Reading
Around The World: Sight Word Reader
Class-Made Book: Around the World

Part Three of the “Around-The-World Tour” 
is filled with time-tested, quality activities that are strategically linked to Common Core Standards. It is divided into areas of literature, music, art, literacy, math, social studies, creative writing, word wall, and guided reading.

Part Three Contents

The activities include:

Literacy Lessons 
Eid: Reading Sight Words
Eid Variation: Reading Alphabet letters
Happy Kwanzaa: Reading Nonsense Words
Spin the Dreidel: Naming Alphabet Letters
Spin the Dreidel Variation: Decoding CVC Words
Follow the Lamps: Blending and Segmenting Words
Art Projects
Eid: Crescent Moon
Kwanzaa: Kinara
Hanukkah: Star of David
Hanukkah: My Menorah
Diwali: Rangoli

Scrapbook Pages:
The Dreidel Song
Diwali is Here

Part Four of the “Around-The-World Tour” 
Allow students to keep the memories of their world tour by completing A Scrapbook or Passport Book, and then binding into an around the world memento. 

Part Four Contents
Two Scrapbook Cover Options: Color or Black and White
A Scrapbook Page for each of the 20 countries and 4 holidays Found in our Christmas World Tour Series. These pages are available at two levels.
A Culminating Scrapbook Activity to include in the scrapbook.
An original song adaptation of Let There Be Peace On Earth.

Part One Features:


Part Two Features:

United States of America

Part Three Features:

The Three Bears and a Family Thematic Unit

Thanksgiving is the perfect season to talk about the importance of families, and to celebrate the importance they play in our lives.

To begin my unit study on families, I love to start with two of my favorite books, "Hairy Bear," and  "The Three Bears." 

After discussing fantasy stories, where animals talk, we move to the discussion to the families of each of my students. This unit always seems to be a favorite for all! And it should be, who is more important to each of us than our families!

Family Unit Contents:
This developmentally appropriate thematic unit: The Family offers a variety of family themed activities that will connect all facets of the Kindergarten, Pre-K, or Homeschool curriculum.

Contents Include:

Literacy Games/Activities:

Family Vacation: Segmenting Words
The Family Reunion: Producing and Generating Rhyming Words
Family Camping: Identifying Upper and Lowercase Alphabet Letters
Family Camping: Identifying Sight Words
Animal Families: Fluently Naming Upper and Lowercase Alphabet Letters
Animal Families: Fluently Naming Sight Words

Math Games/Activities:

Birth Order: Gathering, Sorting, and Interpreting Data
Family Counting Tree: Addition and Subtraction
Cookie Jar: Counting On
The Family Tree: Matching Quantity and Numerals

Guided Reading Books

The Family


With My Family
My Family Tree


My Family Tree: Scaffolded Writing Lesson
Family Word Wall
My Family: Writing Prompt

Social Studies

Family Traditions: The Patchwork Quilt
Birth Order: Family Combinations
My Family: A Family Home-Connection Activity


My Family: Shape People

Skeleton Thematic Unit

D’em Bones
 The human body is amazing! It can lead to a number of different science studies including a study of skeletons. With Halloween around the corner, this is a fun time to learn about skeletons. Books, art projects, posters, playdough, letter (or word) and number (or addition) games, songs, models, and puzzles can add to the scientific information that you present. 

Although skeletons can give a Halloween atmosphere to your classroom, they are fascinating at any time during the year. Just find a few books and some supporting materials and you will have the beginning of a captivating unit of study. For learning games and related ideas, check out our Skeleton unit.

This "Developmentally Appropriate Thematic Unit starring Skeletons will thrill the students in your classroom or homeschool setting.

The Skeletal System is intriguing to learners of all ages, and Halloween is a great time to strengthen science knowledge of the human skeleton with a little bit of haunted fun! However, this unit is intended to be used anytime during the year to teach about human skeletons. 

All activities have clearly defined objectives and are strategically linked to the common core standards.

Activities include:

Literacy Activities
Six Swinging Skeletons: Naming and Generating Beginning Sounds
Black and White Party: Naming Opposites
Skeleton Dance: Matching Letters
Skeleton Dance: Matching Letters
Skeleton Town: Uppercase Alphabetical Order
Skeleton March: Identifying and Writing Alphabet Letters

Math Activities:

Skeleton Match-Up: Matching Quantity With Numbers
The Bone Yard: Counting Backwards
Skeleton Squeeze: Greater Than/Less Than
Collecting Bones: Counting and Cardinality
Skeleton Family: Writing Numbers

The Skeleton March
The Ghost of John
Bones: Metacognition Activity

Art Projects
Skeleton Construct

Q-Tip Skeletons: Following directions to make a skeleton.
The Human Skeleton

Guided Reading Books
The Skeleton

Writing Prompts
What I Know About Skeletons
Skeleton Word Wall Words (Realistic Photos)
Label-It Skeleton

The Orange Ghost and Halloween Themed Activities

Deep in my file cabinet, under "H" for Halloween, I have music for the delightful song, "The Orange Ghost." Now I would love to give credit for this little treasure, but it has been in my possession now for 24 years, left behind by a teacher who began her career in the 1950's. I suspect it may have come from a elementary music text of that era.

 I have used this song now for quarter of a century and my students love it! And, they especially love to make the orange ghost! If you would love to get a copy of this sheet music, the poster above, the art activity, as well as 110 pages of learning activities, you will want to check out this Early Learning Thematic Unit developed for students ages 4-6.

This Cross-Curricular Thematic Unit Contains the following activities that are strategically linked to Common Core Standards:

Literacy Activities:
Pumpkin Smasher: Identifying Initial Sound
Mystery Letter: Identifying letters
Pumpkin Bingo: Identifying Letters
Trick or Treat: Using Onset/rime. 

Independent Activities
Ghostwriter: Writing Uppercase Letters
Fall Into the ABC’s: Tracing & Writing Uppercase Letters
Halloween Sounds: Matching Sounds

Math Activities:
Monster Math-Mash : Identifying More or Less
Candy Count: Building Equivalent Sets of Numbers
Missing Pumpkins: Ordering Numbers
Candy Match: Matching Quantity to Number

Independent Activities
Halloween Buddies: Number Recognition
The Great Pumpkin: Matching Numbers & Quantity

Writing Prompts/Word Wall
My Costume
Halloween Word Wall Words

Guided Reading Books
Trick or Treat

Class Made Books
Trick or Treat

Witch Stew: Making Conclusions Based on Observations and Experiences
Monster Slime: Following Directions to Complete an Experiment

Art Projects
Pumpkin,Pumpkin Puppet
Construct a Jack
Orange Ghost 
Triangle Witch
Pumpkin Lantern

Song Posters
The Orange Ghost (includes sheet music)
Ten Little Ghosts
The Old Witch
There's No Such Thing as a Witch (includes sheet music)
Halloween Is All Around

Pumpkin Thematic Unit for Early Learners & Free Pumpkin Song Poster

It is October and pumpkins will be everywhere for the next couple of months!

Kids will be constructing pumpkins from paper, doing science activities, painting pumpkins, playing games with pumpkins, carving pumpkins, and more.

This product contains many "Pumpkin" and harvest themed activities to enjoy in your Kindergarten or Pre-K classrooms.

One of my favorite pumpkin activities is to have a pumpkin in the classroom that I leave out of the activities. It simply sits on a shelf and waits out the October festivities.

Why? Because of this lovely book! This fun to read tale is a twist on the "Ugly Duckling" and emphasizes another purpose for pumpkins that happens in November.  Any guesses?

As your class enjoys the study of pumpkins enjoy one of my favorite pumpkin songs and this free song poster!

Fire Safety For Kindergartners and Other Early Learners

October is Fire Prevention Month! Whether you visit a fire station, have firemen come to your school, or show a video about fire safety, make sure you address these simple points with your students:

  1. Don’t play with matches or fire. 

  1. Stop, drop, and roll. 

  1. Crawl under the smoke.

  1. Feel the door before opening it. If it’s hot, don’t open it. 

  1. Don’t hide from the firemen.

  1. Go outside quickly if there is a fire.

  1. Have a meeting place outside.

  1. Stay out. Don’t go back into a burning building.

  1. Learn your address and phone number.

  1. Dial 9-1-1 only if there is an emergency.

Fire prevention and community helpers can provide you with many learning opportunities beyond safety. For activities that teach early learning academic skills using a fireman theme, check out our Firemen and Community Helpers unit.

This "Developmentally Appropriate Thematic Unit", Fireman and Other Community Helpers reaches across the curriculum to meet the common core standards! It is divided into areas of literature/media, music, art, literacy, math and science activities, creative writing, word wall, and guided reading. 

The activities are clearly written, easy to use, and need limited amounts of preparation. Ding Ding, Let the Firemen in!

Unit Includes the Following: 

Literacy Activities:
ABC Firemen: Letter Identification
Race Up the Ladder: Identifying Syllables
Help The Helpers: Beginning Sounds
Fireman Fluency Flash: Beginning Fluency

Math Activities:
Fireman Number Race: Matching Numerals to Quantity 1-6
Cop Patrol: Identifying, Creating & Extending Patterns
The Fire Station: Five Frames
Fire Truck 1-10: Ordering Numbers

The Fireman Race
Around the Town
Fireman Portfolio Page

Art Projects
Construct a Fire truck
Construct a Fireman
Fire Safety Arm Band
Policeman/Fireman Hat
Draw a Fireman

Writing Prompts/Word Wall
Word Wall Words
All About Fireman
What Might I be?

Guided Reading Books
The Fireman

My Neighborhood
People Who Help
Ding Ding Ding
Five Little Firemen
The Policeman

Play is Fundamental

Children's play is not a luxury. It is imperative to their development, health and well being. It also has countless benefits on cognition. Play allows student 's opportunity to be innovative, experiment, create and discover. Simply put, play equals learning!

I ran across this great video on play. I think it is the best I have seen.

If you are looking for Thematic Units filled with play-based games, check out our Thematic Units. Here are a few, we offer over 50.