3 English and subject content integration in your classroom

Activity 2: Choose a theme and activities – a planning activity

  • With your colleagues, select a theme on any curriculum topic.
  • Brainstorm and list activities around the theme you have selected.
  • You should then focus on the English language learning in activities. Talk with subject teachers about suitable activities and collectively decide on the vocabulary and communication skills that you want students to develop.
  • Estimate the time you would need to implement the activities – would you take a week, or longer?
  • Make a list of all the resources and materials you would need.
  • Discuss how you will assess students in the topic work, both for English language and for the subject.

See Resource 1 for planning templates to help you and your colleagues organise your ideas.

It is good practice to prepare your students and share the plan with them, especially if they have not done a thematic unit before. Think about how you will introduce the unit and the activities to the class.

When you implement your thematic unit, maintain a diary. Make notes on:

  • what worked and why, and what didn’t work and why
  • what problems you faced and how you addressed them
  • your individual reflections and collective reflections with your colleagues
  • students’ responses and opportunities for assessment.

As you do the activities with your students, monitor the new English vocabulary and sentence structures that they are learning. Reinforce the language aspects that students are already familiar with. Give individual attention so that you can track students’ progress in learning English – you can do this with different students over time.

At the end of the thematic unit you can showcase your students’ work to other students in the school and to their parents. The showcase could be a display of their work or a performance.

See Resource 2, ‘Assessing progress and performance’ to learn about methods to evaluate and record student learning in thematic projects.

2 Using paper as a theme