I know some of you might hesitate to purchase thematic units because you think you do not have time to work a theme into your curriculum. There are all kinds of ways to use a theme or unit to teach all of the standards you need to teach though. If you have not checked out Deanna's Dinosaur Math and Literacy Fun Unit and Zoo Math and Literacy Fun Unit then you should do so. These two units offer several activities to use when teaching adjectives (using bubble maps), how-to writing (alligator pie), writing to inform (animal and dinosaur facts), writing to explain (comparing how two animals or dinosaurs are the same or different), and inferencing (what's inside the egg activity).
When planning lessons, remember to think outside of the box. There is always a way to connect what you need to teach to a theme or unit. Kids learn better when they can make connections and when the learning is linked to something fun. Connecting what you are teaching to a theme or something the kids are interested in, helps them make stronger connections, and learn more faster.