Give someone more ways to think about something, chances are, they’ll remember it.
And giving them ways to connect information, helps them see the world they live in for all of it’s nuances and “grey” areas.
Soft skills of inference and prediction are bolstered with the ability to make connections. If this, then maybe that, and that, because of x, y, and a, and b.
But how do you connect the knowledge taught in an Ancient History class with Social/Civic studies? Or Science with ELA Writing? Or ELA Reading ?
Curriculums are usually organized in silos, by subject, and offer only learning objectives for that specific subject area. Consider organizing teaching teams, by grade, and give teachers collaborative planning time.
If teachers, across a grade level, have a rudimentary understanding of what their students will be learning in other subjects, they can collaborate to find the tie-ins. This gives students multiple ways to understand concepts, appreciate relationships between subject areas, and helps teachers strengthen their teaching practice.
Studying New World Explorers? Take a moment to throw some place value math concepts in by having students figure out how long ago those events took place. And while you might already do this in class, identity it as place value to reinforce the concept. Looking at Ancient History, perhaps the early River Civilizations? Tie in Geography by identifying map features or trade routes, using geography vocabulary.
Try these tips to create an effective teaching team in your school:
1. Identify a vision or a goal for your team. If you don’t set the goal, how will you know when you’ve met it? For example, by the end of this school year, students will be able to link knowledge across different subject areas.
2. Create a graphic organizer for your class showing the concepts you’re going to cover for your class and share this with your team.
3. Create a vocabulary list on either a biweekly or monthly basis and give one or two examples of relevance to other classes. Do the same thing for key concepts - think outside your subject and your students will too.
4. Communicate with your students about the team. It will help to prime them for thinking across the subjects. Students are just as attached to keeping math in Math class or english in English class.
5. Check in with your team. Tangents from the curriculum happen. A student’s pace will often differ from the suggested instruction pace of the curriculum. Let your team know where you are in the learning process.
For more on cross-curricular teaching check out:
Here are what some schools have tried:
And here’s a teacher’s perspective: