Bring Learning To Life With Cross-Curricular Teaching

by Shannon McClintock Miller

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 12.12.31 AMI want you to imagine your students completely engaged, working together and having fun.

The teachers are there too, weaving in the various disciplines and standards they teach while working together.

This scene is a perfect example of the cross-curricular model of teaching and learning.

As defined by Dictionary.com: Cross-curricular is related to an approach to a topic that includes contributions from several different disciplines and viewpoints.   

And today, I saw cross-curricular teaching and learning at Junior Achievement of Central Iowa when my son Hagan and his 6th grade class took part in JA BizTown.

JA BizTown combines in-class learning with a day-long visit to a simulated town, as stated on the JA website.

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 12.12.42 AMThis little indoor city came to life as Hagan and his classmates took on the task of running the town…

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 12.12.53 AMwith various job, tasks, accomplishments and meetings.

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Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 12.13.14 AMHagan was part of the Utility and Realty Shop.

He was responsible for reading meters and changing filters throughout the town.

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 12.13.37 AMI loved watching how engaged Hagan was throughout the day, how much he learned and the pride he took in his work.

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 12.13.59 AMI volunteered in the Health Care Clinic.  We had a CFO, CEO and medical personnel.

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 12.14.11 AMThis group saw every person from their town including Hagan.

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He even had to be responsible for filling out his health form.

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 1.00.52 AMTo prepare for this day, the students went through an in-class learning program where they learned about banking, stocks, voting, community jobs and their specific job.

They also wrote articles for the paper that was created today and speeches they would be giving throughout the day.

This amazing learning tied in math, social studies, writing, reading, speaking, art, science, nutrition and health, physical fitness and so much more.  It not only covered these subjects in this cross-curricular event, it brought the students together through communication, relationships and hard work to run their town.

Now think about this:

What if more learning could be like this?  Would it benefit the students?  Would it benefit the teachers?

Of course it would!  I challenge you to create a cross-curricular lesson for your students now.

When you think about the subject you teach, how can you tie your content and curriculum standards to others?

How could you make it an active, exciting and meaningful learning experience for your students?

As you think about that, our friends at Kids Discover also has a challenge just for you!

They are challenging all of us to create an engaging and imaginative cross-curricular lesson using at least one Kids Discover resource for their #XCurricular Contest!  

This contest runs only a few more days ending on October 31, 2016, so let that inspiration from the JA BizTown inspire you to do this today!

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 12.16.27 AMIt not only will give you and your students an amazing learning and teaching experience, it is your chance to win one of several prizes from Kids Discover.

You can read all about the contest here.

Here are a few more ideas to get you thinking:

You could create a cross-curricular project focused around the holidays and traditions since they are right around the corner.

In this project students will form a small group and they will be creating a new holiday!  This holiday will be focused around a historical event and must be one not already commemorated.

They can research using Kids Discover to help them as they develop their holiday idea and project. Their project must include some type of presentation such as a PSA, demonstration, commercial, play, art installation, etc..  The students will create one food item to share in our New Holiday Showcase to serve while singing or dancing to their original work.  

We will tie in history, writing, math, research, reading, PE, food and nutrition just to name a few for this cross curricular lesson.

Here is another idea:

For Halloween students will create a costume celebrating an event in history.  They will use Kids Discover to research events in history.  They can use math, writing, art and history to create costumes. The students decide to put on a style show which includes lots of planning, budgeting and creating.

Students can even research different cultures to develop and create fabric for the costumes. Just think of the math and writing skills you can throw in.  And with this project, there will definitely be something for everyone!

Okay…it is your turn!  What is your BIG idea for a cross-curricular lesson?  

And you don’t have to do it yourself!  Gather a group of your fellow teachers and plan together.

That is what cross-curricular is all about!

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I know it means a lot to you when you start planning this way, and just think what it means to your kids!

To participate in the contest, go here!  

During the contest, everyone will also get Kids Discover Online for unlimited free access!  You will find that on this page too.

Don’t wait any longer!  Be part of the #XCurricular contest today to showcase ways to create an wonderful cross-curricular lessons with your students, too.