7/5/2017

Cross-Curricular Instruction: Digging deeper into authentic learning

By: Leigh Ann Pernell

If the goal is to immerse children in authentic learning—the type that excites and inspires—you must deliver instruction that allows students to make real-world connections. Cross-curricular instruction allows you to open the door to meaningful multi-dimensional learning opportunities. To investigate a topic deeply, you must use more than one lens. It’s time to break out of the constraints of compartmentalized instruction and explore the advantages of integrating content to build deeper understanding.

What Is Cross-Curricular Instruction?

Cross-curricular instruction is teaching more than one academic discipline at a time. It is a conscious effort to make connections that bring meaning to learning by speaking, listening, reading, writing, solving problems, exploring math, making scientific discoveries, surveying history, and promoting cultural awareness. Instruction is often delivered with a theme—supporting goals that encourage children to think, reason, solve problems, and reflect. These themes move away from isolated skill instruction toward connected real-world learning.

What Are the Advantages of Cross-Curricular Instruction?

  • Connections – Students see subjects as connected rather than separated. They can draw on schema (their prior knowledge) and make meaningful connections. Children can tie what they know to what they are learning, and this deepens understanding.
  • Quality Time on Task – With topic integration, you use time more efficiently to accomplish learning tasks. You can link reading, writing, and math tasks by having students research charts in a text and write about their findings. You can link a social studies objective to a math objective by having students graph the information they collect. Students use reading strategies as they investigate science texts, and you can assess their speech and language goals as they share with the class the information they gained.
  • Application – Students do not simply sit and listen as you deliver instruction. They apply the information they are learning in a variety of authentic hands-on learning opportunities.
  • Engagement – Learners are engaged and have active roles—regardless of ability levels. Lessons are flexible, open-ended, and based on students’ needs so that everyone can take part and experience growth.
  • Collaboration and Cooperation – Students explore topics as a whole class, in small skill groups, and on their own. They investigate real-world tasks and work together to research, solve problems, and explore topics. By collaborating with your peers, you can share your ideas with other educators and build upon our best practices too.
  • Communication – Active exploration of a theme promotes dialog, and this develops speaking and listening skills. Students have the opportunity to share their strategies and learn from each other.
  • Integration – Integrating a topic through multiple disciplines makes for more authentic learning. Students do not have to change gears just because the schedule dictates it is time to move from math to reading. When teachable moments appear, the learning can flow.
  • Authentic Learning and Assessment – Cross-curricular instruction is more authentic learning—not isolated and segmented—more like real-world problem solving. You can assess students as you interact and observe them while they show what they know. You will observe growth over time in a variety of ways. 

Carson-Dellosa Is Here to Help!

As thought leaders in education, Carson-Dellosa strives to provide you with the quality materials that support exemplary teaching and enhance student learning. Here are a few tools that can help with planning and implementation of cross-curricular instruction:

These quality tools were created to deepen students’ understanding and improve performance with cross-curricular practice. Appealing visuals present interesting topics that deepen students’ understanding of math, literacy, social studies, and science.

These high-interest passages improve comprehension skills while exploring science, social studies, poetry, narrative writing, and much more. These workbooks are designed to engage students while strengthening their understanding and higher level thinking skills.

These workbooks deliver standards-aligned practice activities that cover important skills across the curriculum. Goal specific materials allow you to review, reinforce, and assess important skills in an interesting and time effective way.

Linking Learning and Inspiring Learners

Cross-curricular instruction is a way to provide relevant and engaging curriculum to students. It provides an active and creative format through which students think, reason, apply, and deepen their understanding. Connecting information helps to link learning and make information clearer to students—just like learning in life. If you want to prepare your children to be college- and career-ready, you must provide the type of authentic instruction that unites lifelong learning and learners.