3 Benefits of Using Cross-Curricular Teaching
Cross-curricular teaching was always one of my favorite ways to present new information to my students. I especially loved using this method when we were taking a deep dive into a new subject. If you’re new to using cross-curricular teaching units, you might be wondering what it’s all about. Today I’m covering the top 3 benefits of using cross-curricular teaching to help get you started!
What is Cross-Curricular Teaching?
First of all, what do I mean by cross-curricular teaching? This method refers to any unit or topic that touches on multiple subjects. Science and social studies topics make great starting places and can easily be connected with reading and writing. Math is a little harder to weave in, but not impossible!
The idea behind cross-curricular teaching is that you’ll introduce multiple subjects to students at one time, within one general topic.
In my classroom, this was always one of my favorite ways to teach. My students LOVED cross-curricular activities and I love that they provided so many benefits!
Curious about the benefits? Let’s dive in!
1. Cross-Curricular Teaching Encourages High Student Engagement
Perhaps my favorite thing about teaching in a cross-curricular format is that student engagement is always high. I believe the reason for this to be due to the variety of activities and lessons that we touch on during cross-curricular teaching. For example, in my unit on Historical Figures, we complete a variety of activities including:
- in-depth reading activities
- historical facts mini-readers
- graphic organizers
- comparing then and now activities
- informational writing pages
- digital activities
These lessons focus primarily on our social studies topics laid out within them, but students also spend a great deal of time targeting reading and writing skills as well.
This variety in our activities helps to keep students interested as we take a closer look at historical figures like Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King, and more!
When it comes to topics with a lot of ground to cover, it’s especially effective to use a cross-curricular teaching format so that students don’t “check out” after focusing on single activity or skill for too long.
2. Touch ON mUltiple Standards with Cross-Curricular Teaching
Another great benefit to cross-curricular teaching is that you can easily touch on multiple standards and skills with one lesson. If you teach in the primary grades, I’m sure you’re well aware of the number of standards we need to meet each year. By using a cross-curricular teaching format, you’ll be able to target a variety of them each day.
This can be easily done by combining a topic where our goal is to teach information, with another subject area where our goal is to teach a skill. Reading, writing, and math are skill-based subjects that allow us to easily connect them to a variety of topics or content areas.
A great example of this is in my plants unit. This is a BIG science unit covering everything students need to know about plants, their basic needs, the plant life cycle, and more. Since this topic is so large, it’s really helpful to use a variety of lessons to help students absorb the information.
The unit uses reading, writing, and science experiment activities to help children learn all about plants, recall information, and reflect on what they have learned. It is easy to teach skills like non-fiction text features, reading comprehension, summarizing, and expository writing with this unit.
3. Increases Opportunities for Understanding
Finally, the third benefit of cross-curricular teaching is that it helps students develop their skills, knowledge, and understanding of a variety of subjects. What I mean by this is that cross-curricular teaching provides many opportunities to learn about a specific topic through a wide variety of activities. This in turn gives students multiple ways to grasp that topic. This is especially helpful when it comes to lessons like reading.
In my classroom, I’ve always been a big fan of the Reading A-Z program. These lessons are great for helping children grow in reading ability by using many short stories and accompanying activities. The books and activities use lots of different science and social studies topics as the focus of each one. These interesting topics make practicing reading fun and engaging for students while providing many opportunities to practice specific reading skills.
I loved connecting our guided reading books to our other subject topics. It’s a great way to spend a little more time on topics that sometimes get pushed aside for reading, writing, and math. By combining them we could dig a little deeper into all of them!
Often, my students didn’t even realize the focus of these activities was on their reading abilities. Instead, they saw these books and activities as a fun opportunity to learn about a new topic like hibernation, nocturnal animals, or communities. I love that these high-interest topics provided SO many opportunities for children to practice letter sounds, blends, and other fluency skills in a fun way.
Get Started with Cross-Curricular activities
Are you ready to try cross-curricular teaching in your classroom? Using activities that touch across a multitude of subjects and standards is such a great way to keep those kiddos engaged in learning! You will love seeing the progress your students can make while focusing on specific topics and teaching units. Not to mention, it’s fun creating a cross-curricular teaching plan to meet the needs of your classroom!
Not sure where to start? Check out these units in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
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