If you use the Virginia Essentialized Standards of Learning (VESOL) in your daily instruction, then it is likely that you are tasked with teaching multiple content areas to your class. Perhaps you are responsible for teaching Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies to your students. Maybe you are part of a teaching team, where you and another educator divide up the content areas across one or more classes. In either case, both teachers and students will benefit from the use of cross-curricular instruction.
Cross-curricular instruction is a pedagogical approach that involves a purposeful effort to simultaneously apply knowledge and skills across more than one subject area (Timmerman, 2017). Such instruction may encourage students to write about a history lesson or use math skills to analyze data from a science experiment. Further, Paul and Singh (2021) noted that cross-curricular instruction is particularly effective for students with disabilities.
Benefits of Cross-Curricular Instruction
- Cross-curricular instruction is often engaging for both students and teachers (Barnes, 2015). Educators can leverage student interest in one content area to recruit interest in learning about another.
- Students are given opportunities to make connections between content areas. Doing so promotes critical thinking and problem-solving, which are essential skills for navigating the real world.
- Cross-curricular instruction saves time. Rather than restricting your Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies lessons to separate class periods, you can integrate each content area throughout the day. You will be able to teach more in less time.
T-TAC ODU is pleased to offer our newest publication: Cross-Curricular VESOL Lesson Plans for K-12 Classrooms. This collection of VESOL-referenced lesson plans offers a range of engaging, hands-on instructional activities that can be used with students of all ages. Each lesson plan references multiple content areas and includes standards for multiple grade levels. Printable resources are included.
It is easy to design your own cross-curricular VESOL lessons:
Reading may be the easiest of the content areas to integrate. Rather than giving your students random reading passages, ask them to read passages about science or social studies content. Your learners will simultaneously hone their decoding/comprehension skills while learning valuable content information.
Writing is also easy to incorporate into content instruction. You ask students to write a reaction to a book that was read, compose their own math word problem, write a letter to a historical figure, or take notes about a science lesson.
With a bit of planning, you can effectively infuse math instruction into other content areas. Create word problems related to Where the Wild Things Are, the Solar System, the Revolutionary War, or most any concept that you are teaching in other content areas.
Science and math pair particularly well together. Anytime that a science lesson asks students to make observations, there is an opportunity to take data. Anytime that data is available, there is an opportunity to use math skills to analyze it.
Cross-curricular instruction is easy, effective, and engaging. Create opportunities for students to expand their learning and practice their critical thinking skills by infusing reading, writing, and math concepts throughout the school day. Use the Cross-Curricular VESOL Lesson Plans for K-12 Classrooms document for inspiration, then create your own amazing cross-curricular VESOL lessons.
Barnes, J. (2015). An introduction to cross curricular learning. In P. Driscoll, A. Lambirth, & J. Roden (Eds.),The Creative Primary Curriculum (2nd ed.). Sage Publication.
Paul, S. M. ., & Singh, N. (2021). Perspective of teachers on the cross-curricular pedagogical approach for children with developmental disabilities. MIER Journal of Educational Studies Trends and Practices, 11(2), 281–292.
Timmerman, V. (2017). Cross-curricular teaching: How does it work? URL: http://www. ciep. fr/sites/default/files/atoms/files/crosscut-cross-curricular-teaching-how-does-it-work-synthesis. pdf (Last accessed: 12.03. 2019).