Educator Audrey Nelson believes in cross-curricular activities. In her Social Studies classroom, she weaves a number compelling activities into her elementary school class to bring a sense of “real life” challenges to her students. Fusing more than one subject together into a lesson challenges students and teachers to think more critically about the topics they’re given.
For example, finding an incorrect charge on a credit card requires math skills as well as language to contact the company verbally or in writing, asking them to fix the problem. By creating scenarios in classroom, children become more adept at problem solving real world issues.
“Cross-subject studies enhance critical thinking skills. Educators who teach and promote literacy skills in social studies classrooms enhance skills in all classes–not just for social studies and ELA,” says Karen Smith, a 30-year ELA veteran and instructional coach for Maryland Public Schools.
And while the education landscape is evolving in the United States, making sure that teachers have access to as many resources as possible is important. “It’s no longer enough to simply work on comprehension,” says Smith. “Critical thinking through reading and writing instruction is essential to success in the classroom and beyond.”