In Common Core, Teachers See Interdisciplinary Opportunities
Educators around the country are exploring innovative ways to teach the new common-core literacy standards, and some are calling attention to an approach they say is working well: interdisciplinary thematic units.
Whether they've had these types of units in their repertoires for years or are just now jumping into such cross-curricular work, educators say the new standards support this type of teaching in several ways.
First, one of the key instructional shifts associated with the Common Core State Standards in English/language arts is the requirement that students, starting in 5th grade, read more nonfiction than fiction. Some English teachers have lamented the prospect of replacing Shakespeare and Sandra Cisneros with informational texts. But proponents of the common standards point out that, as a footnote in the introduction to the standards explains, the required percentages for nonfiction "reflect the sum of student reading, not just reading in ELA settings." That is, informational texts are expected to be the shared responsibility of teachers "across the grade," potentially creating new...
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