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Interdisciplinary Connections in Mid-Level Curriculum & Instruction

Instructor: Della McGuire

Della has been teaching secondary and adult education for over 20 years. She holds a BS in Sociology, MEd in Reading, and is ABD on the MComm in Storytelling.

This lesson teaches steps to develop interdisciplinary middle school curriculum and instruction. You'll learn rationale for making connections, how content and resources contribute to understanding and strategies to facilitate integration of knowledge.

Interdisciplinary Connections

Many academic disciplines overlap, such as the use of statistics in the social sciences or the impact language arts skills may have on reading complex science texts. Acknowledging and emphasizing these overlapping concepts across disciplines teaches concepts across the curriculum. This kind of interdisciplinary or cross-curricular approach helps students see a bigger picture. Let's take a look at the steps teachers can take to implement an interdisciplinary lesson.

Preplanning

Before implementing an interdisciplinary lesson, teachers should begin by assessing the student population. This will include identifying the target population (i.e. a specific classroom, a grade level or age group, school wide, etc.), identify the class title and curriculum needed, size of the targeted student body, any special needs to be addressed and the curriculum standards the lesson will meet.

Other preplanning protocols may include assessing the setting, such as:

  • The time for the unit and scheduling concerns
  • Space needed and classroom characteristics
  • Whether to use a team approach to ensure having the most qualified staff
  • Team members' scheduling concerns.

Basically, you will need to make sure that all the logistical concerns are addressed to ensure that an interdisciplinary lesson is feasible and meets the instructional goals.

The Planning Process

Let's look at some of the guidelines for making good interdisciplinary connections in middle school. Teachers in different departments can work together on this process.

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