Teacher Learning Community

Fall 2018 TLC: Connecting Key Ideas Across Content Areas Course Resources

Course leader:

Teacher Quality Standards

  • QS I: Teachers demonstrate mastery of and pedagogical expertise in the content they teach.
    • Element B: Teachers develop and implement lessons that connect to a variety of content areas/disciplines and emphasize literacy and mathematical practices.

The following set features all resources used in the Fall 2018 TLC: Connecting Key Ideas Across Content Areas. 


Concept-Based Teaching and Learning

Integrated instruction has long been touted as a highly effective way for students to deeply understand concepts. This activity is designed to help clarify the purpose of concept-based teaching and learning, which includes thematic instruction and big ideas, all rooted in academic standards. It is essential that teachers design learning experiences that connect key concepts and themes within other disciplines and content areas that is purposeful and meaningful, allowing students to make explicit interdisciplinary connections.  

If desired, review the Colorado Department of Education's examples of cross-content (multi-disciplinary) connections within the Colorado Academic Standards at grades kindergarten through 5.

Creating Meaningful Integrated Curriculum

This activity will guide teachers as they take the idea of concept based teaching and learning to the next level through the creation of concrete integrated learning experiences for students. Resources include instructional strategies, practical examples, unit and lesson plans, paired with information on how to connect learning across disciplines and content areas.

Creating Meaningful Integrated Curriculum

Review any of the following based on interest, but please keep in mind that many of these samples are highly developed detailed units and lessons. These samples are provided to give you an overarching picture of an integrated curriculum. We are not presenting these with the idea that you will choose one to implement, but more as examples of what teaching an integrated curriculum might entail.

Authentic Cross-Disciplinary Teaching through Literacy and Math Integration

Teacher quality standard I notes that all teachers are responsible for strategically integrating literacy and mathematical practices across all content areas. Literacy proficiency is the foundation of learning both in and out of school and all teachers, regardless of content area or grade level, must implement instructional strategies that highlight literacy skills. Authentic connections to mathematical practices can have a significant impact on a student’s ability to make meaning of the mathematical world around them.  In this activity you will have a choice to focus on mathematical practices or literacy skills.

Review these resources if you have chosen mathematics as your focus for Activity 3. 

Review these resources if you have chosen literacy as your focus for Activity 3. 

Teaching for Transfer

The ultimate goal of cross-curricular instruction is for students to be able to apply new learning to any situation. Teaching for transfer means we design instruction with the intention that students can apply their learning in new contexts, content areas and real-world situations. Within this activity, we will explore what transfer is, how we can teach for transfer, creating truly authentic learning opportunities.

Review any of these based on interest. Keep in mind that the target of this activity is for you to help students transfer their learning to other contexts, including real-world situations. With that in mind we’ve highlighted some models of how a teacher might do that. We are not promoting one specific model, simply providing examples of what teaching for transfer might look like.