Integrated Thematic Instruction offers students a chance to learn in an environment where lessons in all subjects are woven around compelling themes that are expanded and explored throughout the year. This method of learning helps students connect lessons to real-life experiences. For students to be fully engaged, the content must have an application and be meaningful to their world. The standards are presented in theme-based units that allow for frequent connections.
I am currently teaching a college course titled Literacy in the Content Areas with pre-service teachers and current teachers from all different content areas. ALL content area teachers must play an active role in teaching students disciplinary literacy skills. The purpose of this course is to help teachers and teaching candidates learn how to integrate literacy (reading, writing, viewing, and communication) into content area classrooms so students can construct meaning in discipline-specific ways. Emphasis is on helping candidates acquire an integrated and balanced approach using literacy as a discipline-specific tool – for supporting reading, writing, speaking and doing – as defined by the New York State Next Generation Learning Standards.
Helping students to think about supporting students as writers, add history and bring in aspects of sports, I created this hyperdoc to help students learn about the segregated history of baseball and then make connections to athletes as social activists today. Below you can see the different aspects of the hyperdoc to allow for cognitive skills such as reading, thinking and writing in the context of real life connections that also allows for creative exploration.
Integrated thematic units can result in a lot of thoughtful conversations about the interconnectedness of the disciplines we teach. There are so many reasons why using integrated thematic units can benefit your learners.
- Helps students engage with the content being taught
- Allows students to apply content throughout curricula
- Learners are able to make connections
- Draws from past experiences and prior knowledge
- Develops vocabulary and comprehension skills