It’s not always possible to link our English writing and reading with our science or humanities themes. However, when the topics align it’s a wonder to see in the classroom! The result is a more comprehensive understanding of the material and a more engaging learning experience for students.
During the second term of this year, I intentionally intertwined these subjects into one topic of learning through cross-curricular teaching. Cross-curricular teaching involves integrating two or more subject areas in a unit of learning, with the aim of promoting a holistic approach to learning. This approach helps students gain a deeper understanding of the material, enables better information retention, and helps develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
In my classroom, I connected English reading, writing, and history by exploring a central theme: the Trojan War, a famous event from Greek mythology. As a class, we examined Ancient Greece as part of our history unit, all while honing our writing, reading, listening, and speaking skills.
I used an audiobook that narrated the story “War with Troy”, produced intentionally for classroom use in the upper primary levels. To aid in the comprehension of the audiobook, the students were provided with transcripts of each episode. This helped those who preferred to read along with the story. The students were also encouraged to use other mediums while listening to help with their understanding. Some children decided to sketch key parts of what they were hearing, while others made mind-maps charting out links within the episode for themselves. After listening to each episode, we spent time analysing the text and identifying key events, character developments, settings, and writing techniques used in the story.
The writing component of this unit was focused on writing myths, which tied into the study of Greek mythology. The students analysed key features of Greek mythology, such as the hero’s journey, and incorporated what they had learned from the reading lessons. We also discussed grammar techniques found in the audiobook, such as extended noun phrases. By analysing how they were used in the audiobook, the students were able to incorporate them into their own writing. By the end of the unit, the students were able to combine all the parts to create a final myth.
The students tied all this learning together with their history unit on Ancient Greece. They learned about key aspects of life and beliefs during Ancient Greek times, such as Greek gods, geography, city-states, and other aspects of Ancient Greek culture. By connecting this to their reading and writing lessons, the students were able to see how these themes and ideas were interwoven throughout Greek culture and history.
Overall, this integrated unit allowed students to engage with the material in a more comprehensive and dynamic way. By linking the reading, writing and history lessons, I was able to create a more meaningful and engaging learning experience for the students. Using the audiobook and transcript, the students were able to incorporate listening and comprehension skills into their English lessons. Tying in Greek mythology and history gave context and relevance to the writing component. Through this experience, the students were able to see how different subjects and topics can be linked together, resulting in a richer learning experience.
Radhia Alfaradhi, English Lead Teacher