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The home of Vocab Gal and other educational experts K–12 resources

February 14, 2017 CL Teaching Strategies Notice & Note, ELA PD - Literacy, ELA K-5, ELA Focus - Reading, ELA Resources - Activities, ELA PD - Leadership, Core Literacy

How Literacy Coaches Can Help Teachers Use Picture Books Across Subject Areas

Most school districts are pushing to have a topic that is covered across the curriculum. When you are able to work on a topic in reading, writing, math, science, or social studies, that concept often becomes more meaningful for students. I know that at my school we try to incorporate cross-curricular work whenever possible.

Today I’m looking at how a picture book can be used across subject areas to deepen learning. Literacy coaches can use the example below to assist teachers in implementing cross-curricular studies into their curriculum.

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In a previous post you may have seen an Interactive Read-Aloud for Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Qualls. This picture book is an excellent mentor text for cross curriculum work.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, by Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Qualls, is about a boy born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg. Because of his disability, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams.

As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled.

HOW TO USE A PICTURE BOOK ACROSS SUBJECT AREAS

Here are a few examples of how you can use Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah across the content areas:

READING: Do an interactive read-aloud with your students. The read-aloud will be the foundation for the work your students will be doing across the subject areas with the book, so discuss the book thoroughly to ensure understanding. Be sure to download the interactive read-aloud questions to use with your class.

WRITING: Have students research and write about someone who has overcome a difficult obstacle(s) in order to become successful. Give students the opportunity to share their learning with their classmates.

MATH: Study time and distance with your students. Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way. Have your students figure out how many yards, feet, and inches two miles equals. Measure how far they can hop on one leg. Time how far they can hop on one leg, to see how long it would take for them to hop two miles. On a map, find locations that are two miles from your school. This will give your students a better idea of just how far two miles is, and how hard it would be to hop that distance twice a day, every day. Download the Two-Mile Math Cross-Curricular Activity to use with your students.

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ELA-Download

SOCIAL STUDIES: Research Ghana in order to learn more about Emmanuel's home.

SCIENCE: Depending on the age of your students, research prosthetic legs. Look into what solutions are available for people who are born with one leg or who lose a leg. Get into the science of it and find out what is involved in having a prosthetic.

MEDIA: Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah's story was made into a film, Emmanuel's Gift, which was narrated by Oprah Winfrey. As a celebration of all your students’ hard work, you may want to show them the film if it is appropriate for your grade level.

IN SUMMARY

Cross-curricular instruction integrates content and skills from multiple subject areas into one meaningful learning experience. Through interdisciplinary studies, students will see the interconnectedness of knowledge, and recognize that they can apply that knowledge in a variety of contexts. 

One way literacy coaches can help teachers implement cross-curricular instruction in the elementary classroom is with picture books! Download the Two-Mile Math Cross-Curricular Activity to get started.