Integrating Curriculum...Science Saturday!

This week of celebrating sure has flown by fast!  I meant to post on Thursday and Friday, but y'all...I was on VEGAS time.  Ha!  So I'm sorry that didn't happen!  I fully intend on circling back to both Thematic Thursday and Guided Reading Phonics Friday on Monday and Tuesday.  Since my actual birthday isn't technically until Monday I figured an extension on celebrating would be perfectly fine :)
So here's what the next few days will look like....

Speaking of Vegas, I had the absolute BEST time at the I Teach conference!  It's my favorite event of the year and this year's did NOT disappoint.  It's amazing to see so many teachers in one place truly excited about teaching and moving into a new school year.  And if you weren't able to make it to this year's I Teach conference, you can catch some of my favorite bloggers and presenters sharing some great tips and take-aways on video!  Kim Adsit at Kindergals hosted a FB live party after each full day in Vegas and she gathered together some wonderful presenters with great ideas to share with everyone who couldn't make it! Click below to check out a few things we shared!!!

I had so much fun with the FB live format! I plan on creating more videos in the weeks to come so that I can share tips and ideas for the upcoming school year.  If you're interested in catching them when they go live, just make sure you're following my FB page!  

Now let's move on with Science Saturday, shall we?!

One common recurring theme I continue to hear from teachers is, "THERE'S NO TIME TO FIT IT ALL IN!!!"  Do you ever feel like this?!?!?

So often, we as teachers look at our curriculum and see everything through compartmentalized lenses.  If we're teaching literacy skills, it must be done during our ELA block.  If we're teaching math, it can't go beyond that 90 minute time frame we have carved out for it.  And science and social studies?!?!  Well...does that even happen at all?!?!

But what if we started to look at those subject areas a little differently?!  Instead of seeing those concepts as impossible to "fit it", what if we used them as our starting points for instruction from which everything else is taught?!

I so strongly believe in cross-curricular instruction.  It just makes sense!  Not only is it easier for us as teachers to "fit it all in", but it helps our kids to create more authentic connections and recall and apply information so much faster!  When we take this type of approach to teaching, we're giving our kids an opportunity to increase their depth of knowledge and we're working smarter...not harder.  
And then everybody said, AMEN!

First we need to make sure that we start with the end in mind.

First choose your science (or social studies) content/standard/objective/skill and then ask yourself a few important questions before starting to plan a cross-curricular unit.

What do my kids know?
What do my kids need to know?
What are my kids expected to master by the end of this unit of learning?
What resources do I HAVE TO use (basals, district curriculum, etc.)?
What resources do I NEED to enhance instruction?
How can I integrate this science/social studies skill across the curriculum?

Once we answer those questions, we can get started.

I like to map out my science and social studies instruction using graphic organizers first.  Once I nail down my concept/theme, I can plan out everything else.  You can click here for your copy of this graphic organizer.

This just helps to give me the "BIG picture".  

Then I dive a little deeper into my planning.  Let's take April for example.

Our science skills that we had yet to teach were Life Cycles and Living & Non-Living. 
It made total sense to use the themes of Oviparous Animals and Insects to teach the concept of Life Cycles.  Plants and Earth Day were the perfect themes for teaching about Living and Non-Living. 
ALL of my instruction for ELA, MATH, and SCIENCE was planned using those themes and concepts.

It's SO easy to fit in both fiction and non-fiction reading using these concepts into our ELA block.  I can use these themes to target specific comprehension skills as well as many important text features with which our kids need to be familiar and understand (using a table of contents, index, etc.)

And for math?!  GOODNESS!!!!  Counting the legs on different insects and bugs and comparing how many more/less; using those insect/bug legs to create number sentences & equations; measuring different sizes and weights of eggs,....just to name a few!  Just remember that when you take this approach to teaching you have to keep in mind that incorporating everything on a cross-curricular level is more than just adding cute, thematic clipart to an activity.  

Here's what that looked like for us...

I can't tell you how much cross-curricular teaching has done for my kids....and ME!!!  I know how excited I get to teach on a cross-curricular level and my attitude about what I'm teaching will inevitably reflect in the way my kids feel about what they're learning.  It just makes sense all the way around!!!  

Science is definitely one of my favorite things to teach and OH SO manageable to "fit in" when we don't compartmentalize our day.  

Abby and I have created a set of cross-curricular science resources for January - May.....

And August - December will be released throughout the Fall starting with the release of August in  ***fingers crossed*** the next week/week & a half!

And you can grab these science resources...along with several other birthday sale items...for the next couple of days!!!


  1. Loved your presentation in Vegas with Kim and Hope! I was inspired to try to do more integrating. My school has cut out science and social studies all together in the primary grades but I believe they are so important. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  2. I watched the Facebook live video and LOVED all the tips! I was wondering if you have both the boards of the One more Cover Up and Roll count and build for sale on your TPT? Thanks!

  3. Dear Cara,
    I loved seeing you at "Get Your Teach On," in Dallas! What a great and motivating couple of days! Thanks for your great ideas! I love planning with the end in mind, and really would like to utilize your graphic organizers, but the hot link isn't hot. Is there another place I can go to get them? Thanks! Melissa