If you’re looking for ideas on how to teach deeper meaning in content areas, then you’re in the right place! Think about social studies, science, or health topics. How can you provide lessons for students to develop a deeper meaning to the topic? I’ve found the following ideas truly help students understand the concepts or content.
1. CHARTS AND WEBS
Charts and webs that provide a deeper-level thinking process are effective tools to use when teaching content areas. Some examples: Notice-Think-Wonder, K-W-L, Reasoning Web, Evidence Web.
For the Notice Think and Wonder activity:
Notice: What do you notice in the photo? Look closely at the details. What do you see?
Think: Think deeper. With the things you noticed in the image, what are you thinking about? What may be happening when the image was created?
Wonder: Think even deeper. What do you wonder about the image? What does it make you question? What needs more clarification?
2. CREATIVE PROJECTS
When students create projects related to the content area, they take the time to know and understand the content to use in their assignment, which results in a deeper understanding. One of my favorite things when teaching history, is to have students create Cereal Box Biographies. When they dig into the lives of people they are learning about, create advertisements about them, develop a timeline about them, and analyze their perspectives, it brings about a deeper meaning.
When students reach out to each other to solve problems and share knowledge, it leads to a deeper learning and understanding of the content.
Students develop a deeper-level meaning to a subject through poetry. Why? They need to understand the content in order to write the poem. In most cases, they will delve deeper into a section of the content area. Students can apply their knowledge to many types of poems!
5. GREEK AND LATIN ROOTS
Learning Greek and Latin roots will help student especially in content areas like Biology to understand more difficult words. If they have the prior knowledge of basic Greek and Latin roots, they will be able to break down the more difficult words in their content.
When assignments are about a specific topic and more personal like arguing a point, it gives students motivation to be creative in their writing AND dig deeper into the content. It is the perfect time to bring in their skills from an Opinion Writing unit, Argumentative Writing unit, or Point of View unit.
7. READING SKILLS
Many reading skills work well for content areas and encourage students to think deeper into the subject. For example- Cause and Effect, Sequencing, Compare and Contrast. Below, you will see how to integrate reading skills with social studies lessons. Use generic reading response organizers to guide your instruction.
8. FICTION AND NONFICTION MENTOR TEXT
Provide additional reading materials for students to pick up during independent reading and use when working on assignments. I like to have both fiction and nonfiction mentor text available. Students are always looking for that one fact that you DIDN’T share. Idea: Let them be detectives! Provide a variety of books and have students search for additional facts. Give them points and rewards for each fact! Click HERE to find mentor text to use with history.
9. INQUIRY-BASED LEARNING
When students are given a central question about a content area and the opportunity to be engaged in discussions, experiments, and hands-on activities, they gain a deeper level of understanding of the material rather than just memorizing facts or listening to a lecture.
10. REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCES
Bringing a real-world experience into your classroom will motivate students to learn about the subject. Some ideas are primary sources, guest speakers, use current events in a lesson, simulate a real-world experience, or go outside with your class if the lesson relates to nature.
I hope you found something that will work for you in the content areas!
If you are looking for Social Studies Units filled with Informational Text, projects, and deeper-level meaning ideas, click below!