by Elysabeth Eldering
Do you have a topic that is or can be used in the classroom to supplement a specific course of study? If so, how do you get that one topic to be multi-faceted and reach more than one subject? Teacher's guides. It may take a bit of research to get to the point of being cross curriculum, but it can be done.
My series, the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS) 50-state, mystery, trivia series, is just that. Although my initial intentions were to supplement 4th and 5th grade social studies classes by creating a story that gives the readers more information about the states they never really learned in the classroom, I found that when writing the teacher's guides, I went beyond the social studies curriculum and ended up including science, arts and English Language Arts (ELA).
The teacher's guides don't have to be long to cover a lot of ground. For example, mine are about thirteen pages long and that is with the cover, copyright page, index, and bibliography. So how did I get from just a social studies supplement to include arts, ELA and science in such few pages? Easy. I added discussion/research questions all taken from some of the more historical clues and expanded them out so that the students will actually have to do a little bit of work and write a report or work in groups to come with a display or other creative item on the project. ELA is all about researching, writing, and reporting. This also adds the creative outlet for art projects. Next, I found that one of my clues actually has a science experiment that is widely used in schools across the United States. So, that clue became a science experiment with an explanation of how the experiment works. For fun, I added a puzzle and an end-of-book quiz that can be used for extra credit or can be graded as part of the curriculum. By doing these steps, I have just created a short, across the curriculum teacher's guide.
If you have a topic that can be used in the classrooms and think you are only able to reach one course of study, think about a teacher's guide to supplement the book. See how many subjects you can cover with a short, simple teacher's guide.
Growing up in a military family, Elysabeth lived in Japan, Germany, New York, Kentucky, and Texas before her family finally settled in a small town in South Carolina. Elysabeth, who lives in Honea Path, SC, has put her globetrotting skills to work in the Junior Geography Detective Squad's 50-state mystery trivia series. Published by 4RV Publishing, the series made its debut in summer 2008 with State of Wilderness. The Junior Geography Detective Squad will continue to put their mystery-solving talents to work in each state to challenge young readers on their knowledge of the nation's geography and interesting facts. State of Quarries is next in the line-up. For more check out her blog http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com