Writing Beyond ELA: Cross-Curricular Ideas

We've all heard it; some of us have even said it:

“I’m a math teacher; what do I need with writing in my class?”

It’s easy to say that in math, there are right answers and wrong answers, and they’re almost always numbers. Recently, however, there has been a push in math for students to not only know what the answers are, but also to understand why the answer is correct. This is where writing comes into the picture. The best way to know what a student understands is to get them to explain it. Writing out an explanation for a math question is a great way to see if they really understand how and why the mathematical concept works. As a teacher, it makes it easy to see where students are missing something or misunderstanding a concept completely.

Writing isn’t just for ELA anymore. Many districts are moving towards a more cross-curricular approach when it comes to writing with the hopes that improving writing skills will also deepen comprehension across all subjects. Any content area can add an element of writing to their curriculum and most likely see improvement in their students' understanding of the subject matter. 
In many lab-based science classes, students often have to write up lab reports to explain and describe their observations and conclusions. But writing in science can include so much more beyond the lab reports. Students can also:

  • Research and write a newspaper article about a "newly discovered" element or procedure

  • Research and write a persuasive essay about an endangered species

Do you teach art? You may think that there isn't room for writing in an art class. Maybe you also think that you don't have time to grade essays on top of the projects students do in your class. But it might also be easier than you think. In the art classroom, students can:

  • Write an informative essay about a piece of art, an artistic medium, or an artist.

  • Choose a piece of art and write an imaginative story that describes what’s happening in the art.

  • Imagine a painting/sculpture that has been banned from school. Write an argumentative essay defending why it should or should not be banned.

Writing can be a great way to also get students thinking or to inspire creativity in your classroom. Writing isn't just for ELA classes. Written responses and exposition isn't just for, and shouldn't be confined to, 5-paragraph essays, research papers, or book reports. Empower your students to explore all the things that writing can do for them by giving them multiple opportunities for written expression. Let them express what they know when they write a debate speech, a TV or radio commercial, or a short story. 

But adding writing to your curriculum should not be stressful. Not all writing needs to be “graded”. But when you are looking to add more formative writing into your course, MI Write can help. MI Write takes care of the more basic levels of writing feedback while you have more time to look at the content. Do your students truly understand what they are writing or are they just filling space? Give your students opportunities to practice, to explore and to improve. Contact us now to get started!