I teach sixth grade in an elementary, self-contained classroom. I know, it's weird, right? In most places, 6th graders are already in middle school and staring down the most embarrassing and awkward years of their life. (I'm not speaking from personal experience, of course. Ahem. Purple glasses.) But for the small number of us who are lucky (yes, lucky) enough to have an entire group of 11/12 year olds in a self-contained classroom, things are a little bit different.
Last year, at one of our early 'Back to School' staff meetings, one of the presenters talked about moving away from the 'silo' approach to teaching. What she meant was that we no longer just teach reading during 'Reading' or writing during 'Writing', where each subject exists in its own 'silo'. Nowadays, rather than simply teach content, Science teachers are expected to use informational text in their lessons and Social Studies teachers are incorporating argument essays into their work.
As an elementary teacher, this philosophy isn't new. We're used to planning cross-curricular lessons that spark interest and engage. But for middle school students? It doesn't sound so easy. Yes, having a middle school agenda in an elementary school building certainly has its challenges. But there are a few reasons why I love it anyway.