💡 Using Storyworks 3 Across Curriculum
Editor's note: At the end of this school year, I am retiring after 40 years of teaching. Storyworks 3 has been, without a doubt, the finest addition to teaching and learning that I have used. I will miss sharing the stories with students and reading them myself.
We all know that limited funding means limited materials. That’s why Storyworks 3 is a go-to resource when we need to integrate, enrich, and expand our curriculum. In order to provide students with real-world applications for the material they learn in our math units, I use the articles in Storyworks 3. This helps students connect their math lessons to a wider range of learning. It also provides an opportunity for students to make text-to-self connections, something that can be difficult to achieve in a typical math lesson.
The December/January 2022 issue of Storyworks 3 offered a treasure chest of math connections. “Racing Through Danger” provided us with practice in distance measurement, and “My Rows and Piles of Coins” gave us a starting point for working with money. We discussed wages, saving, and spending for bicycles and other items students were interested in purchasing. I can’t think of another time where I incorporated reading practice, math practice, and personal writing into a lesson based on one story.
The Time Machine feature also fit perfectly into our unit on measurement, which has a focus on increments of time. The article “Welcome to Alaska” was a great pairing for our work with elapsed time. Students compared how our school breaks up time in our schedule with the way time was allotted in the student’s schedule from the article. This led us into a discussion where we compared and contrasted school days.
Next, I used the debate “Should You Be Able to Tell Time on a Clock Like This?” (from another issue this year). It prompted a lively discussion and led to a writing assignment that supported not only our math standard but also our ELA standard for writing. I was happy to see that most students felt that telling time on an analog clock is still a valuable skill. We reviewed the basic units of time and compared them to other units of measurement like distance and weight.
Using Storyworks 3 as a curricular link has made planning and instruction richer for me as a teacher, and has allowed students to understand that all learning is connected. When we are working in any subject area and a student shares a connection from Storyworks 3, I feel such a powerful sense of success. It’s amazing to see students relate their own life experiences to the content of the magazine.
It also prompts further discussion and a higher engagement from the rest of the class. These kinds of connections are sometimes challenging for students who, for many reasons, have limited experiences outside of school. But there is always something in Storyworks 3 for students to relate to, think about, and discuss. I highly encourage all Storyworks 3 teachers to think about how to use the resource across content areas. There are a million different ways to do it!
All my best,