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Alligators, Pizza, and Virginia | Creativity in Multiple Disabilities

What do alligators, pizza, and Virginia have to do with each other!?  Last week these topics were discussed during a cross-curricular lesson in our Multiple Disabilities program.

Mr. Timmins, the classroom teacher, touched on several ASOLs while leading his students through a fun activity that helped them to make real world connections. His creativity and unique approach is awesome because research indicates cross-curricular instruction yields higher mastery of content standards and skills. We all want to see mastery, right?!

Cross-curricular instruction, like what Mr. Timmins and Ms. Perry did, helps bring the student’s skills and knowledge from multiple content areas into one great learning experience. Doing this helps students see the information they are learning as connected, not isolated. It’s also a great way to connect what they are learning now to what they’ve learned in the past. All in all – it’s a great approach for this student population. The VDOE has lots to say about cross-curricular instruction.

Mr. Timmins and Mrs. Perry tag teamed an interactive lesson related to the abstract concepts of voting, greater than/less than, habitats, and local geography. The lesson started with the students voting for what they’d like to eat for lunch the following day: pizza or hamburgers? The students counted the number of tally marks received for each choice. Four people voted for pizza, while only two voted for hamburgers. The class recently learned to compare numbers using the greater than/less than symbols (i.e. alligator mouths). The alligator is always hungry, so he “eats” the larger number. This comparison allowed for a natural shift in focus to the description of an alligator’s habitat. Which in turn led Mrs. Perry to ask the students, “Where do you live?” Several of the students accurately stated both the name of the town and state in which they live, while Mrs. Perry pointed to the location on a map.


Social studies, math, science, and geography standards were covered within this interactive and creative lesson! Students on every level were able to participate. As a culminating activity, the class is having pizza for lunch tomorrow because the ‘greater than alligator’ wants to eat pizza, not hamburgers. I wonder if the ‘greater than alligator’ would prefer pepperoni or cheese? I guess we will see tomorrow!

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