Community Story

Kristy Brugar

Norman, OK
Faculty Member
University of Oklahoma lessons and related resources have become an invaluable part of my work with teacher candidates. There are many examples of meaningful and educative integration of literacy and history/social studies written by classroom teachers.
Kristy Brugar's Story

Finding Cross-curricular Inspiration With

I have been a teacher for almost 20 years working, in a variety of schools. I entered teaching with a love of history and reading (both literature and informational text) and a goal to bring these two things together in my classroom. As a middle school teacher, I was driven by this personal passion and goal to integrate subject matter and skills in meaningful ways. Often, my American history students would read a piece of historical fiction (favorites include Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson and Soldier’s Heart by Gary Paulsen) and decipher fact from fiction, or they would read and analyze political cartoons of a particular time period.

Curricular integration is easier said than done! This became clear to me as I moved from the middle school classroom to the university classroom. Now I work with elementary and secondary teacher candidates who are preparing to teach social studies. I have found the teacher candidates with whom I work have few meaningful and educative examples of the integration of reading and history/social studies thus the resources at have become invaluable. Each semester I have my teacher candidates select a lesson plan identified under the theme of “social studies/history.” There are a myriad of choices thus each teacher candidate is able to select a grade level and topic of interest to them. Because of the large selection of lessons, it is rare that more than one person selects a lesson. Although from semester to semester, my students select: Let's Talk About Stories: Shared Discussion With Amazing Grace (K-2); Learning About Research and Writing Using the American Revolution (3-5); ABC Bookmaking Builds Vocabulary in the Content Areas (6-8); Tell the Story: Improving Comprehension With Persepolis (9-12).

Once a lesson is selected, my teacher candidates review and critique the lesson for meaningful social studies instruction and educative interdisciplinary experiences for students. They teach the lesson and share their critiques in our class; thus all the teacher candidates walk away with many excellent examples of lessons in which literacy and social studies objectives complement one another. Finally, they enter a professional learning community from which they can draw from and potentially contribute to in the future.

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Currently I am an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK. In this position I work with teacher candidate and in-service teachers in social studies education at the elementary and secondary levels. My research interests include interdisciplinary instruction, visual literacy in social studies, and teacher preparation/ professional development in social studies. When I am not teaching, I enjoy reading about and traveling to places near and far.

Take time to explore the lessons on ReadWriteThink with colleagues.  There are so many great lessons and the conversations about using them in the classroom can be enlightening in the ways to adapt, integrate, and use the materials.

Use the Student Interactives for ideas/student experiences in writing across the curriculum.