iken Writing Project logo


What are TILTs?

Traveling Interdisciplinary Literacy Trunks (TILTs) are teacher-designed, interdisciplinary units of study that are aligned with academic standards from multiple content areas with an emphasis on writing across the curriculum. Teachers compete annually to develop grade-level units and purchase instructional materials with a budget of $600 to $800 per trunk. The trunks are funded through the Center of Excellence in Middle-level, Interdisciplinary Strategies for Teaching (CE-MIST) and the Aiken Writing Project.

TILT unit plans developed through this project are now available, free of charge, to all teachers. In addition, some of the trunks have been duplicated and are available for check-out through the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center’s Traveling Science and Mathematics Demonstrations Program. Each completed TILT includes a unit plan, children’s literature, class sets of novels, science equipment, math manipulatives, teacher resource lists, and more. For more information about reserving a trunk for your classroom, please e-mail us at travelingscience@usca.edu or call (803) 641-3683.

Teachers may also use our CE-MIST forms and templates (below) to develop their own units.

NEW: TILT Grant Application Form (open to Aiken Writing Project Summer Institute participants)

How to Develop Your Own TILT

(NOTE: To download Word (.doc) documents, right-click on the link. If you left-click, you might receive an error message.)

  1. Explore our Free Resources for Teachers: Online TILT Unit Plans (Top right of this page)
  2. Ask your grade level team to trade content area standards. Use our Brainstorming Graphic Organizer to generate ideas for topics that could connect your standards.
  3. Look at three CE-MIST TILT templates:
    a) CE-MIST Unit Plan Template (or use TILT Grant Application form)
    b) CE-MIST Daily Lesson Plans Template
    c) CE-MIST Implementation Guide Template
  4. Take a virtual shopping trip to build your unit's text set (children's literature, films, maps, websites, etc.). If you plan to purchase materials, you may find this Budget Planning & Purchase Order Form helpful.
  5. Draft 3 Essential Questions for your unit.
  6. Look at our Writing Across the Curriculum Teaching Strategies list. How might you engage your students in writing across the curriculum? How could you use pre-writing strategies?
  7. Think about the instructional strategies you might use. You might get ideas from our list of Suggested Instructional Strategies.
  8. How will you address modalities of learning and differentiating instruction? How will you assess your students?
  9. Look at all 10 elements of our CE-MIST Unit Plan Rubric.
  10. If you would like to share your completed unit with us, please send it to: rpsec@usca.edu and we will add it to our website.

Free Resources for Teachers:
TILT Lesson Plans

(Links below include TILT Unit Plans, Lesson Plans, Implementation Guides)

CE-MIST Unit Plans for Elementary Grades
CE-MIST Unit Plans for Grade 6
CE-MIST Unit Plans for Grade 7
CE-MIST Unit Plans for Grade 8
CE-MIST Unit Plans for High School

TILTs Available for Check-Out through the RPSEC

For more information about reserving a trunk for your classroom, please e-mail us at travelingscience@usca.edu or call (803) 641-3683.

TILTs for Elementary Grades
Fractured Fairy Tales- Grade 1
Southern Explosion- Grade 3
Headin' West- Grade 4
Our Great Nation- Grade 4
America's Role in World War II- Grade 5

TILTs for Grade 6
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Greece
Ancient Rome
Medieval Times
The Great Wall of China
James Matthews Legare: An Aiken Poet and Inventor

TILTs for Grade 7
The Holocaust
Mission Impossible: The Vietnam War
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire & The Industrial Revolution
The Roaring Twenties

TILTs for Grade 8
Shake, Rattle & Roll: The Great Charleston Earthquake of 1886
SC History and the Cold War
Native American Culture
A Poet, A Potter, and A Slave: What David Drake Can Teach Us

TILTs for High School
Success After High School

Please direct inquiries to:

Center of Excellence in Middle-level, Interdisciplinary Strategies for Teaching (CE-MIST)
Ruth Patrick Science Education Center
USCA, 471 University Parkway, Box 3, Aiken, SC 29801

(803) 641-3313 from Augusta 278-1967 Ext. 3313


Aiken Writing Project

Copyright © 2016 by the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.
Ruth Patrick Science Education Center
University of South Carolina Aiken
471 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801

URL: http://rpsec.usca.edu/CE-MIST/Trunks/CE-MIST_TILT.html (March 2016)