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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 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

  1. Explore our Free Resources for Teachers - TILTs Available for Check-out Through the RPSEC (below)
  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 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: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.and we will add it to our website.

TILTs Available for Check-Out through the RPSEC

Includes Unit Guides, Lesson Plans, Implementation Guides, Materials List

For more information about reserving a trunk for your classroom, please e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (803) 641-3683.

TILTs for K-5

  • Amazing Animals (K-2) (3319)

TILTs for Grade 1

  • Amazing Animals (K-2) (3319)
  • Fractured Fairy Tales (3301)
  • Exploring Light and Shadows (3312)
  • Let it Grow (3317)
  • Planting Seeds of Knowledge

TILTs for Grade 2

  • Amazing Animals (K-2) (3319)
  • Trunk of Tales: Paul Bunyan and Friends (3313)

TILTs for Grade 4

  • Headin' West (3272)
  • Our Great Nation (3283)
  • Can You Hear Me Now (3318)
  • Explore the Civil War (3316)

TILTs for Grade 5

  • America's Role in World War II (3299)
  • Ancient Egypt (3271)
  • Ancient Greece (3274)
  • Ancient Rome (3275)
  • Medieval Times (3266)
  • The Great Wall of China (3272)
  • James Matthews Legare: An Aiken Poet and Inventor (3276)
  • The Holocaust (3267)
  • Mission Impossible: The Vietnam War (3278)
  • The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire & The Industrial Revolution (3277)
  • The Roaring Twenties (3282)
  • Edgewood (3269)
  • Shake, Rattle & Roll: The Great Charleston Earthquake of 1886 (3265)
  • SC Culture and the Cold War (3268 and 3284)
  • Native American Culture (3279)
  • A Poet, A Potter, and A Slave: What David Drake Can Teach Us (3280)
  • Success After High School (3306)