This short video provides an overview of integrated studies and introduces teachers to new curriculum design. I love the point made by Sir Ken Robinson (author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative), where he says it is only at schools that all subjects are separated—and the world outside education functions with them simultaneously. Check out 1:30, where the Ferryway School combines five subjects for the Iron Works water wheel project!
Healther Wolpert-Gawron’s blog post provides eight ways to incorporate music into the language arts classroom. My favorite was Number 6, where she recommends developing jingles to teach persuasive writing. She also provides a solid argument that music helps in beginning early literary analysis, where she uses lyrics from the Imagine Dragons song, “Radioactive.” It’s really a creative piece to guide middle school English teachers looking to make the classroom a bit more musical!
Dr. Concepcion Molina’s PowerPoint claims that Math is problematized by English, or language. This resource sheds light on the divide between the subjects. There are examples where misunderstanding of individual math vocabulary words leads to difficulty solving problems. I like how Dr. Molina reassures teachers that this is a problem across the board, partially due to isolating mathematics and language arts. The PowerPoint is a must-see for both English and Mathematics teachers
Project-based integrated curriculum is examined in New Zealand. These middle school students have five core classes a day, plus one hour dedicated to an ongoing integrated project. Principal Wendy Greig, who also teaches English, tells how she’s seen remarkable results first-hand. Take a trip to the other side of the world and give ten minutes to this video; you’ll be glad you did.
Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander is the story of a cat not with nine lives, but nine different lives between which he can time travel. The text is a truly exquisite piece of science fiction that also opens the conversation about different periods in history, from Ancient Egypt to 16th century Peru. Having read this myself, I can see how this can connect an English class to Geography or Social Studies. It’s a great novel!
Mokoto Rich’s article discusses the new trend of physical education classes incorporating math and reading into curriculum. Rich examines the new trend through various scopes, both academic and administrative. Teachers and administrators from around the country also share their mixed opinions. I like how Rich actually examined schools around the entire country, so he could present a broad spectrum in the article.
Anne Jolly compiles a succinct checklist to ensure a great STEM lesson. After her bullet points, she shares a list of the sites she uses to build her lessons. I like her attention to detail, because she cautions teachers that not everything labeled "STEM" is indeed stem. Thanks to her six-item critera, though, teachers can locate (or create) a great STEM lesson themselves.
Nicole Sarquis presents the the American Studies class, where American History and American Literature classes were combined, and simultaneously taught by Ms. Dominguez and Ms. Kern. Sarquis says the class creates a context for both subjects. This is an interesting marriage of English and American History classes, which some schools with block scheduling might consider in the future. I really enjoyed reading about how both the teachers worked so well with one another.