Education that is organized in such a way that it cuts across subject-matter lines, bringing together various aspects of the curriculum into meaningful association to focus upon broad areas of study. It views learning and teaching in a holistic way and reflects the real world, which is interactive. (Shoemaker)
National Association for Secondary School Principals – Breaking Ranks II Report, 2004
“The high school will reorganize the traditional department structure in order to integrate the school’s curriculum to the extent possible and emphasize depth over breadth”
Small Units Flexible Scheduling Democratic Values 90- Student Maximum Principal: Vision, Direction & Focus Site Counsel Staff Redefine teacher role Personal Learning Plans for Principal & Teachers Political/Financial Alliances Five-Year Review Collaborative Leadership / Professional Learning Communities Personal Plans for Progress (PPPs) Personal Adult Advocate Families as Partners Personalizing Your School Environment Caring Teachers Activities/Service Tied to Learning Community Learning Critical Thinking Learning Styles Youth Service Essential Learnings Alternatives to Tracking Integrated Curriculum Real-World Applications Knowledgeable Teachers Integrated Assessment Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Higher Education Partnerships Celebrate Diversity Coaching Students Improved Student Performance
Forces for Change
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - $922m for high school reform
Support for small high schools – 3R’s
Rigorous Instruction – Challenging all students with high expectations
Relevant Curriculum – Helping students connect their studies to the real world
Meaningful Relationships – Fostering supportive relationships between students and adults
Forces for Change
New Schools Project, NC. Supporting the establishment of forty-five small high schools across the state.
- highly personalized environments
- integrated and relevant curriculum
Arguments for Interdisciplinary Approach
Avoids the fragmented acquisition of isolated facts. Instead…strength of interdisciplinary approach is in developing students’ ability to make connections and solve multifaceted problems
Offers more meaningful learning to students
Meaningful learning will increase student achievement
The evidence in support of benefits of Interdisciplinary approach tends to be anecdotal. Few studies particularly looking at effects on learning.
Cordogan, 2001, 4 Year study comparing students in an interdisciplinary program (I.P.) (n=247) and those in a traditional discipline-based program (n=161)
Students in I.P. had consistently lower absence rates, generally lower suspension rates.
Freshmen scores on Iowa Test of Ed. Development were equal or higher
ACT data, much higher % of IP students took the test and slightly higher scores
IP students were more likely to graduate from high school
Recognizing some limitations of the study, concluded that “the findings solidly support the continuation of IP.”
Challenges to Implementing an Interdisciplinary Approach
Resistance of experienced faculty
High-stakes testing and the focus on learning discrete information
Ensuring that the roles traditionally served by dept. chairs are met in the reorganization of responsibility
The Lyceum Academy
An Interdisciplinary Approach to Secondary Education
An integrated curriculum of the four core subjects within the junior and senior years.
A team of four teachers teach social studies, English, science, and math within a four-hour block of time.
The team stays with the students through their senior year.
The Journey Begins…..
• A challenge from G.Thomas Houlihan, Johnston County Schools.
• Project Genesis
• Interdisciplinary projects experiment.
• Four teachers were hooked.
Of the things we were exposed to during our 3 year educational reform process, several works really stuck out and became the theoretical basis of what was to become the Lyceum.
Principles and Beliefs • T he teacher is the single most important factor that affects student performance . • S chools should be “thoughtful places” where students develop the intellectual habits necessary for a successful life. (Sizer, Horace’s School ) • We believe that schools should create a community of learners who support each other in their educational endeavors.
Principles and Beliefs cont. • S chools must teach children how to use the knowledge they acquire . This is more than the mere practical application of a technical skill. (Sizer, Horace’s School ) • We believe an integrated curriculum is vastly superior to a modular one . When separated into distinct disciplines, education becomes disjointed. (Marzano, A Different Kind of Classroom ) • Students possess multiple intelligences and that a comprehensive education should teach to all intelligences . (Lazear, Seven Ways of Knowing )
The Lyceum Academy • 100 students, 4 teachers, one in each of the core academics. • 2 year course of study. • Integrated curriculum b/w the core academics to demonstrate relevance to the real world. • Requires many thought-provoking projects which require much insightful discussion and synthesis of material. • Assumes homeroom responsibility for fostering a constant advisor/advisee relationship - we are constantly an advocate for the student’s future.
The Lyceum Day • Flexibility in scheduling is essential. Lyceum students are assigned to the program for 4 continuous hours from 7:30 AM to 11:40 AM each day. • Teachers decide the time needed for each subject and amend the schedule daily. This allows for maximum utilization of our educational environment. • The remainder of the day, students leave The Lyceum to take additional elective classes. • The faculty uses these last 2 blocks of time for student remediation, group planning and individual planning.
Junior Year Curriculum The Junior Year focuses on the United States. There is a natural connection between United States History and American Literature. Honors English 3 or AP Language and Composition Honors US History or AP US History Biology 2 or AP Biology Honors Algebra 2 or Pre-Calculus
Some Integrated Activities
Scopes Trial and Evolution (Biology)
English connections: Actually get to read The Crucible, The Scarlet Letter, The Jungle, Narrative of Frederick Douglas , Thoreau & Emerson, Huck Finn
Decades Project (English & History)
Senior Year Curriculum The Senior Year focus is more global with the driving force being Environmental Science. Honors British Literature or AP Literature Honors Government & Politics or AP Government & Politics Honors Environmental Science or AP Environmental Science Honors Discrete Mathematics or AP Calculus
Some Integrated Activities
Calculating “Compactness” (fairness of gerrymandered Congressional Districts
Policymaking and the Environment
Calculating fair voting procedures
EPA and Consumer Regulations
Sample Project Life Goes On.................. “ In 3 words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life-it goes on” Robert Frost In a 5 minute oral biography, followed by a 3 minute question/answer session, you will demonstrate an understanding of material covered thus far in the four core academic classes. Using your assigned name, birth date and place, death date and place, and artifact, create an historically accurate life that applies your knowledge of the four disciplines. Incorporate 3 tools from the multiple intelligence toolbox to enhance your presentations. Be sure to address each of the points listed below: Core Academics US History : Illustrate how 5 significant events or trends in US History impacted the life of your character. Math : Explain how 2 mathematical concepts covered in Algebra 2 or Pre-Calculus have application in your character’s life. Science : Demonstrate the application of 2 areas of study in the field of Biology and their effects on your character’s life. Language : Given an “artifact” you must write a narrative story in first person from the viewpoint of the artifact describing a significant event. Maximum of 2 pages, double spaced, 12 point font, Times New Roman.
BEYOND THE ACADEMICS: Creating the Community
Student Advisory Board
Parent Advisory Board
Implementing Interdisciplinary Instruction In Your Classroom
Varying degrees of implementation, start small and work up to larger scale lessons
Ask for teacher’s input from other disciplines as a collaborative effort
Creating an Interdisciplinary Lesson
Choose an anchor
topic of interest
A starting point
Social Studies is most often associated and enriched by the addition of English
Math and Science are also easily incorporated
Incorporating Math and Science
Albert Einstein and his contributions to the civil rights movement
Understand three types of DNA testing that can provide data about ancestry, difference between genetic ancestry and "race."
Discuss influential writers and journalists of the civil rights era
Presentation Available: http://people.uncw.edu/smithrw/InterdisNCCSS.ppt Dr. Robert Smith [email_address] Brooke Hazelwood [email_address] Whitney Clay [email_address]