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Building an Integrated Curriculum
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Building an Integrated Curriculum

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How to build an integrated curriculum

How to build an integrated curriculum

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  • This is our deep conviction as educators: this whole thing has been built by a team of faculty members.
  • We’ve all heard the statistics about the pace of change, the exponentially growing amount of information, the changing world economy, our place in the world as a country The need for skills to be competitive: creativity, problem-solving, collaboration, communication, analysis: the need for transferable skills to make meaning out of the mass of data out there: there is so much content: the skill becomes how to effectively deal with it and use it, how to know your strengths and deploy them in ever changing contexts In this scenario, teachers can’t deliver information so much as be guides in how to use it, they have to show students how to make connections using their strengths.
  • We know that traditionally good students will succeed in spite of how we teach, but we need to reach students of diverse learning styles and differences, who have more trouble with school the more abstract and irrelevant it seems.
  • For us, this is how it all comes together, what’s these folks are saying, what were seeing in the world, in the data:
  • This is our tag line: it’s all about facilitating connections: bottom line, that is what integration is all about. Helping students make connections in their learning so that they master and retain the skills they need to succeed.
  • So, an integrated curriculum, for us, is one part of what we aspire to.
  • This is the one sentence summary of our curriculum
  • So how do we do this?
  • OK, So how do we make integration work?
  • Each—and I’ll talk about this in just a moment—grade level team will use the broad theme of River Journey as a connecting metaphor and as a physical resource to explore place, self, and citizen. The various academic disciplines will do this in their own ways, with thematic connections being strongest in the humanities and field resources playing a larger role in math and science.
  • The idea is to provide an open ended lense, through which the various disciplines can work together on a project, topic or issue, and build connections, critical-thinking, and problem solving skills.
  • After careful review of state stan
  • Students will:
  • Explain cross-curricular and discipline grids: facilitating integration
  • Key component
  • This is one aspect of integration, a framing concept that helps faculty shape content ands skills. What you’ll see is that the thematic connection is tighter in some disciplines than in others, and we’re Ok with that. The point is to help facilitate students’ making connections and finding meaning, rather to enforce a lock step, rigid curriculum. And this is just one piece; there are the various other pieces that facilitate integration as well: points of conflict, transdisciplinary units, immersion experiences, cross-curricular skills. The idea is to create intersections.
  • These examples are the first on this list, and help coordinate all of these pieces.
  • Here’s an attempt on one slide to show how the ninth grade fits together. Theology, Art, and language will tend to be on the right-hand side of this chart.
  • Sample trans-disciplinary unit
  • Great piece of work that includes research studies as well as basic concepts to capture rigor and relevance in the classroom and rubrics for assessing teaching and assessment methods
  • Transcript

    • 1. Building an Integrated Curriculum: 2010 VAIS Annual Conference, 2009
    • 2. I. Rationale: Why consider integration?
    • 3. A fortunate convergence of the PRAGMATIC and the IDEAL :
    • 4. Differentiate our school: we have an incredible resource: the river
    • 5.  
    • 6. Be mission driven: Great journeys begin at the river . . . Journeys to self-confidence, purpose, identity
    • 7.  
    • 8. Provide what is best for our students in a rapidly changing world
    • 9. A changing world: Robinson, Pink, Fox, etc. Skills before content Changing role of teachers
    • 10.  
    • 11. We want all types of learners to succeed: how do our students learn? In many ways.
    • 12. We want to enable meaning, to teach for value beyond the classroom
    • 13. Enabling students to find that value creates meaning: CONNECTIONS MAKE MEANING
    • 14. Our aspiration:
      • To engage in lifelong learning and the critical use of information. To this end, we are committed to a college preparatory curriculum that is integrated, experiential , and differentiated , designed to enable students with diverse learning styles to be active learners who make meaning out of the world around them.
    • 15. II. Philosophy: Connections make meaning
    • 16. Our students find meaning in knowledge through in-depth engagement that has value across disciplines and beyond school.
    • 17.  
    • 18. How? A curriculum that:
      • Carefully connects skills, content, and learning
      • Is differentiated
      • Is integrated and experiential
    • 19. Skills, content, learning
      • Rigor: students must be challenged by an in-depth process of engagement with content
      • Relevance: engagement needs to be meaningful, building skills and experiences relevant to students and to the world
      • Relationships: the products of learning should reveal the relationships and connections that cross disciplines, communities, and the world
    • 20. Differentiated
      • Awareness of students strengths, learning styles
      • Using our place: community opportunities for place-based education
      • Multi-modal teaching: match the method to the objective and the students
      • Problem-based learning
    • 21. INTEGRATION SHOULD
      • Help students make connections they would not otherwise make
      • Be organic, not artificial or forced on teachers
      • Reinforce connections between disciplines, not put one “on top”
    • 22. INTEGRATION
      • Use the river as a THEMATIC RESOURCE
      • The river journey: discovering places, selves, citizens
    • 23. This provides a framework for the curriculum that uses the concept of place to help students understand not only themselves and their own place, but as they follow their journey, what it means to live in other places (both historical and contemporary) and ultimately what it means to be a citizen, locally, nationally, and globally.
    • 24. Grade level themes: Grade 9: Journey at the River: Our Place, Our Selves, Our Community Grade 10: River Journeys: Many Places, Many Selves, Many Communities Grade 11: Ocean to Ocean: Ourselves, Our Nation Grade 12: Rivers Flow Past Many Shores: Ourselves, Our World
    • 25. INTEGRATION
      • Use the river as a PHYSICAL RESOURCE
      • Multiday immersion experiences by grade level
      • Local community connections: battlefields, paper mill, oyster farming, landfill, water and weather monitoring, water treatment plant . . .
    • 26.  
    • 27. INTEGRATION METHODS
      • Grade level teams and themes
      • Discipline connections to themes
      • Content: humanities/ math & science
      • Gl points of conflict
      • Gl immersion experiences
      • Cross-curricular skills
      • Trans-disciplinary units
    • 28. Points of Conflict, 9 – 12: In our selves and in our region, to what extent does change create conflict? Throughout history and geography, to what extent do one community's needs and wants outweigh another's? In the United States, to what extent do the needs and wants of the individual outweigh the needs of the nation? In the world today, to what extent do one community's need and wants outweigh another's?
    • 29.  
    • 30. III. Exit skills and content standards: facilitating integration
    • 31. Research and review
      • State standards
      • National councils
      • Partnership for 21 st C skills
    • 32. Cross-curricular exit skills
      • Learning and innovation skills (academic skills)
      • Media and technology skills
      • Personal, community, productivity skills
    • 33. Discipline specific exit skills
      • Constructive skills and content conversations!
    • 34. By defining both cross curricular skills and discipline exit skills, we ensure skills are taught and that there is continuity
    • 35. Each cross-curricular skill has a grade level breakdown
      • Specific skill
      • What it means for students to do this at each grade level
    • 36. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving (9 th grade) What it means for students to: IDENTIFY, CONFRONT, AND SOLVE PROBLEMS Students will identify significant questions that can lead to solutions to a problem on campus Students will compare potential solutions to a problem on campus Students will employ problem solving strategies to solve a problem on campus.
    • 37. Media and Technology Literacy (9 th grade) What it means for students to: Understand and use multiple media and digital technologies appropriately to create products, to work with, analyze, and communicate information, and to work collaboratively.
    • 38. Use the school network effectively (e-mail, website, file server) Understand and use basic productivity applications Begin using different types of digital media creation tools (applications vs. online tools) Create a controlled online presence (private CCS student blogs or social network) Use one digital media creation tool to create a relevant product Learn the responsibilities of an appropriate online presence
    • 39. Each discipline has a grade level breakdown
      • Thematic connection
      • Point of conflict
      • Course
      • Essential questions
      • Discipline skills
      • Broad content parameters
    • 40. In breaking skills down by grade level, we provide opportunities for integration and cooperation
    • 41. Each discipline teacher at each grade level will know what their colleagues need to teach, and what they need to do together
    • 42. IV. Structure: grade level teams
    • 43. GL teams ensure a curriculum:
      • Integrated across the disciplines (content, skills, etc.)
      • With coordinated major assignments and work levels
      • That implements identified skills
      • With coordinated support (learning skills, ESL)
    • 44. Faculty and curriculum grouped 9-10 and 11-12 Independent projects culminate 10 and 12 A two year integrated sequence
    • 45. Some examples of grade level curriculum components
    • 46. 9 th grade curricular connections
      • At each grade level, each discipline articulates broadly how its content connects to the curricular theme
      • Grade 9: Journey at the River: Our Place, Our Selves, Our Community
    • 47. English: Discovering who I am as a reader, who I am as a writer, and “where I live” in literature, as well as a sense of how growth of self may happen in our local place.
    • 48.
      • Science: the universal laws that govern relationships of matter and energy and make possible the existence of life, explored through the forces that shaped our place
    • 49.
      • Math: mathematical patterns in our physical place and our bodies. Those Patterns of change and shape can be represented mathematically using a variety of strategies, tools, and technologies.
    • 50.
      • History: the conflict and blending of three cultures in tidewater Virginia (African, European,Native American)
    • 51.
      • Language: Language as a place specific tool for describing the self and one’s surroundings, and for interacting with others.
    • 52. Each discipline has a grade level breakdown
      • Thematic connection
      • Point of conflict
      • Course
      • Essential questions
      • Discipline skills
      • Broad content parameters
    • 53. 9th grade theme Journey at the River: Our Place, Our Selves Points of conflict In our selves and in our place, to what extent does change create conflict? Math EQs Science EQs English EQs History EQs Math Content & Skills Science Content & Skills English Content & Skills History Content & Skills Thematic connections, trans-disciplinary units, immersion experience, cross-curricular skills
    • 54. English: journal/blogs; reading: change and conflict Math: stats/census data, landplots. GPS, navigation Science: geology, forces, tides, GPS, topography, erosion History colonization and conflict, growth of area, farming, ethnic groups Language: role of language in cultural groups and conflict 3 day immersion trip: The local river: infrastructure and resources PoC: change and conflict in self and place
    • 55. V. Professional Development
    • 56. Hugely important
      • How to ensure that rigor, relevance, and relationships emerge?
      • Authentic intellectual work paradigm by Fred Newmann, et. al.
      • Two year long sets of workshops, on teaching and assessment
    • 57.
      • Time to work together as teams to build content within the framework
    • 58. VI. Accompanying changes
    • 59. Daily schedule
      • 85 minute class periods
      • 9:00 start time
      • In our second year . . .
    • 60. Co-curriculars: Expanded breadth of offerings Choice of pursuit in depth
    • 61. VII. Take-aways . . .
    • 62. Time Planning Transparency and inclusion Communication Training Staffing: “Watershed Coordinator”
    • 63. Issues
      • International languages
      • Art, electives
      • Any classes not directly grouped by grade level
      • Thematic integration harder for math and science classes than for the humanities
      • Physical use of resource easier for science and math
    • 64.