an Integrated Curriculum The challenge of teaching an integrated
curriculum is structuring properly so as to teach the desired skill
set. The problems formulated for the students to solve must reference
their specific life experiences, be engaging without frivolous,
and must challenge the student intellectually. As integrated curriculum
receives more attention, however, there are an increasing amount
of teaching aides designed to help the teacher integrate curriculum
in an effective manner. Though it may require more work initially,
in the end it is no more work intensive than the more traditional
teaching method and is more rewarding for both the teacher and the
should be warned, however - integrated curriculum is not the panacea
for all educational problems. In the words of Jere Brophy and Janet
Alleman, "Just because an activity crosses subject-matter lines
does not make it worthwhile; it must also help accomplish educational
goals." (66). The integrated curriculum
approach should be viewed as a tool that can help educate students
and engage them in the learning process. It is not an end in and
are some tips to help get you started teaching integrated curriculum.
For more specific help, or for more information about teaching aides,
contact the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
(ASCD) [www.ascd.org]. Long a respected association with the field
of education, the ASCD offers more information about integrated
curriculum, as well as how to teach it.
Things to Remember (Brandt 26):
is a well-researched model for starting an integrated curriculum model
within a school (Jacobs 27-28).
small: you donít have to have a comprehensive program to start
integrating curriculum. Start with activities like teaching demographics
and statistics during a unit on immigration in late 19th century
America, or reading The Diary of Anne Frank while studying World
Talk to other teachers who might be interested, or just to find
out what they are teaching and when.
Scheduling can be one of the most important factors for starting
an integrated curriculum program. Large blocks of time used by
teams of teachers work the best.
I: Conducting Action Research
(6 months - 1 year)
internal research to find out what each teacher teaches and when.
This is to avoid teaching information more than once, and to identify
areas that could be integrated. One way to do this is to plot what
is taught in each subject month-by-month.
external research to Find Out More about integrated curriculum.
A good place to start is the October 1991 issue of Educational Leadership
(vol. 49, no. 2). This magazine, a publication of the ASCD, provides
a good overview of integrated curriculum including definitions,
how to teach it, examples, models, and resources. It also lists
publications for further reading on the subject. Other areas of
research could be on team building, scheduling alternatives, different
approaches to evaluation and assessment, and "writing across
*This phase could be accomplished through a Teacher Study Group
as described in the Professional Development
portion of this Web site.
II: Develop a Proposal
(2 - 4 months in the 1st year)
areas that could overlap subjects. Maybe start by updating existing
units with increased collaboration between teachers.
Create a proposal that outlines "how to evaluate, budget, timeline,
teachersí responsibilities", etc.
proposal is evaluated and critiqued by the board, LSC, etc, try
it out in class.
and Monitor the Pilot
the program: see how well the team of teacher is functioning, how
time schedules work (enough?, too much?), what resources materials
data/findings so that the program can be adjusted accordingly.
regular team meetings to discuss progress.
IV: Adopt Program
the program a permanent part of the curriculum "Planning Wheels"
can help you design a curriculum that is integrated around a subject
area. They can help organize information so that specific educational
goals are met. The following is just one example (Palmer 57-60):