Blogs on Integrated Studies

Blogs on Integrated StudiesRSS
Andrew MillerNovember 29, 2012

This series is about taking your PBL projects "up a notch." I wrote a blog about how to get started, but after you get started and are familiar with the benefits of keeping it small and focused, what are some of your next steps? One area where I see teachers taking their PBL projects up a notch is through integration. However, integration is actually quite complicated and includes many levels of implementation. Here are some tips to consider for integrating content areas into your next PBL project.

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How often do you stop to think about color? We take it for granted, but it's ubiquitous in our everyday lives, and whether you're looking at it through the lens of art, science, or philosophy, color can be evocative. Full disclosure: I'm the mother of a toddler, and we're talking about color a lot in my house right now, as my daughter learns to identify and describe the world around her.

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Todd FinleyNovember 2, 2012

I recently talked with Lucas Gillispie, an instructional technology coordinator at Pender County Schools in Burgaw, North Carolina. Like Alex Pettyfer, Gillispie sports a beard befitting a Teutonic infantryman at the Battle of Aquae Sextiae or an avatar-warrior in World of Warcraft's (WoW) Dragonblight graveyard. Gillispie seems bemused by the acclaim he has received by incorporating Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplay Games (MMORPG) into the public school curriculum. To his credit, when I talked to him about three of his projects -- WoWinSchool (WoW used with middle school children), Minecraft (used with elementary students), and SAGA (Story and Game Academy) -- Gillispie repeatedly deflected credit from himself to his professional peers and administration. For conciseness, I edited some parts of the interview below.

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John MaedaOctober 2, 2012

As the nation embarks on a new school year, education leaders from President Obama on down are facing a renewed commitment to the STEM subjects -- Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics -- as a driver of innovation. And what better advertisement of the power of STEM education than the recent landing of the Mars Rover? Like the original Apollo missions to the Moon, they powerfully reveal the magic of science and engineering. Just this summer, the Obama administration announced a laudable new "teacher corps" dedicated to excellence in the STEM subjects, and as far and wide as Estonia, a new policy is spurring debate about the value of teaching programming to elementary school students.

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Terry HeickSeptember 17, 2012

Perhaps more than anything else, the English Language Arts classroom is a place of diversity.

There is diversity of academic expectations for teachers. The ELA Common Core assigns literature and informational reading, writing, speaking/listening and language to what is usually a single "class." This is a total of five extremely broad topics, each of which could more than stand on its own as a content area.

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David MarkusAugust 29, 2012

The boy is small in stature, bespectacled, and unnaturally articulate for a sixth grader. I have heard from his teachers and principal at Annapolis, Maryland's Wiley H. Bates Middle School about the academic benefits of arts integration, how various forms of artistic expression (PDF) are employed to learn math and science as well as language arts. I have also learned about the virtues of a critical-thinking technique known as Artful Thinking, developed by Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, that deepens students' intellectual understanding generally by deepening their understanding of the multiple layers of artistic expression.

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Todd FinleyJune 28, 2012

Of the thousands of 18.5-year-olds that I've taught, some could not manage the challenges of college while others attacked higher education responsibilities with full uh-rah commitment. It is from observing the later group's mojo that I derived the following strategies.

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Mark PhillipsJune 8, 2012

School's out. Politics is in. Five months of presidential political combat lie ahead. So I'm psyched to revisit the challenge of effectively educating kids to be active participants in our democratic processes. I plan to post a number of columns over the next months that focus on student voice, the teaching of democracy, civic engagement and political literacy. I'm hoping some of you will join the discussion and toss in your two cents.

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Tony BaldasaroMay 30, 2012

As a junior in high school, I was finally able to enroll in the photography class. Offered only every other year, this was the only time the course was available to me (it was not open to freshman), and since there was only one section, the period three class was my only shot.

So, when my guidance counselor pulled me into his office on the second day of school to tell me I had to drop photography to take a more college-friendly Spanish class, I knew my opportunity was lost. This was in 1988, five years before Mosaic was introduced to the world, seven years before Netscape made the World Wide Web available to the masses, and a decade before virtual schooling was an option. Unless I could find a private mentorship, my only access to formally learning photography was period three during my junior year of high school and, since I had to take Spanish, that was no longer an option for me.

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Mark PhillipsMay 29, 2012

Some years ago I was hired by Norway's Ministry of Education to train vocational education teachers. Having myself attended a comprehensive high school where vocational students were those who couldn't make it academically, and having taught in a suburban high school where there was zero vocational education, it was eye-opening to be in a country where vocational education had high prestige, was well-funded, and included students who could have gone to medical school if that had been their preference.

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