Blogs on Integrated Studies

Blogs on Integrated StudiesRSS
Heather Wolpert-GawronMarch 28, 2014

I think when we talk about using music or art or theater in the Core classes, there is still this persistent suspicion that a teacher who plays music in the classroom must be too "soft" or "granola-y." Don't get angry; I'm just stating an observation of perception, not a fact of truth. I would push back, however, that using the arts in the core subject-area classes is far from fluffy.

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Homa TavangarMarch 21, 2014

I attended public schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as a public university, and I am the parent of public school students. As the child of immigrants who counted public school access in their equation of the American Dream, I had minimal exposure to private schools growing up, and as a young parent I wanted my children to embrace diversity, thinking this would be found in public, not private, schools.

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David WestMarch 18, 2014

"School is boring." There is no place for that statement when teachers are creative, engaging and promote genuine learning. But how do teachers make their classes the opposite of boring?

When I began teaching high school business courses four years ago, I was just 23 years old. Because I had recently lived through traditional high school and college instruction, I knew there had to be a different way -- a better way.

Inspiration struck one night, months into my first year of teaching, while watching what was then a new TV show called Shark Tank. Here, entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to millionaire and billionaire investors in the hope of securing funding to start, grow or save their business. When I showed my business students one episode, they begged to watch more. At that point, I knew I had something. So, to capitalize on my students' enthusiasm, I created a project out of it.

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Stacey GoodmanMarch 18, 2014

Recently, I showed a group of students in my high school art class a film called Ma Vie En Rose (My Life in Pink), about a seven-year-old boy named Ludovic who identifies as female. Ludovic has an active imagination, but is bullied by both adults and other kids who are unnerved by his desire to wear dresses and play with dolls. The film challenged my students to broaden their understanding of gender and identity and led to a discussion about ways in which our imaginations are limited when we are forced to be who we are not. It also reminded me of other examples in which character is forced to choose an identity, such as the movie Divergent, based on the popular trilogy of novels by Veronica Roth.

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Shani LeaderJanuary 15, 2014

Through a multidisciplinary project, students at High Tech High North County explored and addressed an issue of concern in their community of San Marcos, California -- the prevalence of tagging and graffiti. By the end, they had integrated the study of fine arts, social science, language arts and technology.

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Courtney J. BoddieJanuary 7, 2014

In the 21st century, we are living in a creative society and economy rather than an industrial one, which begs the questions:

  • What skills do young people need in this new world?
  • How can they gain creative skills for innovation in the work place?
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Homa TavangarJanuary 3, 2014

Ready for the journey of a lifetime? It will require stamina and creativity, so pack only the essentials: comfortable shoes, paper and pencil, and -- more importantly -- curiosity, empathy, patience, humility and a sense of wonder.

You won’t need a passport, but you’ll be travelling across the planet.

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Susan RileyDecember 18, 2013

As debate rages on about Common Core and its implementation across the nation, students are sitting in classrooms waiting for things to change. Many are still locked into traditional courses with teachers who are overwhelmed, nervous and frustrated. Teachers everywhere are facing challenges in finding time to unpack these new standards, discover best practices for their implementation, and still provide innovative instruction for their students. Meanwhile, as we read more reports stating that other countries are outpacing the United States in education, fear mounts that our students will no longer be able to compete in a global economy. We are all, for better or worse, riding on a shift.

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Dr. Karin NolanNovember 20, 2013

I'm not a gambling person, but if I had to place a bet on one sure-fire method for engaging students, increasing test scores, reaching students who fall below standards, challenging students who exceed grade-level standards, accessing students' creativity and originality, maximizing brain connections formed, applying concepts to new situations, and making the learning process more fun for the students and teacher, I would place that bet on . . . teaching the core curriculum through the arts.

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Andrew MillerNovember 13, 2013

Last month, I wrote about two science teachers who are implementing the Common Core Standards to teach their course content in conjunction with the literacy skills called for in the Common Core. These teachers gave a great context for the implementation, plus some great tips for those of us who are just getting started on that journey. We know that the literacy standards are content neutral. In fact, the content can be vehicle for learning critical reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. What if that content was art?

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