This is a topic that I find very interesting and love to learn more about. I currently work at a charter school that integrates the arts. What I liked most about this technique is that it allows children to explore their creative side while learning “content” skills. Watching the video provided for this topic made me realize a few things that we can do differently at our school.
The first is to get together more often with the art specialists. As a grade level, we plan things out and work really well with the art teacher. What we are lacking is working more frequently with the band, orchestra and music teacher. This is a little more difficult at the 5th/6th grade because they are just learning how to play an instrument. It might not be as easy to integrate in those areas but they are a resource for our team to use to find out a bout music that might lend itself to a natural integration of a topic.
One of the challenges of implementing this approach would be time. It is not easy to get all of the teachers and specialists together to design integrated curriculum. Especially because we share our specialists with the middle school and high school. They are on a different daily schedule from us. One way to overcome this challenge would be to set aside in-service time for this purpose. We usually get together as a grade level and the art specialists try to connect with us to see what our focuses are for that year.
The benefits of integrated curriculum, in my opinion, are life changing. It allows students to make a connection across the topics and not compartmentalize their thinking. Taking knowledge from one course and using or reinforcing in another class strengthens the students understanding.
I think that this process is especially important at the middle and high school level. Time needs to be provided for teachers to get together to plan, build and understand each others subject areas. By doing so, it will make it easier to integrate curriculum. I think a starting point could be two subjects working together and then branch it to other subjects. I know that this is happening most of the time, this video just reminded me of the importance of the integrated curriculum.