Throughout this course, we have discussed the possibilities of an integrated curriculum and its effects on student learning. I have been interested in the idea, but have felt that while it would be beneficial to students, it is a challenge for teachers to create and implement an integrated curriculum. In my internship, I have had opportunities to explore some of these possibilities, and while I still am unsure about whether creating such a curriculum is practical as far as time goes for teachers, I think that it is something I’d like to try in my own teaching.
While teaching the lessons I wrote for this class in my internship, I was able to see first-hand student growth and learning. Students were noticeably engaged and still talk about the lessons, even identifying the shapes we learned in our art lesson in other art forms. Had I been given an opportunity to, I think that our unit on Pacific Northwest Coast peoples would have been benefited from a field trip to Burke Museum. Students could have seen and experienced far more than my photos of the art and their own drawings, making their learning experiential and engaging. Tomorrow, they will be given the opportunity to read about the early plateau people, and we will be connecting this learning to our measurement unit in math. They will measure a length of our playground and calculate how many times they would need to walk its length in order to walk a mile so they can experience for themselves how far a mile is. This is in connection with a people who walked for miles each day.
During this course, I have reflected on the complexities and difficulties of creating an integrated curriculum in my classroom, especially with the Common Core State Standards and the SBAC standardized testing coming up. At times I have felt that it is too challenging, especially for my first year in teaching, and at other times I feel that it is the only way to really teach kids. I am curious about whether a hybrid of “regular” teaching along with teaching integrated units-that is, integrating them as often as I can but not necessarily always-would work. Perhaps this is what I shall try. For now, I am excited about our combination math and social studies lesson tomorrow, and will hope for the best.