St. James Episcopal Day School

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What is Integrated Curriculum?

What is Integrated Curriculum?

Jan 10, 2017

Integrated Curriculum is simply about making connections and unifying all subjects and experiences. 

Educators, who are looking to improve their students’ achievements in the classroom, are always looking for ways to create a more engaging curriculum. Teachers, who use this approach, organize the standards of learning around one specific theme. According to Vanessa Vega, an educational researcher for Edutopia, this style of learning is a great way to get students more involved in school. 

It enhances:

  1. Motivation
  2. Problem-solving skills
  3. Content knowledge
  4. Deeper understanding of connections across all subjects 

Every May, the St. James fourth grade students host a State Fair. This is the culmination of a year of integrated studies. Every child is assigned one state to study all year. Research covers all subject areas, providing opportunities for students to learn how information is helpful across subjects.

Examples of some activities include:

Social Studies:

  • Students research products from their assigned states and create product maps that demonstrate how each state contributes to U.S. and world markets. 
  • Students research landforms and their effects on job markets and product development in their states.

Science:  

  • Students research one endangered animal from his or her state. Posters are created encouraging the protection of the species.
  • Technology is used to create presentations that teach about the animals and ways to protect them.

Math:

  • Students use weather.com to research the weather in their state capitals. They can then apply math skills to calculate mean, median, mode, and range of temperatures. This coincides with social studies, as weather also affects the economy in the state. 
  • Students research the distance from Louisiana to their states. They calculate travel times and costs for multiple forms of transportation, allowing them to compare and contrast both the fastest and cheapest means of transportation.

Reading:

  • Students read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, a story about two children who figure out how to run away to a museum in New York. This coincides with the study of the  ortheast region. 

Writing:

  • After reading From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and completing the travel research, students research landmarks located in their assigned states. They write a narrative pretending that they run away to these landmarks. Students must use their travel research to figure out which means of transportation they will use to get there and how they will raise the money needed.
  • The story also includes how they survived once they reached the landmark. Google Earth is used as well.
  • Students write two research papers related to their states. The first paper is a biography about a famous person from the state. The second paper teaches about a native group that influenced the state
    over time.

Art:

  •   Throughout the year, students work on projects in art class, including illustrations of state flags, state capitols, state flowers, and state birds.

- Fourth Grade Teachers, Mrs. Hurst & Mrs. Saffell