Integrated Learning in the Classroom

Integrated Learning in the Classroom 

Integrative learning is a learning hypothesis depicting a development toward integrated lessons helping students make connections across curricula. This advanced education idea is unmistakable from the basic and secondary school “integrated curriculum” development.

Over half a century of researchers and teachers have explored curriculum integration as a way to meet the many demands of 21st-century curriculum and to make classroom instruction more manageable and more engaging. Ontario curriculum documents (e.g, Social Studies [2004], Mathematics [2005], Language [2006], Science and Technology [2007] and the Arts [2009]) have built on this foundation, identifying opportunities to link related content and/or skills in two or more subjects and to give students practice in meeting expectations from two or more subjects within a single unit, lesson, or activity. These records propose that for curriculum integration to be viable, accentuation should be on the fundamental ideas and aptitudes that fortify understudy learning and accomplishment in all regions.
ntegrated Learning in the Classroom,integrated learning

 Approaches to curriculum integration 

There are various ways to deal with curriculum integration joining (one master has recognized ten most as often as possible utilized arranging models in the field [Fogarty & Stoehr, 1995]), but all share the following: 

• an emphasis on backward planning from student needs/interests 
• a combination of subjects 
• a focus on relationships among concepts 
• an emphasis on projects/tasks 
• flexible scheduling/flexible student groupings 
• use of authentic sources that go beyond textbooks


No. 1 – Think big 

While getting ready for curriculum integration can be challenging, it can likewise be fulfilling. Grouping curriculum expectations to meet communicated understudy needs involves innovativeness and liberal “large picture” thinking. Too, curriculum integration makes expanded chances to give students practice in meeting a scope of educational plan desires, all through the program. The following are a few inquiries to assist groups with beginning on contemplating educational plan and bunching desires to address students issues:

What are the specific student outcomes to address? 
Which subjects could provide meaningful contexts for content and skill development? 
What are the curriculum expectations that speak to those intended student outcomes? 
Are there current events in the media that would support a choice for student inquiry? 
What opportunities can be created for students to develop all four roles of the literate learner in an integrated unit of study (and through the gradual release of responsibility)? Are the print and/or media resources available in the school suitable for use with diverse learners? Are all the language strands integrated in a variety of authentic contexts? 
Which single or blended text forms are most appropriate for developing students’ thinking and communication skills?

 No. 2 – Think real-world 

Research tells us that students become involved in learning when tasks enable them to answer their own questions and explore their own interests (Duke, 2004; Duke et al., 2006; Lim, Howes & Campos, 2007; Ministry of Education Ontario, 2004). Teachers report that students “come alive when they realize they [are] writing to real people for real reasons or reading real-life texts for their own purposes” (Duke et al., 2006). Making errands that are receptive to student interests in a cross-curricular learning request is more testing than creating closed:, fact-based or skills-only tasks. To be effective, “[t]eachers must simultaneously overplan – making sure they have a variety of resources and activities to accommodate students’ interests – and underplan – remaining flexible instead of spelling out each week’s activities” (Barton & Smith, 2000, p.61). Below are some guiding questions for planning to learn and designing tasks that immerse students in authentic, real-world inquiry: 

Do the tasks have multiple purposes?
Do the tasks reflect a range of opportunities for students to practise and develop their communication skills beyond a learning-to-read-and-write context? 
Will students see genuine purposes in the ways they are accessing and communicating information?
Will students see themselves reflected in the resources available for the purposes of this learning?
Teachers perceive that an undertaking is just as strong as the guidance that underpins it. As each of the formative and culminating tasks is designed, it is basic that students see valid purposes for the structures and arrangements they are utilizing. For instance, utilizing a print promotion, banner, PSA, or blog that the class has concentrated during shared perusing, the teacher may push students to:

• choose a text as an exemplar (or mentor text) for their own writing/presentations
• deconstruct it for intended meaning, assumptions, contradictions, biases 
• determine what makes the mentor text effective 
• co-construct success criteria 

Using mentor texts as exemplars and setting learning goals supported by success criteria help teachers target instruction to the needs of the students. Intentionally designed learning tasks set in authentic contexts provide students with opportunities to learn and apply skills in a meaningful context (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2009. p. 43). These tasks, when strategically coordinated, present opportunities for students to: discover new ideas; develop thinking skills; synthesize understanding; transfer knowledge and skills from one subject to another; and demonstrate what they know and think about their world and themselves as learners

No. 3 – Think broad context about literacy 

Today’s learners face complex difficulties as they make meaning, issue explains, and communicate in what many have portrayed as our “text-and media-immersed world.” In Ontario, and jurisdictions additionally, being instructed is significantly portrayed as a puzzling plan of aptitudes going from “”the capacity to utilize language and pictures in rich and varied forms … [to] the ability to get to, oversee and assess data; to think inventively and diagnostically, and to communicate thought and ideas effectively”(Ontario Ministry of Education, 2008, p. 6). Freebody and Luke’s “Four Roles of a Literate Learner” (2003) gives a supportive model to inserting education guidance in content regions over the educational plan. When planning strong errands in a coordinated learning unit, the instructor keeps both understudy information and the four jobs as the main priority, acquainting understudies with specific content structures, highlights and word structures, just as giving chances to secure understanding familiarity and to think basically. This will assist understudies with exploring the writings distinguished for the current center (code client) just as open them to message frames and give chances to develop them so as to reach/impact a group of people (text client). Procedures likewise should be set up so students can peruse subject-based writings with adequate comprehension and survey whether the data is reliable and on the off chance that they may make an educated move (which means maker, text analyzer).In this way, the Four Roles model helps teachers ensure that tasks are achievable for a wide range of learners. “The development of skills and knowledge in the language is often enhanced by learning in other subject areas” (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2006, p. 23). According to Boyle-Baise (2008) and Moss (2005), reading across subject areas is an ideal means to develop students’ knowledge of form, phrasing, and expression. Students learn, for example, that “informational texts” rely on text forms (e.g., reports, explanations) that are distinct from the text forms of fiction. Students learn and understand subject-specific vocabulary as they work with text features such as tables, graphs, diagrams, inserts, indexes, and glossaries. In addition, as students progress through the grades, the ability to make sense of various texts becomes critical to understanding. Using a variety of texts related to the content. understudy provides opportunities to acquire literacy skills and to explore a subject from multiple perspectives. Planned opportunities for paired and small-group discussions and exploring multiple perspectives on a topic or issue allow students to think critically about the text. 

An example that ties it all together 

THINKING BIG, THINKING REAL WORLD AND THINKING BROAD CONTEXT ABOUT LITERACY Integrated learning units provide students with opportunities to work toward meeting expectations from two or more subject matters. Teachers utilizing a coordinated methodology ensure the specific knowledge and skills for different subjects are joined into plans that interface desires from different subject areas. These integrated learning experiences provide students with multiple opportunities to reinforce and demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a range of contexts (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2006 p. 23). The exploration of the inquiry questions “How is local development affecting natural habitats in our community? and What can we do to protect these natural habitats?” forms the basis of this integrated unit. Intentionally integrating expectations from Science and Technology, The Arts, Social Studies, and Language develops the concepts and skills from each content area students will use as they explore factors that will help them respond to these questions. As students begin this unit, they are offered opportunities to explore their geographical region, some specific natural habitats and the animal life that these habitats support as well as development in their local community. Through tasks that integrate science and technology, social studies and language expectations, students develop the knowledge, concepts and skills required to:
• pose questions and clarify information they are uncovering to guide their exploration about these aspects of their community (Science & Technology, Social Studies) 
• analyze a variety of texts including primary and secondary sources of information (Language, Social Studies) 
• express opinions about the ideas and information in texts and cite evidence from the text to support their opinions (Language) 
• use graphic organizers and graphs to sort information, clarify issues, solve problems, and make decisions (Science & Technology, Social Studies) 
As students move closer to responding to the two over-arching inquiry questions that frame this integrated unit, they also explore possible mediums for communicating their thinking. In doing so, they explore ideas from a variety of perspectives, examining alternative views and solutions to the issues they have investigated. Some specific concepts and skills students would have the opportunity to practice and develop in this portion of the unit would include: 

• analyzing the impacts of human interactions with local habitats, identifying various perspectives and views presented, and suggest some possible alternative solutions (Language, Science & Technology) 
• explaining why changes in the local environment have a greater impact on specialized species than on generalized species (Science & Technology)
• exploring how various mediums could provide powerful vehicles for sharing their responses to the inquiry questions (The Arts, Language) 
• identifying their audience and determining the appropriate form to convey their message

In response to the over-arching inquiry questions and learning experiences designed to develop content and skills in a range of subject areas, students could demonstrate their thinking in a variety of ways. Students might choose to: 
• engage in a debate about local issues and invite community members to attend 
• design and produce a public service announcement about a local development or environmental issue 
• construct and host a blog about local issues, linking to wider issues across Canada 
• create a short dance piece on one of the solutions suggested to address a local concern In designing tasks at all points within the unit, consideration is given to plan for a wide variety of experiences that incorporate: 
• authentic, real-life contexts relevant to the students’ lives 
• entry points for all learners 
opportunities to extend and challenge student thinking 
• opportunities for student-identified inquiries and choice 
• collaborative learning structures that build independence and understanding 
• authentic opportunities for communicating thinking in a variety of mediums 
• use a variety of forms of texts and text forms including oral, multi-modal and media 
• development of subject-specific vocabulary 

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