How to Teach Using the Integrative Approach
Using the integrative approach to teaching combines many subjects into single lessons. The idea behind the theory is that students receive maximum learning by acquiring knowledge and skills in more than one area in the same time-frame. Integrating lessons can be done with any subjects, such as mixing language arts with art by researching famous artists and then writing a report or math and physical education where students play basketball while assigning different shots to equal point values. The possibilities for integrated lessons are endless.
Collaborate with other teachers in the grade you teach. Discuss grade-level standards for their subject and brainstorm ideas on working together to combine curriculum. These collaboration sessions with colleagues are a great way to integrate different subjects into your classroom and get the other teachers to do the same, creating whole grade units of study that flow with each other.
Create your lesson plans with the collaborative details in mind. Note the grade-level standards and get creative. Not all subjects are easy to combine, but it can be done. Plan your core material first and then expand upon the activities that you have students do. A lot of the integration comes after the main content has been delivered. For example, if you are teaching about Native Americans in social studies class, deliver you content on the subject and then create an activity that integrates another subject. Ideas for this would be to have students use math to calculate the average size of tribes, or the amount of land that a tribe uses for farming, or using art to create a map of a Native American village.
Deliver the lesson to students and have them participate in the planned activities. Check their knowledge retention by integrating language arts. For this part of the lesson, have them research and write a report on an aspect of the material. This can be done for almost any topic, from famous scientists to the Declaration of Independence. By using these steps, you will have successfully integrated at least three subjects into one lesson, benefiting students much more substantially than by just delivering material on the subject.
Meet with the other teachers in your grade team to check how the lessons are going. Find out what they have been doing to effectively use integration in their classroom. Adjust your lesson plans accordingly to what has been successful and what has not.