Restructuring Special Area instruction
The Humanities experience will be lessons that thoughtfully and explicitly, integrate GLCE's from social studies and science specifically (but not exclusively) with one or more of the fine arts (music or art) and/or PE or media ILT (Information Literacy and Technology). For instance, PE teachers may reinforce outcomes in force and motion or directionality found in geography. Music teachers may teach the sound unit/lessons. Art teachers may illustrate science writing to reinforce the scientific process/observation; expository writing outcomes as student maintain art/science journals. PE teachers may teach aspects of the new grade level health curriculum regarding nutrition and some outcomes specific to the upcoming 5th grade science unit, the Human Body. Media/ILT teachers may use technology based research skills to answer a "big inquiry based question" having to do with social studies or science. These are natural and authentic connections within and among the elementary disciplines.
Educators have long recognized that students have different learning styles and background knowledge. The new 3 R's are rigor, relevance and relationships. Interdisciplinary instruction and shared teaching of outcomes gives students multiple opportunities to learn outcomes in different ways in different disciplines and with different teachers; increasing the relevancy through embedded or applied learning increases understanding and rigor. When the MEAP test items are released, each one is correlated with a specific GLCE (grade level content expectation). Schools can use the new MDE Student4Success website to match GLCE with building performance and individual student performance. If for instance, students in a school or at a grade level did not do well on a specific GLCE that school staff may want to increase "interdisciplinary" teaching opportunities, in order to better teacher or reinforce that concept. This can be done. Interdisciplinary teaching gives students repeated opportunities to learn a concept or proficiency in different ways with increased relevancy.
Our district's Equity work reinforces the importance of relevancy and the need to customize learning to reflect the student's background knowledge. We will do just that.