The quote above is from my first blog post as the "Contemporary Teacher." It models my educational philosophy.
Recently I had what I consider an educational victory. You see, Colorado has integrated physical, earth, and life sciences in their middle school standards. However, not all school districts jumped on board, having separated the three in the past. Mine was right along with the rest in avoiding the change. We're three years into the changed standards and my pushing has finally resulted in discussions about actually changing our curriculum to match. I had all my arguments and brought resources and it paid off. Much to my surprise, all but 2 teachers were on board. Democracy can be a beautiful thing.
In case you're wondering, here are my reasons for using the state standards as written:
- Integrated science allows me as a teacher to develop units that show the complexity of the real world
- There are more opportunities for interdisciplinary learning with a greater variety of sciences
- the vertical alignment and spiraling of learning developed by the standards designers is intact
- better retention by students as they are building on these concepts (versus learning earth science in 6th grade and not seeing it again until 9th grade)
- process skills are written at a grade appropriate level
Here are some things I am working on for myself and my fellow science teachers:
- a very complicated concept map showing connections between the concepts I will teach as well as vertical alignment (MindMaple Lite is a free software which is GREAT for this purpose)
- a google sites web page which includes file folder pages that teachers can use to share materials
Read some of my other blog entries to see how to integrate literacy, math, and social studies into your science content (or vice versa).