Finding Methods to Teach Integrated Language Arts

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  • 0:00 Integrated Language Arts
  • 0:24 Teacher-Led Activities
  • 2:21 Student-Centered Activities
  • 3:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

There are numerous strategies for teaching language arts, but how do you integrate your lessons? This lesson discusses strategies and examples to give you a starting point for integrating a language arts classroom.

Integrated Language Arts

As a subject area, language arts centers on reading and writing skills. But this is not all a language arts teacher covers. Most curricula calls for integration, which means relating your topic or unit to other subject areas. This lesson will look at different methods to integrate a language arts classroom.

Teacher-Led Activities

As the teacher, you are responsible for guiding your students through integrated activities. One strategy you can use is clarifying, which involves answering the basics of the learning topic. Simply put, this means showing your students how to restate direct details or information from the lesson. Integrating at this level would consist of basic clarification of details that are cross-curricular. For example, if your students are reading an informational article on pollution, have your students answer questions or do activities that clarify the scientific aspects of the article.

Clarifying should then lead into questioning, which pushes your students into a more critical analysis of the topic. These questions should be much more complex than just basic recall. A great way to integrate using critical analysis is to relate the reading to real-world situations. For example, after clarifying the article on pollution, have students analyze the information. Ask them 'Has mankind been a good species for the planet?' You can also have students complete an activity analyzing how their own pollution or recycling can influence the environment.

Lastly, once your students become proficient with clarifying and critical questioning, then you can move on to making predictions. Predictions consist of educated inferences about the plot and characters in literature. This can be easily made into an integrated lesson. Imagine you are doing a novel unit on Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Have your students make scientific predictions about what might happen to Brian. Ask them to predict how long Brian can last on berries alone. Or how might Brian make sure the water is clean and healthy before he drinks it? What will his experience be when he encounters wildlife? Once you start to incorporate these techniques on a regular basis, then you will discover activities that match this line of thinking.

Student-Centered Activities

Once your students understand the basics of integrated topics, then there are other activities you can allow them to do more independently. One strategy is to allow for independent summarizing. This involves having your students describe the lesson or material in their own words. Use pairs or group discussion with one student sharing out to the rest of the class.

To use this strategy with integration in mind, you can assign each group a different perspective. For instance, returning to the article on pollution, one group can summarize the information from the perspective of a scientist, another from the perspective of a historian, and yet another from the perspective of a mathematician. Be creative and let your students bring in the cross curricular sides.

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