"One of the problems with integrating literature [and]
other domains is the belief that there has to be some grandiose
formal plan. And there does not. It can be very impromptu."
7th Grade Teacher, DeWitt Clinton Elementary School
Across the country, teachers are offering students doorways
into literature via the visual arts, dramatic activities,
and music. In addition, increasing dissatisfaction with curricular
fragmentation is leading teachers to discover ways to make
connections across subject areas. Teachers and students alike
find such integration effective in a number of ways.
students to think about their literary experiences in a variety
of forms leads to fresh insights and new understandings of
a text. Encouraging them to represent those understandings
in a variety of forms offers access to representations that
might not be available verbally and offers less-verbal students
alternative ways to demonstrate knowledge.
Connecting the study of literature to subjects across the
curriculum enriches both subject areas. Such connections reinforce
related concepts across disciplines, provide fuller understandings
by revisiting concepts or topics from different disciplinary
perspectives, give students more coherent learning experiences,
and lead them to coordinate the tools used in different disciplines
when tackling complex problems.
Offering students the opportunity to read historical fiction,
topical poetry and essays, or even nonfiction works such as
diaries and letters, often enables students to imagine the
human concerns behind historical events. Connections between
literature and math or science expand student understandings
of both areas while broadening habits of mind. Students who
experience a range of such connections learn to establish
relationships between and among seemingly contrary ways of
defining and explaining the world.
For a complete guide to the workshop session activities,
download and print our Support Materials.