Posted by Christy Williams on May 2nd, 2017
Curriculum integration refers to the process of connecting different areas of study. This innovative approach to instruction highlights unifying concepts and emphasizes the creation of relevant, engaging content for learners.
Curriculum integration is not reserved just for academic subjects; integration can also be used as part of HSE test preparation.
Necessary skills for test prep include reading comprehension, time management, pattern recognition, composition and much more. Instead of teaching these skills in an isolated manner, you can use social studies, science, math and language to maximize your students’ learning.
- Reading Comprehension – For test prep instruction of reading comprehension skills, use science and social studies texts, particularly for non-fiction practice. These texts should include a variety of mediums like textbooks, magazines, articles, journal publications and newspapers. Math skill instruction can also be used as informational text for comprehension practice.
- Graphs, Charts and Diagrams – Graphs, charts and diagrams are a major part of test prep instruction across content areas. Diagrams from science and social studies are useful for reading comprehension. Likewise, graphs and charts can be used interchangeably between math and science. When students are learning to read infographics, the instructional material can also be centered around specific academic concepts.
- Graphic Organizers – Graphic organizers are often used in testing for assessment and organization of details. When teaching the various types of graphic organizers, use details from the academic areas to complete them.
- Time Lines – For math test prep, timelines can be taught using historical dates from social studies units. Timelines can also be demonstrated using scientific processes and experiments.
- Question format – There are many test question formats that students should be familiar with. Use information from all core academic areas to craft practice questions. As students are learning strategies for each question type they will simultaneously be reviewing content knowledge. Question formats should include multiple choice, short answer and fill-in-the blank.
- Writing Prompts – Academic content can be used as part of writing test prep through various writing prompts. Choose prompts that require students to explain certain concepts or skills. While enhancing writing ability, you will also gain insight on content knowledge.
- Time Management – Time management is an essential skill for test prep. Use various content to provide test timing activities for learners. Students may learn that it takes them longer with certain content or question types. They may also become more aware of heightened anxiety.
- Vocabulary – Students must learn how to build their vocabulary and use context clues to assist them when testing. Teach students vocabulary building skills and activities using terminology from across content areas.
Student test performance can be improved through the integration of academic content and study skills. Using an inter-disciplinary approach will allow you to avoid teaching to the test and encourage an engaging learning experience.
All content can be integrated to teach test prep skills such as time management, the use of graphic organizers, writing skills and question formats. Overall, an integrated instructional approach will provide multiple touch points with the required subject knowledge and allow students to make connections while simultaneously building test taking skills.