By Cope, Dale
Vocational Education Journal , Vol. 70, No. 6
As educators begin to aggressively pursue ways of making connections between disciplines, it often takes real innovation to overcome time and resource constraints. Karen Bergh and Sylvia Olson, family and consumer sciences teachers at Timberline High School in Lacey, Washington, have integrated family and consumer sciences classes with other curriculum areas.
"Freshman studies" is a combined effort of the social studies, language arts and FCS departments. During the school year, Bergh spends nine weeks instructing freshman students. Class time is taken equally from the social studies and language arts classes. Communication skills, cultural and individual perspectives, coping and leadership skills, goal-setting, wellness and life planning are discussed.
FCS teachers developed four units that can be used in collaboration with various social studies and language arts lessons. In an integrated unit entitled "Man vs. Man," students learn about communications and coping skills in FCS, the holocaust in language arts and the Middle East conflict in social studies. The overall theme for this unit is conflict and coping. Students learn about conflict and coping on an individual level and then apply their knowledge and skills on a global level. They pose and answer questions like, how do people across time and space communicate and solve problems? And, how have these methods affected our past? How will it affect the present and future?
The creation of a social studies/language arts class block has been critical to the success of "freshman studies. …