Unique partnership enhances student understanding of two curricula


Madison High School is proud to have developed a unique partnership within our halls. For the past five years, our Ecology and Spanish departments have been developing curricula that not only enhance one another, but enhance students’ understanding of the content in both areas. Students are able to take the content learned in their Spanish classes and directly apply that knowledge during hands-on units in Ecology classes. 


“We have found students have a deeper understanding, connection, and impact from their learning when we team teach topics,” agree Tim Pira, Ecology teacher, and Kelly Chandler, Spanish teacher. “Students see their own learning goals come to fruition when they can taste or experience their end goal. We have also found increased engagement from hard to reach students by showing them our sense of caring and respect.” 


Many studies have been done to support the benefits of utilizing integrated curriculum in the classroom. In 2015, Kevin C. Costley, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at Arkansas Tech University, found that integrated curriculum has many benefits, including a developed love of learning in students, increased self-confidence, commitment to the group process, and increased critical thinking skills and concern for others. “Their way of thinking transformed, and they began linking knowledge from their lessons with their personal lives. The students also recognized that integrating the curriculum unified each discipline into a whole,” wrote Professor Costley, Ph.D


Madison’s dual Ecology and Spanish content has covered:


  • Tagging of monarchs and their migration to Mexico
  • Migrating birds to Latin America
  • What cacao is and how to make chocolate out of it
  • Indigenous heirloom corn harvests
  • Salsa gardening
  • Making fresh tortillas with school-grown corn


Students also grow their own peppers, and then harvest them to process and bottle three varieties of hot sauces that are then sold in our drive-up on-campus market.


“This is what Madison is all about,” states Angela Smith, Superintendent. “Our teachers are creating learning environments that make our students want to learn, experience, and experiment.”


Back to School News       Print