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When teachers discuss integrating curriculum, they generally mean connecting topics

across disciplines. For instance, schools will adapt a theme like patriotism and teachers in each

subject area will develop learning modules that address the topic in their particular area. The

music teacher may focus on nationalism in music or on some aspect of patriotic music like

national anthems. The history teacher may look at the subject through the lens of politics. The

language arts teachers may assign readings about victories in war and ask their students to write

poems that reflect aspects of the patriotic spirit. In other instances, integrating curriculum occurs

when a few teachers, often on their own, collaborate on topics. If the science classes are learning

about whales, then perhaps the art teacher works with children to sculpt whales from pariscraft or

papier-mâché. The music teacher develops a listening lesson to focus on “And God Created

Great Whales,” by American composer Alan Hovhannes, in which the composer infused

recorded whale sounds into the programmatic composition.

With the exception of cooperative learning, where children work together in groups to

accomplish a particular educational task, it is less usual for teachers to use the teaching strategies

associated with one subject domain in another. This study looks at an exception to this general

rule. It offers school ensemble conductors a model for adapting a strategy borrowed from

language literacy—reciprocal teaching—to facilitate the ability of students to understand the

music they study and perform it with substance and depth. Reciprocal teaching also encourages

students to make connections between subjects and to apply their learning to their lives outside

the school music experience.

Another reason to integrate teaching strategies is federal mandates to ensure that all

children are able to meet high standards in language literacy and mathematics. To demonstrate

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