One Best Thing - New Curriculum = New Opportunities for Creativity and Collaboration

Students learn best when meaningful integration is implemented across the curriculum. I have found that teachers in many primary classrooms are unaware of how technology can aid in subject integration. My One Best Thing project idea is to give teachers the tools to integrate a variety of subjects in primary/elementary schools. 

Ireland is in the process of adopting a new primary school curriculum. The draft curriculum framework was launched in March 2023, and the new curriculum will be fully implemented by 2026. The new curriculum will provide more opportunities for cross-curricular learning. All educators strive to promote new critical competencies in a 21st-century classroom. 

One of the most significant developments in the Irish primary system over the last few years was the Primary Language Curriculum. This curriculum allowed more opportunities to diversify the way oral language, reading and writing are taught in the primary classroom. This curriculum has provided cross-curricular opportunities and brought the skills of speaking, planning, drafting and writing in all subjects.

This year, I worked with a school where the teacher was reluctant to use technology due to a lack of digital skills and confidence. He spoke about how he loved teaching history and sports but preferred teaching something other than drama, music or visual art.

We discussed what his next history topic was going to be. He told me that the students would be studying the Titanic. He used this video as a hook and then used the question, "What happened when the unsinkable ship sank?"

They watched an overview of the Titanic, and Then, using a framework, students began an enquiry into four different areas.

The Building Of the Titanic:



The Passengers of the Titanic 



Did the sinking of the Titanic make sea travel safer?



The Crew of The Titanic.



The children worked collaboratively to find as much information about their area as possible using the Freeform/Wakelet links as a guide and writing 30 facts on sticky notes. I have adapted this research board into a Freeform, which can be accessed here  


Freeform board with hexagonal 9 frame
Hexagonal 9 Frame

Using a hexagonal nine frame, they narrowed their facts to the nine most important in each area. Please find the freeform template here. These facts will guide the next part of the project.

The next part of the project was report and script writing. The children became investigative reporters. They wrote a script for a podcast series about the Titanic.

In Episode One, the children discussed the building of the Titanic and interviewed the workers involved.

In Episode Two, students investigated the types of passengers and explained each class to the audience. The children then used this tool to find out about passengers from their locality. With the help of local historians, they found relatives of those on board and interviewed them.


passengers of the titanic ESRI
Passengers of The Titanic ESRI

Episode Three Was about the crew of the Titanic, and similar to episode 2, the children interviewed the crew of the Titanic before setting sail and created "fake" interviews with the families based on evidence they found in their research after the disaster.

Episode 4 Was about the changes made after the sinking of the Titanic and how marine life has become safer.

This project showed this teacher how cross-curricular work can make learning more meaningful and reduce the stress of teaching subjects like Drama, Music and Visual art as the children acted as crew and passengers and became reporters. The children created artwork for each episode and musical intros and transitions using GarageBand.

Students recorded and edited their podcasts in GarageBand and wrote their scripts in Pages.

This project was such a success that the teacher has gone on to record two more podcasts with his class on different topics. He would like to extend the project next year to include Podcasts in the Irish Language.

Now I would like your help! I have started to create a digital book containing integration ideas for several subjects. Is this useful? 

Here are some other ideas I would present as a teaser.

A further integration idea might be when teaching The Blues in music, the children could listen and respond to the song God Moves On The Water by Blind Willie Johnson. The song God Moves On The Water was written about the sinking of the Titanic

Students could also create a stop-motion animation where they create clay figures or drawings in their art lessons. In music, they can also create the sound effects for their animation and write the script and storyboard in literacy. 

2 replies

November 15, 2023

Marvelous lesson Catherine! This is a wonderful, creative and interactive way to integrate a history lesson with technology making it meaningful and engaging. Super organization and “investigative teamwork” by the learners. Very impressive and something to pass along to history teachers. Thanks!

November 30, 2023

This is such a great scaffold and example for primary school teachers, Catherine! 👏 So well structured and thought out, with great creative learning opportunities as part of their research and investigation. Fantastic work! 🤩

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