PHILADELPHIA (CBS)The Washington Post describes an integrated approach to teaching that was piloted in 90 kindergartens across Montgomery County, Maryland. Pearson, the world’s largest education publisher, expects to take it nationwide.

The example cited is a first grade classroom where the teacher read “Little Red Riding Hood” and then engaged the children with a question. Did her students take walks by themselves? Since no one answered “yes,” the discussion focused on what age would be acceptable, using open-ended questions to develop critical thinking.

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Not all teachers are fans, partly because dealing with broader ideas doesn’t fit into grade levels. However, data suggests that kids have become really engaged. From engagement starts learning.

Critical thinking, so important to reading comprehension and understanding math concepts, is best taught through examples meaningful to kids and not through textbooks. Also, we know that vocabulary and listening skills develop best through talk, not through print. Much of the curriculum is available to teachers online.

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