|The standards-based curriculum for the Middle School (MS) consists of an overarching interdisciplinary framework which incorporates four (4) main themes including This I Believe, The Human Condition, Human Creativity and Innovation, and Global Issues. These themes run across all MS grades. In turn, each grade also has a year-long theme as follows:
Grade 6 - The Individual Challenge
Grade 7 - Individuals and Culture
Grade 8 - Making Ethical Choices
The overall curriculum structure of each grade level strives to incorporate inquiry-based learning experiences that foster the development of the multiple intelligences, create lifelong learners who are inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring people who will make the world a better place. The MS program also aims to support students to achieve the following:
- a thorough knowledge of current global issues and an understanding of individual responsibility on the local, national, and international levels as an international citizen
- the ability to perceive self and others as unique and valuable to the world
- a broad range of knowledge and skills required for personal success and the ability to contribute positively to the human community
- a mindset characterized by a willingness to generate new ideas, possibilities and outcomes
- the ability to utilize technology to enhance or to facilitate his or her learning process.
Middle School Course Descriptions
English 6 reflects upon and shares students' ideas and feelings through discussing a range of literary and non-literary texts. Topics will focus on individual personal reflections and responses, as well as collaborative analysis of materials. Students will develop critical thinking skills and will refine their skills of communication in order to express their views and their ideas more effectively. They will learn the specialized skills, components and language of a variety of writing forms and will enhance their understanding about different cultures through the study of works of literature set in other countries. Students will use the reading process to initiate wider comprehension and reflectiveness. They will understand that reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing are all part of language development.
English 7 examines the reading process to comprehend, analyze, and respond critically to literature. Students will annotate texts using symbols to mark questions, figurative language, quotations, and map the elements of plot. Students will logically analyze and organize information to present coherent arguments through debating relevant topics and writing expository essays. They will proofread and correct writing samples with attention to grammar, punctuation, spelling, and English language conventions. By analyzing the various genres: novels, short stories, drama, poetry, nonfiction, and various media, the students will further develop their reading skills. Continually reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing, students’ language development will improve.
English 8 analyzes literature to explore elements common to the particular genre the students are studying. They will use new and appropriate vocabulary, effective editing, and proofreading devices. They will read, understand, discuss, and support opinions about literature by recognizing the author’s style and writing effects, characterization, symbolism, and metaphors, as they explore important life questions and ethical choices. They will use a variety of techniques‚ including context clues and classroom resources to understand, use, and appreciate new vocabulary. Students will develop writing skills in three main genres: expository, narrative, and descriptive.
Social Studies 6 reflects on the interaction between the world‚ geography and its inhabitants. Students will compare and contrast the relationships between physical features and regions to settlements, land use, and the economy. They will analyze how civilizations develop and how they contribute to the current state of the world. They will investigate the contributions of explorers and pioneers to the culture of new civilizations and will examine the relationship between trade and the diffusion of culture. Expository writing will be introduced for research and other projects.
Social Studies 7 investigates the transformation of cultures throughout the Middle, Early Modern, and Modern eras of history and the impact of this transformation on modern times. The contributions and conflicts of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance Period, the Industrial and Scientific Revolutions, and the 20th Century will be examined through critical thinking, expository writing and research. Both the Eastern and Western cultures will be compared, noting the various aspects of trade, economics, and cultural expansion. Through current events and the discussion of contemporary issues, students will use verbal skills for debate and persuasive speeches.
Social Studies 8 examines a more local perspective and focuses on Asian studies, nationalist loyalties and the ethical dimension of living together. The students will research and validate primary and secondary sources, authors’ points of view and bias, while discussing the rise and fall of Asian empires. Through individual innovation, modern Asia will be explored with the use of technology and research. Further discussion and debate will focus on Asian economic, political and social systems and their affects on the global community.
Mathematics 6 is a course in the middle school mathematics sequence. Students will actively engage in the content and process standards including: Content-Number Sense and Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Statistics and Probability; Process-Problem Solving, Reasoning and Proofs, Communication, Connections, and Representation. Students will refine their understanding and fluency in number system and operations. They will explore and develop an understanding of the following mathematics concepts and their applications: estimations, variables and expressions in algebra, equalities and inequalities, shapes in coordinate geometry, units of measurement and methods, collection of data, organization and display of data, analysis of data, prediction of data and probability.
Mathematics 7 is an introduction to Algebra and students will extend their knowledge in the content as well as process standards and expectations. Students will improve their understanding of Number Systems, subsets of numbers and number theory. They will extend their knowledge of Statistics and Probability with and emphasis on comparing data on two populations, using representative samples for drawing inferences, and evaluating probability models. Further study of Geometry shapes and geometric relationships will occur. Students will be engaged in representing problem situations using variables, functions, and equations. Students will be expected to solve one-variable equations with a set of rational numbers efficiently and accurately. They will investigate relationships among data, in particular linear relationships. This course serves as an introduction to modeling and solving contextualized problems through graphs, tables, and symbolic representations. Students will be able to identify functions as linear or nonlinear and contrast their properties using tables, graphs, and/or equations.
Mathematics 8 Algebra 1 is designed to lay a solid foundation in algebra. The pace of the sequence is adjusted to maximize student understanding. While there are many skills, definitions, and concepts that will be covered, there is also an increased emphasis on problem solving and reading the math text with understanding. The course begins by focusing on the use of basic algebraic skills in solving simple word problems, progressing to solving non-routine problems and carrying out research into applications of mathematics in their lives and Science, Architecture and Art. In addition to developing strong problem solvers, the course aims to instil confidence in students as life long learners.
Mathematics 8 Algebra 1 Honors is a more intensive Algebra 1 course for students who are already highly skilled in Algebra. Solution and applications of linear equations, inequalities and quadratic and inverse relationships and their relevance in real life situations are extensively studied. Formulas, functions, thought problems, and applications of Algebra in Science, Architecture and Art will be integral to the course, with students undertaking independent research. The aim of Algebra 1 Honors is for students to develop a capacity for understanding the beauty and relevance of Algebra in their lives, and for them to become lifelong learners.
Science 6 promotes development of inquiry skills and provides learning through hands-on labs and field trips. Students will use the scientific method to conduct investigations and should be able to create models in order to better understand and interpret complex systems in the natural world. The content program will integrate life, earth, and physical sciences focusing on the history of science, aerodynamics and flight, astronomy and space, and the earth‚ its structures and systems. Students should be able to use their understanding of science to make well reasoned, ethically sound, and scientifically informed decisions.
Science 7 provides learning through hands-on labs and field trips. Students will use the scientific method to conduct investigations and should be able to create models to interpret complex systems in the natural world. The content program will integrate life and physical sciences focusing on animal physiology, engineering design, structural forms and forces, ecosystems and environmental science and heat energy and heat transfer.
Science 8 exhibits inquiry, developing a hypothesis, collecting data, evaluating data, and projecting possible results in labs and field trips by conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. The content program will explore topics such as states of matter, elements and the periodic table, the use of microscopes and telescopes, ray optics, wave and wave optics, simple machines, and marine biology.
Spanish Overview: The middle school students have the opportunity to learn Spanish through the study of thematic units that blend vocabulary, grammar, and culture. Conversation, listening, and reading are emphasized, as well as practice of grammar through written activities and collaboration. The course will include the standards in communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities. They will practice activities such as skits, role-playing, singing, games, exchanging pen pal letters and celebrating holidays and festivals. Students will also explore the culture of the 21 Spanish speaking countries through research projects and independent projects.
Mandarin Overview: The middle school Mandarin programs aim to be student-centered and emphasize on the use of the language in meaningful contexts and real life situations. Every level of course is organized through thematic units that are based on topics and blend vocabulary, grammar and culture. Each unit of lessons is planned with specific activities, tasks and projects to maximize students’ participation in purposeful use of the language and to develop their communication skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. The basic knowledge of Chinese language system that involves Chinese characters, Pinyin, formation of words and grammatical structures are studied in comparison with that of English or Korean language. Significant Chinese customs/etiquette will be discussed in class for students to contribute their perceptions and to enhance their understanding. Relevant websites and effective online learning tools are incorporated to facilitate students’ learning and to help them become independent learners. As an outcome, students will develop their own Mandarin E-books using Keynotes to display what they have learnt and what they can produce for each topic studied.
Outdoor Education Overview: Outdoor education courses are opportunities for personal growth, group development, and social and environmental stewardship. Students participate on grade level specific courses in an outdoor environment. They are encouraged to stretch their preconceived ideas of what they think they are capable of through a variety of challenges and activities. The program is a carefully developed progression of skills that begins with basecamp courses and moves toward expeditionary courses. During these courses students learn about leadership, who they are as individuals and as a part of the larger group, the natural world, a sense of place, group development, and skills for group process. We encourage students to step outside of their comfort zones to better understand how they approach and overcome challenges. Reflection is incorporated into each course to help students recognize the application of their learning to their lives at school and at home.
Physical Education Overview: Physical Education concerns itself with the fitness and well being of the individual student. Balanced and variety in daily activities occur to promote personal health, evaluate impact of personal behavior, and learn skills related to safety of self and others. Motor skills development and fitness assessments, as well as various sports are taught to create a student’s individual life long fitness plan. Collaboration builds leadership skills and interpersonal life skills that create a healthy individual.
Grade 6 Performing Arts (Drama + Dance) : This is a compulsory “Introduction to Drama and Dance” course where the two fields work in congruence to create one course called “Performing Arts.” . This is a semester long course and students will have three 45 minute sessions each week. In Drama, students will engage in creative play building through process drama. Using the themes of either “Human Creativity and Innovation”, “This I Believe” or “Global Issues”, students will explore the elements of role, space, action, tension and time and become familiar with how to use drama techniques to engage in drama for a specific purpose. In Dance, through experimenting with moving in the forms of multiple dance techniques, students will be introduced to the basic elements of dance. Using the themes of “Human Creativity and Innovation”, “This I Believe” or “Global Issues,” students will be introduced to learning dance technique, collaborating to create movement, small performance opportunities, and learning about dance within an historic context.
Middle School Drama 1 : This is an elective year long course. It is open to students who have completed Gr. 6 Performing Arts, or by teacher approval. Learning will be divided into four learning phases. Phase one will explore the theme of “This I Believe” and students will engage in the nature of the physical self, exploring: body language, mime, mask and physical theatre. Phase two will focus on “The Human Condition” and look at comedy in performance, development of character, slapstick, and parody. Phase three will focus on Non Realistic Theatre as a genre. Using “Global Issues” and dreams as a basis for their drama making, students will explore the features on non-realistic theatre and work collaboratively to develop performance work. Phase four is open for performance development. In groups the students explore the process of theatre making by developing an original piece of theatre. The basis of the work can come from a variety of sources. such as: letters, poems, paintings or pieces of music.
Middle School Dance 1 : This is an elective year long course. It is open to all students who have completed Grade 6 Performing Arts, or by teacher approval. Classes will be divided into two 45 minute sessions and one 70 minute session per week. Learning will be divided into 4 learning phases, all of which will include a deepened understanding of dance technique, movement creation, and learning about dance within an historic context. Phase one will explore the theme of “This I Believe” and students will explore moving and talking about movement using the field of Laban Movement Analysis as a guideline. Phase two will focus on “The Human Condition” and look at how and why we create movement, including a focus on the basics of dance composition. Phase three will use “Global Issues” to study dance in a multi-cultural context: who dances, what kind of dance do they do, and how does it compare to other forms. Phase four is open for performance development. In groups, the students will explore the process of staging dance by developing an original piece of choreography. The basis of the work can come from a variety of sources, such as: letters, poems, paintings or pieces of music.
Middle School Drama 2 : This is an elective year long course. It is open to students who have completed Middle School Drama 1 or by teacher approval. Learning will be divided into four phases, the first of which will be under the umbrella of “Human Creativity and Innovation” and explore and combine the techniques of drama by using poetry in performance. “This I Believe” is the theme in the second phase, and students will explore and use script in pairs to create scenes with two people. They will also research a strong leader of the world and create and perform a monologue as that leader. In the third phase of learning the students will explore melodrama as a theatre form. In the final phase the students develop, rehearse and perform a play, or adaptation of a play that is of literary merit and that provides equally performance opportunity for all.
Middle School Dance 2 : This is an elective year long course. It is open to all students who have completed Middle School Dance 1, or by teacher approval. Learning will be divided into 4 learning phases, all of which will include a more concentrated study of dance techniques than previous dance courses. Students will use these newly developed skills to participate in movement creation, and learn about dance within an historic context. In the first phase the students will work under the umbrella of “Human Creativity and Innovation” to look at why dance technique was developed and how it has changed. “This I Believe” is the theme in the second phase, and students will have the opportunity to begin to work with improvisational tools to create movement. In the third phase of learning the students will explore using improvisation in performance, rather than as a tool to inspire set choreography. In the final phase the students develop, rehearse and perform a piece of original work that incorporates both set and improvised movement and works in accordance to use multimedia, instrumentation, and space creatively to heighten the performance experience.
Grade 6 Vocal Music : This class is open to all 6th graders. Students will develop their musical potential and artistic expression through singing a variety of unison, two, and three part music in a choral ensemble. Students will perform in at least two public concerts. Upon completing Grade 6 Vocal Music, students will be ready to enter Grade 7/8 Vocal Music. In addition, one pianist will be selected to accompany Grade 6 Vocal Music.
Grade 7/8 Vocal Music : This class is open to all 7th and 8th graders. Students must have a high level of interest in music, be personally motivated, and come to rehearsal with responsible rehearsal habits. Students will be performing for the MS assembly, at least two public concerts, and attending festivals. After exiting 7th/8th Vocal Music, students will be ready to enter US Chamber Singers. In addition, one pianist will be selected to accompany the Grade 7/8 Vocal Music.
Grade 6 Strings : This performance-based elective is for strings players who have 2 or more years on violin and cello; violin or cello players are also welcome to switch to viola or string bass. The majority of class time is spent in a rehearsal format. Students must have a high level of interest in music and be energetic and personally motivated. Students are expected to work independently, practicing at home, and as well as collectively in a group. Students will develop skills in: following a conductor, written score and performing with awareness of other parts. Students will learn different scales with their arpeggios as well as different types of bowings that are then applied to the scales.
Grade 7/8 Concert Strings : This course is open to 7th, 8th grade students only with advanced skills and experience on a stringed instrument. Most students should have at least 3 years of experience on their instrument and be able to tune their own instrument. Students are expected to work independently, practicing at home, and as well as collectively in a group. Students will develop skills in: following a conductor, written score and performing with awareness of other parts. Students will learn different scales with their arpeggios as well as different types of bowings that are then applied to the scales.
CI MS/US Community Orchestra : This is a full year exploratory/service option and is open to MS/US students, staffs (including IMP teachers), and parents. We will meet on Wednesday during project time from 2:30:3:30pm in room C#126. Please note that this is not a beginning Orchestra. Most strings play must have at least 3 or more years experience of playing the violin or cello. Percussion and woodwind students will have to audition at the beginning of school year and brass students with one or more years of experience. Two public performances are required.
Introductory Band (Grade 6-8) : This is a performance based elective open to all 6th-8th grade students, which meets 3 times per week. No prior experience on an instrument is required. With guidance from the director, students will select a band instrument from the woodwind, brass or percussion to study for the course of the entire year. Students will learn how to create the characteristic sound of their instrument as well as build technical proficiency in performance and reading. Two public performances are required.
Grade 6 Band (with percussion by director approval) : This is a performance based ensemble open to all 6th graders with at least 1 year of experience on brass, woodwind or percussion instruments. Percussion students must have experience on mallet instruments as well as drums. In a rehearsal format, students will work to increase their understanding of making music in a large ensemble. Students will also be expected to show highly motivated and cooperative participation. 2 public performances and festival performance are required. Students will also have the opportunity to audition for and perform with honor bands.
Grade 7/8 Concert Band (with percussion by director approval) : This is a performance based elective open to all 7th-8th grade students, which meets three times per week. Students should have at least 1 year of experience (and director approval) on their instrument to enroll. New students to CI are required to audition for placement in this ensemble. In a rehearsal format, students will work to increase their understanding of making music in a large ensemble. Students will also be expected to show highly motivated and cooperative participation. 2 public performances and festival performance are required. Students will also have the opportunity to audition for and perform with honor bands.
MS Jazz Band (Exploratory time) : This is an exploratory open to all 6th-8th grade students who pass an audition. This group will focus on playing high quality jazz literature with appropriate style and excitement. All band wind instruments are welcome to audition as well as rhythm section instruments including double bass/bass guitar, electric guitar, piano, drum set and vibes.