Our Middle School students at GIFS, Grades 6-8, are given more independence to demonstrate a comprehensive array of academic skills. The academic transition from elementary to high school is supported by a professional staff that individualizes the curriculum based on students’ interests, academic skills, and standardized assessments.
Students are encouraged to develop knowledge and research skills based on their personal interests tied to the US Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and AERO standards. Assessment is ongoing and based on mid-term and end of year exams (Grades 7-8) as well as assessment tasks carried out throughout the year.
Core subject areas: Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies – These subjects are designed to engage and challenge all students and promote personal academic confidence as they continue their schooling here at GIFS or elsewhere in the world.
Additional subject areas: Students in the Middle School will attend classes in the Arts, Physical Education, Technology, World Languages, and other subjects. Here, students sample many disciplines, which may prove to be a passion or interest in the future. In the elective program, we believe that by offering courses based on faculty talents and student interest, we can best prepare students for future academic challenges.
Students also follow a course of study for personal, social, and health education called Life Orientation.
Grade 6 English Language Arts
In 6th grade, students continue to strengthen the key skills of reading, writing for all purposes, communicating, and critical thinking. In the narrative reading and writing unit students learn literary elements through a variety of short stories from around the world. Students create their own short stories focusing on similar ideas as the stories they read. In a unit on memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies, students explore themes in this type of writing, write their own memoir, and craft thorough summary paragraphs based on the reading. In our poetry unit, students learn about a variety of poetic terms and devices in order to write responses to the poetry along with writing a small collection of poems. In our drama unit, students will read a short play in order to write a variety of short analyses and responses. Students then learn about the style and content of news article writing in order to create a class newspaper. In the novel unit, students read and write a variety of creative and non-fictional pieces based on the reading. Also, throughout the year, students learn and strengthen their vocabulary, grammar, and spelling skills along with delivering presentations with the aid of multimedia which strengthens their communication and public speaking abilities.
Grade 7 English Language Arts
7th grade English builds on the student’s knowledge and skills from 6th, and the students hone their analytical skills; analyzing literature, media, drama, and poetry looking at language, themes, characters, society, etc. Students are introduced to the essay writing process; learning how to write a thesis, as well as learning how to draft and edit. They write an informative essay, and a narrative essay using the 6-1 trait rubric, as well as a variety of formal and non-formal writing pieces. Students read both fiction and non-fiction, read and write poetry, read and perform drama, and look at how media is influenced by society and vice versa. Throughout the year the students will also focus on grammar, vocabulary and speech and communication.
Grade 8 English Language Arts
8th grade English has the students continuing the critical thinking process, but also taking it a step further and looking at the artistic and stylistic elements of literature, poetry, media and drama. The essay writing process is continued and the students write narrative, research and persuasive essays, as well as a variety of formal and non-formal writing pieces. Students read both fiction and non-fiction, read and write poetry, read and perform drama, and look at how media is influenced by society and vice versa. Throughout the year the students will also focus on grammar, vocabulary and speech and communication.
Three Courses are offered as part of the Middle School Mathematics Block aligned with the Common Core Standards.
Grade 6 Mathematics is a course in the middle school mathematics series. This course focuses on numbers and their operations to build a strong computation foundation and introduce integers, functions, and probability. The main focus is to install confidence in all students.
Grade 7 Mathematics is an introduction to Algebra. The early focus is on rational numbers, their operations, and their algebraic representations. Students build their understanding of these concepts using models, and apply their skills to problem solving. Topics like measurement, average, area, and data analysis are integrated throughout the course and expanded upon throughout. Other topics include equations and functions, geometry and probability.
Grade 8 Mathematics Algebra 1 is designed to lay a solid foundation in algebra. The early focus is on rational numbers and their operations, equations and inequalities. The students build their understanding of these concepts through multi-step word problems and projects. Other topics include real number properties, properties of geometry and transformations, linear equations and their graphs, and probability.
Grade 6 The Medieval World and Beyond
Students in this course will gain an understanding of where and how humans began organizing themselves into civilizations and solving real world problems. Students will actively engage in research, writing and simulations that make history come alive. The ancient and medieval civilizations of the Middle East and Europe and the Americas will be covered in this course. In addition, students will learn the elements of Geography, such as the various types of thematic maps and how to read them. We also explore migration patterns of the Americas, and how population and the land has changed over the years, and how we, as people, have adapted to the land.
Grade 7 People, Places and History in East Asia
Students in this course will gain an understanding of east asian history, culture and geography. As we move through this history, students will actively engage in research, writing and simulations. Ancient Chinese, Korean and Japanese history will be covered in this course as well as a the political and physical geography of the region.
Grade 8- Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century World History
Students in this course will gain an understanding of twentieth century history. Students will actively engage in research, debate, writing and simulations. The course will focus on the late nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth century. European Imperialism, Weimar Germany, the Holocaust, the Second World War and the Korean War will be covered in this course with a special emphasis on the relationship between geography and historical conflicts.
Grade 6 Science
Grade 6 covers General Science which includes Physics, Chemistry, Earth Science and Biology. However, there is a stronger focus on Physics and Biology in this year. During the course students have the opportunity to explore the interesting world of science by participating in a variety of activities and differentiated assessments that cater to the different learning styles of individual students. There is also a strong emphasis on the scientific method which is reinforced via laboratory work where students learn and practice procedures for conducting controlled experiments.
Grade 7 Science
Grade 7 covers General Science which includes Physics, Chemistry, Earth Science and Biology. However, there is a stronger focus on Chemistry and Earth Science in this year. During the course students have the opportunity to explore the interesting world of science by participating in a variety of activities and differentiated assessment that cater to the different learning styles of individual students. There is also a strong emphasis on the scientific method which is reinforced via laboratory work where students learn and practice procedures for conducting controlled experiments.
Grade 8 Science
Grade 8 covers General Science which includes Physics, Chemistry, Earth Science and Biology. However, there is a stronger focus on Chemistry and Physics in this year. During the course students have the opportunity to explore the interesting world of science by participating in a variety of activities and differentiated assessment that cater to the different learning styles of individual students. There is also a strong emphasis on the scientific method which is reinforced via laboratory work where students learn and practice procedures for conducting controlled experiments.
Within the elective subject areas, the students in the Middle School can choose classes of interest in the Arts, Physical Education, World Languages and other subjects. Here students sample many disciplines, which may prove to be a passion or interest in the future.
Physical education for middle school students consists of individual activities, team activities, and outdoor educational activities. Health-related physical fitness and wellness activities are promoted and supported throughout the curriculum. Students are actively engaged in every lesson, and activities include assessing their fitness, safety and first aid, orienteering, dancing, swimming, and much more. The PSHE Education course is embedded within the weekly schedule for all middle school students. PSHE consists of units on health and well-being, relationships, and living in the wider world. Students will think about challenging topics, and will make connections to their own lives in areas such as racism, gender identity, substance abuse, family, and bullying, along with others. Both the PSHE and Physical Education Program provide the opportunity for students to put what they have previously learned into practice.
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
Students from Grade 6 to Grade 8 take part in PSHE classes as part of their weekly schedule. PSHE education is a planned programme of learning though which pupils acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives now and in the future. As part of a whole school approach, it develops the qualities and attributes pupils need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society. PSHE education addresses both pupils’ direct experience and preparation for their future. A spiral programme ensures learning is revisited, reinforced and extended in age- and stage-appropriate contexts. GIFS has developed a PSHE programme which meets pupils’ needs and which is tailored to local circumstances.
Technology for middle school consists of concepts of information technology and life-long practical skills. The first year of technology includes various concepts related to hardware, software, networking and there is an introduction to basic word processing and spreadsheet skills. The students develop advanced skills in database management, website authoring and presentation-making skills in the last two years.
In the third year there is a stronger focus on developing logical and analytical skills by practicing programming through ‘Alice’ platforms, by writing algorithms and designing flowcharts. Students discuss cutting edge technology and the effects on mankind to develop critical and evaluative skills. A variety of assessments tools based on theoretical concepts, application based scenarios and practical skills are used to demonstrate effective learning.
GIFS Middle School Visual Art introduces a variety of art media to build a basic foundation and understanding of the art elements and principles of design. Lessons presented focus on engaging student’s imagination, enhancing their critical thinking skills and developing technical and perceptual skills. Students are introduced to artists and art movements from history with follow-up assignments that give them the opportunity to interpret style and theme using their own imagination.
At GIFS our Music Course is a combination of both non-performance and performance.
It is designed to provide students an opportunity to learn about various elements of music. Students will learn about basic rudiments of music such as harmony, rhythm, and form through musical examples. They will not only read music from traditional and non-traditional music but also analyze and evaluate performances of themselves and others. In addition, this course provides students to learn to play musical instruments of their choice. Students will develop performance skills in either individual or small ensemble groups and also through large group performances.
The first-year Spanish sequence introduces students to the basics of Spanish and give them confidence to begin to express themselves in a new language.
While “travelling” around the Spanish-speaking world, students communicate about their family and friends, likes and dislikes, school, food and healthy lifestyle choices. Lessons focus on specific strategies to help students improve in the four skill areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the present tense.
Korean, as a foreign language, is focused on exploring Korean language and culture. The beginning level of Korean lessons aims to communicate with Korean native speakers in the community through speaking, listening, reading and writing. This course covers not only the introduction of Korean language, but also basic topics, such as, family, nationality, numbers, transport, places, locations, times and so on which are related to the culture, Through practical exercises, the students are to communicate with Korean families and friends, with people in the school as well as the community, for travel purposes within Korea, and for a better understanding of Korean people through cultural insights and intercultural skills.