Teaching and Learning

Middle School Slideshow

HKIS Schoolwide Shared Philosopy of Assessment

The purpose of assessment is to promote learning. Assessment is a process of gathering a variety of evidence to identify a student's level of attainment of learning goals. The evidence helps students understand their strengths and how they can improve their learning and helps teachers understand how they can improve instruction. In addition, assessment forms the basis of reporting to students and parents the current level of students’ attainment of learning goals. A robust system of assessment is relevant and accurate, ongoing, informative and timely, and understandable to all.

Relevant and Accurate

Assessment is tied directly to the learning goals of a given course or program. The goals are made explicit in the course’s standards and benchmarks as well as the school-wide SLRs. Expectations around these goals are clear for all students as developmentally appropriate. Students need to know the level of attainment they are expected to reach as they work toward these clear learning goals. Likewise, measurement of attainment in these goals needs to be accurate, using a variety of methods appropriate to measure the targets set and appropriate to the age of the students.

Ongoing

Assessment is an ongoing process built into the cycles of teaching and learning. Though there are times (such as final exams in upper grades) when assessment is a culmination of learning, in general assessment is incorporated into teaching and learning and the results of assessments are used by teachers and students to guide future learning.

Informative and Timely

Results and feedback are most useful when they are provided as close to the assessment as practical, so students and teachers can employ strategies for growth. Given the opportunity to reflect on results, students are able to set goals for future learning and performance of learning tasks that enhance progress.

Understandable

As developmentally appropriate, students are fully involved in the assessment process and are able to understand and explain the ways in which assessment evaluates and enhances their learning.

Levels of Proficiency

Developing Towards Grade Level Expectation

(DE)

Approaching Grade Level Expectation


(AE)

Meeting Grade Level Expectation


(ME)

Exceeding Grade Level Expectation


(EE)

The Student demonstrates limited success in meeting grade level expectations of knowledge and skills.

The Student demonstrates partial success in meeting
grade level expectations of knowledge and skills.

The Student demonstrates mastery of grade level expectations of knowledge and skills.

The Student demonstrates exceptional, in-depth understanding and can transfer knowledge and skills in way that exceed grade level expectations.

Grade 6

Required Courses

Mathematics

Full year (Everyday, 2 Semesters)

Overview: In Grade 6, students begin a two-year program that integrates basic skills and topics with conceptual understanding and problem solving strategies to achieve a complete and balanced mathematics curriculum designed to prepare students for Algebra. Students are assisted in making the transition to higher mathematics by doing problems, which illuminate concepts in four major ways: numerically, symbolically, graphically, and verbally. Deep ideas are spread over weeks or months as students engage and re-engage the same concepts in a wide variety of contexts and degrees of difficulty with frequent opportunities to cement their understanding of basic ideas and their intellectual connections.

The curriculum uses a variety of teaching methodologies, including lecture, class discussions, manipulatives, and structured study teams. During class, students are actively working on guided investigations, much like "math labs," to develop mathematical concepts and problem solving skills. Teachers lecture regularly and summarize lessons based on observed needs of the students. Basic skills and procedures are practiced as exercises over several weeks as well as integrated into challenging application problems.

Additionally, students engage in the five process skills of Reasoning and Justifying, Representations, Communication, Connections, and Problem Solving. Over the year, these process skills allow them to think deeply about how they; describe, explain, predict, make sense, visualize, discuss, make conjectures, compare, evaluate, justify, give evidence, decide, and create meaning from what they are learning.


Students will:

  • Learn to work together in study teams on challenging problems.
  • Learn to justify their reasoning and their work.
  • Acquire an array of problem solving strategies so that they will be prepared to be successful in algebra and high school mathematics courses.
  • Explore, under careful guidance of their teachers, the major concepts in a variety of ways designed to provide them with several means to solve math problems.
    Communicate about mathematics numerically, symbolically, graphically, and verbally.

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How can I describe my thinking?
  • What strategy can I use?
  • What is another way to show it?
  • How do they compare?
  • How can I measure it?

Science

Full year (Everyday, 2 Semesters)

Overview: The sixth grade science program consists of four topical units of study, which will be integrated with scientific, and engineering practices. Cross cutting concepts found in all science domains include:  cause and effect, scale, patterns, systems and system models, structure and function, matter and energy, stability and change, and the influences of science, engineering and technology on society and the natural world.

Units of study and sample essential questions:

Unit 1 Structure and Properties of Matter
“How do we identify what something is?" How do models help us explain the phenomena we observe?"

Unit 2 Energy, Forces and Interactions
"What makes a ride thrilling?" How can I control the "force"? "How can I protect from a "force?"

Unit 3 Earth's Weather and Climate
"What makes air move?" "How are we able to predict the weather?" "Why do regions and locales have different temperatures?"

Unit 4 From Molecules to Organisms
“How do organisms get and use energy?” How do cells contribute to the function of living organisms"

Social Studies

Full Year (Everyday, 2 Semesters)

Overview: The focus of the course is the development of early civilizations through the perspectives of a geographer, a historian, a citizen, and an economist.

Students will:

  • Examine daily life in ancient times
  • Explore the relationship between geography and culture
  • Develop their inquiry skills
  • Investigate the role of citizens and forms of government
  • Understand how a basic economy functions

Some sample questions students will explore:

  • Why do humans live where they live?
  • How do historians know what daily life was like in the ancient civilizations?
  • How do citizens influence government?
  • Why is economics important to me?

Languages Arts

Full Year (Everyday, 2 Semesters)

Overview: Students will strengthen essential skills in reading, writing and communication. During the first semester, students explore "where we came from"; they become aware of their new Middle School community members. During the second semester, students explore "where we are going"; they consider their roles and responsibilities of being a positive community member.


Students will:

  • Read regularly and widely
  • Respond and reflect insightfully to a range of text
  • Develop and apply narrative and non-narrative writing strategies
  • Learn about the impact of visual media
  • Develop skills to communicate effectively

Some sample questions students will explore:

  • How do personal interests shape our view of others?
  • Why is it important for people to share narratives about their experiences?
  • What am I willing to take a stand on?
  • How can our own lives be viewed as a hero's journey?

Physical Education

Full Year (Every Other Day, 2 Semesters)

Overview: The physical education curriculum covers a broad range of sports and physical activities with a major focus on developing each student’s:

  • Motor skills and movement patterns
  • Movement concepts and strategies
  • Personal and social behavior in a physical activity setting
  • Health enhancing behaviors

Students experience a comprehensive and sequential physical education curriculum that promotes physical, cognitive, social and emotional well-being. While many of the enduring understandings, knowledge and skills are consistent through the middle school grade levels, specific applications of skills progress from grade 6 through to grade 8.

Sports include:

  • Badminton, Netball and Softball
Individual Pursuits include:
  • Fitness, Dance, Swimming and Track & Field

Adventure Learning includes:

  • Project Adventure & Water Adventure

Students are introduced to a variety of team building, problem solving and personal challenge activities that may involve them exploring the edge of their ‘comfort zone’ during the project adventure unit. This unit culminates in a series of climbing and rope work challenges.

Some sample questions the students will explore during the PE course:

  • How can I most efficiently position my body?
  • How can I generate force/momentum to send an object effectively?
  • How can I improve my accuracy/direction when sending an object?
  • How do I effectively mark an opponent?
  • How do I effectively evade an opponent?
  • Which sports/activities are best for me?
  • What is fitness and why is it important?

Spice Classes

6 CLASSES OVER THE COURSE OF A YEAR

 

Art (Everyday 6/7 week rotation)

Overview: In this course, students will engage in a variety of 2D and 3D art media including drawing, painting, clay, and printmaking. Students will be challenged to apply their creativity through specific techniques and concepts discussed in class. All work is documented and shared by way of an online art portfolio that is designed and maintained by individual students.

Students will:

  • Explore and develop personal ideas and concepts
  • Engage in a variety of art processes including drawing, painting, clay work, and printmaking
  • Be exposed to historical and contemporary artists as well as artwork from various cultures and traditions
  • Reflect on their own work and the work of others
  • Create and maintain an online art portfolio

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How does art affect my everyday life?
  • How does observation help me draw?
  • What are the unique characteristics of clay work and what can I express through this medium?
  • How is the Chinese written language similar to drawing?
  • How does a printed image influence the way I look at art and my surroundings?

Drama 6 (Everyday 6/7 week rotation)

Overview: Students get an opportunity to be exposed to the joys and challenges of drama through a wide range of ensemble-based performance activities. The course is designed to give students an overview of what drama is about and training in helpful life skills such as public performance, being a respectful audience member, building self-confidence, feeling comfortable with their vocal and physical capacities, and working together in small and large groups.

Students will:

  • Create a range of storytelling performances
  • Perform in various forms of physical theater, including tableaux and pantomime
  • Explore the foundations of improvisation
  • Develop ensemble and collaboration skills in several performance projects

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do I grow a passion to communicate?
  • What does it take to be a successful drama ensemble?
  • In what way is acting risky business?

 


Grade 6 Old Testament (Everyday 6/7 week rotation)

Overview: The Old Testament course will introduce students to stories that form the foundation of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths. This study will also prepare them for the New Testament course. The Old Testament course is also designed to help students deepen their understanding of religion and to engage in the process of developing their spiritual identity.

In this course, they will investigate key issues related to scriptures, with special reference to the major stories, themes and important figures of the Old Testament. Learning will focus on some important lessons of the Old Testament. Students will learn that life is God’s gift to people, who have free will to choose between what builds and what hurts. They will also learn how God helps people in their choices, through generations of messengers, culminating in the promise of a Messiah, believed by Christians to be Jesus Christ.

Students will:

  • Engage in a variety of learning activities such as reading logs, personal journal reflections, role-plays and projects
  • Explore key ideas through questioning and discussions
  • Demonstrate an understanding of key concepts with supporting evidence.
  • Make personal connections and nurture their own spiritual identity in their search for meaning.

Some questions the students will explore during this course:

  • What do I believe and value?
  • What do our actions reveal about our beliefs?
  • Who do Christians believe God is?
  • How do Christians understand God’s role in the creation of the world?
  • What do Christians believe is humanity’s essential problem and its remedy?

Grade 6 Culinary Arts - Introduction
(Everyday 6/7 week rotation)

Overview: The 'Introduction' class in Culinary Arts provides students with a basic foundational level for cooking. Students explore different kitchen tools and food preparation methods while developing safe practices in a professional kitchen. They can walk away from this class with basic cutting and cooking skills and the knowledge to prepare simple, healthy snacks and dishes.


 

Grade 6 IDEAS-computing to learn
(Everyday 6/7 week rotation)

Overview: Computing to Learn IDEAS (Innovation, Design, Engineering, Application & Skills) is a course developed for Grade 6 students to engage with computers and technology in new creative ways. Students will develop skills in design process, engineering principles, basic coding, application of technology as well as managing and documenting a project. Immersed within a creative, maker-centered classroom environment, students will have the opportunity to collaborate on projects and learn from peers. Students will gain a solid foundation of using computers and technology within their own innovative ideas. Outcomes also include the development of confidence in physical computing skills and their application in other areas of learning.


Grade 6 Health Education
(Everyday 6/7 week rotation)

Overview: Health Education focuses on the development of the whole person. It contributes to build up their mental and emotional, physical, social and spiritual well-being. The Health program seeks to provide clear guidelines and raise awareness of appropriate health-enhancing strategies.

Students will learn about:

  • Building your well being - how to deal with change and setting yourself up for success by looking after your 6 dimensions of health
  • Nutrition and Hygiene - how to prevent the transmission of germs and how to make healthy snack choices
  • Cyber Safety - how to be safe when using technology and understand what it means to be a digital citizen
  • Puberty - identify physical, social and emotional changes that occur during puberty & strategies for coping positively with these changes

Elective Courses

Modern Languages

Mandarin as a Second Language 1 (MSL 1)
Full Year ( Everyday )

Overview: In this course, students will explore the topics of Pinyin, greetings, family, time, date, and daily schedule.

Primary text: Easy Steps to Chinese 1

Students will:

  • Apply writing of 100 characters with additional 30 for recognition
  • Develop an understanding of the Chinese Pinyin system
  • Focus on communication skills relating to giving personal information
  • Create narratives and dialogues relating to self, family and school
  • Research and understand cultural elements of Chinese family

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do I pronounce Chinese words properly?
  • How do I use Mandarin to talk about family and myself?

Prerequisites/notes: This is a beginner’s class that does not require any prior exposure to Mandarin. There is no mid-year intake in the 2nd semester.


Mandarin as a Second Language 2 (MSL 2)
Full Year (Everyday)

Overview: In this course, students will explore the topics of hobbies, weather & seasons, sickness, food and eating out etc.

Primary text: Easy steps to Chinese 2

Students will:

  • Apply writing of 180 characters with additional MSL 1 characters and recognition of 50 additional characters
  • Focus on communication skills relating to expressing preference, questioning people and confirming time and place
  • Create narratives, letters and dialogues relating to the focused topics
  • Research and understand cultural elements associated with Chinese food

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do I use Mandarin to share my interests?
  • How do I use Mandarin to ask questions on weather?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MSL 1 or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Mandarin as a Second Language 3 (MSL 3)
Full Year (Everyday)

Overview: Students in this level explore the theme "My life". Topics include living environment, body and health, seasons and job, school.

Primary text: Easy steps to Chinese 3

Students will:

  • Apply writing of 250 characters with additional MSL 1 to 2 characters and recognition of 70 additional characters
  • Engage in speaking Mandarin 80% of class time
  • Conduct simple situational dialogues related to seasons, occupations and hobbies, neighborhood
  • Read and comprehend simple authentic materials, e.g. a teacher's excuse note, a simple letter from a friend, etc.
  • Note and letter writing skills for a specified purpose on a related topic
  • Differences between Chinese and western education system

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do you describing different weather conditions in each season?
  • How do you talk about sick symptoms and give suggestions to cure?
  • How is school facilities impact your learning?
  • Why is it important to create a harmonious community?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MSL 2 or equivalent as determined by placement test .


Mandarin for Native to Near-Native Speakers 1 (MNN 1)
Full Year (Everyday)

Overview: In this course, students will explore topics relating to personal growth, origin and development of Chinese characters, China, toys from childhood, learning poems, animal fables and Chinese riddles.

Primary text: MNN 1 text binder as supplementary materials and/or Kuai Le Xue Yu Wen (2A)

Students will:

  • Demonstrate accuracy and ability to self-correct in pronunciation, spelling and convention
  • Demonstrate accuracy in writing pinyin and required characters
  • Follow teacher's spoken and written instruction in Chinese
  • Summarize in a few sentences after listening to or reading a simple story
  • Understand different ways that characters are created historically
  • Provide information related to everyday lives, diets, school activities, travel, shopping and community

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How are Chinese characters created?
  • What makes a good community?
  • How to describe a typical day of my life?
  • What is my most memorable traveling experience?
  • What methods do I use to learn or review characters?
  • In what way do I apply what I learned to express my idea?

Prerequisites/notes: Students with proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing or successful completion of the Grade 5 MNN course as determined by placement test.


Mandarin for Native to Near-Native Speakers 2 (MNN 2)
Full year (Everyday)

Overview: In this course, texts, materials and activities are used to explore topics relating to school life, ancient and modern characters, shopping experience, and Chinese food.

Primary text: MNN 2 text binder as supplementary materials and/or Kuai Le Xue Yu Wen (2B)

Students will:

  • Provide information related to school life, learning of China, Chinese New Year and Chinese food
  • Demonstrate ability in extracting key ideas and taking simple notes while listening and reading
  • Demonstrate ability of creating stories inspired by picture sequences
  • Understand the pictographic and ideographic development of Chinese characters and the tools associate with calligraphy

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How many courses should I choose this year?
  • Why is so important of the four treasures to the Chinese culture?
  • How much do you know about the formation of characters?
  • What traditional customs do Chinese people have at the New Year?
  • What kinds of food and drink are healthy?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MNN 1 or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Mandarin for Native to Near-Native Speakers 3 (MNN 3)
Full year (Everyday)

Overview: In this course, texts, materials and activities are used to strengthen students listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

Primary text: MNN 3 text binder as supplementary materials; Kuai Le Xue Yu Wen (3A)

Students will:

  • Demonstrate ability to describe places visited
  • Comprehend a speaker's emotions and expressions related to abstract concepts, such as happiness, sadness, success, trouble, etc.
  • Experiment with various writing styles, e.g. diary, fable, poem, story, reasoning, etc.

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do you handle your emotions?
  • What strategies are used for story telling in Chinese?
  • What strategies are used for intensive and extensive reading?
  • What do you learn from a country's national flag and anthem?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MNN 2 or equivalent as determined by placement test.


French A
Full year (Everyday)

Overview: In this introductory course, students learn basic comprehension and communication skills in French through conversational situations. We pay attention to the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Students will:

  • Acquire vocabulary for greetings, introducing themselves, describing their family and friends, home and school and talking about the days of the week, dates, seasons and weather
  • Learn to recognize and express likes, dislikes and talk about hobbies, sports, music and school activities. Talk about their personal interests
  • Learn vocabulary and structures to be able to approach topics such as clothing, shopping and food
  • Describe their home and school routine using present tense
  • Begin to understand their native tongue at a deeper level through studying a foreign language
  • Be introduced to the diversity of the French-speaking world

Prerequisites/notes: This is a beginner’s class that does not require any prior exposure to French.


Spanish A
Full year (Everyday)

Overview: In this introductory course, students learn basic comprehension and communication skills in Spanish through conversational situations. We pay attention to the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Students will:

  • Acquire vocabulary for greetings, introducing themselves, describing their family and friends, home and school and talking about the days of the week, dates, seasons and weather
  • Learn to recognize and express likes, dislikes and talk about hobbies, sports, music and school activities. Talk about their personal interests
  • Learn vocabulary and structures to be able to approach topics such as clothing, shopping and food
  • Describe their home and school routine using present tense
  • Begin to understand their native tongue at a deeper level through studying a foreign language
  • Be introduced to the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world

Prerequisites/notes: This is a beginner’s class that does not require any prior exposure to Spanish.

Band

Beginning Band
Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Beginning Band students have the opportunity to take the first step in a lifelong musical journey by learning to play a wind or percussion instrument. Students will play music of various styles and genres, and will learn how to play individually and in groups. They will have the opportunity to perform in concerts for their peers and the school community.

Students will:

  • Share in the experience of performing with a large group of their peers
  • Develop the skills necessary to perform individually on their instruments
  • Learn about and use music software
  • Perform for audiences

Learning will be guided by the following questions:

  • What makes an outstanding musical ensemble?
  • What makes a performance outstanding?
  • What is a good sound on my instrument?
Prerequisites/notes: Enthusiasm for playing a band instrument. Enthusiasm for making music with others.




Advanced Band
Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Advanced Band students have the opportunity to continue their musical studies and to develop their performance skills further. Students will perform a variety of exciting and challenging music. They will have the opportunity to perform in concerts for their peers and the school community. They will also have the option to participate in jazz band.

Students will:

  • Share in the experience of performing with a large group of their peers.
  • Develop the skills necessary to perform individually on their instruments
  • Learn about and use music software
  • Perform for audiences

Learning will be guided by the following questions:

  • What makes an outstanding musical ensemble?
  • What makes a performance outstanding?
  • What is a good sound on an instrument?
  • How does individual preparation contribute to an ensemble?

Prerequisites/notes: Proficiency on one’s instrument to the level equivalent to the successful completion of Beginning Band, and/or permission of the conductor, and/or performance audition. Enthusiasm for playing a band instrument. Enthusiasm for making music with others.

Strings

Beginning Strings
Full Year (Every Other Day
)

Overview: Joining the strings program is an exciting musical opportunity for all students. It offers opportunities for violin, viola, cello or bass players to be a part of an music ensemble and it is a life-long skill to learn an instrument. This course is designed for students who have not taken strings before.

Students will:

  • Work on fundamentals of string technique and posture, while being introduced to beginner’s repertoire
  • Gain the experience of performing in an ensemble setting.
  • Create music through using technology and music software.
  • Get the chance to perform at school assemblies and public concerts during the school year
  • Be required to attend occasional after-school rehearsals and evening performances

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do I know which string instrument fits me better?
  • How does a string instrument produce sound?
  • Are string instruments difficult to learn?
  • What is an ensemble?
  • What is good ensemble playing?
  • What is effective practice?

Pre-requisites/notes: No pre-requisites required. Students who is interested in music and would like to play a strings instrument will be met individually to determine best fit for instrument and size.


Intermediate Strings
Full Year (Every Other Day)

Overview: The strings program offers a wonderful opportunity for violin, viola, cello or bass players to enrich their playing skills and be a part of an orchestra. We play a wide variety of music, ranging from the classical concertos of Bach to the jazzy tunes of Gershwin. The enjoyable and fulfilling strings program is an experience not to be missed! This course is designed to meet the need of developing first and second year strings students.

Students will:

  • Enrich the joy of making music
  • Develop ensemble skills and understanding of their instrument role in an ensemble setting
  • Focus on skills specific to their level while being introduced to Easy intermediate’s repertoire
  • Create music through technology and music software
  • Develop team-building and personal organizational skills
  • Develop efficient home practice habit
  • Get the chance to perform at school assemblies and public concerts during the school year
  • Be required to attend occasional after-school rehearsals and evening performances

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do we produce a good sound?
  • What is the different between solo playing and ensemble playing?
  • How do player communicate with their conductor?
  • What is effective practice?
  • What is a good ensemble playing?
  • What is an outstanding performance?

Pre-requisites/notes: Successful completion of Upper Primary Beginning Strings or student who is interested in music and to play a string instrument. Some prior experience on their instrument is required.


Advanced Strings
Full Year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Joining the strings orchestra program is an exciting musical opportunity for all students. With our four instruments: the violin, viola, cello, and bass, we play a wide variety of music, ranging from the classical concertos of Bach to the jazzy tunes of Gershwin. Students will further expand their playing skills on a string instrument. We also do a lot of performances, competition and oversea music festival outside school. The enjoyable and fulfilling strings program is an experience not to be missed!

Students will:

  • Enrich the joy of making music.
  • Share music talent with peers through playing.
  • Strength ensemble skills including understand the importance of own role in an ensemble setting.
  • Increase their technical abilities while reinforcing correct playing techniques and exploring musical styles, composers, and periods
  • Develop music appreciation skill.
  • Create music through technology and music software.
  • Develop team-building and personal organizational skills.
  • Develop efficient home practice habit.
  • Perform at school assemblies and public concerts/competition as an ensemble during the school years
  • Be required to attend occasional after-school rehearsals and evening performances

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • What is a good ensemble?
  • How do player communicate with each other and with their conductor?
  • What is my role in the ensemble? What do I have to do in order to contribute to a successful rehearsal?
  • What is efficient practice?
  • How do I improve my playing techniques & sound quality?
  • What is an outstanding performance?

Pre-requisites/notes: Successful completion of Upper Primary Advance Strings with teachers’ recommendation or equivalent.

General Music

Full Year (Every Other Day)
 

Overview: General Music is an exploratory class. Instruction will include music-reading and composition using a variety of instruments at an introductory level, rather than specializing in one instrument or ensemble. Students will explore music of various genres and cultures. The class may share their learning with performances.


Students will:

  • Learn music notation
  • Explore introductory skills on several instruments, such as ukulele, ocarina, percussion instruments
    Learn basic composition skills
  • Explore different musical genres and eras

Choir

Full Year (2 Semesters - Every Other Day)

Overview: In choir, students will develop proper vocal technique and an appreciation for choral music, with an emphasis on positive, fun teamwork, performance skills, strong ears, and well-trained voices. The repertoire will draw on a wide variety of works, including religious, modern, classical, and foreign-language pieces. Our goal is to learn while having fun!

Students will:

  • Develop technical abilities, especially pitch-matching, harmonization, and vocal technique
  • Learn to read, write, and use musical notation
  • Produce high-quality, energetic performances for a variety of audiences, including concerts and assemblies
  • Be required to attend occasional after-school rehearsals and evening performances

Opportunities to perform in solos and small groups are available but optional.

Choir will perform at public concerts, MS gatherings, and public venues throughout the year.

Pre-requisites/notes: No pre-requisites. All students, beginning to advanced, will be challenged according to their level and prior experience.

Learning Strategies

Full Year (Everyday)

Overview: Learning strategies is designed for students with a documented special learning need and provides ongoing support in any of the following areas: reading, writing, math, work completion, organization of materials, efficient use of time, planning for project work, and self-advocacy.

Students will work towards proficiency in:

  • Understanding and articulating individual learning needs leading to self-advocacy
  • Effectively applying strategies for learning
  • Persevering through challenging situations
  • Using an organizational system that keeps materials easily accessible
  • Using an effective method to record and track assignments and tests
  • Test-taking and note-taking strategies

Additionally, time is allocated to reinforce understanding of grade-level curriculum.

Some sample questions students will explore during this course:

  • What kind of learner am I?
  • Which strategies help me learn?
  • How do I know if I am learning?

Pre-requisites/notes: Students are placed in this class through consultation with learning specialist, counselor, parents and teachers in conjunction with a Student Review Team (SRT) meeting. This course is taken in lieu of a language elective.

Grade 7

Required Courses

Mathematics

Full year (2 Semesters)

Overview: Students complete the second year of a three-year program started in grade 6 that integrates basic skills and topics with conceptual understanding and problem solving strategies to achieve a complete and balanced mathematics curriculum designed to prepare students for future algebra courses. It will also consolidate the core ideas of previous mathematics courses, so that it will serve students of varied mathematics backgrounds. The contents of this course are many of the fundamental ideas and procedures necessary to be successful in algebra and the subsequent mathematics courses required for many careers. Students are assisted in making the transition to higher mathematics by doing problems, which illuminate concepts in four major ways: numerically, symbolically, graphically, and verbally. Deep ideas are spread over weeks or months as students engage and re-engage the same concepts in a wide variety of contexts and degrees of difficulty with frequent opportunities to cement their understanding of basic ideas and their intellectual connections.

The curriculum uses a variety of teaching methodologies, including lecture, class discussions, manipulatives, and structured study teams. During class, students are actively working on guided investigations, much like "math labs," to develop mathematical concepts and problem solving skills. Additionally, students engage in the five process skills of Reasoning and Justifying, Representations, Communication, Connections, and Problem Solving. Over the year, these process skills allow them to think deeply about how they; describe, explain, predict, make sense, visualize, discuss, make conjectures, compare, evaluate, justify, give evidence, decide, and create meaning from what they are learning.

Students will:

  • Learn to work together in study teams on challenging problems
  • Learn to justify their reasoning and their work
  • Acquire an array of problem solving strategies so that they will be prepared to be successful in algebra and high school mathematics courses
  • Explore, under careful guidance of their teachers, the major concepts in a variety of ways designed to provide them with several means to solve math problems
  • Communicate about mathematics numerically, symbolically, graphically and verbally

Language Arts

Full year (2 Semesters)

Overview: The grade seven English Language Arts curriculum focuses on the key areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students develop their reading comprehension skills by reading. Grade seven students pursue independent reading goals, and respond to a range of literature and informational text. In writing, students gain independence in all stages of the writing process using a variety of text types, such as narrative, argumentational and informational.

Some sample enduring understandings which students will explore:

Literature reflects the human condition.

Authors use narrative elements to make meaning.

Effective readers use inference and other comprehension strategies to understand text.

A well-constructed argument is powerful.

Science

Full year (2 Semesters)

The HKIS Science Philosophy guides learning decisions in the classroom and amongst teachers while collaborating. Our core beliefs are stated here:

We believe science is a never-ending process of discovery, interpretation and evaluation. Science education empowers us to participate as collaborative problem-solvers and innovators in an increasingly scientific and technological world. Through the concurrent development of students’ scientific and engineering practices and understanding of core ideas, we cultivate scientifically literate people who experience the richness and excitement of knowing about the ever-changing natural world and how it functions.

In Grade 7 Science, students and teachers engage in learning activities centered around these beliefs. Through the content units of (i) Matter and Its Interactions, (ii) Energy, (iii) Ecosystems, and (iv) Earth’s Systems, students are expected to:

  • Be inquisitive and to ask questions
  • Develop and use models
  • Construct explanations of phenomena
  • Plan and carry out investigations
  • Analyze and interpret data
  • Engage in argument from evidence
  • Design, test and modify solutions to problems
  • Obtain, evaluate and communicate information

As teachers facilitate learning in a more constructivist environment, we expect students to engage with/in: project based learning, laboratory practices, discussion, research, writing activities, technology, engineering design, reflection on learning and an analysis of human impact on Earth. In doing so, students find answers and develop new questions while uncovering understanding from essential questions such as:

  • What determines a chemical reaction?
  • How does matter change?
  • What is energy?
  • How does heat happen?
  • How is matter and energy transferred and transformed in natural systems?
  • Why do natural systems thrive and why do they fail?
  • How does stability of a system depend upon changes in the system?
  • Why does Earth change?
  • How does technology extend human senses and understandings of Earth?

Social Studies

Full year (2 Semesters)

Overview: Social Studies is the study of people in relation to each other and the world. It is an issues focused inquiry-based interdisciplinary subject that draws upon history, geography, economics, and civics. Social Studies fosters students' understanding of and involvement in practical and ethical issues that face their communities and humankind. In Grade 7, students will begin with Hong Kong as a focus for developing the key values and attitudes, knowledge and understanding, as well as skills and processes necessary to become active and responsible citizens. They will develop inquiry, research, and communication skills. They will also become aware of their capacity to effect change in their community, in their society, and in the world.

Students will:

  • Investigate geographic, historic, economic, civic, and cultural factors that shape our world
  • Develop inquiry and ethical research skills
  • Nurture critical thinking and collaborative problem solving skills
  • Embrace the importance of civic responsibility and service
  • Apply and transfer learning to their own lives

Physical Education & Health Education

Overview: The physical education curriculum covers a broad range of sports and physical activities with a major focus on developing each student’s:

  • Motor skills and movement patterns
  • Movement concepts and strategies
  • Personal and social behavior in a physical activity setting
  • Health enhancing behaviors

Students experience a comprehensive and sequential physical education curriculum that promotes physical, cognitive, social and emotional well-being. While many of the enduring understandings, knowledge and skills are consistent through the middle school grade levels, specific applications of skills progress from grade 6 through grade 8.


Sports include:

  • Badminton, Soccer and Basketball

Individual Pursuits includes:

  • Fitness, Running Form Analysis and Swimming

Adventure Learning includes:

  • Project Adventure & Water Adventure

During 7th grade we build on the Adventure Learning experience acquired in 6th grade.
Students experience a progression of slightly more complex and challenging problem solving and personal challenge activities that will involve them stepping out of their comfort zone during the project adventure unit. This unit culminates in a series of high element challenges. This is undoubtedly a favorite unit with the majority of students in the school.

Elective Activities: Grade 7 choices include (subject to change): Dance, Self-Defense, Triathlon, Floor-Hockey, Galic-Football, Yoga and Volleyball.

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • Who is the fittest? Does fitness look the same for everyone?
  • How do I know how fit I am?
  • How can I improve my running form?
  • How can I best support my team mates?
  • How do we use force/momentum to our advantage?

Grade 7 Health Education
(within the PE course)

Overview: Health Education focuses on the development of the whole person. It contributes at helping students to build up their mental and emotional, physical, social and spiritual well-being. The Health program seeks to provide a framework within which students are equipped to make informed responsible lifestyle choices by identifying potential risks and learning appropriate skills and strategies to effectively manage those risks:

Students will learn about:

  • Healthy Nutrition – Nutrition content covers food intake guidelines/developments, developing a healthy relationship with food and exercise, obstacles that young people face in relation to food choice, exercise and strategies to enhance healthy choices
  • Healthy Relationships – revisits the physical, emotional and social changes that occur during puberty and focus on how to make healthy choices in relationships

New Testament

One Semester (Every other day)

Overview: Middle School students are genuinely interested in deepening an understanding of themselves and the world. Reflecting on ultimate questions of life, human values and moral disciplines, and nurturing a social conscience, helps students in the development of a personal worldview or spiritual identity. A study of the New Testament seeks to guide them in their quest.

The New Testament course examines the life, death, and message of Jesus, his significance to Christians and how they strive to live out their faith in the world today. Students will reflect on human values that feature prominently in the New Testament; forgiveness, love, peace, compassion, fulfillment beyond wealth, justice, inner freedom and hope.

Students will:

  • Engage in a variety of learning activities such as personal journal reflections, role-plays and projects
  • Participate in an ongoing service learning experience
  • Demonstrate an understanding of key concepts with supporting evidence
  • Explore new learning through questioning and discussions
  • Make personal connections and reflect on their own spiritual identity or inner journey

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • Who do I believe and value?
  • What do Christians believe Jesus is?
  • What is the relationship between spirituality and compassionate action?
  • What is the value of forgiveness in my life?

Elective Courses

Modern Languages - Mandarin

Mandarin as a Second Language 1 (MSL 1)
Full Year (Every Other Day )

Overview: In this course, students will explore the topics of Pinyin, greetings, family and time/date, daily schedule.

Primary text: Easy Steps to Chinese 1

Students will:

  • Apply writing of 100 characters with additional 30 for recognition
  • Develop an understanding of the Chinese Pinyin and Chinese character system
  • Conduct simple situational conversation or presentation, introducing oneself, family members and friends, daily routine, transportation etc.
  • Read in familiar context an inventory of approximately 150 characters
  • Research and understand cultural elements of Chinese family and Chinese Culture

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • What are the fundamental differences between Chinese language and English?
  • How do I use Mandarin to talk about my family and myself?

Prerequisites/notes: This is a beginner’s class that does not require any prior exposure to Mandarin. There is no mid-year intake in the 2nd semester.


Mandarin as a Second Language 2 (MSL 2)
Full Year
(Every Other Day )

Overview: In this course, students will explore the topics of hobbies, weather & seasons, sickness, food and eating out etc.

Primary text: Easy steps to Chinese 2

Students will:

  • Apply writing of 180 characters in various writing tasks, narratives, letters and dialogues, interview, etc.
  • Conduct simple situational conversation or presentation, introducing weather forecast, seeing a doctor, school subjects, food, hobbies etc.
  • Read in familiar context an inventory of approximately 280 characters
  • Research and understand cultural elements associated with Chinese food
Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:
  • How do I use Mandarin to share my interests?
  • How do I use Mandarin to ask questions on weather?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MSL 1 or equivalent as determined by placement test.

Mandarin as a Second Language 3 (MSL 3)
Full Year (Every Other Day )

Overview: Students in this level explore the theme "My life". Topics include living environment, body and health, seasons and job, school.

Primary text: Easy steps to Chinese 3

Students will:

  • Apply writing of 250 characters with additional MSL 1 to 2 characters and recognition of 70 additional characters
  • Engage in speaking Mandarin 80% of class time
  • Conduct simple situational dialogues related to seasons, occupations and hobbies, neighborhood
  • Read and comprehend simple authentic materials, e.g. a teacher's excuse note, a simple letter from a friend, etc.
  • Note and letter writing skills for a specified purpose on a related topic
  • Differences between Chinese and western education system

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do you describing different weather conditions in each season?
  • How do you talk about sick symptoms and give suggestions to cure?
  • How is school facilities impact your learning?
  • Why is it important to create a harmonious community?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MSL 2 or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Mandarin as a Second Language 4 (MSL 4)
Full Year (Every Other Day )

Overview: The theme for this level is “daily activity”. Topics include eating in a restaurant, asking directions, appearance, occupations, daily routines, household chores, pet and personality.

Primary text: Easy steps to Chinese 3 – 4

Students will:

  • Apply writing of approx. 350 characters including MSL 1 to 3 characters and recognition of 100 additional characters
  • Reinforce Mandarin speaking 90% and listening skills in the classroom
  • Practice reading and writing continuously
  • Conduct situational dialogs related to transportation, neighborhood, giving/asking for directions and distances.
  • Read and comprehend simple authentic materials, e.g. simple menu, follow a simple direction related to transportation and routing, a simple letter from a friend about daily routine, etc.
  • Share daily routine at home and in school, household chores (e.g. taking care of pets) and favorite activities.
  • Different opinions about professions in different culture.

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • Why being independent is important in one's family?
  • What are some expectations of the table manner when dinning?
  • How do you improve other people's perception of your appearance and personality?
  • How do you deal with issues regarding your neighbors?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MSL 3 or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Mandarin as a Second Language 5 (MSL 5)
Full Year (Every Other Day
)

Overview: This course emphasizes on communication skills and builds the students’ ability to understand Chinese in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Primary text: Easy steps to Chinese 4 - 5

Students will:

  • Apply writing of approximately 450 characters including MSL 1 to 4 characters and recognition of 100 additional characters
  • Talk about their school life
  • Understand and interpret food culture
  • Make preparations before and after travelling
  • Describe sickness and write a sick note
  • Express personal opinions on pros and cons on an issue
  • Share things happened at home
  • Tell personal expectations

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • What makes your school life different? And what are you going to share with others?
  • How is Chinese food different from Western food?
  • How do I use Mandarin Chinese skills to travel and live in China?
  • How do I describe the sickness symptoms to a doctor?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MSL 4 or equivalent as determined by placement test. Availability is based on the minimum class size of 10 students.


Mandarin for Native to Near-Native Speaker 2 (MNN 2)
Full Year
(Every Other Day )

Overview: In this course, texts, materials and activities are used to explore topics relating to school life, ancient and modern characters, shopping experience, and Chinese food.

Primary text: MNN 2 texts binder with supplement materials and/or Kuai Le Xue Yu Wen (2B)

Students will:

  • Provide information related to school life, learning of China, Chinese New Year and Chinese food
  • Demonstrate ability in extracting key ideas and taking simple notes while listening and reading
  • Demonstrate ability of creating stories inspired by picture sequences
  • Understand the pictographic and ideographic development of Chinese characters and the tools associate with calligraphy
Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:
  • How many courses should I choose this year?
  • Why is so important of the four treasures to the Chinese culture?
  • How much do you know about the formation of characters?
  • What traditional customs do Chinese people have at the New Year?
  • What kinds of food and drink are healthy?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MNN 1 or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Mandarin for Native to Near-Native Speaker 3 (MNN 3)
Full Year
(Every Other Day )

Overview: In this course, texts, materials and activities are used to strengthen students listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

Primary text: MNN 3 texts binder with supplement materials and/or Kuai Le Xue Yu Wen (3A)

Students will:
  • Demonstrate ability to describe places visited
  • Comprehend a speaker's emotions and expressions related to abstract concepts, such as happiness, sadness, success, trouble, etc.
  • Experiment with various genre, e.g. diary, fable, poem, story, argument, etc.
Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:
  • How do you handle your emotions?
  • What strategies are used for story telling in Chinese?
  • What strategies are used for intensive and extensive reading?
  • What do you learn from a country's national flag and anthem?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MNN 2 or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Mandarin for Native to Near-Native Speaker 4 (MNN 4)
Full Year
(Every Other Day )

Overview: In this course, students will explore topics related to seasons, the Tang Dynasty's poems, Chinese idioms, life science and Hong Kong.

Primary text: Kuai Le Xue Yu Wen (3B)

Students will:

  • Demonstrating solid understanding of concepts/skills
  • Asking questions to clarify a task or goal
  • Identifying and summarizing the problem/question
  • Keeping an open mind, perceiving and examining things differently and from different points of view

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • What is the difference between the poetry and the descriptive prose?
  • What do Chinese idioms tell us about Chinese culture?
  • How to be brave and courageous when encountering predicament?
  • How can you contribute to make Hong Kong better?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MNN 3 or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Mandarin for Native to Near-Native Speaker 5 (MNN 5)

Full Year (Every Other Day )

Overview: In this course, students will explore topics relating to reading strategies, caring animal, solution in challenging situations, care and love among people, fairy tales of Andersen, detective stories and Chinese myths.

Primary text: Kuai Le Xue Yu Wen (4A)

Students will:

  • Be able to apply new vocabulary in speaking and writing
  • Learn narrative, diary and letter writing
  • Develop reading skills through analyzing and summarizing text
  • Develop speaking skills through discussion and presentation

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do you improve your reading skills?
  • How do you deal with hard situation?
  • Why do you need to care for a person?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MNN 4 or equivalent as determined by placement test. Availability is based on the minimum class size of 10 students.

Modern Languages - French/Spanish

French A not offered

French Intermediate
Full year (
Every Other Day )

Overview: Students in this level further develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in French. Students continue learning basic comprehension and communication skills in French through conversational situations. They study and use a range of grammatical structures and tenses to write about and discuss a variety of themes ranging from vacations to healthy lifestyles, culture and friendship. French is used as much as possible in class.

Students will:

  • Be in a learning environment where French is used increasingly as the language of instruction and communication
  • Review and continue learning vocabulary for introducing themselves, describing family and friends, home and school
  • Learn to recognize and express likes, dislikes and talk about hobbies, sports and music
  • Learn vocabulary and structures to be able to talk about their own personal interests
  • Continue learning vocabulary and structures to be able to discuss various topics such as their home, clothing, shopping, food and the city
  • Approach the future tense to plan for coming weekends and holidays
  • Introducing one past tense to narrate a past event
  • Begin to understand their native tongue at a deeper level through studying a foreign language
  • Continue observation of the diversity of the French-speaking world

Prerequisites/notes: This is an intermediate class that requires a minimum of one or two years of exposure to French. Successful completion of French A and or French B or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Spanish A
Full year (
Every Other Day )

Overview: In this introductory course, students learn basic comprehension and communication skills in Spanish through conversational situations. We pay attention to the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.


Students will:

  • Acquire vocabulary for greetings, introducing themselves, describing their family and friends, home and school and talking about the days of the week, dates, seasons and weather.
  • Learn to recognize and express likes, dislikes and talk about hobbies, sports, music and school activities. Talk about their personal interests.
  • Learn vocabulary and structures to be able to approach topics such as clothing, shopping and food.
  • Describe their home and school routine using present tense.
  • Begin to understand their native tongue at a deeper level through studying a foreign language.
  • Be introduced to the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world.

Prerequisites/notes: This is a beginner’s class that does not require any prior exposure to Spanish.


Spanish B
Full year (
Every Other Day )

Overview: Students in this level further develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in Spanish. Students continue learning basic comprehension and communication skills in Spanish through conversational situations. They study and apply grammatical structures in both written and spoken forms and acquire a wider vocabulary base that extends to various themes. Spanish is used as much as possible in class.


Students will:

  • Be in a learning environment where Spanish is used increasingly as the language of instruction and communication
  • Review and continue learning vocabulary for introducing themselves, describing family and friends, home and school
  • Learn to recognize and express likes, dislikes and talk about hobbies, sports, music and school activities. Talk about their personal interests
  • Learn vocabulary and structures to be able to discuss topics such as clothing, shopping and food
  • Begin to understand their native tongue at a deeper level through studying a foreign language.
  • Be introduced to the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world

Prerequisites/notes: This is an intermediate class that requires a minimum of one year of exposure to Spanish. Successful completion of Spanish A at HKIS or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Spanish C
Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Students broaden their knowledge of the language itself and use a range of grammatical structures and tenses to write about and discuss a variety of themes ranging from vacations to healthy lifestyles, culture and friendship. An emphasis on using Spanish in the classroom becomes a priority at this level.


Students will:

  • Continue focusing on their likes, dislikes and talk about hobbies, sports, music clothing and school activities. Talk about their personal interests
  • Continue learning vocabulary and structures to be able to discuss various topics such as their home and the city
  • Learn and use future tense to plan for coming weekends and holidays
  • Approach one past tense to narrate a past event
  • Continue observation of the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of Spanish B or equivalent as determined by placement test.

Band

Symphonic Band
Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Throughout their time in Symphonic Band, students will further develop and expand their skills on a band instrument. This band ensemble is the higher-level band class that provides exciting, interesting and challenging music, and includes opportunities for students to perform for the school and community. Additionally, students may, through audition, participate in music festivals throughout Asia.

In particular, students will:

  • Enhance their joy of making music
  • Share in the experience of performing with their peers
  • Develop ensemble skills including the role and importance of their instrument within the total ensemble
  • Develop skills that will allow for solo performance
  • Develop skills that enhance performance in smaller ensembles
  • Learn about and use music software and technology
  • Develop and use organizational, teamwork and leadership skills
  • Perform for audiences on a regular basis
  • Develop efficient practice habits

Learning will be guided through the pursuit of these questions and statements:

  • What makes an outstanding musical ensemble?
  • What makes a rehearsal great?
  • What makes a performance outstanding?
  • How do students respond to interactions with a conductor?
  • How does individual preparation contribute to an ensemble?
  • Music notation has symbols and conventions that, when understood, provide us with unique methods of expression
  • Reading, performing, and composing music notation is like learning a new language that requires practice and persistence
  • Future musical learning and growth will be based upon those already founded concepts and principals
  • Good tone quality is created by correct technique
Prerequisites/notes: Proficiency on one’s instrument to the level equivalent to the successful completion of Concert/Intermediate Band, and/or permission of the conductor, and/or performance audition is included as prerequisites for enrollment in the course.

Concert / Intermediate Band
Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview - Students will further develop their skills on a band instrument whilst playing in an ensemble. Students will rehearse a wide variety of music from Classical through to Popular band repertoire and have opportunities to perform these for the school and wider community. Students may also audition to participate in music festivals throughout Asia.

Students will:

  • Enhance their joy of making music independently and with their peers
  • Develop ensemble skills and their understanding of their instruments role and the role of others in the ensemble
  • Develop solo skills on instrument
  • Learn to utilize specific music software/technology
  • Use technology as a fun practice tool and to record assignments at home
  • Develop organizational and team work skills
  • Perform as a band throughout the year at organized concerts
  • Develop efficient practice habits
Some sample questions students will explore during this course:
  • What makes a good band sound great?
  • Is there more to a song then the melody?
  • Is there more to making music then just playing the notes?
  • How do students respond to and interact with a conductor?
  • What makes a performance outstanding?
  • Does focused practice make playing in band more enjoyable?

Prerequisites/notes: Student must have an interest in music and enthusiasm to play a band instrument.

Choir

Concert Choir
Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Concert Choir is appropriate for beginning and intermediate-level singers. Concert Choir is approximately 50% boys and 50% girls.

The class studies and performs a wide variety of music, including religious, modern, classical, and foreign-language pieces. Our goal is to learn while having fun!
Opportunities to perform in solos and small groups are available but optional. Concert Choir will perform at public concerts, MS gatherings, and public venues throughout the year.

Students will:

  • Develop vocal technique, especially pitch-matching, harmonization, and vocal technique
  • Learn to read and write musical notation
  • Produce high-quality, energetic performances for a variety of audiences, including concerts and assemblies
  • Be required to attend occasional after-school rehearsals and evening performances

Pre-requisites/notes: No prerequisites. All students will be challenged according to their level and prior experience.


Chamber Choir
Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Chamber Choir is appropriate for intermediate and advanced-level singers.

In Chamber Choir, students will continue to work on vocal technique and sight-singing. Members are expected to practice regularly and develop skills and knowledge about challenging choral music. Like Concert Choir, the repertoire will draw on a wide variety of works, including modern, classical, religious, and foreign-language pieces. The two groups will often sing together.

Opportunities to perform in solos and small groups are available but optional. Chamber Choir will perform at public concerts, MS gatherings, and public venues throughout the year.

Students will:

  • Develop vocal technique, especially pitch-matching, harmonization, and vocal technique
  • Learn to read and write musical notation
  • Produce high-quality, energetic performances for a variety of audiences, including concerts and assemblies
  • Be required to attend occasional after-school rehearsals and evening performances

Pre-requisites/notes: Students wishing to register for Chamber Choir must arrange an audition and interview with the MS Choral Director. Candidates should have at least one year of singing experience.


Boys Chamber Choir
Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Boys Chamber choir is appropriate for intermediate and advanced-level singers.

In Chamber Choir, students will continue to work on vocal technique and sight-singing. Members are expected to practice regularly and develop skills and knowledge about challenging choral music. Like Concert Choir, the repertoire will draw on a wide variety of works, including modern, classical, religious, and foreign-language pieces. The two groups will often sing together.

Opportunities to perform in solos and small groups are available but optional.
Chamber Choir will perform at public concerts, MS gatherings, and public venues throughout the year.

Students will:

  • Develop vocal technique, especially pitch-matching, harmonization, and vocal technique
  • Learn to read and write musical notation
  • Produce high-quality, energetic performances for a variety of audiences, including concerts and assemblies
  • Be required to attend occasional after-school rehearsals and evening performances


Pre-requisites/notes: Students wishing to register for Men’s Chamber Choir must arrange an audition and interview with the MS Choral Director. Candidates should have at least one year of singing experience.


Fine & Performing Arts Department Philosophy

The Hong Kong International School Middle School Fine & Performing Arts Department provides challenging and varied opportunities for students to explore, enhance, their skills and talents. A diverse, experienced, and enthusiastic faculty passionately delivers and facilitate instruction. Within our classrooms, students are encouraged to take risks and are provided a safe environment in which to learn. In our classrooms, students are actively involved in exploring and applying concepts. Our students are actively involved in project-based learning, while receiving regular feedback and guidance. The curriculum is structured to allow learners to build upon their learning, challenging them to aspire towards excellence. Assessment is provided through regular formative and summative feedback and interactions, with the culminating goal of featuring student work in public settings. Emphasis is placed on delivering a program that encourages life-long participation in appreciation, creation, performance, and enjoyment of the arts.

Beginning Ukulele

Half year (Every Other Day)

Overview: This is an elective course offering entry level/beginning instruction for the Ukulele. Students will learn open chords, moveable chords, accompaniment techniques and a variety of playing techniques and styles and will include a brief introduction to Ukulele. The course also includes music fundamentals, theory, songs listening, analysing and how to read standard music notation and tablature.

Students will:

  • Enhance their joy of making music independently and with their peers
  • Learn how to play chords, accompaniment and melodies on ukulele
  • Learn to read music notation, chord frames and tablature
  • Develop an understanding of music fundamentals and theory
  • Learn to perform and create music
  • Develop the ability to analyse, describe and listen to music
  • Develop an understanding of music as it relates to history and culture

Prerequisites/notes: Students must have an interest in music and enthusiasm to play, no prior experience is required.

Strings

Intermediate Strings
Full Year (Every Other Day)

Overview: The strings program offers a wonderful opportunity for violin, viola, cello or bass players to enrich their playing skills and be a part of an orchestra. We play a wide variety of music, ranging from the classical concertos of Bach to the jazzy tunes of Gershwin. The enjoyable and fulfilling strings program is an experience not to be missed! This course is designed to meet the need of developing first and second year strings students.

Students will:

  • Enrich the joy of making music
  • Develop ensemble skills and understanding of their instrument role in an ensemble setting
  • Focus on skills specific to their level while being introduced to Easy intermediate’s repertoire
  • Create music through technology and music software
  • Develop team-building and personal organizational skills
  • Develop efficient home practice habit
  • Get the chance to perform at school assemblies and public concerts during the school year
  • Be required to attend occasional after-school rehearsals and evening performance

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do we produce a good sound?
  • What is the different between solo playing and ensemble playing?
  • How do player communicate with their conductor?
  • What is effective practice?
  • What is a good ensemble playing?
  • What is an outstanding performance?

Pre-requisites/notes: Student who is interested in music and to play a string instrument. Some prior experience on an their instrument is required.


Advanced Strings
Full Year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Joining the strings orchestra program is an exciting musical opportunity for all students. With our four instruments: the violin, viola, cello, and bass, we play a wide variety of music, ranging from the classical concertos of Bach to the jazzy tunes of Gershwin. Students will further expand their playing skills on a string instrument. We also do a lot of performances, competition and oversea music festival outside school. The enjoyable and fulfilling strings program is an experience not to be missed!

Students will:

  • Enrich the joy of making music
  • Share music talent with peers through playing
  • Strength ensemble skills including understand the importance of own role in an ensemble setting
  • Increase their technical abilities while reinforcing correct playing techniques and exploring musical styles, composers, and periods
  • Develop music appreciation skill
  • Create music through technology and music software
  • Develop team-building and personal organizational skills
  • Develop efficient home practice habit
  • Perform at school assemblies and public concerts/competition as an ensemble during the school years
  • Be required to attend occasional after-school rehearsals and evening performances

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • What is a good ensemble?
  • How do player communicate with each other and with their conductor?
  • What is my role in the ensemble? What do I have to do in order to contribute to a successful rehearsal?
  • What is efficient practice?
  • How do I improve my playing techniques & sound quality?
  • What is an outstanding performance?

Pre-requisites/notes: Successful completion of Intermediate Strings, Grade 6 Advance Level and/or with teachers’ recommendation or equivalent.

Art

Art and Design
Half year (1 Semester)

Overview: Students will explore the role of two-dimensional art and design in communication and creative expression and its relevance throughout history to our present times. These explorations will take place through a variety of media including drawing, painting, photography, and printmaking with a focus on graffiti art. Each student will document their work and showcase final pieces through an online art portfolio representing their artistic development and unique perspectives in art.

Students will:

  • Create a variety of 2D art while developing technical skill and understanding of specific processes relating to drawing, painting, photography, and printmaking (graffiti)
  • Create artworks with confidence by initiating and developing ideas for independent and group work
  • Study the historical and cultural significance of art and its relevance today
  • Create their own online art portfolios to share their work with a larger audience and to reflect on their artistic development

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How can I use art to communicate my ideas and experiences?
  • What drawing and painting techniques can I use to represent the world around me and to develop my own style of expression?
  • How can I express my feelings and emotions through a portrait?
  • What impact does graffiti art have on our culture?
  • What stories can I share through photography?

Sculpture
Half year (1 Semester)

Overview: Students will engage in hands-on activities and projects that focus on creating sculptures and understanding our relationship to three-dimensional forms. These creative investigations will take place through the use of a variety of materials including paper, plaster, clay, wood, and wire. Students will participate in class critiques and understand the relationship between form and function in sculpture. Projects will be documented and presented through online art portfolios that are designed and maintained by students.

Students will:

  • Create a variety of sculptures while focusing on specific techniques and processes related to paper, plaster, clay, wood, and wire
  • Develop self-confidence and team-building skills through independent and group work
  • Study the role of 3D art forms in history, culture, and in disciplines such as industrial design
  • Create their own online art portfolios to share their work with a larger audience and to reflect on their artistic development

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How does sculpture affect the way I interact with my environment?
  • How can art be functional?
  • How is non-functional art relevant?
  • How can common materials be recycled to explore new ways of making art?
  • How can I use sculpture to represent the human figure, both literally and symbolically?

Drama

Drama 7/8
Half year (1 Semester)

Overview: Drama 7/8 will take a more focused, hands-on look at acting and theatrical performance, building on the foundations explored in Drama 6.

Students will:

  • Work with voice and body acting techniques
  • Explore a range of improvisational theatre skills
  • Demonstrate developing performance skills
  • Analyze script and character
  • Gain knowledge and practical experience of theatre production elements

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do I tap into my creative energy and why should I?
  • What are some "tricks of the trade" in acting?

Prerequisites/notes:

  • This course can be taken in both grades 7 and 8, as the units of this course are modified each year.
  • The fulfillment of one assignment may include after-school time for rehearsal.

Theatre Craft
Half year (1 Semester)

Overview: This course will bring students through the various non-performance components of the world of theatre, from a theoretical and practical point of view.

Students will:

  • Learn about the various off-stage roles in theatre
  • Explore areas of scenic, costume and make-up design for theatre
  • Analyze script from a technical perspective
  • Work with lighting and sound in a live performance context

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do sets and costumes go from "design" to 'reality"?
  • How do make-up artists create strange and interesting creatures?
  • What are some "tricks of the trade" in sound and lighting?
  • How do I use my own skills and creativity in the context of a director's vision?

Prerequisites/notes:

  • This course can be taken in both grades 7 and 8, as the units of this course are modified each year.
  • The fulfillment of one assignment includes after-school time for rehearsal and technical performance.
  • Students will participate in hands-on activities that require some after-school time in connection with the Play or Musical.

Musical Theatre
Half year (1 Semester)

Overview: Enter the world of theatre via triple threat--acting, singing and dancing, as students prepare to perform in the Middle School musical.

Students will:

  • Develop basic acting skills.
  • Improve stage singing.
  • Practice dance moves and blocking (stage movement) set to a musical piece.
  • Create original choreography and blocking for a musical scene.
  • Learn different types of musical pieces and perform rehearsed samples.
  • Demonstrate discipline and ability to achieve ensemble in putting a production together.

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • What makes musical theatre so enjoyably unique?
  • How do I bring out the performer in me?
  • How does an individual contribute to a successful theatre performance?

Prerequisites/notes:

  • This course can be taken in both grades 7 and 8, as the units of this course are modified each year.
  • The production in May is an integral part of the class, and participation includes some extra-curricular rehearsals and evening performances.

Technology

The MS Technology electives offer a variety of programs that aim to introduce and enhance real world required creative, innovative and technological knowledge and skills.

Creative Computing & Coding
Half year (1 semester)


Overview: this is a student-centered course in which any student can learn to program through personally meaningful projects. All students will be empowered through challenges and projects where they choose to become artists, musicians, scientists, mathematicians, storytellers and more. Creative Computing is designed to develop creative minds, collaborative attitudes and personal resiliency naturally through a “hard fun” approach to learning. The course draws on both graphical and text-based programming environments to introduce students to the computer science principles of abstraction, programming, data, algorithms, and recursion.


The Art of Media
Half year (1 semester)


Overview: The development of contemporary media skills and self-motivation to generate creative content is the aim of the course. Students will explore and practice advanced media and digital literacy by making several movies. Students will gain hands-on experience with both still and moving visual media, audio media, lighting, special effects as well as design thinking, project management, collaboration, and publishing.


Playful Invention & Robotics
Half year (1 semester)

Overview: This course, designed for all students, is an introduction to the joy of tinkering, invention and robotics. The course aims to further student’s development from primarily users of technology to creators of technology. Students will use creative construction kits designed for learning fundamental principles associated with physical computing and robotics. Learners will mix imagination, design, construction, and programming in a collaborative immersive maker environment. During this project-based course learners will create whimsical bots, wearable electronics, connected devices and more that ignite and develop curiosity, creativity and collaboration.

Culinary Arts

Culinary Arts/Baking
Half year (1st Semester - Baking)


Overview: In Culinary Arts 1, students will embark upon a baking adventure where they discover how to bake a selection of cakes, pastries, breads and cookies. Students will be introduced to a variety of skills and theories in order to understand what goes on inside their batter or dough.
We will discuss the science of baking. This discussion includes the importance of air and fats in the baking process and how they both are incorporated. Students will learn how to manage their time, interpret recipes, and use appropriate measuring techniques and equipment as they explore and perfect their culinary talents. Students will be responsible for creating a safe and hygienic work space as well as learning to cooperate with their peers in their kitchens. By the end of the course, students will have a foundation that will enable them to tackle any challenges in baking.

Students will:

  • Understand the importance of food safety and hygiene in the kitchen
  • Acquire a repertoire of recipes they are confident to create
  • Learn various food prep and cooking techniques
  • Discover that food preparation can be taken to artistic perspectives
  • Develop self-confidence and self-sufficiency in regards to food preparation, production and presentation
  • Develop communication and team-building skills through practical classes

Some sample questions students will explore during this course:

  • How do rising agents work?
  • How does gluten development affect the outcome of the end product?
  • What equipment is required to perform certain tasks?

Prerequisites/notes: This course can be taken in both grade 7 and 8 and does not require any prior experience in the kitchen. All participants should show an interest towards cooking and an openness to try new foods.


Culinary Arts/Cuisine
Half year (2nd Semester - Cuisine)

Overview: In Culinary Arts 2 students will focus on cuisines. Students will produce a variety of dishes with a focus on nutrition, the 5 mother sauces, food preservation and cultural cuisines from around the world. Students will be given ample opportunity to develop and perfect their knife skills and learn a variety of tips on food prep. They will learn how to manage their time, interpret, recipes, and use appropriate techniques and equipment as they explore and perfect their culinary talent. Students will be responsible for creating a safe and hygienic work space as well as learning to cooperate with their peers in their kitchens. By the end of the course, students will have a foundation that will enable them to tackle any challenges in cooking.

Students will:

  • Understand the importance of food safety and hygiene in the kitchen
  • Study nutrition and its importance in their own lives
  • Explore recipes from countries around the world and participate in multicultural food discussions
  • Learn various food prep and cooking techniques
  • Discover that food preparation can be taken to artistic perspectives
  • Acquire a repertoire of recipes they are confident to create
  • Develop self-confidence and self-sufficiency in regards to food preparation, production and presentation
  • Develop communication and team-building skills through practical classes

Some sample questions students will explore during this course:

  • Does the food you consume make a difference to your current and future health?
  • Can I rely on my senses and experiences in working with ingredients to prepare food more independently and become less reliant on recipes?
  • Why is it important to continually test my food during the cooking process?
  • How do cultures come together over food?

Prerequisites/notes: This course can be taken in both grade 7 and 8 and does not require any prior experience in the kitchen. All participants should show an interest towards cooking and an openness to try new foods.

Skills

Creative Writing
Half year (1 Semester)

Overview: Creative Writing students write several short pieces and poems during the semester. Students confer with the teacher individually to improve their writing. They also participate in writing workshops and focus on attending to peer feedback while improving their own editing skills. Throughout the semester, students examine examples of selected literary models to imitate effective writing techniques. Students submit work for consideration for publication to the Middle School literary magazine.


Public Speaking
Half year (1 Semester)

Overview: The Public Speaking elective class provides students with opportunities to develop public speaking skills in safe, collaborative environment. Students will explore types of public speaking such as impromptu speeches, oral presentations, interviews, and storytelling. Students will practice speaking and listening strategies to build their confidence as public speakers.

Learning Strategies

Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Learning strategies is designed for students with a documented special learning need and provides ongoing support in any of the following areas: reading, writing, math, work completion, organization of materials, efficient use of time, planning for project work, and self-advocacy.

Students will work towards proficiency in:

  • Understanding and articulating individual learning needs leading to self-advocacy
  • Effectively applying strategies for learning
  • Persevering through challenging situations
  • Using an organizational system that keeps materials easily accessible
  • Using an effective method to record and track assignments and tests
  • Test-taking/ Note-taking strategies

Additionally, time is allocated to reinforce understanding of grade-level curriculum.

Some sample questions students will explore during this course:

  • What kind of learner am I?
  • Which strategies help me learn?
  • How do I know if I am learning?

Prerequisites/notes: Students are placed in this class through consultation with the learning specialist, counselor, parents and teachers in conjunction with a Student Review Team (SRT) meeting.

Dragon News and Radio (DNR)

Dragon News and Radio (DNR)
Half year (1 semester)


Overview: The DNR elective provides students the opportunity to share authentic Middle School news and events through multimedia formats for a peer audience. Often creative brilliance may go unnoticed. With this course, students will have the time to capture, share, and celebrate all the fantastic learning happening in the Middle School. Students will be introduced to journalism. They will create and publish story content and develop digital literacy through working with multiple medias.

Grade 8

Required Courses

Mathematics

Full year (2 Semesters)

Overview: Students complete the third year of a three-year program started in grade 6 that integrates basic skills and topics with conceptual understanding and problem solving strategies to achieve a complete and balanced mathematics curriculum designed to prepare students for future high school courses.

This course aims to deepen and extend student understanding built in previous courses by focusing on developing fluency with algebraic expressions including radicals; solving linear equations, inequalities and systems; extending these skills to solving exponential functions; exploring functions, including sequences, graphically, numerically, symbolically and verbally; and investigating a variety of geometric concepts.

On a daily basis, students use problem solving strategies, questioning, investigating, analyzing critically, gathering and constructing evidence, and communicating rigorous arguments justifying their thinking. Students learn in collaboration with others, sharing information, expertise, and ideas.

The course is well balanced between procedural fluency (algorithms and basic skills), deep conceptual understanding, strategic competence (problem solving), and adaptive reasoning (extension and transference).

The course is organized around rich, meaningful daily problems and investigations that lead to deep conceptual understanding of the underlying mathematics in a very deliberate and purposeful structure. Daily work consists of inquiry, as opposed to teacher transmission of procedure that is followed by rote practice and memorization. The emphasis of the course is on reasoning, critical analysis, mathematical modeling, and gathering evidence; students are active participants in their learning. There are fewer problems than in a typical mathematics book, allowing for perseverance and more concentration on the mathematics. The problems are regularly non/routine (encouraging transference and extension), team/worthy (requiring reasoning and collaboration), engaging (leading to a more positive disposition toward mathematics), and ask for a variety of outcomes (reports, diagrams, models, presentations). Extensive justification of thinking and communication of mathematical arguments are constantly expected. Procedures are based upon principles of mathematics rather than memorized algorithms. A strength of the course is its coherence: big mathematical ideas permeate the course and progress, rather than presenting lessons as a series of disconnected topics.

Students are encouraged to investigate concepts and consider problem/solving strategies by sharing information, opinions, and expertise in collaborative study teams. They provide clarification, analyze, criticize, and most of all, build on each others’ ideas, by collaborating. By working in teams, students have access to higher/level, more sophisticated, mathematically rich problems. Not only are students more engaged and interested than when they are doing individual seatwork, but collaborative teams also provide a safe place for students to ask questions.

Language Arts

Full year (2 Semesters)

Overview: The grade eight English Language Arts curriculum builds on the foundation of the grade seven course, with a continued focus on the key areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students develop their reading comprehension skills by reading. Grade eight students pursue independent reading goals, and respond to a range of literature and informational text. In writing, students have further practice with text types taught in the previous year, including narrative, argumentational and informational.

·Stories help the understanding of ourselves and our world.

·Modern fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from earlier literature.

·Behind every argument is a point of view and a belief.

·Written and visual text is powerful and may be used to persuade or argue.

Science

Full year (2 Semesters)

The HKIS Science Philosophy guides learning decisions in the classroom and amongst teachers while collaborating. Our core beliefs are stated here:

We believe science is a never-ending process of discovery, interpretation and evaluation. Science education empowers us to participate as collaborative problem-solvers and innovators in an increasingly scientific and technological world. Through the concurrent development of students’ scientific and engineering practices and understanding of core ideas, we cultivate scientifically literate people who experience the richness and excitement of knowing about the ever-changing natural world and how it functions.

In Grade 8 Science, students and teachers engage in learning activities centered around these beliefs. Through the content units of (i) Waves and Information Transfer, (ii) Earth and Space Systems, (iii) Genetic and Heredity, and (iv) Evolution of Life, students are expected to:

  • Be inquisitive and to ask questions
  • Develop and use models
  • Construct explanations of phenomena
  • Plan and carry out investigations
  • Analyze and interpret data
  • Engage in argument from evidence
  • Design, test and modify solutions to problems
  • Obtain, evaluate and communicate information

As teachers facilitate learning in a more constructivist environment, we expect students to engage with/in: project based learning, laboratory practices, discussion, research, writing activities, technology, engineering design, reflection on learning and an analysis of human impact on Earth. In doing so, students find answers and develop new questions while uncovering understanding from essential questions such as:

  • How do light and sound transfer energy and information?
  • How did the solar system form and how will it change over time?
  • What does gravity look like?
  • How does life happen?
  • How can individuals of the same species have different characteristics?
  • Why and how are different proteins made?
  • How does genetic variation affect survival and reproduction?
  • How has life changed over time?.....What evidence exists?

Social Studies

Full year (2 Semesters)
 

Overview: The Grade 8 Social Studies program examines the how the founding of the United States has shaped its development as a world power. The course encompasses the study of historical events as well as an in-depth look at the U.S. Constitution and its past, present, and future implementation at federal, state, and local levels. While history and civics are the core disciplines, the program also incorporates economics and geography to give students an understanding of and appreciation for the major movements and concepts that have characterized the United States. In addition, students will be asked to use their understanding of the United States as a springboard to examine other historical, political, economic, and social issues in the world today.

Students will:

●Investigate geographic, historic, economic, civic, and cultural factors that shaped, and continue to shape, the United States of America
●Develop inquiry and ethical research skills
●Nurture critical thinking and collaborative problem solving skills
●Embrace the importance of civic responsibility and service
●Apply and transfer learning to their own lives and the lives of those around them

Physical Education & Health Education

Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview: The physical education curriculum covers a broad range of sports and physical activities with major focus on developing each student’s:

  • Motor skills and movement patterns
  • Movement concepts and strategies
  • Personal and social behavior in a physical activity setting
  • Health enhancing behaviors

Students experience a comprehensive and sequential physical education curriculum that promotes physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. While many of the enduring understandings, knowledge and skills are consistent through the middle school grade levels, specific applications of skills progress from grade 6 through grade 8.

Sports include:
  • Badminton, Lacrosse & Touch-Rugby
Individual Pursuits include:
  • Fitness & Swimming (incl. stroke analysis)
Adventure Learning includes:
  • Project Adventure & Water Adventure. Collaborative, Creative and Resiliency Building Activities.
During 8th grade we build on the Adventure Learning experience acquired in 7th grade. Students experience a continued progression of slightly more complex and challenging problem solving and personal challenge activities that will involve them exploring the outer edge of their ‘stretch zone’, seeking their hidden potential and supporting their peers in the same process. This unit culminates in a series of high element and rope work challenges where students learn to manage the belay system and safety rope for each other.


Elective Activities: Grade 8 choices include (subject to change): Dance, Archery, Kayaking, American (Flag) Football, Netball, Yoga, Golf and Volleyball.

In order to foster the spirit of trying new activities during the Elective Activities, emphasis is placed on student’s personal and social behavior rather than technical ability.

Some sample questions the students will explore during their PE course:
  • Why is total health bigger than fitness?
  • What is sequential transfer of momentum?
  • What can I improve about my freestyle swimming stroke?
  • How can I best counter my opponent’s strategies?
  • How do I create space for scoring opportunities?
  • How can I best support / assist others in their goal(s)?

Grade 8 Health Education
(Within the PE Course)

Overview: Health Education focuses on development of the whole person. It contributes to the emotional, physical, intellectual and social well-being of students and emphasizes the importance of living an active, healthy life. The emphasis in grade 8 Health is to cover the topics of substance misuse/abuse and healthy sexuality. The Health program seeks to provide a framework within ‘substance misuse/abuse prevention' and 'healthy sexuality' which students are equipped to make informed responsible lifestyle choices by identifying potential risks and learning appropriate strategies to effectively manage those risks. Students will learn about:

  • Substance misuse prevention - defines what a drug is, investigates why teens experiment with drugs, summarizes how various drugs affect the brain and the consequences of drug misuse and abuse.Strategies are explored so that students can avoid the risks and develop a healthy mindset to protect them from drug misuse and abuse.
  • Healthy Sexuality - reviews the changes at puberty, the reproductive system and the process of conception, pregnancy & child birth. The unit outlines the physical, emotional and social risks associated with choosing to become sexually active as a teen, including sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancies. The unit does consider the pros and cons of contraceptive devices, however we clearly promote abstinence as the only 100% effective choice to avoid threats to healthy sexuality and discusses making healthy, age appropriate, choices in relationships.

Some sample questions the students will explore during the Health course:

  • How do I make informed healthy choices?
  • What are the risks and consequences associated with making poor choices?
  • How can I enhance my safety & well-being through my teenage years?
  • What strategies can I use to enhance healthy decision making?

New Testament

One Semester (Every other day)

Overview: Middle School students are genuinely interested in deepening an understanding of themselves and the world. Reflecting on ultimate questions of life, human values and moral disciplines, and nurturing a social conscience, helps students in the development of a personal worldview or spiritual identity. A study of the New Testament seeks to guide them in their quest.

The New Testament course examines the life, death, and message of Jesus, his significance to Christians and how they strive to live out their faith in the world today. Students will reflect on human values that feature prominently in the New Testament; forgiveness, love, peace, compassion, fulfillment beyond wealth, justice, inner freedom and hope.

Students will:

  • Engage in a variety of learning activities such as personal journal reflections, role-plays and projects
  • Participate in an ongoing service learning experience
  • Demonstrate an understanding of key concepts with supporting evidence
  • Explore new learning through questioning and discussions
  • Make personal connections and reflect on their own spiritual identity or inner journey

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • Who do I believe and value?
  • What do Christians believe Jesus is?
  • What is the relationship between spirituality and compassionate action?
  • What is the value of forgiveness in my life?

Elective Courses

Modern Languages - Mandarin

Mandarin as a Second Language 1 (MSL 1)
Full Year (Every Other Day)

Overview: In this course, students will explore the topics of Pinyin, greetings, family and time/date, daily schedule.

Primary text: Easy Steps to Chinese 1

Students will:

  • Apply writing of 100 characters with additional 30 for recognition
  • Develop an understanding of the Chinese Pinyin and Chinese character system
  • Conduct simple situational conversation or presentation, introducing oneself, family members and friends, daily routine, transportation etc.
  • Read in familiar context an inventory of approximately 150 characters
  • Research and understand cultural elements of Chinese family and Chinese Culture

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • What are the fundamental differences between Chinese language and English?
  • How do I use Mandarin to talk about my family and myself?

Prerequisites/notes:This is a beginner’s class that does not require any prior exposure to Mandarin. There is no mid-year intake in the 2nd semester.


Mandarin as a Second Language 2 (MSL 2)
Full Year
(Every Other Day)

Overview: In this course, students will explore the topics of hobbies, weather & seasons, sickness, food and eating out etc.

Primary text: Easy steps to Chinese 2

Students will:

  • Apply writing of 180 characters in various writing tasks, narratives, letters and dialogues, interview, etc.
  • Conduct simple situational conversation or presentation, introducing weather forecast, seeing a doctor, school subjects, food, hobbies etc.
  • Read in familiar context an inventory of approximately 280 characters
  • Research and understand cultural elements associated with Chinese food
Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:
  • How do I use Mandarin to share my interests?
  • How do I use Mandarin to ask questions on weather?

Prerequisites/notes:Successful completion of MSL 1 or equivalent as determined by placement test.

Mandarin as a Second Language 3 (MSL 3)
Full Year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Students in this level explore the theme "My life". Topics include living environment, body and health, seasons and job, school.

Primary text: Easy steps to Chinese 3

Students will:

  • Apply writing of 250 characters with additional MSL 1 to 2 characters and recognition of 70 additional characters
  • Engage in speaking Mandarin 80% of class time
  • Conduct simple situational dialogues related to seasons, occupations and hobbies, neighborhood
  • Read and comprehend simple authentic materials, e.g. a teacher's excuse note, a simple letter from a friend, etc.
  • Note and letter writing skills for a specified purpose on a related topic
  • Differences between Chinese and western education system

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do you describing different weather conditions in each season?
  • How do you talk about sick symptoms and give suggestions to cure?
  • How is school facilities impact your learning?
  • Why is it important to create a harmonious community?

Prerequisites/notes:Successful completion of MSL 2 or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Mandarin as a Second Language 4 (MSL 4)
Full Year (Every Other Day)

Overview: The theme for this level is “daily activity”. Topics include eating in a restaurant, asking directions, appearance, occupations, daily routines, household chores, pet and personality.

Primary text: Easy steps to Chinese 3 – 4

Students will:

  • Apply writing of approx. 350 characters including MSL 1 to 3 characters and recognition of 100 additional characters
  • Reinforce Mandarin speaking 90% and listening skills in the classroom
  • Practice reading and writing continuously
  • Conduct situational dialogs related to transportation, neighborhood, giving/asking for directions and distances.
  • Read and comprehend simple authentic materials, e.g. simple menu, follow a simple direction related to transportation and routing, a simple letter from a friend about daily routine, etc.
  • Share daily routine at home and in school, household chores (e.g. taking care of pets) and favorite activities.
  • Different opinions about professions in different culture.

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • Why being independent is important in one's family?
  • What are some expectations of the table manner when dinning?
  • How do you improve other people's perception of your appearance and personality?
  • How do you deal with issues regarding your neighbors?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MSL 3 or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Mandarin as a Second Language 5 (MSL 5)
Full Year (Every Other Day
)

Overview: This course emphasizes on communication skills and builds the students’ ability to understand Chinese in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Primary text: Easy steps to Chinese 4 - 5

Students will:

  • Apply writing of approximately 450 characters including MSL 1 to 4 characters and recognition of 100 additional characters
  • Talk about their school life
  • Understand and interpret food culture
  • Make preparations before and after travelling
  • Describe sickness and write a sick note
  • Express personal opinions on pros and cons on an issue
  • Share things happened at home
  • Tell personal expectations

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • What makes your school life different? And what are you going to share with others?
  • How is Chinese food different from Western food?
  • How do I use Mandarin Chinese skills to travel and live in China?
  • How do I describe the sickness symptoms to a doctor?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MSL 4 or equivalent as determined by placement test. Availability is based on the minimum class size of 10 students.


Mandarin for Native to Near-Native Speaker 2 (MNN 2)
Full Year
(Every Other Day)

Overview: In this course, texts, materials and activities are used to explore topics relating to school life, ancient and modern characters, shopping experience, and Chinese food.

Primary text: MNN 2 texts binder with supplement materials and/or Kuai Le Xue Yu Wen (2B)

Students will:

  • Provide information related to school life, learning of China, Chinese New Year and Chinese food
  • Demonstrate ability in extracting key ideas and taking simple notes while listening and reading
  • Demonstrate ability of creating stories inspired by picture sequences
  • Understand the pictographic and ideographic development of Chinese characters and the tools associate with calligraphy
Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:
  • How many courses should I choose this year?
  • Why is so important of the four treasures to the Chinese culture?
  • How much do you know about the formation of characters?
  • What traditional customs do Chinese people have at the New Year?
  • What kinds of food and drink are healthy?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MNN 1 or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Mandarin for Native to Near-Native Speaker 3 (MNN 3)
Full Year
(Every Other Day)

Overview: In this course, texts, materials and activities are used to strengthen students listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

Primary text: MNN 3 texts binder with supplement materials and/or Kuai Le Xue Yu Wen (3A)

Students will:
  • Demonstrate ability to describe places visited
  • Comprehend a speaker's emotions and expressions related to abstract concepts, such as happiness, sadness, success, trouble, etc.
  • Experiment with various genre, e.g. diary, fable, poem, story, argument, etc.
Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:
  • How do you handle your emotions?
  • What strategies are used for story telling in Chinese?
  • What strategies are used for intensive and extensive reading?
  • What do you learn from a country's national flag and anthem?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MNN 2 or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Mandarin for Native to Near-Native Speaker 4 (MNN 4)
Full Year
(Every Other Day)

Overview: In this course, students will explore topics related to seasons, the Tang Dynasty's poems, Chinese idioms, life science and Hong Kong.

Primary text: Kuai Le Xue Yu Wen (3B)

Students will:

  • Demonstrating solid understanding of concepts/skills
  • Asking questions to clarify a task or goal
  • Identifying and summarizing the problem/question
  • Keeping an open mind, perceiving and examining things differently and from different points of view

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • What is the difference between the poetry and the descriptive prose?
  • What do Chinese idioms tell us about Chinese culture?
  • How to be brave and courageous when encountering predicament?
  • How can you contribute to make Hong Kong better?

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MNN 3 or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Mandarin for Native to Near-Native Speaker 5 (MNN 5)
Full Year
(Every Other Day)

Overview: In this course, students will explore topics relating to reading strategies, caring animal, solution in challenging situations, care and love among people, fairy tales of Andersen, detective stories and Chinese myths.

Primary text: Kuai Le Xue Yu Wen (4A)

Students will:
  • Be able to apply new vocabulary in speaking and writing
  • Learn narrative, diary and letter writing
  • Develop reading skills through analyzing and summarizing text
  • Develop speaking skills through discussion and presentation
Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:
  • How do you improve your reading skills?
  • How do you deal with hard situation?
  • Why do you need to care for a person?
Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of MNN 4 or equivalent as determined by placement test. Availability is based on the minimum class size of 10 students.

Modern Languages - French/Spanish

French A not offered

French Intermediate
Full year (
Every Other Day)

Overview: Students in this level further develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in French. Students continue learning basic comprehension and communication skills in French through conversational situations. They study and use a range of grammatical structures and tenses to write about and discuss a variety of themes ranging from vacations to healthy lifestyles, culture and friendship. French is used as much as possible in class.

Students will:

  • Be in a learning environment where French is used increasingly as the language of instruction and communication
  • Review and continue learning vocabulary for introducing themselves, describing family and friends, home and school
  • Learn to recognize and express likes, dislikes and talk about hobbies, sports and music
  • Learn vocabulary and structures to be able to talk about their own personal interests
  • Continue learning vocabulary and structures to be able to discuss various topics such as their home, clothing, shopping, food and the city
  • Approach the future tense to plan for coming weekends and holidays
  • Introducing one past tense to narrate a past event
  • Begin to understand their native tongue at a deeper level through studying a foreign language
  • Continue observation of the diversity of the French-speaking world

Prerequisites/notes: This is an intermediate class that requires a minimum of one or two years of exposure to French. Successful completion of French A and or French B or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Spanish A
Full year (
Every Other Day)

Overview: In this introductory course, students learn basic comprehension and communication skills in Spanish through conversational situations. We pay attention to the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.


Students will:

  • Acquire vocabulary for greetings, introducing themselves, describing their family and friends, home and school and talking about the days of the week, dates, seasons and weather.
  • Learn to recognize and express likes, dislikes and talk about hobbies, sports, music and school activities. Talk about their personal interests.
  • Learn vocabulary and structures to be able to approach topics such as clothing, shopping and food.
  • Describe their home and school routine using present tense.
  • Begin to understand their native tongue at a deeper level through studying a foreign language.
  • Be introduced to the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world.

Prerequisites/notes: This is a beginner’s class that does not require any prior exposure to Spanish.


Spanish B
Full year (
Every Other Day)

Overview: Students in this level further develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in Spanish. Students continue learning basic comprehension and communication skills in Spanish through conversational situations. They study and apply grammatical structures in both written and spoken forms and acquire a wider vocabulary base that extends to various themes. Spanish is used as much as possible in class.


Students will:

  • Be in a learning environment where Spanish is used increasingly as the language of instruction and communication
  • Review and continue learning vocabulary for introducing themselves, describing family and friends, home and school
  • Learn to recognize and express likes, dislikes and talk about hobbies, sports, music and school activities. Talk about their personal interests
  • Learn vocabulary and structures to be able to discuss topics such as clothing, shopping and food
  • Begin to understand their native tongue at a deeper level through studying a foreign language.
  • Be introduced to the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world

Prerequisites/notes: This is an intermediate class that requires a minimum of one year of exposure to Spanish. Successful completion of Spanish A at HKIS or equivalent as determined by placement test.


Spanish C
Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Students broaden their knowledge of the language itself and use a range of grammatical structures and tenses to write about and discuss a variety of themes ranging from vacations to healthy lifestyles, culture and friendship. An emphasis on using Spanish in the classroom becomes a priority at this level.


Students will:

  • Continue focusing on their likes, dislikes and talk about hobbies, sports, music clothing and school activities. Talk about their personal interests
  • Continue learning vocabulary and structures to be able to discuss various topics such as their home and the city
  • Learn and use future tense to plan for coming weekends and holidays
  • Approach one past tense to narrate a past event
  • Continue observation of the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world

Prerequisites/notes: Successful completion of Spanish B or equivalent as determined by placement test.

Band

Symphonic Band
Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Throughout their time in Symphonic Band, students will further develop and expand their skills on a band instrument. This band ensemble is the higher-level band class that provides exciting, interesting and challenging music, and includes opportunities for students to perform for the school and community. Additionally, students may, through audition, participate in music festivals throughout Asia.

In particular, students will:

  • Enhance their joy of making music
  • Share in the experience of performing with their peers
  • Develop ensemble skills including the role and importance of their instrument within the total ensemble
  • Develop skills that will allow for solo performance
  • Develop skills that enhance performance in smaller ensembles
  • Learn about and use music software and technology
  • Develop and use organizational, teamwork and leadership skills
  • Perform for audiences on a regular basis
  • Develop efficient practice habits

Learning will be guided through the pursuit of these questions and statements:

  • What makes an outstanding musical ensemble?
  • What makes a rehearsal great?
  • What makes a performance outstanding?
  • How do students respond to interactions with a conductor?
  • How does individual preparation contribute to an ensemble?
  • Music notation has symbols and conventions that, when understood, provide us with unique methods of expression
  • Reading, performing, and composing music notation is like learning a new language that requires practice and persistence
  • Future musical learning and growth will be based upon those already founded concepts and principals
  • Good tone quality is created by correct technique
Prerequisites/notes: Proficiency on one’s instrument to the level equivalent to the successful completion of Concert/Intermediate Band, and/or permission of the conductor, and/or performance audition is included as prerequisites for enrollment in the course.

Concert / Intermediate Band
Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview - Students will further develop their skills on a band instrument whilst playing in an ensemble. Students will rehearse a wide variety of music from Classical through to Popular band repertoire and have opportunities to perform these for the school and wider community. Students may also audition to participate in music festivals throughout Asia.

Students will:

  • Enhance their joy of making music independently and with their peers
  • Develop ensemble skills and their understanding of their instruments role and the role of others in the ensemble
  • Develop solo skills on instrument
  • Learn to utilize specific music software/technology
  • Use technology as a fun practice tool and to record assignments at home
  • Develop organizational and team work skills
  • Perform as a band throughout the year at organized concerts
  • Develop efficient practice habits
Some sample questions students will explore during this course:
  • What makes a good band sound great?
  • Is there more to a song then the melody?
  • Is there more to making music then just playing the notes?
  • How do students respond to and interact with a conductor?
  • What makes a performance outstanding?
  • Does focused practice make playing in band more enjoyable?

Prerequisites/notes: Student must have an interest in music and enthusiasm to play a band instrument.

Some prior experience on their instrument is required.

Choir

Concert Choir
Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Concert Choir is appropriate for beginning and intermediate-level singers. Concert Choir is approximately 50% boys and 50% girls.

The class studies and performs a wide variety of music, including religious, modern, classical, and foreign-language pieces. Our goal is to learn while having fun!
Opportunities to perform in solos and small groups are available but optional. Concert Choir will perform at public concerts, MS gatherings, and public venues throughout the year.

Students will:

  • Develop vocal technique, especially pitch-matching, harmonization, and vocal technique
  • Learn to read and write musical notation
  • Produce high-quality, energetic performances for a variety of audiences, including concerts and assemblies
  • Be required to attend occasional after-school rehearsals and evening performances

Pre-requisites/notes: No prerequisites. All students will be challenged according to their level and prior experience.


Chamber Choir
Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Chamber Choir is appropriate for intermediate and advanced-level singers.

In Chamber Choir, students will continue to work on vocal technique and sight-singing. Members are expected to practice regularly and develop skills and knowledge about challenging choral music. Like Concert Choir, the repertoire will draw on a wide variety of works, including modern, classical, religious, and foreign-language pieces. The two groups will often sing together.

Opportunities to perform in solos and small groups are available but optional. Chamber Choir will perform at public concerts, MS gatherings, and public venues throughout the year.

Students will:

  • Develop vocal technique, especially pitch-matching, harmonization, and vocal technique
  • Learn to read and write musical notation
  • Produce high-quality, energetic performances for a variety of audiences, including concerts and assemblies
  • Be required to attend occasional after-school rehearsals and evening performances

Pre-requisites/notes: Students wishing to register for Chamber Choir must arrange an audition and interview with the MS Choral Director. Candidates should have at least one year of singing experience.


Boys Chamber Choir
Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Boys Chamber choir is appropriate for intermediate and advanced-level singers.

In Chamber Choir, students will continue to work on vocal technique and sight-singing. Members are expected to practice regularly and develop skills and knowledge about challenging choral music. Like Concert Choir, the repertoire will draw on a wide variety of works, including modern, classical, religious, and foreign-language pieces. The two groups will often sing together.

Opportunities to perform in solos and small groups are available but optional.
Chamber Choir will perform at public concerts, MS gatherings, and public venues throughout the year.

Students will:

  • Develop vocal technique, especially pitch-matching, harmonization, and vocal technique
  • Learn to read and write musical notation
  • Produce high-quality, energetic performances for a variety of audiences, including concerts and assemblies
  • Be required to attend occasional after-school rehearsals and evening performances
Pre-requisites/notes: Students wishing to register for Men’s Chamber Choir must arrange an audition and interview with the MS Choral Director. Candidates should have at least one year of singing experience.

Fine & Performing Arts Department Philosophy

The Hong Kong International School Middle School Fine & Performing Arts Department provides challenging and varied opportunities for students to explore, enhance, their skills and talents. A diverse, experienced, and enthusiastic faculty passionately delivers and facilitate instruction. Within our classrooms, students are encouraged to take risks and are provided a safe environment in which to learn. In our classrooms, students are actively involved in exploring and applying concepts. Our students are actively involved in project-based learning, while receiving regular feedback and guidance. The curriculum is structured to allow learners to build upon their learning, challenging them to aspire towards excellence. Assessment is provided through regular formative and summative feedback and interactions, with the culminating goal of featuring student work in public settings. Emphasis is placed on delivering a program that encourages life-long participation in appreciation, creation, performance, and enjoyment of the arts.

Beginning Ukulele/Guitar Course

Half year (Every Other Day)

Overview: This is an elective course offering entry level/beginning instruction for the Guitar. Students will learn open chords, moveable chords, accompaniment techniques and a variety of playing techniques and styles and will include a brief introduction to Ukulele. The course also includes music fundamentals, theory, songs listening, analysing and how to read standard music notation and tablature.

Students will:

  • Enhance their joy of making music independently and with their peers
  • Learn how to play chords, accompaniment and melodies on guitar
  • Learn to read music notation, chord frames and tablature
  • Develop an understanding of music fundamentals and theory
  • Learn to perform and create music
  • Develop the ability to analyse, describe and listen to music
  • Develop an understanding of music as it relates to history and culture

Prerequisites/notes: Students must have an interest in music and enthusiasm to play, no prior experience is required. There are a number of class instruments however it is desirable for students to have their own home guitar for practice.

Strings

Intermediate Strings
Full Year (Every Other Day)

Overview: The strings program offers a wonderful opportunity for violin, viola, cello or bass players to enrich their playing skills and be a part of an orchestra. We play a wide variety of music, ranging from the classical concertos of Bach to the jazzy tunes of Gershwin. The enjoyable and fulfilling strings program is an experience not to be missed! This course is designed to meet the need of developing first and second year strings students.

Students will:

  • Enrich the joy of making music
  • Develop ensemble skills and understanding of their instrument role in an ensemble setting
  • Focus on skills specific to their level while being introduced to Easy intermediate’s repertoire
  • Create music through technology and music software
  • Develop team-building and personal organizational skills
  • Develop efficient home practice habit
  • Get the chance to perform at school assemblies and public concerts during the school year
  • Be required to attend occasional after-school rehearsals and evening performance

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do we produce a good sound?
  • What is the different between solo playing and ensemble playing?
  • How do player communicate with their conductor?
  • What is effective practice?
  • What is a good ensemble playing?
  • What is an outstanding performance?

Pre-requisites/notes: Student who is interested in music and to play a string instrument. Some prior experience on an their instrument is required.


Advanced Strings
Full Year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Joining the strings orchestra program is an exciting musical opportunity for all students. With our four instruments: the violin, viola, cello, and bass, we play a wide variety of music, ranging from the classical concertos of Bach to the jazzy tunes of Gershwin. Students will further expand their playing skills on a string instrument. We also do a lot of performances, competition and oversea music festival outside school. The enjoyable and fulfilling strings program is an experience not to be missed!

Students will:

  • Enrich the joy of making music
  • Share music talent with peers through playing
  • Strength ensemble skills including understand the importance of own role in an ensemble setting
  • Increase their technical abilities while reinforcing correct playing techniques and exploring musical styles, composers, and periods
  • Develop music appreciation skill
  • Create music through technology and music software
  • Develop team-building and personal organizational skills
  • Develop efficient home practice habit
  • Perform at school assemblies and public concerts/competition as an ensemble during the school years
  • Be required to attend occasional after-school rehearsals and evening performances

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • What is a good ensemble?
  • How do player communicate with each other and with their conductor?
  • What is my role in the ensemble? What do I have to do in order to contribute to a successful rehearsal?
  • What is efficient practice?
  • How do I improve my playing techniques & sound quality?
  • What is an outstanding performance?
Pre-requisites/notes: Successful completion of Intermediate Strings, Grade 6 Advance Level and/or with teachers’ recommendation or equivalent.

Art

Art and Design
Half year (1 Semester)

Overview: Students will explore the role of two-dimensional art and design in communication and creative expression and its relevance throughout history to our present times. These explorations will take place through a variety of media including drawing, painting, photography, and printmaking with a focus on graffiti art. Each student will document their work and showcase final pieces through an online art portfolio representing their artistic development and unique perspectives in art.

Students will:

  • Create a variety of 2D art while developing technical skill and understanding of specific processes relating to drawing, painting, photography, and printmaking (graffiti)
  • Create artworks with confidence by initiating and developing ideas for independent and group work
  • Study the historical and cultural significance of art and its relevance today
  • Create their own online art portfolios to share their work with a larger audience and to reflect on their artistic development

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How can I use art to communicate my ideas and experiences?
  • What drawing and painting techniques can I use to represent the world around me and to develop my own style of expression?
  • How can I express my feelings and emotions through a portrait?
  • What impact does graffiti art have on our culture?
  • What stories can I share through photography?

Sculpture
Half year (1 Semester)

Overview: Students will engage in hands-on activities and projects that focus on creating sculptures and understanding our relationship to three-dimensional forms. These creative investigations will take place through the use of a variety of materials including paper, plaster, clay, wood, and wire. Students will participate in class critiques and understand the relationship between form and function in sculpture. Projects will be documented and presented through online art portfolios that are designed and maintained by students.

Students will:

  • Create a variety of sculptures while focusing on specific techniques and processes related to paper, plaster, clay, wood, and wire
  • Develop self-confidence and team-building skills through independent and group work
  • Study the role of 3D art forms in history, culture, and in disciplines such as industrial design
  • Create their own online art portfolios to share their work with a larger audience and to reflect on their artistic development

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How does sculpture affect the way I interact with my environment?
  • How can art be functional?
  • How is non-functional art relevant?
  • How can common materials be recycled to explore new ways of making art?
  • How can I use sculpture to represent the human figure, both literally and symbolically?

Drama

Drama 7/8
Half year (1 Semester)

Overview: Drama 7/8 will take a more focused, hands-on look at acting and theatrical performance, building on the foundations explored in Drama 6.

Students will:

  • Work with voice and body acting techniques
  • Explore a range of improvisational theatre skills
  • Demonstrate developing performance skills
  • Analyze script and character
  • Gain knowledge and practical experience of theatre production elements

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do I tap into my creative energy and why should I?
  • What are some "tricks of the trade" in acting?

Prerequisites/notes:

  • This course can be taken in both grades 7 and 8, as the units of this course are modified each year.
  • The fulfillment of one assignment may include after-school time for rehearsal.

Theatre Craft
Half year (1 Semester)

Overview: This course will bring students through the various non-performance components of the world of theatre, from a theoretical and practical point of view.

Students will:

  • Learn about the various off-stage roles in theatre
  • Explore areas of scenic, costume and make-up design for theatre
  • Analyze script from a technical perspective
  • Work with lighting and sound in a live performance context

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • How do sets and costumes go from "design" to 'reality"?
  • How do make-up artists create strange and interesting creatures?
  • What are some "tricks of the trade" in sound and lighting?
  • How do I use my own skills and creativity in the context of a director's vision?

Prerequisites/notes:

  • This course can be taken in both grades 7 and 8, as the units of this course are modified each year.
  • The fulfillment of one assignment includes after-school time for rehearsal and technical performance.
  • Students will participate in hands-on activities that require some after-school time in connection with the Play or Musical.

Musical Theatre
Half year (1 Semester)

Overview: Enter the world of theatre via triple threat--acting, singing and dancing, as students prepare to perform in the Middle School musical.

Students will:

  • Develop basic acting skills.
  • Improve stage singing.
  • Practice dance moves and blocking (stage movement) set to a musical piece.
  • Create original choreography and blocking for a musical scene.
  • Learn different types of musical pieces and perform rehearsed samples.
  • Demonstrate discipline and ability to achieve ensemble in putting a production together.

Some sample questions the students will explore during this course:

  • What makes musical theatre so enjoyably unique?
  • How do I bring out the performer in me?
  • How does an individual contribute to a successful theatre performance?

Prerequisites/notes:

  • This course can be taken in both grades 7 and 8, as the units of this course are modified each year.
  • The production in May is an integral part of the class, and participation includes some extra-curricular rehearsals and evening performances.

Technology

The MS Technology electives offer a variety of programs that aim to introduce and enhance real world required creative, innovative and technological knowledge and skills.

Creative Computing & Coding
Half year (1 semester)


Overview: This is a student-centered course in which any student can learn to program through personally meaningful projects. All students will be empowered through challenges and projects where they choose to become artists, musicians, scientists, mathematicians, storytellers and more. Creative Computing is designed to develop creative minds, collaborative attitudes and personal resiliency naturally through a “hard fun” approach to learning. The course draws on both graphical and text-based programming environments to introduce students to the computer science principles of abstraction, programming, data, algorithms, and recursion.


The Art of Media
Half year (1 semester)

The development of contemporary media skills and self-motivation to generate creative content is the aim of the course. Students will explore and practice advanced media and digital literacy by making several movies. Students will gain hands-on experience with both still and moving visual media, audio media, lighting, special effects as well as design thinking, project management, collaboration, and publishing.


Playful Invention & Robotics
Half year (1 semester)

Overview: This course, designed for all students, is an introduction to the joy of tinkering, invention and robotics. The course aims to further student’s development from primarily users of technology to creators of technology. Students will use creative construction kits designed for learning fundamental principles associated with physical computing and robotics. Learners will mix imagination, design, construction, and programming in a collaborative immersive maker environment. During this project-based course learners will create whimsical bots, wearable electronics, connected devices and more that ignite and develop curiosity, creativity and collaboration.

Culinary Arts

Culinary Arts/Baking
Half year (1st Semester - Baking)


Overview: In Culinary Arts 1, students will embark upon a baking adventure where they discover how to bake a selection of cakes, pastries, breads and cookies. Students will be introduced to a variety of skills and theories in order to understand what goes on inside their batter or dough.
We will discuss the science of baking. This discussion includes the importance of air and fats in the baking process and how they both are incorporated. Students will learn how to manage their time, interpret recipes, and use appropriate measuring techniques and equipment as they explore and perfect their culinary talents. Students will be responsible for creating a safe and hygienic work space as well as learning to cooperate with their peers in their kitchens. By the end of the course, students will have a foundation that will enable them to tackle any challenges in baking.

Students will:

  • Understand the importance of food safety and hygiene in the kitchen
  • Acquire a repertoire of recipes they are confident to create
  • Learn various food prep and cooking techniques
  • Discover that food preparation can be taken to artistic perspectives
  • Develop self-confidence and self-sufficiency in regards to food preparation, production and presentation
  • Develop communication and team-building skills through practical classes

Some sample questions students will explore during this course:

  • How do rising agents work?
  • How does gluten development affect the outcome of the end product?
  • What equipment is required to perform certain tasks?

Prerequisites/notes: This course can be taken in both grade 7 and 8 and does not require any prior experience in the kitchen. All participants should show an interest towards cooking and an openness to try new foods.


Culinary Arts/Cuisine
Half year (2nd Semester - Cuisine)

Overview: In Culinary Arts 2 students will focus on cuisines. Students will produce a variety of dishes with a focus on nutrition, the 5 mother sauces, food preservation and cultural cuisines from around the world. Students will be given ample opportunity to develop and perfect their knife skills and learn a variety of tips on food prep. They will learn how to manage their time, interpret, recipes, and use appropriate techniques and equipment as they explore and perfect their culinary talent. Students will be responsible for creating a safe and hygienic work space as well as learning to cooperate with their peers in their kitchens. By the end of the course, students will have a foundation that will enable them to tackle any challenges in cooking.

Students will:

  • Understand the importance of food safety and hygiene in the kitchen
  • Study nutrition and its importance in their own lives
  • Explore recipes from countries around the world and participate in multicultural food discussions
  • Learn various food prep and cooking techniques
  • Discover that food preparation can be taken to artistic perspectives
  • Acquire a repertoire of recipes they are confident to create
  • Develop self-confidence and self-sufficiency in regards to food preparation, production and presentation
  • Develop communication and team-building skills through practical classes

Some sample questions students will explore during this course:

  • Does the food you consume make a difference to your current and future health?
  • Can I rely on my senses and experiences in working with ingredients to prepare food more independently and become less reliant on recipes?
  • Why is it important to continually test my food during the cooking process?
  • How do cultures come together over food?

Prerequisites/notes: This course can be taken in both grade 7 and 8 and does not require any prior experience in the kitchen. All participants should show an interest towards cooking and an openness to try new foods.

Students will:

  • Understand the importance of food safety and hygiene in the kitchen
  • Study nutrition and its importance in their own lives
  • Explore recipes from countries around the world and participate in multicultural food discussions
  • Learn various food prep and cooking techniques
  • Discover that food preparation can be taken to artistic perspectives
  • Acquire a repertoire of recipes they are confident to create
  • Develop self-confidence and self-sufficiency in regards to food preparation, production and presentation
  • Develop communication and team-building skills through practical classes

Some sample questions students will explore during this course:

  • Does the food you consume make a difference to your current and future health?
  • Can I rely on my senses and experiences in working with ingredients to prepare food more independently and become less reliant on recipes?
  • Why is it important to continually test my food during the cooking process?
  • How do cultures come together over food?

Prerequisites/notes: This course can be taken in both grade 7 and 8 and does not require any prior experience in the kitchen. All participants should show an interest towards cooking and an openness to try new foods.

Skills

Creative Writing
Half year (1 Semester)

Overview: Creative Writing students write several short pieces and poems during the semester. Students confer with the teacher individually to improve their writing. They also participate in writing workshops and focus on attending to peer feedback while improving their own editing skills. Throughout the semester, students examine examples of selected literary models to imitate effective writing techniques. Students submit work for consideration for publication to the Middle School literary magazine.


 

Creative Writing II
Half year (1 Semester)

Overview: Wild for words? This semester course is for students who want to continue to discover their artistic voice in the written world. Poetry, song lyrics, visual communication, descriptive writing, short stories, introspective musings, digital and editorial styles will be explored. Space will also be created for individuals to pursue their own author interests. Development of ideas and techniques will occur through the artistic process and community support and feedback. Various creative prompts and activities will help build writing skills, critical thinking and expression.

Prerequisite: Creative Writing I


 

Public Speaking
Half year (1 Semester)

Overview: The Public Speaking elective class provides students with opportunities to develop public speaking skills in safe, collaborative environment. Students will explore types of public speaking such as impromptu speeches, oral presentations, interviews, and storytelling. Students will practice speaking and listening strategies to build their confidence as public speakers.

Learning Strategies

Full year (Every Other Day)

Overview: Learning strategies is designed for students with a documented special learning need and provides ongoing support in any of the following areas: reading, writing, math, work completion, organization of materials, efficient use of time, planning for project work, and self-advocacy.

Building upon learning strategies covered in grades 6-7 and in preparation for a successful transition to high school, students will work towards proficiency in:

• Understanding and articulating individual learning needs leading to self-advocacy

• Identifying and applying preferred learning styles

• Test taking skills

• Understanding test anxiety

• Using an organizational system that keeps materials easily accessible

• Using an effective method to record and track assignments and tests


Additionally, time is allocated to reinforce understanding of grade-level curriculum.

Some sample questions students will explore during this course:

• What kind of learner am I?

• Which strategies help me learn?

• How do I know if I am learning?

Prerequisites/notes: Students are placed in this class through consultation with the learning

Specialist, counselor, parents and teachers in conjunction with a Student Review Team (SRT) meeting.

Dragon News and Radio (DNR)

Dragon News and Radio (DNR)
Half year (1 semester)


Overview: The DNR elective provides students the opportunity to share authentic Middle School news and events through multimedia formats for a peer audience. Often creative brilliance may go unnoticed. With this course, students will have the time to capture, share, and celebrate all the fantastic learning happening in the Middle School. Students will be introduced to journalism. They will create and publish story content and develop digital literacy through working with multiple medias.