Middle School (Age 11 - 14)
Age 11-12 | Grades 6
Age 12 -1 13 | Grade 7
Age 13 -14 | Grade 8
Middle School is a turning point in a young person’s life. It is a point of transition from Elementary to High School, from childhood to adolescence. In educational terms it marks a time when the core curriculum is no longer delivered by a classroom or homeroom teacher but by a team of subject specialists.
Middle school students develop leadership skills and assume increasing responsibility. They serve as an example to fellow students and fulfil their potential as engaged members of the community.
A typical day begins with 'advisory' - sometimes called form tutor class in other countries. Students meet as a class with their advisor for the purpose of advising them on academic, social and future planning issues. Built in to our advisory session is a time for prayer and reflection. Advisory is designed to foster stronger teacher-student relationships and a stronger sense of community and belonging in students.
The rest of the day is broken down by academic discipline consisting of the Core Subjects of English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies, as well as Specialist Subjects such as French, Physical Education, Health, and Religion. In addition to these core classes, Middle School Students are given the opportunity to choose within a limited range of exploratory classes. In recent times courses such as Mandarin, Spanish, Latin, Robotics, Forensic Science, Model United Nations, Math Competition, and many more have been offered to our students.
Running alongside these subject areas is technology integration and the Marymount FabLab and STEAM education, which involves a full time technology specialist working alongside students and teachers to ensure the best practices of 21st century learning.
Core Subjects Overviews
In our Literacy program, at Marymount International School Paris, we aim to develop a commitment to joyous, purposeful, lifelong literacy in our students. We inspire our students to be literate leaders, and our staff leads by example. Marymount students are avid and skilled readers, writers, and inquirers. At Marymount, we are committed to teaching the ‘whole’ child and our mission is that ‘All May Have Life.’ In this spirit, our curriculum aims to teach the writer rather than simply the writing itself. We place more value on student growth than we do a finished piece of work, valuing the process over the product.For a transient community like ours at Marymount, having a clear and consistent structure that is used widely internationally helps children to learn successfully. Literacy instruction at Marymount is based on the Columbia University Teachers College Reading and Writing Workshop model in Grades 1 through 6. In Grades 7 and 8, while the students continue to develop their independent reading, more emphasis is placed on whole-class ‘mentor’ texts. Our curriculum is aligned to the AERO (American Education Reaches Out) standards, which align to the Common Core Standards that the workshop model has espoused.
Mathematics is regularly confused with arithmetic – pure computation, when in reality mathematics is a way of thinking about the world in which we live. This fits in perfectly with our Guiding Statement here at Marymount International School, Paris, where the children are taught to Think Creatively, Reason Critically, Communicate Effectively and Learn Continuously.
Marymount International School, Paris uses The AERO standards for mathematics, these standards are aligned to the Common Core State Standards. However, our curriculum is distinguished not merely by an adherence to its set of standards; but by standards that demand a theory of teaching math that is proven to be effective. That theory posits that mathematical knowledge is conveyed most effectively when it is taught in a sequence that follows the “story” of mathematics itself. The sequencing has been joined with methods of instruction that have been proven to work, through enquiry-based learning. These methods drive student understanding beyond process, to deep mastery of mathematical concepts.
In our Math program we aim to make Math a fun experience for children, taught through a hands-on approach. Too often children are given answers to remember, rather than problems to solve. At Marymount students are given opportunities to think, solve, and then model their answers, using numbers words images. As they progress in their education at Marymount, these images become bar models, diagrams, graphs, tape diagrams, or double line graphs.
However, in addition to the traditional way of learning math, students are being taught another approach to help them understand how and why math problems work—called "number sense." This innovative way shows students that numbers are just flexible things made up of other numbers and makes solving math problems that much easier.
Take a look at our Curriculum Maps on ATLAS Rubicon to learn more about MS Mathematics.
In our Science program, Marymount students benefit from a three-dimensional approach based on the Next Generation Science Standards NGSS. Students will study topics on Earth, Life and Physical Science, but most importantly they will develop their scientific enquiry skills by continuously practicing the following points:
- Planning and conducting investigations
- Creating and using models
- Gather and organizing data
- Comparing and contrasting
- Measuring and observing
- Making predictions
- Using a range of science apparatus
Within the Next Generation Science Standards there are three distinct and equally important dimensions. These dimensions are combined to form each standard and each dimension works with the other two to help students build a cohesive understanding of science over time. In brief, these three dimensions are core ideas, crosscutting concepts and science/engineering practices.
In addition to our science laboratory facilities, students also have access to the Marymount FabLab on a regular basis.
Take a look at our Curriculum Maps on ATLAS Rubicon to learn more about MS Science.
Marymount Social Studies students are taught to be positive global citizens and 21st century learners who strive to be compassionate, and curious, who engage in:
- critical thinking,
- taking an active interest in current affairs,
- examining primary and secondary sources,
- carrying out independent, guided research
- examining the past to explain current global issues
- using technology to enhance oral and written presentations
- exploiting the wealth of opportunities for exciting field trips in the Paris region and other regions of France
- service learning opportunities
The social studies program is aligned with the AERO standards and with the school’s guiding statements, and each grade follows a recommended broad, grade-level topic. Middle School Social Studies aims to endow students with a deep understanding of the historical conflicts, people and social movements around the world that have defined the struggle for human rights and have propelled society closer to the ideal form of government for its people.
As with all areas of our curriculum, no individual program is taught in isolation, this is particularly true of Social Studies. In alignment with our FALCONS goal of being ‘a lifelong learner’, students engage in a variety of cross-curricular projects that allow them to apply Social Studies content in: Literacy, Art, Math, Religion, and Science.
Whether preparing for a formal debate or critically examining an issue during research projects, the emphasis in Social Studies is on being an objective learner; students are assessed not simply for understanding an issue, but by being able to examine it from multiple perspectives. This, in turn, helps guide our young students to have greater empathy and compassion for others on a micro and macro-level of society. We believe in examining issues critically and underline the importance of formulating arguments and opinions based upon substantive evidence and facts.
Take a look at our Curriculum Maps on ATLAS Rubicon to learn more about MS Social Studies.
The Middle School utilizes an Assessment Policy that focuses primarily on Formative Assessment, a mode of assessment that allows teachers to guide students towards deeper understandings through offering oral feedback, comments on students’ work and peer and self-review. Formative assessment is recognized as the most effective method of raising students’ attainment levels and does not have to involve the grading of students work. During the course of a semester students will complete Summative assessments in each subject area. These will be the marks that go towards their end of semester grades. The nature of the Summative assessment is at the discretion of the subject teachers but will consist of at least one examination that may be complemented by a research project, extended piece of work or a similar project. As well as these subject assessment all students will also complete one long-term multi disciplinary project focused on real world application and one examination that draws upon knowledge, skills and concepts from a breadth of subject areas.
Grade 8 students are given the opportunity to participate in the RSHM Heritage Award Program over the course of one academic school year. This enriching learning experience was developed by a committee of faculty members and endeavors to enable students to grow in their individual sense of agency, recognizing their own ability to become discerning members to the RSHM global learning community.
Student participants are required to complete a project related to each of the Goals & Criteria of the RSHM Network of Schools, and then conduct personal reflections. At the end of the year, the students present a portfolio of their activities to representatives from the Administration and faculty. Each student participant that successfully completes the program is awarded the RSHM Heritage Award - a special recognition for our Grade 8 graduates.