Middle school math learning at ISY assumes a balanced approach where students gain a deeper understanding of math concepts by learning a concise set of topics at each grade level. Students master content through reasoning and discourse, engaging activities, stimulating exercises, and a continual building on what has been previously learned. Grade 6 math classes utilize the Singapore Math/Math in Focus program (completing the Singapore math sequence began in the elementary school), and the Big Ideas Math program is utilized in Grades 7 and 8. These core resources balance conceptual understanding with procedural fluency, as students benefit from equal exposure to discovery learning and direct instruction.
In Grade 6, students participate in Mathematics 6—a foundational course that prepares students for Pre-Algebra and Algebra in Grades 7 and 8 respectively. Students are pre-assessed at the beginning of the school year in order to provide them with individualized instruction and learning in mathematics.
English Language Arts
The middle school English Language Arts program is anchored in engaging students in reading thought-provoking, high quality, high interest texts to support them to become critical readers. To that end, they apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. Texts read are drawn from a wide range and variety of classic and contemporary literature, nonfiction, and media ‘texts’ that challenge students to grow as readers and thinkers.
Students in the middle school write for a variety of purposes (to explain, to persuade, to convey experiences—real or imagined) and are provided ample opportunities for speaking and writing about texts. Building students’ vocabulary is also an important instructional goal in the middle school language arts program to help support ongoing comprehension development.
Students further learn and apply knowledge of language, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.
Core resources used in the middle school language arts program include Collections, Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study in writing, and engaging literature, poetry, and informational texts.
To view our English Language Arts vision and aims statement, follow this link.
Middle school science takes an integrated approach where students, in each year of middle school, learn within the realm of each of the sciences: Life, Physical, and Earth and Space. They explore and apply a sequence of science content, processes and skills using hands-on materials and investigations. Content and skills are guided by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which “reflect the interconnected nature of science as it is practiced and experienced in the real world,” and are supported by a set of Science and Engineering Practices. The Science and Engineering practices are assessed alongside science content so students can use their understanding to investigate the natural world through the practices of science inquiry or solve meaningful problems through the practices of engineering design. Writing and research skills specific to science are also emphasized in the middle school science program.
Core resources and materials utilized in the middle school science program include the Full Option Science System (FOSS) developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University at California, Berkeley and Pearson’s Interactive Science.
To view the science topics across the middle school, click here.
 Conceptual Shifts in the Next Generation Science Standards." The Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States. Washington DC: National Academies, 2013. Print.
Social Studies in the middle school provides content knowledge grounded by conceptual big ideas that capture broad understandings about the past which students apply to understanding the events of today. Reflective inquiry, problem solving, and critical thinking are cornerstones of social studies instruction where learning is built upon the AERO (American Education Reaches Out) concept-based social studies standards developed for international schools. There are eight big ideas for learning as echoed in the AERO standards: time, continuity, and change; connections and conflict; geography; culture; society and identity; government; production, distribution, and consumption; and science technology, and society.
Along with primary resources and other relevant texts, a core instructional resource used in the middle school social studies program is History Alive!, an interactive resource that aims to make social studies topics and concepts relevant and engaging for students.
Grade 6 students study Ancient Civilizations (Early Humans and the Rise of Civilization; Mesopotamia, India, Greece, Rome, Islam, and Judaism).
Grade 7 students study the Medieval World and Beyond (Europe, China and Japan during Medieval Times; The Culture and Kingdoms of West Africa; Civilizations of the Americas; and Europe’s Renaissance and Reformation).
Grade 8, students learn about The United States Through Modern Times (Indigenous groups of America; expansion; slavery; the Civil Rights movement; the structure and function of the U.S. government; racism; immigration; American foreign policy; and America on a global scale).
To view our schoolwide social studies vision and aims, follow this link.
Providing a well rounded, balanced education for all students, the middle school offers the following specialist programs: World Languages, Music, Physical Education, Computer Technology, Visual Arts, Drama, and Health and Wellness.
The middle school offers instruction in French or Mandarin designed for students learning an additional language who do not have native fluency in the language. Instructional emphasis is on speaking, listening, reading, and writing and learning about the culture of the target language via these skills. ISY believes that learning an additional language is integral to the development of internationally minded students who are confident, reflective, and multi-lingual communicators. Language development in more than one language advances cognitive growth, cultivates lifelong learning, and promotes cross-cultural communication.
Materials used in instruction include French or Mandarin leveled textbooks and workbooks, games, realia and visuals, video, audio, and texts/novels in the target language. Students engage in a variety of activities to foster language acquisition including role-playing, singing, and authentic, real-world projects.
Click here to view the middle school world language courses.
The purpose of music education at ISY is to provide an avenue for creative expression, to nurture aesthetic awareness, to foster a lifelong appreciation and enjoyment of music, and to develop the important life skills that come with the discipline and practice involved in improving and gaining musical aptitude.
In the Middle School, students learn to play an instrument and perform in a large ensemble, and courses are divided into three proficiency levels: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced. Each proficiency level requires consistent practice, an inquiring mind, and a willingness to take personal responsibility within the group. Musical reflection is also an important component of the middle school music program, as music education encourages higher level thinking, and students make and defend their musical judgments. Throughout the school year, students are exposed to different genres of music, as well as music of varying degrees of difficulty.
To view the ISY Music Program Vision and Aims, click here.
Physical Education (PE)
The middle school physical education program seeks to develop a positive attitude among students regarding fitness, health, teamwork and the understanding of the importance of physical well-being. In order to achieve these general objectives, a diversified instructional program is offered to include a variety of team and individual activities so that all students at ISY have access to the core PE curriculum.
In Grade 6, students are provided with opportunities to improve their physical fitness levels as well as to understand more advanced concepts transitioning from elementary school. Collaboration is an important social skill for this age group, including cooperation with opponents in game settings. In Grade 7, students refine skills learned in Grade 6 and demonstrate more complex movement patterns and strategies, as well as greater knowledge of fitness. And in Grade 8, students apply their increased knowledge of skilled performance to improve their own movement skills. Students also learn to recognize and employ principles of effective team participation and to lead and follow by sharing leadership positions.
You may view the ISY Physical Education Program Vision and Aims here.
Computer Technology in the middle school is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in the technologies and programs used at ISY. Along with these foundations, an emphasis is placed on safe practices in technology and being a responsible digital citizen. In addition to digital citizenship, middle school technology courses include information communication technology (ICT) and computer science. The overall aim of technology use at ISY is for students to explore, evaluate, and use technology to accomplish tasks, solve problems, express creativity, and apply legal and ethical standards.
To view the computer technology vision and aims statement, click here.
Middle school visual art courses meet for one trimester and focus on exploring two- and three- dimensional art. Students apply artistic skills based on design principles and the media of drawing, painting, and ceramics. The creation of art provides the context for students to critically analyze art and reflect upon their own artwork as a form of self-expression. Students also learn how history and culture have influenced art by comparing and contrasting artworks from different cultures and historical periods.
Drama courses in the middle school aim to nurture students' personal development—emotionally, physically, intellectually, imaginatively, aesthetically, and socially.
Through investigation and collaboration, students discover and invent creative performances that broaden an individual’s perspective of the world. Acquiring skills to manipulate dramatic elements, students engineer and enact imagined situations to better reflect on social issues, world concepts and all facets of the human condition.
Drama courses are one trimester in length.
To view the drama and theatre vision and aims, click here.
Health and Wellness
Health and Wellness courses in the middle school aim to equip students with the knowledge and skills that promote healthy bodies and minds. From learning the basics of first aid to developing personal health and fitness plans to role-playing the impacts of personal choices and decisions on peer relationships, students develop a foundation for life long healthy practices.
The components of the trimester long Health and Wellness courses include: stages of growth and development; the relationship of nutrition and food nutrients to body composition and physical performance; communicable disease prevention; living safely and reducing health risks; the impact of social skills on health; and personal health and fitness information.
The Middle School at ISY provides a caring and nurturing environment where students feel safe to learn, grow, develop friendships, and take on new challenges. Programs specific to the middle school that foster this environment include counseling, advisory, and courses that aim to support students in transition. The Middle School is also committed to supporting the individual needs of students in an academic environment. For information about inclusionary practices, procedures, and communication at ISY, please view our Inclusion Policy.
As students encounter new experiences and discoveries characteristic of middle school, the counseling team in the middle school works with students to successfully navigate these transitional years. To that end, the middle school counselors provide individual social-emotional and academic counseling support and whole-class life skills and character development lessons. The aims of the middle school counseling program are to help create a positive school climate in which students can effectively learn, to assure a coordinated team effort to address the needs of all students, and to ensure student access to school and community resources.
Middle school counselors use guidance curriculum and individual counseling to help students develop:
- Skills in communicating, cooperating and resolving conflict
- The ability to engage in behaviors that develop strong academic skills and foster good mental health
- Skills in planning and decision-making, resulting in higher self-efficacy and a sense of personal responsibility
- The ability to self-monitor behaviors
- Positive attitudes towards self
- An awareness and appreciation of the diversity that is around them
You may contact the middle school counselors via phone, email or by dropping-in to see them.
To view the ISY Counseling Philosophy and Beliefs, click here.
Middle School Advisory
Each week, ISY Middle School students participate in a 30-minute advisory lesson. The advisory program addresses academic and social/emotional challenges that students may face. Each grade level is separated into smaller class sizes and appointed an advisory teacher. Advisory teachers facilitate lessons, gain deeper knowledge of each student in their classes and provide additional support emotional/social/academic support when needed. Furthermore, the advisory time period can also be used as a platform for the student council to hold a general assembly to address the Middle School student body on upcoming events or to provide a time to share our celebrations and successes. Additionally, the advisory program provides opportunities for school house meetings, competitions and other middle school activities as needed.
Middle School House System
The house system encourages a welcoming "family" environment boosting social interaction between years and between staff and students. It further develops the community spirit of the school, whereby ‘houses’ help to ensure that our school is a good place to be. The children are grouped vertically, providing opportunities to get to know children of different ages and class within the school. There are five Houses: Durians, Pomelos, Rambutans, Mangoes and Bananas. Middle School staff are also allocated to a House.
Expected Outcomes of the House System
- To develop increased positive communication between the grade level groups
- To develop an increased feeling of belonging to a community of learners
- To acknowledge peers as an essential element to student life
- To foster a welcoming ‘family’ environment in smaller group sizes
- To encourage social interaction between years and between staff/students
- To facilitate student communication among peers and faculty
Intensive Studies and English as an Additional Language (EAL)
The Middle School offers and Intensive Studies course that provides specialized instructional support to ensure that students develop the skills which allow them to have full access to a rich curriculum across disciplines. Intensive Studies supports students in the transition years between elementary school and high school, where students move from a single core teacher to increasing personal responsibility for learning. This course includes students who are identified as benefiting from English as an Additional Language (EAL) support or additional academic support. Students attend this class during elective or World Languages B (French/Mandarin) time.
The purpose of grades at ISY is to communicate student achievement of standards (learning outcomes) and the ISY Expected Schoolwide Learner Results to students, parents, school administrators, and other institutions.
The primary purpose for reporting grades is to communicate student achievement and behaviors that support learning. Middle school report cards document student performance at the end of each quarter and provide information regarding strengths and areas to improve. The intent of report cards at ISY is to provide a common understanding of a child’s progress and to facilitate growth.
Welcome to The International School Yangon where our Middle School embraces the shifting emotional, social, and academic needs of adolescents. Our rigorous international educational program is combined with a nurturing environment that values relationships, responsibility and respect; this combination allows us to meet the unique needs of this age group.
In the Middle School, our students are inspired to be lifelong learners and to act with integrity and compassion. The Middle School provides a supportive environment where strong relationships, social responsibility and academic excellence are expected at every grade level.
Outside of the classroom, students have the opportunity to be involved in sports, arts and clubs, which foster a love for learning. Creativity, compassion and sportsmanship is celebrated and supported through all of our Middle School opportunities. Whether it is through academics, fine arts, sports, or community service, the Middle School aims to offer students the opportunity to find their passion.
ISY is a truly welcoming community. If visiting in person is not an option, please feel free to reach out electronically and experience the pride that exists at The International School Yangon, home of the Chinthes.
Secondary School Principal