Curriculum: Middle School: Grades 6-8
Students are welcomed into an environment that is engaging, challenging, inspiring, and nurturing; learning experiences are created that foster inspiration, promote the development of a core set of academic skills and learning habits, and that encourage students to explore and identify their core values and passions. More than preparing students for high school, our Middle School program focuses on a whole child approach that supports the special needs of middle years students; students are engaged in learning and community life, challenged intellectually and academically, and supported by passionate, nurturing, and inspired adults.
Our curriculum is strongly rooted in internationally recognized learning outcomes, and we use these outcomes to drive our instruction. Traditional timetables have been replaced by a more fluid schedule to meet the needs of the students and the themes being studied. Our thematic instruction is supported by a strong arts program that includes visual and performing arts, and the collaboration helps to provide students with rich experiential learning opportunities that are thematic across the curriculum, inquiry-based, and designed to fully engage the multitude of intelligences and learning styles. Learning outcomes include relevant projects and presentations that meet real needs in the local and/or global community, and can be shared with authentic audiences in school, community-wide, and beyond.
In addition to our strong academic program there are some unique aspects of our Middle School program:
1) Community Time: Students have time built into their daily schedules to work on community-oriented endeavors. Such activities include class meetings, volunteer/service projects, I RESPECT (school wide values) activities, life skills, organization and self-management, conflict resolution training, entrepreneurial endeavors, and all Middle School assemblies and presentations.
2) Maintenance: For one period on Wednesdays afternoons each week, students have time to finish homework, group projects or get the necessary one-on-one time from teachers. Those needing extra support in math, reading, and/or writing can also receive learning support. Also during this time students can read silently or organize into book clubs that meet to read, discuss, and critique novels of their choice.
3) Electives: Each term students will have an Elective Week for an in-depth experiential exploration in creative educational classes. The goal is to allow the students an opportunity to explore different subjects — hands-on activities with an educational focus not typically offered at school. Possiblechoices for Elective Week include: scuba diving, surfing, filmmaking, mt. biking, Balinese home stay and cultural study, snorkeling, hiking volcanoes, and survival skills. Each elective week will culminate in a presentation to the GS community.
4) Arts Rotation: Twice weekly Middle School students work with our visual and performing arts specialists in the areas of music, drumming, marimba, visual arts, drama, and practical arts (wood working). Every half term students are able to choose their area of focus for that block of time and are encouraged to sample as many areas as possible.
5) Experiential Learning Trips: We have teamed up with Green Camp to create unique outdoor experiences tailored to support Green Studies themes for each grade; Grade 6 is Water, Grade 7 is Health and Healing, and Grade 8 is Conservation and Social Action. Each grade comes together in the first semester for an outdoor education and overnight camp experience on Green Camp’s facilities next to the Green School campus. All classes then embark on a multi-day trip in their grade level to various locations around Bali. These trips are an invaluable component of our Middle School program!
6) Grade 8 Quest Project: As a culmination to Middle School, and as part of a larger rite of passage, Grade 8 students embark on a personal Quest Project. The Quest is an opportunity for students to pursue an area of personal interest and to focus their attention throughout the course of their Grade 8 year. This project will hold a special place of importance in the Middle School Program and when completed will be a record of a personal journey that each student can present to the school community.
7) Service Learning: Middle school students are actively engaged in our community through thematic units, partnerships with local schools and NGO’s, and our C.O.R.A.L. Fridays program. Some examples of our middle school students working with the community include;
Grade 6 students can frequently be found on the Ayung River, which runs through our campus, monitoring its health and creating campaigns in partnership with the local community and NGOs to raise awareness of the issues it faces.
Grade 7 has forged a relationship with YPK, an organization for Balinese children with physical disabilities to help foster understanding across cultures.
Grade 8’s theme of conservation and social justice has them working closely with the Begawan Foundation to re-establish the critically endangered Bali Starling into the wild in one thematic unit. Later in the year, another unit focuses on how they can make a difference in the large-scale deforestation in Indonesia to clear land for palm oil production. Meanwhile, the Quest project sees each student forge an individual service-learning project of his or her own design
8) Global Connections: Our students are in contact with students all over the world toshare learning projects and foster cross-cultural exchange. From live radio interviews with students in Melbourne, Australia to share conservation projects, to Skype conference calls with students in Hawaii to compare and contrast jungle ecosystems, to blogging with students in Australia, Canada, and Brazil to discuss global issues and their solutions, Green School’s middle school is making connections.
C.O.R.A.L. Fridays (Community Out Reach and Active Learning)
This program is designed to help us link learning to life outside of school. The courses give students valuable life experience by connecting them to local and global communities, and engaging them with peoples and important environmental and human causes both far and near.
Students choose courses from three areas:service learning, enterprise education, and outdoor education. Courses run in six-week blocks and through the course of the year students will participate in at least one course from each area.
All of the courses aim to fosterpersonal growth and strong connections to other individuals, while developing the critical life skills of collaboration, communication, organization, management, problem solving, and critical/creative thinking.
These courses develop life skills while introducing students to the importance of community service for personal, community, and world health. Special attention is paid to the need for considering environmental, economical, social, and personal sustainability in order to promote healthy interactions between human and natural systems. Examples of Service Learning courses:
Bye Bye Plastic Bags: This course supports a student-led initiative to ban the use of single use plastic bags on the island of Bali.
Community Mapping: This course created a detailed map of the community around Green School to create a waster management program.
This is a hands-on program intended to get students designing and creating. These courses also encourage students to develop entrepreneurial skills by marketing and selling some of the products created. The path is from ideas to planning to creating.Examples of Enterprise Education courses:
- T-shirts for the World – Students designed t-shirts with social and environmental messages while sourcing material, marketing and selling the shirts.
- Ogah-Ogah Construction – Students create an Ogah-Ogah for celebration of the Balinese holiday, Nyepi
The outdoor education courses expose students to new outdoor activities, while encouraging a more active lifestyle. These courses not only keep students active, they also provide valuable skills relevant to leading an outdoor lifestyle.Examples of Outdoor Education courses:
- Mountain Bike Club – Students design and create a Green School community mountain bike club while exploring and mapping the trails around Green School.
- Life Saving Skills – Students learn basic first aid and water rescue skills.
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