About Middle School (Grade 6-8)
In the Middle School students rotate to specialist subject teachers. An emphasis is on Language Arts: reading,writing, listening and speaking as the reader/writer workshop approach is applied to higher level texts and writing purposes. Mathematics is instructed daily focusing on the mathematical practices required to explore algebra topics both conceptually and procedurally. Science class requires the art of scientific inquiry and synthesis of information gained through research. In Social Studies students explore the region of Asia, Ancient Civilizations around the globe, the Renaissance/Middle Ages, and culminate in the Global Issues of Today. Visual Art and Music allow students the opportunity to explore the world through an artistic lens. The Physical Education program instructs students on life long physical health routines. The World Language program allows a choice of a second language instructed through the 5 C’s: Culture, Communications, Connection, Comparison and Community. Technology is integrated throughout the curriculum as each student is required to have a Macbook Pro laptop for use in each subject area.
Middle School Curriculum:
Language Arts (Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking) is instructed through a balanced literacy approach, using the Daily Five structure. Reading, writing, listening, speaking, spelling, and word study are studied in an integrated style by using a variety of quality literature. Students work with leveled texts and learn to decode, develop comprehension strategies, and improve their independent reading level at an increasing degree of complexity. Students also focus on nonfiction texts as they acquire the skills to interpret information, research, and question material presented.
Writing is focused on engaging students in a meaningful context to communicate their ideas on paper. Students are guided through modeling, reflecting on model examples, sharing their work, and peer editing others’ work. A consistent framework is used to demonstrate what strong writing looks like through focus on ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation. Students are encouraged to publish their written work in various formats for the genre produced.
Students study mathematics through a focus on the Common Core Eight Mathematical Practices. The practices of ‘make sense of problems and persevere in solving them,’ as well as ‘attend to precision,’ are consistently emphasized as applicable to all areas of mathematical study. Students engage in critical thinking as they reason abstractly and quantitatively and construct viable arguments, and critique others’ reasoning. Problem-solving involves the use of appropriate tools strategically and models with mathematics. Strategic thinking also requires that students look for and make use of structure while expressing regularity in repeated reasoning. These Eight Mathematical Practices and the development of the four general learning outcomes form the mathematics curriculum’s backbone.
Students learn through direct instruction, fluency practice, games, math investigations, and collaboration. Study in mathematics requires student-generated problems, working with manipulatives, group investigations, and classroom discussion. The Common Core Curriculum emphasizes a firm foundation and fluency in addition and subtraction before formalizing the multiplication and division algorithms. Rational number study follows multiplication and division fluency as students are prepared for higher-level math classes. Measurement, Data, Geometry, Algebraic Thinking, Statistics, and Probability are integrated into each grade level with various emphasis.
The study of science at RAS is focused on the use of the scientific method. Beginning in Elementary School, students are encouraged to wonder and question the world around them. Students learn Biology, Chemistry, and Physics each year as they investigate the many happenings within the world we live in. Directed reading of factual, informational text provides the basis for vocabulary and concept acquisition. Teachers engage students in experiments while emphasizing research, observation skills, safety, recording tools, and communication of conclusions. Students are encouraged to interact with their environment, pose additional inquiries, research in the library and on the Internet, and share their thoughts collaboratively.
The Social Studies program begins with the microcosm of self and family, and it gradually expands to today’s global issues. As a student progresses from self and family to community, state, country, region, and the world, they acquire the skills necessary for mapping, interviewing, filmmaking, and documentation. Students deepen their understanding of government, conflict, change, technology, and culture in the Asian region, ultimately leading to the study of today’s current events and international news.
The World Languages currently offered at RAS include Bahasa Melayu and Mandarin. Communities, Connections, Cultures, Comparisons, and Communication are the focus of the language units. Students are not required to have an introductory level of language for study in the World Language Class during the school day. Students will continue to advance their knowledge in reading, writing, listening, and speaking in their target language.
RAS’s English Language Learning (ELL) Program provides academic support to students whose native language is not English and needs extra practice to succeed in grade-level academic standards. RAS offers a program that supports the student’s grade-level education with additional ELL classes and push-in and pull-out instruction for secondary school students. The program provides an enriched curriculum that focuses on developing interpersonal communication skills and cognitive academic language proficiency. The ELL program uses WIDA’s international standards and RAS’s General Learning Outcomes to determine progress, proficiency, and achievement.
Middle School students will choose to take Band or a combination of electives, which can include Visual Arts, Dance, IT, and Drama.
Health, Fitness, and Wellness are the focus of the Physical Education program. Physical activity is critical to the development and maintenance of good health. RAS’s Physical Education program aims to develop educated individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful activities. Students demonstrate competency in motor skills and movement patterns needed to perform a variety of physical activities. Students develop an understanding of movement concepts, principles, strategies, and tactics as they apply to physical activities’ learning and performance. RAS emphasizes participation in physical activities, respect for self and others in physically active situations, and a lifelong enjoyment of activity-based challenges and expression.
Students demonstrate competency in motor skills and movement patterns needed to perform a variety of physical activities. Students develop an understanding of movement concepts, principles, strategies, and tactics related to physical activities’ learning and performance. RAS emphasizes participation in physical activities, respect for self and others in physically active situations, and a lifelong enjoyment of activity-based challenges and expression.