Middle School Course Descriptions
The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics build on the best of existing standards and reflect the skills and knowledge students will need to succeed in college, career, and life. The Common Core calls for greater focus in mathematics. Rather than racing to cover many topics in a mile-wide, inch-deep curriculum, the standards ask math teachers to significantly narrow and deepen the way time and energy are spent in the classroom. This means focusing deeply on the major work of each grade as follows:
In grade 6: Ratios and proportional relationships, and early algebraic expressions and equations. In grade 7: Ratios and proportional relationships, and arithmetic of rational numbers. In grade 8: Linear algebra and linear functions
This focus will help students gain strong foundations, including a solid understanding of concepts, a high degree of procedural skill and fluency, and the ability to apply the math they know to solve problems inside and outside the classroom.
Science Common core Standards integrates life, physical, and earth sciences with engineering and technology. The new science standards emphasize scientific practices including asking questions, constructing models, planning investigations, analyzing data, using math, forming explanations, evidence based argument, and communication. All the new science standards also incorporate crosscutting concepts like patterns, cause & effect, scale & proportion, systems & system models, energy & matter, structure & function, and stability & change.
Geography course focuses on the study of the distribution and interaction of physical and human features on the earth. The focal point is on modern geography as an all-encompassing discipline that foremost seeks to understand the Earth and all of its human and natural complexities, not merely where objects are, but how they have changed and come to be. We highlight the complex nature of culture and how cultures influence the characteristics of places and regions, understand the relationship between physical environments and culture, and understand how cultural perspective impacts perceptions of places and regions.
Teaching methodology includes interactive lectures, group presentations, group activities, applications to real life situations.
During their three years in Middle School at DCIS, students actively participate in lessons to improve their English language skills through speaking, listening, reading and writing. Along with focusing on developing their English language skills, students are engaged in activities to develop their higher order thinking skills. Through the use of literature students learn to be exposed to a variety of worlds beyond Honduras to ensure that they become global citizens.
Following the Common Core Standards for English, English classes are literature based. Each quarter we read a different novel. While we read the novel, there will be additional non-fiction readings and poetry that coincide with the different themes of the books. Each book we read is a downloadable PDF file that we read on the iPad. Novels such as The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson are all part of our English course. Short stories, drama and poetry are also a fundamental part of our classes.
Along with the in-class reading, the students are expected to reading their own independent reading book. As we read the novels, mini-lessons are structured at the beginning of each class to focus the students on learning different reading and writing strategies. These strategies come from the Common Core English Standards and 6 + 1 Writing Traits.
Writing is another key aspect of Middle School English classes, which is why while reading the novels, there are a variety of short writing assignments for the students to compose. Also at the end of each novel, the students are focused on a specific guided writing activity such as writing a letter, short story, essay or research paper. Student will compose pieces from a wide variety of writing, for example, essays, letters, poems, research papers and narratives to name a few. Students will have a variety of options on how to publish their writing pieces, including using the iPad for creating blogs, comics, videos, podcasting and digital storytelling to name a few.
Our Spanish department aims to promote a love for our native language in each of our students. Our main goal is the development of higher levels of thinking such as: analysis, synthesis, comprehension, creation and assessment in order to accomplish the progression of skills necessary for a course in language; namely reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Our department is made up of a team of highly qualified professional teachers who promote a love of reading, a pride for our native language and an enjoyment of artistic activities such as theater, poetry, literary creation and public speaking.
We envision our students to be tolerant, honest critical thinkers for an ever-changing global environment. Our method of teaching is active and collaborative in which our students are the protagonists of their own learning. As a team we discover, experiment and learn. Our role as teachers is to be the facilitators who accompany the students throughout the process of achieving success.
Our Spanish department focuses on strengthening three important elements: literature, writing, and oral expression. The spot light centers on Honduran, Central American and Latin American authors and novelists.
The utilization of the iPad in our courses gives us the fundamental resources necessary to allow students to explore the wonders of a language through sites, applications and virtual dictionaries by the tip of their fingers. The students are able to probe into worlds of reality and fiction that embraces their creativity and imagination.