Proficient Learners. Passionate Leaders.
Grades 5 to 8 – IB Middle Years Program
The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (MYP) is a truly distinguishing feature at The Red Oaks School. Our students engage in an internationally acclaimed and challenging intellectual framework that encourages them to make concrete connections between their studies and the real world. Our middle school students are immersed in a broad and balanced education that prepares them for success in further study and in life.
Learn more about the IB MYP program here.
At Red Oaks, our academic focus is on a conceptually based curriculum, with interdisciplinary connections, and authentic assessment.
A unit of study might unfold like this:
- Begin with a Concept
- Delve Deeper Using Diverse Resources
- Probe Various Types of Questions
- Use Research-based Learning Structures to Actively Make Meaning
- Evaluate with Authentic Assessment and Reflection
Students read gripping real-world chronicles of survival and challenge from many backgrounds.
For example: Into the Wild by Chris McCandless, Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan, I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, A Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, Miracle in the Mine: One Man’s Story of Strength and Survival in the Chilean Mines by Jose Henriquez. They also view movie clips, TED talks, and Discovery Education segments that exemplify the concept.
Content questions can be factual, conceptual, or debatable:
- How did positive and negative experiences shape the character?
- How does perspective contribute to identity?
- Are humans a product of nature or nurture?
Questions also guide the skill development in the unit:
- How do writers develop characters through the five methods of characterization?
Questions address school values and executive skills:
- What executive skills are most useful when creating a multimedia project?
- How do the characters represent the IB Learner Profile?
The International Baccalaureate Program at Red Oaks:
- Language and Literature
- Individuals and Societies (Social Studies)
- World Languages
- Physical Education
- Health and Wellness
- Learner Profile, Executive Skills, and Diversity Curriculum
- The Arts
- IB Community Project
- Advisory Program
In the fifth and sixth grades, students complete the Singapore Math program, a proven innovative approach that focuses on problem solving as well as traditional algorithms. Our seventh and eighth grade students typically study pre-algebra and Algebra I. IB requires additional studies on math in real life which allow students to see math in the context of everyday living. advanced students moving on to high school geometry.
Through the IB framework, Middle School students actively consider major concepts and fundamental questions while reading increasingly sophisticated works of fiction and non-fiction. Simultaneously, they while developing skills in various genres of writing including personal narrative, expository pieces, poetry, research papers, and persuasive essays. They practice the writing process planning, drafting, revising, and editing with their teachers and peers based on the Readers and Writers Workshop Project from Teachers College, Columbia University. Debate and public speaking are integral parts of the program, as is the study and performance of Shakespeare. Red Oaks Students are exceptionally prepared for public speaking.
The IB program requires students to broaden and deepen their understanding of human culture, attitudes, and beliefs in all their diversity in history, geography, economics, government, civics, religion, and sociology. The international curriculum “Facing the Future” from Western Washington University, facilitates the development of critical thinking skills, global awareness, and encourages students to engage in positive solutions for a sustainable future. This curriculum links local and global issues, igniting students’ interest and empowering them towards action. Montessori Model United Nations affords the opportunity for our students to write comprehensive international briefs, work in committees with students from many countries to find common ground, and speak at the General Assembly in front of over a thousand peers.
Having studied Spanish throughout their years at Red Oaks, students gain an understanding and appreciation of the cultures where Spanish is spoken. The IB program expects students to speak, read, write and view material in the target language. The goal is proficiency. Fifth and sixth graders study Latin, enabling them to see commonalities in vocabulary and grammar among many languages. The two year Linguistics course culminates with a linguistic guide written by each student on their mother tongue or family heritage language. Through this course, students understand the fundamental impact that language has on the human brain, the history of languages, and the morphology, syntax, and semantics in each language.
Red Oaks students investigate relevant topics and important concepts in life, earth, and physical science using research, observation, and hands-on experimentation. Using the materials from the Smithsonian Science and Technology Concepts curriculum, together with IB assessments, students work independently and collaboratively. The curriculum is “hands-on” and “minds-on”. Students investigate the world and explore the connections between science and everyday life as budding scientists.
Utilizing the facilities at the Greater Morristown YMCA, students strengthen their bodies, improve their skills, and learn the value of teamwork while engaging in a variety of physical options: personal fitness, aesthetic movement, base games, collaborative games (ropes course), invasion games, and net games.
Students develop problem-solving skills and learn ways to understand and manage their feelings. Working in age-specific groups, they learn about the physical and emotional changes that occur during puberty and discuss reproduction and gender identity. Older students explore their own family values as they learn about topics such as sexual health, dating and relationships, and substance abuse.
This four-year IB Middle Years Program course encourages innovation and creativity. Students explore real-life problems and work collaboratively to solve them following the engineering design process and utilizing various disciplinary content such as science, math, art, music, social studies and language arts. During the hands-on projects, they investigate, plan solutions, prototype, and evaluate/modify their products.
According to IB, thinking creatively includes:
- Generating new and unusual further questions from the original question
- Responding to ideas, questions, tasks or problems in a surprising way
- Challenging conventions and one’s own and others’ assumptions
- Thinking independently and from multiple perspectives
- Seeing possibilities, problems and challenges positively and by using imagination
- Visualizing alternatives and seeking unusual solutions
- Playing with ideas and experimenting
- Anticipating and overcoming difficulties, modifying one’s ideas in the process
- Recognizing when an original idea has value and pursuing it
This internationally recognized curriculum was developed at The Red Oaks School. Through a variety of resources such as games, skits, TED talks, Discovery Education streaming, Newsela, and many news outlets, students live the Learner Profile, develop and practice Executive Skills, and understand the complexity and diversity of human experience across the planet through the IB Global Contexts. In addition to dedicated weekly time for lessons, the curriculum is deliberately integrated into each academic subject and every aspect of school life.
In the arts (music and visual art), Red Oaks students engage in a process of exploration and self-discovery. Led by their inquiry and creativity, they achieve deep understanding of the subjects, as they acquire and apply essential skills to each artistic discipline. Thus, creative and critical thinking strategies are learned along with skill building. Our students create and present art, make purposeful connections between investigation and practice, understand art in context, respond and reflect on art, and deepen their understanding of the world through art.
The Community Project is the IB capstone 8th grade experience. It brings together the spirit of service and empowerment towards action of the Red Oaks education. The Community Project encourages students to explore their passions, connect to a community need (local or international), and assume responsibility to implement service as action. The Community Project is a year-long course and it culminates with presentations to the whole community. The Community project is assessed through the criteria of the IBMYP Service Learning Cycle and it is part of the 8th grade IB Progress report.
At Red Oaks, we believe in understanding and educating the whole child. While our curriculum is rich, interesting and rigorous, we understand that the “preen” and “teen” years are times of intense physical and neural change. Advisories with 10 to 12 students allow close relationships with a trusted adult, who knows each child emotionally and academically, and communicates with each family frequently. Middle School advisory is where the Learner Profile, Executive Skills and DIversity Curriculum is explored in depth. Advisory also provides opportunities to grow and have fun in intimate groups through team-building activities, pot-luck lunches, etc.