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Academics

Introduction

IMAGINE . . . a vibrant SCHOOL filled with positive affirmations that prepare students for the intellectual and social challenges of the day.

IMAGINE . . . . warm CLASSROOMS that display relevant content, activities, and tools that engage students’ interests in various ways.

IMAGINE . . . caring TEACHERS who have high expectations for student learning, assign student-centered tasks with greater rigor and intellectual challenge for all, yet who understand how to sufficiently and appropriately support the middle school learner to ensure success.

IMAGINE . . . inquisitive middle school STUDENTS who think critically about what they are learning and make interdisciplinary connections, care deeply about the world and how they can make a positive impact, and are able to effectively utilize technological tools to enhance their experiences.

IMAGINE . . . connected FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES that share the responsibility of supporting the middle school learner through a variety of activities that demonstrate the importance of education, show support, and encourage students’ learning.

IMAGINE . . . a student-centered CURRICULUM that embodies all of these principles as well as a systematic and continuous assessment system to measure our success towards these goals.

Success for all students is our sole aim.

Our mission is to combine 21st century digital technology and traditional student-centered learning practices to ensure that students achieve academic success and social growth. Our curricular objectives are to provide better ways to engage students, promote academic rigor, and create a climate and culture that promotes excellence. Our students in grades 6, 7, and 8 take part in an exciting and dynamic experience that equip them with the skills to become independent learners and successful global citizens.

The middle school years are a unique and special time for students. We understand and believe that our approach to the middle school learner should be equally unique and special where teaching and learning caters to the physical, social, emotional, moral and cognitive needs of young people.

The development of literacy and global citizenship across all core subject areas is a key focus of the Middle School curriculum. Our dedicated teachers work collaboratively in teams and regularly attend professional development initiatives to ensure our curriculum delivery is relevant and responsive to adolescent culture and trends. The core subjects we offer in our Middle School include the following:

English

Mathematics

Science

Social Studies

Physical Education

Modern Languages (Arabic, French and Spanish)

Islamic Studies (Muslim Students Only)

The curriculum offers students opportunity to engage in:

ELL Literacy Support

Art

Music

Technology

English Language Arts

The ELA curriculum at AUS follows the model established by the Common Core Initiative. Though the standards are divided into reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language, these processes are closely connected providing an integrated model of literacy. In AUS Middle School, teachers guide students as they transition from learning to read and write to reading and writing to learn as they preparing for college and career readiness. AUS students study literary and informational text, written composition and response, vocabulary, and grammar. The goal is to produce students who are careful and inferential readers, critical thinkers, and thoughtful, expressive writers.

Important components of the AUS Middle School program include helping students build strong content knowledge through the study of a wide range of subject matter and authors of quality and substance. Our students continue the work begun at AUS Elementary in terms of understanding the varying demands of audience, task and purpose of their writing. AUS Middle School students are expected to comprehend as well as critique, to be open-minded yet confident. Our teachers lead students in sharpening their 21st century competencies through the use of technology to enhance their reading, writing, and inquiry skills. Through all of this, our students develop an understanding of their place as global citizens.

“Through reading great classic and contemporary works of literature representative of a variety of periods, cultures, and worldviews, students can vicariously inhabit worlds and have experiences much different than their own.” –Common Core Standards Initiative

Mathematics

The AUS Math curriculum follows the model established by the Common Core Initiative where there is a focus on critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills students will need to be successful. There are three (3) key shifts in Common Core Math Standards. The standards focus on (1) fewer concepts, (2) links topics and thinking across grades, and requires more (3) rigor that is needed to build conceptual understanding, procedural skills and fluency, and the ability to apply math knowledge in differing situations. The overarching goal of the Mathematics program is to provide a sequential transition between the basic arithmetic, geometric, statistical, and problem solving skills studied at the elementary grades to the advanced mathematical skills of algebra, geometry, analysis, calculus, and statistics taught at the high school level. The study of Pre-Algebraic and Algebraic concepts at the middle school level prepares students for a successful transition to advanced high school mathematics.

Our middle school teachers integrate literacy strategies within the math curriculum to demonstrate to students that subjects are connected and not just separate entities. Students take knowledge from one subject and apply it to situations in other classes. The skills of analysis, synthesis, and generalization are the expected outcomes.

The use of mathematical tools such as calculators, compasses, protractors, number lines, and rulers is an essential part of the math program and will be provided to students. Calculators will be used to study certain concepts, but will not be used in all units. We will develop mathematical and computational competency in all students; mathematical competency should not be dependent upon the use of a calculator.

Social Studies

At AUS, our program integrates the Common Core Literacy Standards for reading, research, writing, and analysis with newly published Common Core 3 (C3) Standards for Social Studies. Social Studies is a key component of a student’s education. In order to understand world events and become a contributing member of a global society, we need to build our students’ understanding and knowledge of public policy and the complex interactions of individuals, governments, and nations. Our program equips students with a knowledge of history to help them understand why events unfold as they do, and how the past shapes the future.

Students in Grades 6 and 7 focus on Ancient and Medieval History with an emphasis in archaeology, the origins of human development, and the rich cultural histories of the Middle East, Ancient Egypt, Greeks and the Romans.

Grade 8 students focus on the history of North America, and the time before, during, and after the American Revolution. Questions about how the American system of government developed and how it works are central to the course. The course leads students through a study of the United States leading to the Civil War and Reconstruction.

As our students explore the various historical events, they engage in hands-on activities, projects, study trips and research. Informational writing, geography and map skills are emphasized. As our students study the ancient world, philosophies and religions, they make connections to the modern world.

Students are expected to complete research as it relates to this course, emphasizing the skills of research, writing, technology, and thoughtful communication in order to develop the skills necessary for success at the high school level.

Science

Our Science curriculum is guided by The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS call for a three dimensional approach to science instruction, Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas. In our classrooms, you students practice the behaviors that scientists exhibit as they investigate phenomena. Activities and tasks allow students to link the crosscutting concepts that can be seen across different domains of science, such as patterns, similarity, cause and effect, and diversity. The disciplinary core ideas are Earth, Life, and Physical Science, as well as the principles of Technology and Physics. To aid student understanding, an emphasis is placed on relating these principles and concepts to real world experiences. Teachers employ a variety of strategies including hands-on laboratory activities, interdisciplinary lessons, and differentiated learning techniques. The development of reading, writing, problem solving, laboratory techniques, study skills, and working collaboratively are important objectives of the Science program.

Our program integrates the Common Core Literacy Standards with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The Common Core Literacy Standards are integrated particularly in terms of recognizing and citing supporting evidence, determining the central ideas and conclusion of text, following multi-step procedures, and distinguishing among fact, reasoned judgment, and speculation within text.

Grade 6 focus is on the Earth and Space Sciences which investigates processes that operate on Earth and also address its place in the solar system and the galaxy. Grade 7 focus is in Life Science which emphasizes the understanding of all forms of life and their ecological relationships. In these two years, considerable emphasis will be placed on developing laboratory and writing/researching skills, as well as problem solving and scientific thinking. Grade 8 focus is on Physical Science where they learn about the principles of force, motion, energy, and chemistry as they relate to our world and its resources. Teachers hone student’s skills in the lab, problem solving and inquiry as they prepare students for success at the high school level.

Visual Arts

The AUS Middle School Visual Arts Program builds upon the skills developed in the elementary school through appealing to a wide range of subject matter, symbols, images, and expressions. Founded on the National Visual Arts Standards supported by the National Art Education Association, Visual Art at AUS strives to blend the 21st century skills of critical thinking, creativity and collaboration into a technology-infused learning environment. This program utilizes a wide variety of art making tools, drawings, painting, print making, collages, sculptures, ceramics, and digital arts.

In middle school, students continue to learn the vocabulary and concepts associated with a wide range of contemporary and historical works of art while utilizing higher order thinking skills such as analysis, appraisal, synthesis, and evaluation to develop more individualistic and imaginative visual expressions. Technology in the Visual Art Program is incorporated not only for documenting and researching, but also for creating in order to motivate students to authentically engage in contemporary art practice. Our teachers ensure that as technological choices expand, students are well guided toward choosing and arranging materials appropriate to achieving their specific goals.

General Music/Choir/Band

In the AUS Music program, we strive to provide students with a deeper appreciation for music. Our goal is to give students a musical experience that lasts a lifetime. The AUS music program draws its standards from the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). These standards allow students to experience every aspect of music education.

The middle school music program builds upon the comprehensive elementary music program. Students use the knowledge gained from their elementary experience to deepen their understanding of music at the middle school level. Students delve deeper into the intricate details of music and continue to grow as musicians. This is vital as the middle school period is a crucial time in music education. During the middle school years, students’ identities are being solidified, and the time where the music they listen to, perform, and study becomes the music they listen to for the rest of their lives. It is important to expose students to a wide variety of music and musical styles. This allows students expand their appreciation for diverse musical genres and helps them to see the connections between music and other disciplines. By understanding the cultural and historical forces that shape social attitudes and behaviors, students are better prepared to live in a world that is increasingly multicultural.

Students in the AUS music program offers a range of experiences. Students in the program have an opportunity to develop singing voices and choral techniques, learn to plan an instrument, study music history and theory, connect the musical experience to core subjects, and integrate musical composition with character traits and values.

The AUS Music experience extends beyond the classroom as students are asked to demonstrate their learning through in class and AUS community performances. Performing, an integral aspect of music education, affords students the opportunity to take risks and discover new abilities. Students in the program develop and use creative and critical thinking skills and cooperative learning techniques, while using appropriate technology as they study all the elements of music.

“Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” – Plato

Physical Education

The American United School of Kuwait is committed to guiding students towards a healthy lifestyle. AUS students benefit from a powerful combination of nutrition and physical fitness.

AUS Middle School implements the National Standards for K-12 Physical Education from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). The goal of physical education is to develop physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. To accomplish this, AUS students:

• •learn the skills necessary to participate in a variety of physical activities,

• •understand the implications and benefits of involvement in various types of physical activities,

• •participate regularly in physical activity,

• •become physically fit, and

• •value physical activity and its contribution to a healthful lifestyle.

Teachers and students work to accomplish these goals through a variety of engaging games and sports, such as basketball, golf, bowling, soccer, weight training, and aerobics. The curriculum is designed to emphasize a student’s responsibility for their own health and well-being and fosters the development of skills and knowledge that will help them to nurture and care for themselves in the social emotional, physical, and intellectual areas of the their lives. Appropriate tools of technology, like heart monitors, are used to assist student in the monitoring and tracking of their individual progress.

Arabic/ Arabic as a Foreign Language

The American United School of Kuwait places great emphasis on the instruction of the Arabic language at the middle school, which is the language of the State and the religion; hence we would like to make sure all students are well versed in the language, and develop a love for it, as well as pride in their country, its heritage, religion and culture.

Students engage in Arabic language instruction daily; our goal is to achieve mastery of the language, with new methods of education, in a simplified manner, with the use of technology, to make the students proud of their language and heritage. The school uses the very best curricula and most modern educational practices, starting with the Kuwaiti Ministry’s curricula. In addition, we supplement the learning with different educational materials from different sources and countries. We are presently enriching our media center with reading material to support Arabic language literacy, such as stories, novels and others, through different publishing houses from the region and elsewhere.

Islamic Studies

All Muslim students follow the appropriate Kuwait Ministry of Education program in Islamic Studies. The curriculum topics cover aspects of sociology, philosophy, history, logic and reason. The student is guided into a path where reason and logic are seen as God-given qualities, which should be used to support and explore basic faith and beliefs. The Holy Quran and Hadith (sayings of the prophets and apostles) are an integral part of learning. The four basic skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing, are focused upon regularly through the implementation of the syllabus.