Junior High
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Junior High School Website

We are proud to announce the opening of a Junior High section to the school as of September 3rd, 2012. 

We provide a course framework of academic challenges and life skills, following the Ontario model in the main. Core disciplines include Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, the Arts, Computer Technology, Physical and Health Education and Japanese.

Students in Grade 6 to 9 learn to investigate and research topics independently using an inquiry approach, with close guidance from their instructors. In the classroom presentational skills are taught which gives the students the confidence and self-esteem necessary to put their thoughts into a public forum.

As an IB World School, the whole-school focus on the attributes and attitudes of the IB Learner Profile serves as the foundation for character development. Furthermore, the students will be positioned so as to benefit from the YMCA local and international network. Field trips will play an important role in enriching the student’s educational experiences and in allowing them to relate learning to life, truly making Osaka YMCA International School a place “Where Learning Comes to Life”.

1. Curriculum Outline

The Junior High division will use the Ontario Curriculum for Mathematics, Science, Design and Technology, Physical and Health Education, and the Arts, and the Common Core State Standards for Language Arts. Junior High will use an international Individuals and Societies programme for Social Studies, which aligns closely with the PYP Social Studies strand and is more international in outlook than the Ontario Social Studies programme.

 

Subject (Source) Strands Topics/Texts

Language Arts
(Common Core)

Speaking and Listening
Reading (informational texts, literature)
Writing
Media Literacy

Readers and Writers Programme
Text Grade 6 level

Social Studies

Individuals and Societies

Change
Global interactions
Time, place and space
Systems

Teacher-generated content based on student interest, current affairs and transdisciplinary connections
Texts based on the content at appropriate level

Science (Ontario)

Life Systems
Structures & Mechanisms
Matter & Energy
Earth & Space Systems

Biodiversity
Forces
Electricity & Electrical Devices
Space
Texts based on the topics

Mathematics (Ontario)

Number sense & numeration
Measurement
Geometry & Spatial Sense
Patterning & Algebra
Data management & Probability

Grade 6 text
Grade 7 text
Grade 8 text
Grade 9 text

The Arts (Ontario)

Music
Visual Arts
Dance
Drama

Continuation of the OYIS Arts programme

Physical Education (Ontario)

Active living
Movement competence
Healthy living

Continuation of the OYIS PE programme

 

For more detailed information about the curriculum please look here:

For the Ontario Curriculum click here.

For the Common Core State Standards click here.

2. Assessment Criteria – Categories of knowledge and skills

The categories, defined by clear criteria, represent four broad areas of knowledge and skills within which the subject expectations for any given grade are organized. The four categories should be considered as interrelated, reflecting the wholeness and interconnectedness of learning.

The categories of knowledge and skills are described as follows:

Knowledge and Understanding

Subject-specific content acquired in each grade (knowledge), and the comprehension of its meaning and significance (understanding).

Thinking

The use of critical and creative thinking skills and/or processes.

Communication

The conveying of meaning through various forms

Application

The use of knowledge and skills to make connections within and between various contexts.

3. Transitioning from the Elementary to the Junior High division

We will use the Ontario Curriculum, with the exception of Language Arts and Social Studies, but we will carry over the following elements of the IB programme from the PYP to Junior High:

  • The Learner Profile attributes and attitudes
  • Inquiry teaching and learning
  • Approaches to Learning (formerly known as transdisciplinary skills)

The IBO has three programmes, the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma (DP). A school may opt to use any or all of the programmes. Students are not at a disadvantage if they don’t follow all programmes when it comes to transferring to other schools. The important point for OYIS is that the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) visited us in Spring 2013 and will extend our accreditation to the Junior High division for the next 6 years. That will mean that the curriculum, planned, taught and assessed, will be acceptable to other international schools.

The following provides a more detailed description of each subject area:

Language Arts

During the Elementary years, students have acquired essential knowledge about language. In addition to the rich diversity of language knowledge from home and community that they bring to the classroom, they have a range of skills and strategies they can use to analyze, evaluate and create increasingly complex oral, print, and media texts. Junior High students continue using the Common Core Language Arts curriculum, as students have done in the elementary years, to consolidate and apply their language knowledge, skills and strategies across the curriculum in order to learn in all subject areas as the content become increasingly challenging. They also use the Ontario curriculum for the Media Literacy element of the Language Arts program.

There are four strands in the Language Arts Curriculum:

  1. Speaking and Listening
  2. Reading
  3. Writing
  4. Media Literacy

1. Speaking and Listening

This strand focuses on the identification and development of the skills and strategies effective listeners and speakers use to understand and interact with others. It also emphasizes the use of higher-order thinking skills to stimulate students’ interest and engage them in their own learning.

The Speaking and Listening strand has two overall objectives:

  • Comprehension and Collaboration- preparing for discussions; reflecting on ideas; group decision-making; goal-setting; following discussion rules; questioning and responding using evidence and ideas; justifying or modifying own views in light of evidence
  • Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas- presenting claims and findings using evidence and reasoning; presentation skills such as eye contact, volume and pronunciation; integrating multimedia displays and visuals; adapting speech in a range of contexts

2. Reading

This strand helps students learn to read with understanding, to read critically, to become familiar with various text forms and their characteristic elements and to recognize the function and effects of various text features and stylistic devices. It helps students understand that reading is a process of constructing meaning and equips them with the strategies that good readers use to understand and appreciate what they read.

The Reading strand has four overall objectives:

  • Key Ideas and Details- determining central idea and details of a text; making inferences; analyzing how characters make decisions and their impact on plot; making connections between texts and individuals, ideas or events
  • Craft and Structure- analyzing the impact of specific word choices in texts; analyzing the structure of sentences and paragraphs and how they refine a key concept; determining the author’s point of view; analyzing characters’ points of view and how the characters interact
  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas- analyzing how visual or performance texts compare to their written original; analyzing how modern texts draw on themes and patterns of traditional texts
  • Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity- comprehending literature including stories, drama and poems

 3. Writing

Writing is a complex process that involves a range of skills and tasks. Students need to become disciplined thinkers in order to communicate their ideas clearly and effectively, using standard written forms and language conventions.

The Writing strand has four overall objectives:

  • Text Types and Purposes- introducing and supporting claims; acknowledging or refuting alternate claims; using words and phrases for clarity and cohesion; establishing and maintaining a formal writing style; providing concluding statements that support the information presented; using narrative technique to write about real or imagined events; using words and phrases to engage the reader, develop imagery, and indicate transitions
  • Production and Distribution of Writing- developing and organizing texts according to task, purpose and audience; revising, editing and rewriting, following the writing process; using technology to produce and publish a variety of texts
  • Research to Build and Present Knowledge- conducting research projects to investigate a research question; gathering and assessing evidence from informational and literary texts
  • Range of Writing- writing routinely over extended and shorter amounts of time for a range of specific tasks, purposes and audiences

4. Media Literacy

This strand focuses on helping students develop the skills required to understand, create and critically interpret media texts. It examines how images (both moving and still), sound and words are used, independently and in combination, to create meaning. It explores the use and significance of particular conventions and technique in the media and considers the roles of the viewer and the producer in constructing meaning in media texts. Students apply the knowledge and skills gained through analysis of media texts as they create their own texts.

The Media Literacy strand has four overall expectations. Students will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of a variety of media texts;
  • Identify some media forms and explain how the conventions and techniques associated with them are used to create meaning;
  • Create a variety of media texts for different purposes and audiences, using appropriate forms, conventions and techniques;
  • Reflect on and identify their strengths, areas for improvement and the strategies they found most helpful in understanding and creating media texts.

Social Studies

Social studies are the systematic study of an integrated body of content drawn from the understandings of the diverse and dynamic nature of society and of how interactions occur among cultures, societies, and environments.  Students develop and apply skills as they investigate society, explore issues, make decisions, and work cooperatively with others.  The understandings and skills they develop enable them to participate in society as informed, confident, and responsible global citizens. Junior School draws from an international Individuals and Societies program, which provides a global perspective on social studies concepts.

There are five social studies key concepts:

  • Change -  allows students to investigate how the world has changed in the past, and how it may change in the future; students explore the causes of change, and the negative and positive effects of such changes at individual, community and global levels; students also explore their own agency as change-makers
  • Global Interactions - explores interactions in today’s increasingly globalized world; investigates how people cooperate with each other, as well as how conflict arises and is resolved; analyzes the world’s resources and how they will be managed
  • Time, Place, and Space - students explore the multifaceted concepts of time and space, including analyzing ongoing events from the past to the future and their impact on the world, as well as how these have an effect on the idea of space and location; students apply different perspectives to the concept of place, including how places can have special meaning and value applied to them by humans; patterns are analyzed regarding various processes that have an influence on how place is perceived, including social, economic and political processes; research at local, regional and global levels
  • Systems - students apply systems thinking approach to analyze and understand both natural and human environments; investigating the role of individuals within various environments and systems; exploring how environments may change as a result of the actions of individuals and groups

The social studies processes are:

  • Inquiry
  • Values Exploration
  • Social Decision Making

1. Inquiry

The Inquiry process involves students in collecting and analyzing information about people, groups, communities, and societies.  The inquiry is focused on the use of questions or hypotheses.  Students collect information and process it in relation to the inquiry focus.  From the processed information, they make generalizations, draw conclusions, and communicate them.  They reflect upon the process and their findings and evaluate them.

Inquiry can be undertaken at varying stages of learner independence and is not necessarily sequential.  For example, once the inquiry has begun and information has been gathered, students may need to return to the original questions or hypothesis, which may need to be modified in the light of the information collected.

2. Values exploration

Values Exploration usually begins with students identifying and explaining a range of values positions in relation to a concept or issue.  By identifying and explaining these values positions, students can critique particular viewpoints and reflect on their own position, re-evaluating it in the light of their findings.  They can also come to an understanding of the ways in which communities and societies attempt to deal with values conflict and seek to come to some agreement on underlying values in order to establish a basis for people and groups to live and work together.

When students explore values, they are challenged to think about the nature of social justice, the welfare of others, acceptance of cultural diversity, and respect for the environment.  They come to recognise that people’s values are formed by many influences and that they may change over time.  Throughout the process of Values Exploration, students will reflect upon and evaluate their thinking and their findings.

3. Social decision making

The Social Decision Making process involves students in applying their knowledge and developing their skills as they make decisions about actions that could be taken on a range of issues and problems in society.

Students identify and clarify a social issue, and then suggest a range of possible strategies to address the issue.  They establish criteria against which these strategies can be evaluated.  They select strategies on the basis of the criteria and decide what action should be taken.  Throughout the process of Social Decision Making, students will reflect upon and evaluate their thinking and their findings.

The following essential skills are developed and practised through the social studies processes:

  • Communication skills
  • Numeracy skills
  • Information skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Self-management and Competitive skills
  • Social and Cooperative skills
  • Physical skills
  • Work and Study skills
  • Japanese Language

Second-language learning, in general, is valuable for a number of reasons. Research confirms that knowledge of a second language strengthens first-language skills and that the ability to speak two or more languages generally enhances problem-solving and reasoning skills, the capacity for creative thinking, and the ability to respect and understand other cultures. Second-language learning strengthens students' ability to communicate and participate effectively in the workplace and the global community. It also increases their ability to understand themselves and other people, and helps them to appreciate the power of words and the many different uses of language.

Assessment is based on achievement of these learning results:

  • Understanding and Knowledge
  • Thinking and Inquiry
  • Communication
  • Application

Mathematics

An information and technology based society requires individuals who are able to think critically about complex issues, analyze and adapt to new situations, solve problems of various kinds, and communicate their thinking effectively. The study of Mathematics equips students with knowledge, skills and habits of mind that are essential for successful and rewarding participation in such a society. To learn mathematics in a way that will serve them well throughout their lives, students need classroom experiences that help them develop mathematical understanding; learn important facts, skills and procedures; develop the ability to apply the processes of mathematics; and acquire a positive attitude towards mathematics. Learning mathematics equips students with a concise and powerful means of communication. Mathematical structures, operations, processes, and language provide students with a framework and tools for reasoning, justifying conclusions and expressing ideas clearly. Through mathematical activities that are practical and relevant to their lives, students develop mathematical understanding, problem-solving skills, and related technical skills that they can apply in their daily lives and, eventually, in the workplace.

There are five strands in the Mathematics Curriculum:

  1. Number Sense and Numeration
  2. Measurement
  3. Geometry and Spatial Sense
  4. Patterning and Algebra
  5. Data Management and Probability

1. Number Sense and Numeration

In this strand students develop their understanding of number by learning about different ways of representing numbers and about the relationships among numbers.

2. Measurement

In this strand students learn about the measurable attributes of objects and about the units and processes involved in measurement.

3. Geometry and Spatial Sense

In this strand students learn to recognise basic shapes and figures, to distinguish between the attributes of an object that are geometric properties and those that are not, and to investigate the shared properties of classes of shapes and figures. Mathematical concepts and skills related location and movement are also addressed in this strand.

4. Patterning and Algebra

One of the central themes in mathematics is the study of patterns and relationships. The study requires students to recognize, describe and generalize patterns and to build mathematical models to simulate the behavior of real-world phenomena that exhibit observable patterns. Students represent patterns algebraically and use these representations to make predictions. A second focus of this strand is the concept of equality. Students look at different ways of using numbers to represent equal quantities. Variables are introduced as ‘unknowns’ and techniques for solving equations are developed.

5. Data management and Probability

In this strand students learn about different ways to gather, organize and display data. They learn about different types of data and develop techniques for analyzing the data that include determining measures of central tendency and examining the distribution of the data. Students also actively explore probability which offers a wealth of interesting problems that can fascinate students. Connecting probability and data management to real-world problems helps make the learning relevant to students.

Science and Technology

Science is a way of knowing that seeks to describe and explain the natural and physical world. An important part of scientific and technological literacy is an understanding of the nature of science, which includes an understanding of the following:

  • What scientists, engineers and technologists do as individuals and as a community
  • How scientific knowledge is generated and validated, and what benefits, costs and risks are involved in using this knowledge
  • How science interacts with technology, society and the environment

Technology is a way of knowing, and is also a process of exploration and experimentation. Technology is both a form of knowledge that uses concepts and skills from other disciplines (including science) and the application of this knowledge to meet an identified need or to solve a specific problem using materials, energy and tools (including computers). Technological methods consist of inventing or modifying devices, structures, systems and/or processes. An understanding of the nature of technology includes knowing the following:

  • What technology is, in its broadest terms (much more than the knowledge and skills related to computers and their applications)
  • How technology and science are interrelated
  • How thinking about technology’ benefits, costs and risks can contribute to using it wisely

There are four strands in the Science and Technology Curriculum:

  1. Understanding Life Systems
  2. Understanding Structures and Mechanisms
  3. Understanding Matter and Energy
  4. Understanding Earth and Space Systems

The fundamental concepts that are addressed in the curriculum for science and technology are as follows:

  • Matter
  • Energy
  • Systems and interactions
  • Structure and function
  • Sustainability and stewardship
  • Change and continuity

‘Big ideas’ are the broad, important understandings that students should retain long after they have forgotten many of the details of something they have studied. Big ideas describe aspects of the fundamental concepts above that are addressed at each grade level. Developing a deeper understanding of the big ideas requires students to understand basic concepts, develop inquiry and problem-solving skills, and connect these concepts and skills to the world beyond the classroom.

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OYIS is to be commended for creating a dynamic school climate that parents and students are eager to be a part of.

WASC Mid-Cycle Report April 2016

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