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Middle Years Program (Grade 6 & 7 Curriculum)

Our Middle Division curriculum follows naturally from the Senior Kindergarten to Grade 5 Primary Years Programme. It meets the standard of an IB World School program and provides a solid and exciting transition to Intermediate Years 1 and 2 at the Upper School.

myp model

The MYP model

This program meets the social emotional needs of our students and enables them to become responsible, independent, curious and creative thinkers and learners. It recognizes the importance of learning styles, intercultural understanding and a transdisciplinary approach to learning. It insures that our boys are actively engaged in a rich spectrum of academic, artistic, athletic and service activities in a supportive environment that encourages risk-taking and fosters their sense of achievement and self-esteem.

English

The Grade 6 English program allows students to move comfortably from the Primary to the Middle Division level at the College. Throughout the year, the students are introduced to three literary genres: prose fiction, poetry and drama.

The Grade 7 English program is an intensive and enriched course of study which lays the groundwork for Year 1, Year 2 and Foundation Year at the Upper School. The program is divided into three sections: literature (and literary analysis); communication (both written and oral); and language skills. The core literature has been chosen to expose students to a richness and variety of writing. Students also develop an appreciation of allegory through the study of “Foundations,” a research project on 100 culturally significant references.

In both years, reading is supported with a reading period outside regular English class time. On a regular basis, students practise various forms of writing, including narrative pieces, speeches, poetry and formal essays. They use both word processors and traditional writing tools to help with the draft-revision process. Core language skills (including formal grammar skills) are taught with the aid of written exercises found in their grammar workbook. Students’ individual language skills weaknesses are addressed by the teacher as part of the writing process. Core vocabulary is drawn from the core literature studied and from other subjects.

Library

Grade 6 & 7 students have one English period in the library every eight days. During this time, students are introduced to a wide variety of new and familiar authors and books through book talks and reading aloud. Students also use the periods to browse, choose books and read for pleasure. Information skills are taught in the context of subject work. In Grade 6, instruction begins with bibliographic and locational skills and progresses to include information skills needed to complete assignments and projects. In Grade 7, students progress through the information skills continuum to the development of more complex information finding strategies.

French
Core French

The Form 6 core French program aims to provide students with the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to develop proficiency in the language. This course continues to emphasize communicative competence by developing the students’ listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Through a thematic approach, they experience a contextual application of the vocabulary and grammar structures of the “On y va 1” program. In Grade 7, students move on to more complex structures, and language topics such as fast food, mysteries, amazing animals and legends. “On y va 2” is the textbook used at this level, and we study the reader. A challenging reading program, including a variety of theme-related texts and practise in public speaking are integral parts of the course. Technology plays a key role in differentiating instruction, sharing work and thinking critically.

Advanced French

The goal of the advanced level is to provide students with the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to develop proficiency in the language. Students study the same topics, themes and grammatical structures as the core level, but in greater detail and depth. The scope of learning opportunities is expanded with more complex and involved projects, assignments, presentations and speeches.

Extended French

Students in the extended French program have experience in French or immersion schools, or they demonstrate superior French skills and the capacity to meet the higher expectations of this program. They follow a program designed to help them consolidate and expand on their current language skills and written comprehension and expression. Students are capable of communicating in French, and emphasis is placed on language form, comprehension and grammatical accuracy. A selection of Canadian and French short stories, poems and songs is studied, including the novel Jacquou le croquant in Grade 6 and Le tour du monde en 80 jours in Grade 7. Students use their research and creative skills to make oral presentations throughout the year. All students also participate in a public speaking contest.

History and Geography

In Grade 6, the History and Geography course provides students with their first formal study of history. It begins with an introduction to geography and its relation to history, and proceeds to the study of Roman civilization, from its founding through the Republic and Empire periods. Students spend the second term considering the genesis and development of world religions, with a particular focus on Islam, and conclude the year studying early modern Europe, with an emphasis on the Renaissance, Reformation and the age of exploration.

Throughout the year, students are introduced to historical concepts such as time sequence, evidence, cause and consequence, continuity and change, perspective, bias and moral judgment. The geography skills introduced in the first term are woven into the history program over the entire year.

In Grade 7 students take a Canadian history course, examining the various forces that have shaped our nation. They explore the principal theme of “The Struggle for Survival” and develop an appreciation for how early Canadians interacted with their environment and survived ongoing conflict in their growth as a colony and as a people. The year begins with a short introduction to the dimensions of historical thinking and then proceeds to study first contact, the establishment of the French colony, the British conquest and subsequent colonial period, and concludes with the formation of the Dominion of Canada. Research, writing skills and critical thinking, as well as the geographic skills introduced in Grade 6, are further developed throughout the year. Students will be expected to develop an understanding of the modern Canadian perspective by being aware of events in the media that directly affect Canada and the world at large.

Mathematics

The focus of the Grade 6 program is to extend students’ basic mathematical skills and to continue to develop the link between mathematical theory and real-life applications. This course is organized into five major areas of knowledge: number sense and numeration; measurement, geometry and spatial sense; patterning and algebra; and data management and probability. Students also take part in both the Canadian Math League and Pythagoras contests. Independent learning skills are introduced through various open-ended investigations and projects throughout the year.

In Grade 7, students learn through an active, student-centred environment where connections are made to the real world. The major areas of study are: number sense and numeration; measurement; geometry and spatial sense; patterning and algebra; and data management and probability. Calculator skills and the use of technology are further developed. There’s an emphasis on problem solving, which includes participation in the Canadian National Mathematics League and Gauss contests. There are also opportunities for student-directed investigations and independent learning throughout the year.

Science

This course explores concepts in biology, chemistry, physics and environmental science. Students: develop skills in the processes of scientific inquiry; relate science to technological, social and environmental knowledge; and apply their knowledge of science to everyday situations.

In Grade 6 they learn about the interrelationships of ecosystems, learn the basic principles of heat and temperature, investigate the relationship between form and function in various natural and man-made structures, and investigate the fundamentals of chemistry: mixtures, solutions, atomic structure and the periodic table. Mankind’s impact on the environment is a recurring theme throughout the year.

In Grade 7 units studied include: foundations of science; robotics; cells; tissues and organs; and systems in action. Students design and carry out an original experiment and present their findings in the form of a science fair project.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

At Upper Canada College, we use technology to nurture creativity, spark imagination and learn from failures. We strive to develop highly effective, self-directed, and ethical learners who make a difference to their life or the lives of others. Devices such as laptops (grade 5 to 7) and iPads (SK to grade 4) are used as tools to take an active role in constructing understanding, demonstrating learning and interacting with the world. Teachers and students seamlessly integrate technology as objects to think with, to deepen understanding and innovate in ways not previously possible.

Structured ICT time is provided in the timetable to help students learn to effectively manage their devices and integrate key 21st century skill development into the subject areas. Together with the support of classroom teachers and subject specialists, students will use a variety of technological tools. Students will build more advanced computer skills, evaluate sources of information and use a variety of media to plan, design, create and communicate ideas.

Art

Visual literacy, communication and problem solving are skills that are addressed in the Grade 6 visual art program and explored in more depth at the Grade 7 level. To increase fluency in these areas, the students examine the visual, tactile, spatial and temporal elements in the world around them to increase their sensory perception. Using the elements and principles of design, they analyze the relationships within the natural and man-made environment. Students manipulate and explore the expressive potential of different combinations and arrangements of visual elements, using skills developed through drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. This approach supports boys’ learning styles, is inquiry-based, encourages exploration and experimentation with a multitude of materials and methods. The process of making work is highly valued.

Drama

The Grade 6 dramatic arts program is designed to provide an introduction to the exploration and study of drama, theatre and dance. Students will learn about using stage area, character development and dramatic conventions such as role-on-the-wall, still-imaging, hot-seating, flocking and stage combat. By giving creative expression and form to thoughts, feelings, and ideas, students have the opportunity to respond with their whole person: mind, body and emotions.While deepening their knowledge and familiarity of the structures and conventions of these art forms, students in Grade 7 will examine, experience and reflect upon the process of creating drama, theatre and dance pieces. Students will rehearse and present one-act plays and monologues, and learn how to improvise. The goal is to provide opportunities for creative self-expression.

Music

The middle years music program is a band performance program using brass, woodwind and percussion instruments. Students will choose an instrument according to their past experience and appropriate classroom balance. Instruments are provided for the students’ use, but they’ll be expected to provide their own mouthpieces and reeds. Students are instructed in the proper care and assembly of their instruments. The skills developed in Grades 6 and 7 include the reading of basic music notation, the production of good tone, the learning of fingering patterns, an understanding of pitch and rhythm, and the performance of multi-part band works of different styles. Home practise is required. All Grade 6 boys are involved in the Form 6 Band while Grade 7 students may join the Form 7 Band. Boys can also audition for the Jazz Band and String Ensemble. Choir with involvement in the Prep musical is also a co-curricular activity.

Physical Education

In Grade 6 this course encourages students to make connections between different activities by applying concepts and transferring basic movement patterns to different contexts. In the fall, students develop their kicking and handling skills while comparing three different forms of football. In the winter, boys inquire into the nature of attack and defence in two net games (badminton and table tennis) in addition to developing their skating skills in the arena and their snorkelling skills in the pool. In the spring, students engage in cricket, lacrosse, and track and field. While isolated skills practise is employed where appropriate, students are given an authentic context for performance whenever possible and are expected to consider the effective application of their skills.

In Grade 7 this course encourages students to apply their skills and understanding to new activities and shifts the focus towards the development and maintenance of physical fitness. Students are expected to work with peers and take increasing responsibility for their own learning. In the fall, boys engage in a game creation unit where they work in small groups to design, modify and present a new game to their peers. In the winter, boys work with a partner to develop a dynamic gymnastics sequence and engage in a skating unit. Throughout the year, there’s a focus on physical fitness and development through: endurance running in the fall; gymnastics in the winter; and culminating in a muscular endurance/strength unit in the spring. The program is designed to equip and motivate boys for future participation in formal and informal physical activities.

Health and Life Skills

This curriculum is taught by health and life skills teachers and the Middle Division coordinator of the Wernham & West Centre for Learning, supported by the form adviser. It deals with issues and concerns particularly appropriate to boys at this stage of development. The health component of the curriculum includes four main sub-topics: nutrition; personal safety; substance use and abuse; and growth and development. Interwoven into these lessons are the life skills of: managing academic and personal stress; managing interpersonal relations and conflict resolution; understanding how our actions impact others; problem-solving; and decision-making. Students participate in activities designed to develop academic skills in the area of agenda use, managing time and developing an understanding of their learning profile.

In our everyday life at the Prep, we make explicit the attributes of our “Learner Profile.” By embedding them in the curriculum and making them an integral part of the daily experience of the Prep community, we endeavour to develop a way of thinking and acting which embodies these values. We acknowledge that it’s normal for students to occasionally fall short of these high expectations as part of their development. These situations are important learning opportunities. Using a specific calming strategy, active listening skills and a common problem-solving model, we help students develop their abilities to work and play with others and to better understand and manage their emotions. When they can do this successfully, they promote their value in any group context and build on their self-confidence. When we help children feel safer, more accepted and better able to build good friendships, they’re able to pay better attention in class, enjoy being at school and focus on their schoolwork.

Outdoor Education

Grade 6 students spend one day in the first term, four days in the second term and two days in the spring in our Norval Outdoor School.

Every Grade 7 class spends a week at Norval each fall. This unique program brings together a number of exciting activities: SLR film photography; high and low ropes course course challenges; and camping out. But the most unusual aspect of the fall week at Norval is the “Norval history program.”

History literally “comes alive” to the boys during their fall week at Norval. Students spend a day simulating what it would be like to be a pioneer family in Ontario during the early 1800s. They create their own pioneer family groups, complete with parents and children, and pretend to tour the Norval area as if they were looking to settle. The “children” spend time in our pioneer schoolhouse. The “families” help do farm chores and cook lunch over an open fire. Norval staff dress up as characters from local history, to help make the simulation feel more real.

Later that day the students get a taste of archaeology as we sift through the soil at the site of one of the Dr. Noble’s tenant farms, looking for artifacts from the 1800s. Over the years, the students have found a wide variety of interesting objects. Before the dig, we talk about artifacts, and how “every artifact tells a story.” Students get very excited about the buried “treasures” they uncover. They are very eager to share what they have found with each other and to speculate about what stories each artifact has to tell: Why was this piece of China left behind? What was this button made out of? Why do these coins not say Canada on them? What was this tool used for? What a great way to get students excited about history!

The fall week at Norval really helps students learn to “dig” learning about history!