Learning at AISM
AISM offers three high-quality and challenging International Baccalaureate programmes (see below) designed to engage students from 3 to 19 years of age in educational learning that equips them for life in the 21st century. IB students embrace their own cultures and are open and responsive to other cultures and views. They are fully engaged, ever curious learners for life. At the heart of all our programmes is the IB Learner Profile, a long-term, holistic vision of education that underpins the IB continuum of education and puts the student at the centre of everything we do. The Learner Profile is the IB mission statement in action and provides a set of learning behaviours which aims to inspire, motivate and focus students, teachers and the entire IB School community, uniting them in a common purpose.
Learning at AISM is based on a coherent curriculum. The school plans and implements a coherent curriculum that organizes learning and teaching within and across the years of its IB programmes. The curriculum is designed in accordance with programme documentation and is articulated horizontally and vertically. Teachers collaborate to design units that are informed by the contents of these written curriculum documents.
In the menus below, you will find the curriculum for each subject area in the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP).
The International Baccalaureate (IB) aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end, the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
As an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, we are proud that all of our learners in the Primary School participate in the IB Primary Years Program (PYP). If your family is new to the Primary Years Program, or if your child has been at a PYP school before but you would like a refresher about the program, please explore some of the links below:
Taryn BondClegg is the Primary Years Program Coordinator at AISM and it is both her responsibility and her pleasure to support families in understanding the program. If you ever have any questions or want to chat about the PYP please do not hesitate to contact her at email@example.com.
IB Primary Years Programme (Kindergarten to Grade 5)
The primary school is a dynamic and creative learning environment designed to meet the academic, social, emotional and physical needs of students. The Primary Years Program (PYP) operates as a centre of student inquiry, engaging students in their learning process and challenging them to achieve their full potential.
The PYP curriculum:
- Develops a child’s natural curiosity through inquiry
- Uses an integrated approach to learning through the PYP framework
- Encourages an international perspective
- Uses the library and technology to support learning
- Develops a sense of responsibility regarding authentic action within the community
In addition to teaching the core academic disciplines, AISM also offers single subject programs in performing arts, visual arts, physical education and the Portuguese language.
As a PYP school, students are engaged in learning through six trans-disciplinary themes. To view your child’s current program of study, please click on PYP Program of Inquiry below.
The home-school partnership is an important part of our educational program and we welcome and encourage parents’ participation.
The Middle Years Programme (MYP) aims to develop active learners and internationally minded young people who can empathize with others and pursue lives of purpose and meaning. The programme empowers students to inquire into a wide range of issues and ideas of significance locally, nationally and globally. The result is young people who are creative, critical and reflective thinkers.
The MYP culminates with the Grade 10 Personal Project, which supports students to complete a significant piece of work over an extended period of time, encouraging them to consolidate their learning and reflect on the outcomes of their work.
The MYP organizes teaching and learning through eight subject groups. The programme promotes interdisciplinary study that helps students make important connections between academic subjects. Integrated teaching and learning helps students analyze complex issues and develop the habits of mind they need to participate in our increasingly interconnected world.
At AISM, we offer the following MYP courses:
- Language and literature
- Language acquisition
- Individuals and societies
- Integrated Humanities (History, Geography, Economics, Politics)
- Integrated Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Sciences)
- Music, Theatre, Visual Arts
- Physical and health education
Each year, students in the MYP also engage in at least one collaboratively planned interdisciplinary unit that involves at least two subject groups.
Our approach to teaching and learning
Teaching and learning in the MYP is underpinned by the following concepts:
Teaching and learning in context
Students learn best when their learning experiences have context and are connected to their lives and their experience of the world that they have experienced.
Using global contexts, MYP students develop an understanding of their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet through developmentally appropriate explorations of:
- identities and relationships
- personal and cultural expression
- orientations in space and time
- scientific and technical innovation
- fairness and development
- globalization and sustainability.
Concepts are big ideas that have relevance within specific disciplines and across subject areas. MYP students use concepts as a vehicle to inquire into issues and ideas of personal, local and global significance and examine knowledge holistically. The MYP prescribes sixteen key interdisciplinary concepts along with related concepts for each discipline.
Approaches to learning
A unifying thread throughout all MYP subject groups, approaches to learning (ATL) provide the foundation for independent learning and encourage the application of their knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Developing and applying these social, thinking, research, communication and self management skills helps students learn how to learn.
Service as action, through community service
Action and service have always been shared values of the IB community. Students take action when they apply what they are learning in the classroom and beyond. IB learners strive to be caring members of the community who demonstrate a commitment to service—making a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment. Service as action is an integral part of the programme, especially in the MYP community project.
Inclusion and learning diversity in MYP
As part of the MYP curriculum, schools address differentiation within the written, taught and assessed curriculum. This is demonstrated in the unit planner and in the teaching environment, both of which are reviewed during programme authorization and evaluation.
The MYP allows schools to continue to meet state, provincial or national legal requirements for students with access needs. Schools must develop an inclusion/special educational needs (SEN) policy that explains assessment access arrangements, classroom accommodations and curriculum modification that meet individual student learning needs.
Assessment in MYP
Assessment in MYP comes with its own language and a unique grading system. Below, we will address a few frequently asked questions that are common from MYP parents and students:
What are these A, B, C, D Criteria?
All MYP subjects have students working towards four objectives - labeled as Criterion A, B, C and D. While these objectives are not the same in each subject, there are always four, labeled as A, B, C, D (see graphic below*). Each MYP assessment task (formative or summative) will be addressing one or more of these objectives. In their comments, our teachers will be indicating areas in which your child made progress, as well as ways in which your child can improve towards these course objectives.
How are grades applied towards these four objectives?
Accompanying grades are based on a scale from 1-8 for each objective/criterion, with 1-2 indicating limited progress/performance, 3-4 indicating progress/performance that is approaching expectations, 5-6 indicating progress/performance that is meeting expectations and 7-8 indicating progress/performance that meets expectations with sophistication.
What grade indicates my child is meeting grade level expectations?
A grade of 5 against any criterion is the benchmark for meeting grade level expectations. Any grade higher than 5 indicates your child is meeting expectations for their grade level with varying degrees of sophistication as we move from level 6-8 on the scale.
My child received a task grade lower than 5… should I be concerned?
A grade of 4 generally indicates your child is very close to reaching grade level outcomes, but may need further practice or slight improvement. A grade of 3 would indicate a passing grade, with the need for improvement. A grade of 1-2 would indicate significant interventions are required. Teachers will use assessment data in order to inform targeted classroom instruction to help all students as they work towards grade level objectives. Additionally, assessment data will inform how teachers group students for extra support during PIE (a flexible learning block that occurs 3-4 times throughout the week). Of course, if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s grades, please contact the teacher.
Wait a second…when I get my child’s report card the grades only go as high as 7, but tasks on ManageBac are graded on a scale of 1-8… am I missing something?
No you are not. Individual Criterion grades are assessed on a scale of 1-8 on a per task basis. At the end of each semester, our teachers will make a professional, evidence based judgment as to where your child’s performance best fits against each of the four Criterion in a given subject, over the course of the semester. These four grades are then added up to get a total score out of 32 possible points (max 8 points x 4 criteria). The total score is then compared to grade boundaries set by the IB to give students their overall grade for semester:
- 1-5 = 1: very limited performance towards/understanding of course outcomes
- 6-9 = 2: limited performance towards/understanding of course outcomes
- 10-14 = 3: acceptable performance towards/understanding of course outcomes (passing threshold)
- 15-18 = 4: approaching proficient performance towards/understanding of course outcomes
- 19-23 = 5: proficient performance towards/understanding of course outcomes
- 24-27 = 6: proficient, occasional sophisticated performance towards/understanding of course outcomes
- 28:-23 = 8: proficient, frequently sophisticated performance towards/understanding of course outcomes
Does this seem really complicated, or is it just me?
It is really complicated. The IB’s goal in both the MYP and DP was to create a grading system that was not reflective of any country’s national grading system. This means, unless you were an MYP or DP student, that this system of grading will be completely novel. Don’t worry - we are here to help! An upcoming Secondary School Principal Wine and Cheese evening will focus on grades and assessment in both the MYP and DP.
If you’d like to learn more about grades in the MYP, please contact our MYP Coordinator, Mike BondClegg at firstname.lastname@example.org
*MYP Objectives (Criteria) in each course:
MYP Unit Overviews
Please see below our grade level overviews and course overviews for our Middle Years Program (Grades 6-10). These documents will give you a big-picture of the units of study in each course, at each grade level.
By Grade Level:
IB Middle Years Programme (Grade 6 to grade 10)
The Middle Years Programme provides a balanced curriculum around traditional knowledge and the relationships between all subjects. The MYP is designed to guide students in their search for a sense of belonging in the world around them. It also helps students to develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills they need to participate actively and responsibly in today's complex and ever-changing world.
Students study eight Subject Groups (follow the links below for the objectives)
- Language & Literature (English & Portuguese)
- Language Acquisition (Portuguese & French)
- Individuals & Societies
- Physical & Health Education
through six Global Contexts:
- Identities & Relationships
- Globalization & Sustainability
- Scientific & Technical Innovation
- Personal & Cultural Engagement
- Orientation in Time & Space
- Fairness & Development
In the final trimester of Grade 9, MYP students begin the MYP Personal Project in addition to their other subjects into Grade 10. This year-long independent project is the capstone of the Middle Years Programme. AISM uses the ManageBac curriculum tool for teachers and students to communicate and track their coursework and projects. Students are issued a username and password to access their personalized pages.
For further information on the MYP components, please click on the MYP Handbook and IB Middle Years Programme circle below.
IB Diploma Programme (Grade 11 & 12)
A two-year curriculum the IB Diploma Programme is offered to students in grades 11 and 12 in preparation for universities worldwide.
The Subjects currently offered by AISM are:
- Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature (English and Portuguese)
- Group 2: Language Acquisition (Portuguese, Spanish and French)
- Group 3: Individuals and Societies (Economics; History; Environmental Systems and Societies)
- Group 4: Experimental Sciences (Biology; Chemistry; Physics; Environmental Systems and Societies)
- Group 5: Mathematics (Analysis and Approaches HL & SL; Applications and Interpretations HL & SL)
- Group 6: The Arts (Visual Arts and Theatre)
A core made up of three separate parts - Theory of Knowledge (TOK), the Extended Essay (EE), and Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) complete the curriculum.
Students select a subject from Groups 1-5 and then a subject from Group 6 or a second subject from Groups 3 or 4.
Students also have study hall, IB prep and wellness classes.
Advisory is a regularly scheduled class within the Secondary School. The purpose of advisory is to allow small groups of students to meet regularly, to build relationships outside of the academic context, and to engage in learning directly connected to their well-being. This class is planned and facilitated by the Advisor.
The Advisor is a trusted adult at school for their Advisee. Research suggests that students who connect with at least one trusted adult in school are more resilient and have a stronger sense of well-being.* The Advisor plans, facilitates and manages the programming for their advisory class. Advisors will be part of a grade-level team that co-plan and may co-teach aspects of the Advisory program. Advisors should be responsive in terms of building programming based on the needs of their Advisees. Advisors will collaborate with the Social Emotional Counsellor on a variety of targeted workshops around health and wellbeing. Advisory is taught on a weekly basis in all grades of our Secondary School (Grades 6-12).
At AISM, we use the RULER Approach from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to inform the teaching and learning in our Advisory classes. In addition, we also use the SHAPE standards to inform teaching around topics pertaining to: Puberty and Adolescent Sexual Development, Gender Identity & Expression, Sexual Orientation & Identity, Sexual Health, Consent & Healthy Relationships and Interpersonal Violence.