Nova International Middle School has adopted, with modification for the international school setting, the Massachusetts State Learning Standards. These can be found at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/current.html

As a middle school we endeavor to provide an atmosphere that is developmentally appropriate, dynamic and encourages students to become life-long learners.  All of our courses emphasize inquiry skills, problem solving, and interdisciplinary connections and are tailored to the developmental reasoning of the middle school student.  All students in all grades take part in Music, Art, Dance, Physical Education and Computer Science Classes.  Students have the opportunity to sign up for an elective foreign language course.  Foreign Languages offered are Spanish, French, Italian and German. 

Dance, Art and Music classes collaborate three times a year to create exhibitions.  Our main performance is our school wide production of the winter performance.  This is a themed dance, drama and art presentation that takes place in a rented theater.  Students experience the thrill of performing in a real theater for a packed audience.  Check out our gallery to see pictures of past performances. 

Throughout the year in Physical Education courses healthy living and physical fitness are emphasized.  Students learn vital skills in teamwork, fitness, and goal setting.  Students are expected to work to their own physical ability and to set achievable goals for improving fitness under the guidance of our Physical Education teacher.  Students are taught cooperative games in class and the emphasis is placed on sportsmanship, teamwork and healthy competition. 

Grade Five (10 years-11 years of age): 

Grade Five is viewed as a pivotal transition year at Nova International Schools.  This is when students begin to really apply the basic skills they have learned in Elementary. Students are becoming more independent and eager to explore on their own. To help them in this quest for knowledge, we emphasize the skills needed to succeed in the upper middle school level and beyond.  Students receive direct instruction on study and organizational skills, time management and goal setting.  Grade five is an inquiry based year, where all studies center around asking questions and solving problems.  In science classes students study weather systems, geological time, and plant life through controlled experimentation and data collection.  In math classes, students utilize problem solving strategies to create elaborate real world problems that they solve using fractions, percentages, algorithms and basic algebra.  Grade five social studies classes emphasize geographical skills, understanding the five themes of geography and then the application of those ideas to Europe and Russia.  The social studies curriculum is designed to encourage students to ask questions about their world, and is closely integrated into the other subjects.  In English-Language Arts, grade five students begin the process of reading to learn rather than learning to read.  Basic reading skills are reinforced and utilized in small and large group settings to help students begin to analyze texts.  Students are also instructed on grammar, spelling and basic writing skills, but emphasis is placed on using writing as a means of communication.  Students are taught to form and support opinions using nonfiction texts, to accurately cite sources and present material in a coherent way.  Grade Five English Language Arts also encourages students to explore their imaginations through creative writing.  Students learn and adapt the Writer’s Workshop method of prewriting, drafting, editing, polishing and presenting. 

Grade Six (11 years-12 years of age): 

Grade Six is an exciting time for students in middle school.  They are exploring the world based on the skills they gained in grade five and have begun to master the inquiry based approach to learning.  In grade six we reinforce study and organizational skills, time management and goal setting.  Students begin to evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses in learning and to make plans to improve their abilities.  Sixth grade science is based on the idea that a real scientist combines experimentation with research.  Students research science problems using a variety of resources from text to internet and then test hypothesizes.  Students study Health, Physical, Life and Earth Science in this survey course. Special emphasis is placed on learning science skills such as observation, questioning and experimentation.  In Social Studies, sixth grade students explore the Ancient World to Today.  The course is designed to highlight key moments in the history of humankind and to follow how certain repeatable themes have affected our world and civilization.  Students ask and answer big question relating to the development of human history, such as how the use of metal affected civilization and how farming changed the world.  Sixth grade math is an exploration of basic algebraic and geometric principals such as solving basic algebraic equations to evaluate the area of a plane figure.  Students will also practice problem solving strategies, encounter place value and base ten concepts, and multiplying and dividing fractions.  Sixth Grade English explores the world of literature in several key ways.  Students read and respond to a variety of literature over the course of the year, engaging in discussions of literary terms and purpose and motivation of characters.  Students learn what dynamic and static characters are, and how that knowledge applies to literary analysis.  Student skills in grammar and spelling are reinforced through basic skills review.  Students are also asked to utilize those basic skills in forming opinion essays, book reviews, creative writing and personal reflections.  Students are able to explain by the end of the year the basic structures of myths, legends and epics. 

Grade Seven (12-13 years of age): 

 Grade Seven marks the rise of creativity and curiosity of middle school students.  Students receive less direct instruction on study skills and organization, and are expected to utilize these skills with very little prompting from teachers.  In math class students explore Algebraic concepts such as manipulating integers and exponents on a coordinate plane, functions and equations.  Students also experiment with problem solving strategies, number relationships, geometric principles, ratios and proportions as well as data analysis.  Science in Grade seven is a focused course covering Earth Science.  Students will focus on the Earth’s waters, climate change, weather, rocks and minerals, landforms and geological time.  Students in seventh grade take on the role of scientist by interviewing experts in various Earth Science fields, conducting field research and maintaining data.  In Social Studies, Grade seven students compare and contrast North America to either Asia or Africa.  Students study the evolution of North America, including the history of Canada and the United States through a variety of sources including historical first person accounts, historical fiction and newspapers.  During the second half of the year, they use this basis to compare North America to Asia or Africa.  Again utilizing first person accounts, guest speakers, newspapers, and historical or realistic fiction, students are encouraged to ask and seek answers to overarching questions.  English-Language Arts in grade seven is a more sophisticated approach to reading and writing. Students have obtained the basic skill sets they need to truly begin in depth analysis of literature.  Students are challenged and encouraged to read classical literature and compare and contrast it to modern literature.  Seventh grade literature analysis classes ask students to look at mood, tempo, personification, and symbolism within multiple stories.  Students compare and contrast how two different authors can tackle the same topic, and the students begin to utilize the vocabulary of analysis in their own writing.  Students are expected to utilize the basic grammar and spelling skills, which are reinforced, in multiple writings.  The personal narrative is a focus of the seventh grade writing experience.  Students are expected to write, using the writer’s workshop methodology, personal narratives about both real and imagined events. 

Grade Eight (13-14 years of age): 

Eighth grade signals the end of middle school.  Students in grade Eight should show grade level mastery in organization, time management and study skills.  Students receive minimal direct instruction on basic skills of organization, and concentrated instruction on study skills.  In Math class, students study basic algebraic principals in either Algebra or Pre-Algebra.  They explore in depth linear equations, data and polynomials, concepts of similarity and transformation, number theory and inequalities.  Students will reinforce their problem solving capabilities with the main course aim being to lay a solid foundation for continued mathematics education in high school.  Eighth grade science is a study of Physical Science.  Students perform multiple experiments exploring forces, energy and motion.  Students explore Newton’s laws, chemical energy, matter, chemical reactions, chemical bonds and the periodic table of elements.  Students are constantly exploring and experimenting with concepts learned in the classroom.  Social Studies in Grade Eight designed to actively engage students in developing their own cultural awareness, creating cultural awareness, and will nurture their emerging understanding of the world around them.  World Cultures is a look at the role that culture plays in multiple civilizations around the world from a geographical, historical and socio-economic perspective.  The course draws on first person narratives, historical and realistic fiction, memoirs, newspapers, magazines, documentaries as well as the text to create complete understandings of the world.  Students are expected to take an active role in researching and exploring the cultures highlighted.  Students will again investigate larger social questions.  Grade Eight English- Language Arts is an exploration of literature and its power.  Students will read highlighted classical pieces as well as modern pieces.  They will focus on irony and parody in literary works, with a special note to its uses in poetry and drama.  Students will be expected to present claims and findings of literature analysis both verbally and through written work in a focused and coherent manner, supporting salient points with relevant textual evidence.   Students will again utilize basic conventions and the writer’s workshop to create polished and presentable written work.