at 9:59 am on Thursday, 29 January 2009
Henrico High School International Baccalaureate Program
Middle Years Program Curriculum
Five Organizing Elements: Areas of Interaction
The curriculum model of the MYP places the student and the way the student learns at its centre, as the child’s development is the basis of the whole educational process. The areas of interaction surrounding the student in the model are the core elements of the MYP. They provide a framework for learning within and across the subject groups. They allow connections among the subjects themselves, and between the subjects and real-life issues. These five organizing elements are:
Approaches to Learning
How do I learn best?
How do I know?
How do I communicate my understanding?
Approaches to learning (ATL) is central to the program, as it is concerned with developing the intellectual discipline, attitudes, strategies and skills which will result in critical, coherent and independent thought and the capacity for problem solving and decision making. It goes far beyond study skills, having to do with “learning how to learn” and with developing an awareness of thought processes and their strategic use. This area of interaction recognizes that true learning is more than the acquisition of knowledge: it involves its thoughtful application, as well as critical thinking and problem solving, both individually and collaboratively.
Community and Service
How do we live in relation to each other?
How can I contribute to the community?
How can I help others?
Community and service starts in the classroom and extends beyond it, requiring students to participate in the communities in which they live. The emphasis is on developing community awareness and concern, a sense of responsibility, and the skills and attitudes needed to make an effective contribution to society. Students are expected to become actively involved in service activities.
Why and how do we create?
What are the consequences?
Human ingenuity allows students to focus on the evolution, processes and products of human creativity. It considers their impact on society and on the mind. Students learn to appreciate and to put into practice the human capacity to influence, transform, enjoy and improve the quality of life. This area of interaction encourages students to explore the relationships between science, aesthetics, technology and ethics. It is at the core of student-centered learning, where the students themselves are placed in the position of human ingenuity: solving problems and showing creativity and resourcefulness in a variety of contexts throughout the curriculum and school life.
Where do we live?
What resources do we have or need?
What are my responsibilities?
Environment aims to make students aware of their interdependence with the environment so that they accept their responsibility for maintaining an environment fit for the future. Students are confronted with global environmental issues which require balanced understanding in the context of sustainable development. Students also face environmental situations at home and at school which require decision making. This area of interaction places the students in a position where they take positive, responsible action for the future.
Health and social education
How do I think and act?
How am I changing?
How can I look after myself and others?
Health and social education prepares students for a physically and mentally healthy life, aware of potential hazards and able to make informed choices. It develops in students a sense of responsibility for their own well-being and for the physical and social environment. This area encourages students to explore their own selves as they develop healthy relationships with others.
While the main defining features of each area of interaction can be outlined, they should in no way be viewed as narrow categories. These broad-based areas of interaction overlap each other.
All subject groups are touched by all areas of interaction in different and complementary ways. All teachers therefore share the responsibility of integrating skills, ideas, themes and issues related to these areas within the subjects themselves or in special projects. The areas of interaction aim to encourage new links between teachers. A new dynamic is created as teachers work together as a more cohesive team and learn to consider the curriculum from the point of view of the learner.
IBMYP Curriculum: What Courses You Take
Incoming freshmen are expected to have had, at least, Algebra I and a year of French or Spanish. Many students have found that having more language and/or math in middle school enables students to have more options their senior year. Students should NOT try to “get ahead” by taking P.E. over the summer, however, for two reasons. First, MYP P.E. is a required course for completion of the MYP Certificate. Second, MYP P.E. is not offered in the summer. In grades 9 and 10, students will complete 6 SOL exams, marked with an * below.
MYP Level Four
MYP Level Five
IBMYP English 9
IBMYP French or
IBMYP Spanish (II or III)
IBMYP World History &
IBMYP Geometry* or IBMYP Algebra II* or AP Stats
IBMYP Health &
IBMYP Art or
IBMYP English 10*
IBMYP French or
IBMYP Spanish (III or IV(
IBMYP Chinese IV
IBMYP US/VA Government
IBMYP Algebra II* or IBMYP Extended Mathematics
IBMYP Health &
IBMYP Art or
The Personal Project: Curriculum Culmination
Role of the Personal Project
The personal project is a significant body of work produced over an extended period. It is a product of the student’s own initiative and should reflect his/her experience of the MYP. The personal project holds a very important place in the program. It provides an excellent opportunity for students to produce a truly creative piece of work of their choice and to demonstrate the skills they have developed in approaches to learning. As shown in the MYP curriculum model, the five areas of interaction form the core of the program: they are addressed through the subjects; they bind various disciplines together; they are the basis of varied learning experiences through project work, interdisciplinary activities, and real-life community involvement. Although the areas of interaction are not awarded individual grades, they are central to the experience of the personal project, which is intended to be the culmination of the student’s involvement with the five areas of interaction; the project is therefore normally completed during the last year of the student’s participation in the MYP.
Types of Personal Project
The personal project may take many forms, for example:
• an original work of art (visual, dramatic, or performance)
• a written piece of work on a special topic (literary, social, psychological, or anthropological)
• a piece of literary fiction (that is, creative writing)
• an original science experiment
• an invention or specially designed object or system
• the presentation of a developed business, management, or organizational plan (that is, for an entrepreneurial business or project), a special event, or the development of a new student or community organization.
The student and the supervisor must agree that, whatever form the personal project takes, the finished product allows the student to investigate and focus on a theme, topic and/or issue closely connected to at least one area of interaction of the MYP. It must also include structured writing. Please see the section about the structure of the personal project for more details.
The student needs to choose carefully the type and goal of their project in terms of the skills and techniques that are required to bring it to a successful conclusion. Some projects may be too ambitious, require overly complex procedures or require a lengthy process of learning.
Requirements of the Personal Project
The personal project must not form part of the coursework for any subject: it must provide an opportunity for students to select a topic or theme about which they are enthusiastic, and to show commitment to the completion of their own project. The personal project encourages students to use a combination of the skills developed in a variety of subjects and through approaches to learning. It must not be limited to one specific discipline but must be inspired by, and focused on, topics and issues related to the areas of interaction to show the student’s understanding of the chosen areas. Most of the work involved in the personal project will be done outside class time. However, at different moments during the year, many schools schedule some time for students to receive training, conduct research, meet their supervisor, or present their project to others.
Award of Grades
Grades are awarded for the personal project in the same way as for the eight subject groups of the MYP curriculum. In addition, for schools requiring grades validated by the IBO, the award of a grade 1 or 2 for the personal project makes a student ineligible for the award of the MYP certificate.
The Program will ensure that each student engaged in a personal project receives direct supervision from a qualified person in the school, who can provide appropriate guidance and confirm the authenticity of the work submitted. This teacher or other professional within the school is the supervisor. Although the supervisor does not need any specialist knowledge in the area selected by the student, outside help may be requested in some instances. Parents also play an important role in supervision and are encouraged to learn about the project as well. We will provide training for parents to prepare for this.
In all cases, students will be guided in the planning, research and completion of their projects. They will receive formative feedback on their work and be encouraged to test and develop their own ideas and to respect established deadlines.
The personal project should be assessed according to the criteria stated in this guide.
Supervisors are responsible for the formative and summative assessment of the projects. Internal standardization of assessment among the supervisors is essential to ensure comparable and fair application of the criteria to the individual projects.
Structure of the Personal Project
The written presentation of all types of personal projects will follow the same general structure, and will include the following elements:
• Title page
• Table of contents
• Introduction, defining the goal of the project and an explicit focus on the chosen area(s) of interaction, and providing an outline of how the student intends to achieve the goal
• Description of the process, including production steps, the characteristics, aspects or components of the work
• Analysis of the inspiration, research and influences guiding the work, the findings and decisions made, the resulting product and the process in terms of the goal and its focus on the area(s) of interaction chosen (where the student has chosen to write an essay about a specific issue, the essay itself forms the main part of this analysis)
• Conclusion, where the student reflects on the impact of his/her project, and on new perspectives that could be considered
• Appendices, where appropriate
The length of the written work within a personal project varies, given the variety of types of projects that is acceptable. IBO expects students to express reflective thinking in a concise and precise manner. Where students write an essay to analyze an issue that they have investigated, the essay must be incorporated into the required structure, not exceed 3500 words. This count does not include the project product if it is a piece of writing such as a short story or a business plan,.
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