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Middle School

TIS Middle School - At a Glance

The middle school program at TIS places students in active group learning environments that support the development of Learning skills including collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving. 

Middle School has always been a time of growth and discovery for young people. Not only are Middle School students expanding their learning in the classroom, but they begin to try new things, meet new people, and forge the path that will lead them into adulthood. Throughout the three years students spend in Middle School, they are given the opportunities to expand their thinking and sharpen their skills all in a safe environment that promotes internal growth and experimentation. Students at TIS Middle School should walk out of these doors not only ready for High School, but with an idea of who they are, who they want to become, and a fundamental knowledge of how to get there. At TIS MS we are helping build 21st century adults and the future of TIS MS will continue to adapt to an ever-changing world so our students will be ready.

Jeffrey Tempel
Director of Instruction

A primary component of our middle school program are 21st century skills. Developing these skills helps our student to prepare for a rapidly changing future. Through project-based learning, our students are engaged in authentic, real-world learning situations.

The academic environment is focused on kids growth, with customized learning plans when necessary and tailored opportunities for kids to ensure academic challenge. We also love that TIS is part of the CEESA network, allowing for enriching opportunities to  exchange with other schools in the region, engage with other kids and their families, and appreciate diversity and cultural difference.

TIS Parent

Middle School & Secondary Classroom Peaks

SEC: Advanced Math 1

Advance Math 1 (Algebra 2) students had to make a poster displaying the unit circle and all its angles and coordinates in a creative and unique way. Then, the students had to write and solve 5 trigonometry equations using their knowledge of the unit circle. Students are expected memorize exact coordinates and angles measures of the unit circle like their timetables for various higher-level applications in math and science.

Read More about SEC: Advanced Math 1
MS/SEC: Learning About Snakes... in German!

Our Native and Non-Native German students from the 11/12yo up to the IB classes had a rare chance to gather information in German about snakes for their unit topic. During a field trip to the Tirana Zoo, we got to meet with Mr. Meier, who answered all of our questions with expertise. The students got to reconsider some of the fears and myths they had about snakes. For instance, very few of the snakes found in Albania are even potentially dangerous to humans, and instead help us by keeping the population of mice and rats down. Snakes also lack ears, and can feel vibrations in the ground instead, which is why they will try to get away from us and will only bite as a last resort if we leave them no way to escape. At the end of our visit, even some of those who had been hesitant lined up to hold one of the snakes!

Read More about MS/SEC: Learning About Snakes... in German!
ELEM & MS: Art with Ms. Entela

Elementary and middle school art students wrapped up the year in a colorful way. They explored various media in drawings, paintings, and 3-D clay sculptures. Students studied and applied different compositions and approaches in techniques using watercolors, ink, acrylic on paper and canvas. Inspired by artists in the world, they learned new styles and expressed their artistic voice through their own artwork. This fine collection of artworks by the elementary and middle school students is part of the annual exhibition at TIS.

Read More about ELEM & MS: Art with Ms. Entela
SEC: Literature II with Ms. Lisa

Students in Ms. Lisa's Literature II class recorded podcasts filled with discussions of literary criticism targeting the major readings of the school year: George Orwell's 1984; William Shakespeare's Tragedy of King Lear; and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. Students were placed into groups for the "Critical Approaches to Literature" unit to explore the two novels and the play through the socio-cultural critical lenses of Gender Studies/Feminism, Marxism and Marginalized Voices. They discussed how the characters, plots, and themes could be interpreted based on different critical perspectives. The podcasts ranged from 17 minutes to 34 minutes of discussion. This was the second round of group podcasts created in Literature II and demonstrated the mature insight and commentary that students have worked hard to improve all year from guided discussion to independent seminars to full, written commentary. They should be very proud of their efforts this year!

Read More about SEC: Literature II with Ms. Lisa
MS/SEC: Classes with Mr. Sellers

Testing . . . testing . . . 1, 2, 3 . . . 

MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) tests for 13-year-old Literature and Writing students might not thrill or enthrall, but it gives students some exposure to and experience with standardized testing, guideposts for future instruction, and (one hopes!) encouragement with a positive slope of learning gains. “Eager” for questions on gerunds and participles, employing comprehension and text-analysis skills, students gamely take on this semi-annual “tradition” . . . 

International Baccalaureate Psychology students go “in camera” for marathon sessions of applying salient studies, terms, concepts to evaluative questions posed by IB. The intrinsic motivation of these young scholars of brains and behavior assures that learning will continue even after assessments finish. 

Meanwhile, Literature-13 students study “Media Literacy”—a wide-ranging topic that includes assessing sources for fake news, and also demonstrating how a range of media (books, movies, graphic novels and more) convey message and mood, theme and tone.  

Going hand-in-hand with this pursuit, Writing-13 students produce a range of media on their own. Some delve into Advanced Creative Writing, another supplemental unit, some collaborate on a Cultural Studies-themed presentation; a suspenseful short film; an informative podcast; and “much, much more!” These new units from our updated English curriculum lights creative fires in these young creators’ minds. 

International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge students wrap up their considerations of “how we know what we know” in History Area of Knowledge, and focus on producing their Exhibitions—linking three objects of personal significance to a Knowledge Question from a list of 35 options. What counts as knowledge? Are some types of knowledge more useful than others? How can we distinguish between knowledge, opinion, and belief? Questions worth addressing! 

Read More about MS/SEC: Classes with Mr. Sellers