Lower School – Years 7 and 8

Sha Tin College is a dynamic school filled with wonderful opportunities as well as friendly, motivated students. For students starting out in Year 7, I would like to assure you the transition to secondary school can be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences in your life. We build on the skills that you have learned in primary school and encourage every student to become an inquisitive and responsible life-long learner. For students joining us in Year 8, you will find the high expectations of staff and excellent work ethic of your fellow students create a wonderful learning environment.

I like to think joining Sha Tin College is like joining a large extended family where all staff and students encourage each other to achieve their very best. You will be supported throughout your time at Shat Tin by an excellent team of Tutors, a Deputy Head of Year and Head of Year.

Our academic results are outstanding but there is so much more to Sha Tin College and I expect all students in the Lower School to become fully involved in college life. When I speak with students in Year 7 or Year 8 I like to hear the excitement in their voice as they talk about their involvement in a wide variety of activities while also maintaining excellent grades. Dedicated involvement in co-curricular activities should start immediately in Year 7.

I look forward to meeting all new students and parents as a student enters Sha Tin College. I would welcome an opportunity to discuss entrance to the Lower School or the expectations we have of students once they have been accepted. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by email at lp@shatincollege.edu.hk

Language Acquisition

We are undergoing a period of change in our Language Acquisition courses. This is principally to respond to changes associated with the implementation of MYP and the need to phase these changes in over the coming years.

English language and literature

English is taught through reading, writing and speaking and listening activities. Although these are three different strands of English, they are interdependent and taught side by side.

It is well accepted that students who have a love of reading and regularly read a range of texts become more fluent writers and more articulate speakers. To encourage this, all students have access to a Recommended Reading Guide, most classes begin with independent silent reading students have a timetabled Library lesson for sustained reading. In the English classroom, students read and study a range of genres, both literary and non-literary, from different cultures. This in turn informs and develops their writing and oral activities.

In Year 7, students will read and discuss:
• autobiographical extracts
• a range of poetry
• Dahl’s ‘The Landlady’ short story
• at least one class reader or book box
• as well as a range of non-literary texts such as advertisements.

In Year 8, students will study:
• a number of gothic fiction short stories
• Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’
• a range of non-literary persuasive texts such as travel brochures and rhetorical speeches
• at least one class reader or book box.

In each year, students will undertake a range of written tasks for different audiences and purposes:
• narrative writing
• poetry
• transactional writing
• creative writing based on texts read
• analytical literary responses.

Grammar, punctuation and spelling are taught discretely within each lesson as well as explicitly in timetabled grammar lessons once a cycle. Oral activities include a range of tasks including individual presentations, paired work, and group work. Students are also expected to participate in group and whole class discussions during lessons.
Students are assessed constantly during lessons and are given individual feedback and targets by their class teacher. Each term, students have at least one formal assessment which is reported to parents. At the end of each year, all students sit end of year Writing and Reading examinations which are also reported back to parents.

English is taught in mixed ability classes in the lower school. However, a small number of students have extra support for their English once a week.

Individuals and societies

Global Thinking Skills

In year 7 the students study the following topics:
• Communities and Rules: Students learn more about the community at Sha Tin College and also online communities. They reflect on why we have rules and how we should behave within the different communities we are a part of.
• Cyber safety and bullying: Focus is on responsible use of laptops
• Who am I?: Students learn about identity and reflect on the sort of person they would like to be and also the changes that will occur in their bodies and minds as they grow up.
• FRIENDS for Youth: This is a social resilience course that teaches life skills to help reach goals and deal successfully with challenges.

In Year 8 the students will study the following topics:
• Poverty: The aim of this unit of work is to learn more about how poverty affects the lives of children. The skills taught include research, empathy, social and global awareness, communication and presentation styles.
• Debating global issues: The aim of this unit of work is to learn about different sources of evidence and to put your skills to the test by using evidence to win debates. Focus on communication and research skills
• Information literacy: In this unit the students learn about plagiarism, cross referencing, citations, research and how to construct an essay giving different points of view. The focus is on using library database resources rather than google search.

Geography

The Geography curriculum in the Lower School is designed to explore a balance of physical and human topics whilst embedding key geographical skills and concepts.

In Year 7 students study;
• Our Restless Planet
• Making & Mapping connections
• Rivers & Flooding
• Development in Hong Kong

The theory is supported by a trip to Brides’ Pool where students practice their map skills in the field whilst learning about river features and processes along the route.

In Year 8 students study;
• People and the Planet
• Weather & Climate
• Coasts
• Ecosystems
• Brazil

On a field trip to Sai Kung Country Park they get the opportunity to investigate coastal processes and features and well as human impacts on the coastline. They also develop their understanding of processes operating within a woodland ecosystem and the potential threats to this environment.

History

In order to understand the world we live in, it is necessary to be aware of the events of the past.
Within History lessons students develop the following key skills;
• Chronology: understanding what happened and when
• Description: using a variety of sources and your knowledge to describe what happened
• Explanation: explaining the causes and consequences of what happened
• Analysis and Evaluation: to construct a balanced argument in extended writing
• Source analysis: making inferences and cross-referencing sources.

In Year 7 students study the following units:
• The Roman Empire – the rise and fall of the Empire. Students will complete an assessment on ‘Were the Romans Civilised?’
• Medieval England – how William of Normandy conquered and kept control of England. Students will complete an assessment on ‘Why did William, Duke of Normandy win the Battle of Hastings?’ In addition students study complete an interdisciplinary unit on the Black Death in their History and Science lessons.
• Islamic Civilisations. This is a cross curricular unit with PRS and culminates in students producing a presentation in groups of four to answer the question: How do Muslims and non-Muslims perceive Islam?

In Year 8 students study the following units:
• Study of Shi Huang Di and Mao Ze Dong with an assessment on Who was the greatest emperor?
• Tudors and the Renaissance with an assessment on How similar were Henry VII and Henry VIII? Students also complete an interdisciplinary unit on Life in the Tudor Times in History and English lessons.
• Native People of North America with an assessment on how the Plains Indians tackled the problems of living on the Great Plains.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana

Philosophy and Religious Studies

As a global citizen it is vital to understand, and evaluate the diverse range of beliefs and perspectives on humanity, life and the universe. PRS also contributes to students’ personal development and well-being and to community cohesion by promoting mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse society. The PRS Department at Sha Tin College offers a dynamic, thought provoking and worthwhile curriculum ensuring that learning is active and enjoyable.

PRS plays an important role in preparing students for adult life, employment and lifelong learning. It helps young people become successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens. It gives students the knowledge, skills and understanding to strengthen their capacity for making moral judgements and for evaluating different types of commitment to make positive and healthy choices.

We believe that critically evaluating ideas, even one’s own, is valuable, and we regularly set up exercises in class that require this skill: it is a key part of the education that is offered by ESF. Of course, students are left free to reach their own conclusions, but abstract reflection on ideas is a key part of this subject.

The PRS curriculum in the Lower School is designed to introduce students to the six major world religions as well as some important philosophical questions and concepts.

In Year 7 students study:
• An introduction to the six major world religions.
• Is religion important in Hong Kong?
• How religions communicate beliefs through symbols.
• Different perspectives on the origins of the universe.
• How do Muslims and non-Muslims perceive Islam? This is an interdisciplinary unit taught in PRS, History Maths and Languages.

As part of the investigation into religion in Hong Kong, Year 7 students complete a trail of four different religious places of worship in Hong Kong.

In Year 8 students continue to develop their inquiry skills by concentrating on two group investigations. Students also take a closer look into the religion of Judaism which provides some important knowledge to prepare them for their individual project on the person of Jesus. Here is the list of topics:
• What makes a successful life? This is an interdisciplinary unit of work taught in PRS, GTS, English and Languages.
• How is belief in God expressed in Judaism?
• Jesus-Man or Messiah?
• An inquiry into the concept of God.

Sciences

Via a constructivist approach to learning students in Years 7 and 8 are introduced to the main themes of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. We believe that the most effective learning takes place when a student is actively engaged in solving a particular problem. This learning is individual yet often takes place collaboratively. It thrives on performance-generated feedback. In line with this philosophy we have developed a curriculum that challenges the students to find original and creative solutions to problems.

A typical lesson may include a student performing an experiment in order to deduce whether or not there is a relationship between some variables. The teacher frames this investigation in such a way that, once completed, the student can situate the knowledge gained within a wider scientific framework. Our curriculum at Years 7 and 8 provides the ideal bridge between primary school Science and the demands of later years at Sha Tin College.

Topics covered include:
• magnetism
• waves
• chemical reactions
• fuels
• feeding relationships
• reproduction and more

Assessment is continuous throughout the course and is both formal and informal. Approximately six times per year students are tested and a grade assigned.

As many of the skills taught are transferable and lend themselves to being applied in different situations there are several opportunities for cross-curricular collaboration. These include a project on the “Black Death” in cooperation with them History department and a “Molecular Gastronomy” project in cooperation with the Food Technology department.

For more information about Science in Years 7 and 8, please contact Mr Michael Chiu.

Mathematics

In the Lower School our aim in the Mathematics faculty is to motivate students to enjoy and embrace Mathematics through teacher-led activities and enquiry based learning. This is done both within the classroom and through activities around the school. During each year we have weekly mathematical challenges, celebrate a Maths week which involves the whole school, enter about 120 students into the UK Maths Trust (UKMT) challenge.

The learning modules in the Lower school focus on:
• Algebra
• Graphing
• Shape & space
• Data handling

Students are taught within consistently monitored teaching groups where an assessment takes place every five or six weeks, after each module. This helps enable us to put each child into a group the best suits their current ability. To help initiate students into Year 7 who may struggle with Mathematics we have 2 parallel “Growth” mathematics classes, with a smaller student teacher ratio. These classes benefit from the support of a member of the Learning Support team co-teaching each lesson, allowing individual educational plans to be followed for each child.

All students are introduced to learning technologies early on in Mathematics and with the interactive one-to-one laptop program all students have access to the interactive Maths programs Manga High and Myimaths.

Arts

Art

Our aim is to promote collective and individual creativity by giving all our art students the opportunity to learn and succeed to achieve their personal best. We believe visual education should be planned to allow for the different ways we think and learn. In Years 7 and 8, we teach the students about Art in its variety of forms and introduce them to a wide variety of media including:
• Drawing
• Painting
• Printmaking
• Sculpture
• Digital media
• Ceramics
• Mixed Media

Students are immediately introduced to good working habits in their workbooks and encouraged to have high expectations in terms of the quality and completion of their work. Students in these years take pride in seeing their work exhibited in the Art rooms and other locations around the school. These foundations are very important as the students progress through the school to GCSE and IB level.

We encourage students to respond to the world around them through exploring individual feelings and emotions in a visual form, to develop imagination, problem solving and the ability to express themselves. The emphasis in Art is on building confidence, improving hand-skills and developing an understanding of materials and knowledge of artists from a variety of times and cultures.

Movements that the students will be introduced to include:
• Pop Art
• Fauvism
• Impressionism
• Picasso
• Cubism
• and many contemporary Artists from Asia and the rest of the world

We teach the students through a thematic approach and themes can include: “Looking Closely”, “Pop Art and Colour”, “Arts of Asia”, “Natural Forms” and “Transformations”.

The challenge in Year 8 increases with more complex critical / written assignments and more challenging subject matter to ensure student progression. Our intention is that, during Years 7 and 8, the students have adopted a genuine enjoyment and appreciation of the Visual Arts to make meaningful progress through to the Middle School Years.

Drama

The Drama and Theatre Department at Sha Tin College is a busy place to visit! Every day sees students honing their vocal and movement skills both during Drama lessons and at break times.

The Lower School sees students studying Shakespeare’s The Tempest in Year 7. They learn the story of the castaway Duke of Milan through creating his enchanted island, before testing their new found performance skills in paired scenes between Prospero and other worldly creatures such as Caliban and Ariel.

The Year 7 students then follow the trail of settlers to America in the Oregon Trail project. The year is 1840 and the New World beckons. In this unit students create their own family groups before taking the bold decision to travel to America for a new life. During their wagon journey they encounter problems such as cold, heat and hunger and, of course, the Rocky Mountains, before the whole dramatic experience is flipped to be viewed from the perspective of the Native Americans. This is quite a radical learning experience.

In Year 8 students learn more about physical theatre techniques in performance as they rehearse and present their own Myth or Legend in a group of approximately five students. The actors are encouraged to rely on voice and body to tell these magical tales and they even sing and dance to make their work more spectacular. This unit is followed by an introduction to the world of Victorian melodrama in which students learn the stock characters, emotions and dialogue of this lively and visual theatre form.

Music

All students in Year 7 and 8 have a weekly one hour Music Lesson in which they create music, perform as a soloist, in groups, listen, analyse and learn about the theory of Music. In addition to these subject specific skills, studying music helps boost your listening, concentration and memory, mathematical and reading skills, helps with your time and organisation skills, makes you work better in teams and appreciate others contributions, helps with your co-ordination, understand other cultures and, above all, makes you happy!

In Year 7, the topics that we study are:
• African Drumming
• Chinese Music
• Rhythm and Stomp
• Renaissance & Baroque Music (with musical elements and composing)

In Year 8, the topics that we study are:
• Indonesian Music
• Guitar
• Latin American Music
• Music Technology and Media
• Structure and Form in Classical Music.

Students can be assessed in a range of skills including practical performing skills, listening skills and written investigative assignment skills.

Beyond the classroom, students are welcome to take part in our STC Orchestra, Choir and Chinese Orchestra, as well as many bands and ensembles, that can perform at our Young Musicians Festival, School Production, the Chinese New Year Assembly, Spring Concert, Scottish Opera (during CAS Week) and many other events.

We have two classrooms, several practice rooms, a band room with recording facilities, and a range of instruments including Pianos, Keyboards, Guitars, Drum Kits, Tuned and Untuned Percussion. Students will also make full use of their laptop using a range of recommended music software.

Physical and health education

Physical Education life begins in Year 7 with the opportunity to study and answer questions through physical movement and inquiry. We aim to improve basic skills, health and fitness as well as why we take part in physical education and sport. This all takes place through six different activities: Athletics, Basketball, Dance, Gymnastics, Swimming, Striking and Fielding. This gives the student the opportunity to express themselves in varied situations. Assessment takes place at the end of each module and provides a continued record of progress and a focus point to inform future learning.

In Year 8 students continue to following the same principles as in Year 7. They now have the opportunity to do this through five activities, Dance/Gymnastics, Hockey, Football, Netball and Swimming. The models are slightly longer and allow the students to learn the skills and tactics in more depth.

All students in years 7, 8 and 9 also have the opportunity to work on their personal fitness with one lesson in every four being dedicated to improving health and fitness, studies have constantly indicated that children who take part in regular exercise at an early age continue these habits into adulthood.

Technology

Design and Technology

The Junior School design experience is split into three courses and provides students with opportunities to progressively develop their design thinking. They will understand the contexts and concepts of design history and philosophy and engage in a wide range designing and making.

All of the courses from Year 7 through to 9 involve students designing and making objects, which act as the vehicle for the ideas, knowledge, concepts and contexts being experienced. Objects have meaning ascribed to them and it is this progressive appreciation throughout the courses that enable our students to begin to think and work like a real designer.

Our students love making objects, and the department has a broad range of equipment and technologies, which engage students in the iterative design process of sketching and modelling their ideas. The use of CAD/CAM, where laser cutting and 3-D printing technologies are ubiquitous forming part of our unique design process.

Food Technology

In Year 7 and 8 students work through four units to establish their understanding and knowledge of skills, ingredients and health and safety.
Students enjoy working on these skills in a practical way where they will progress through each unit and build on each of them taught making a range of sweet and savoury products.

Year 7 see’s an introduction to equipment and ways of using them and then they will complete design and make projects to use ideas they have learnt to work in a creative way.

Year 8 focuses more on group work and linking in other subject areas. Business and food marketing plays a large part in this unit to show how the food industry gets an idea from a product to a launch.

ICT

Given the constantly evolving nature of technology, the acquisition of digital literacy skills represents a process of life-long learning. To facilitate this, the ICT courses at Sha Tin College are to designed to follow on seamlessly from those at the junior schools and develop student capability in the areas of Information Literacy, Computer Literacy, Media Literacy and Digital Citizenship and Behaviours
In the early years, courses are based in the practical application of ICT to solve real world problems and students use a wide range of hardware and software, from online apps to professional level machine based applications to compliment this. By finding out about the short, yet colourful and often dramatic history of ICT and its pioneers, students discover how the technology they use every day evolved. They learn to develop strategies that will allow them to remain safe whilst exploring their online world as part of their life-long learning and find out what makes it all work. They work to develop a knowledge of algorithms and programming logic, moving on to code web-based materials using HTML5 and CSS, with options to move onto more complex languages and frameworks.