Upper Elementary Curriculum

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In the Upper Elementary, students learn through integrated units of study. Utilizing the reading and writing workshop model, students collaborate and inquire to comprehend, critically analyze and write while connecting to the real-world. Students analyze fictional and non-fictional texts using a variety of genres that incorporate content related to Social Studies topics following the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and American Education Reaches Out (AERO) Standards. 


In the Upper Elementary, students take on an analytical problem-solving approach that focuses on exploratory units aligned with the Common Core Math Standards. Students are encouraged to use perseverance when undertaking different approaches to problems. Collaboration is a key aspect when solving problems as DAIS focuses on building 21st Century Skills. 


In the Upper Elementary Science program, we approach the study of the Sciences as hands-on, collaborative, investigative experiences that develop students as 21st Century Learners.  An inquiry-based approach develops learners who are creative, critical thinkers who work through the design thinking process to solve real world problems.  Students engage in a variety of experiential learning opportunities in the Life, Earth and Physical Sciences, then apply their learning through an Engineering and Design process.  Learning progressions are based on the Next Generation Science Standards. Upper Elementary students define more complex phenomena, test multiple solutions, analyze all data, and propose future improvements.  

Social Studies

Students in the Upper Elementary take an authentic approach to the American Education Reaches Out (AERO) Standards by focusing on integrated units of studies that are project based through research and inquiry. Units integrate literacy through global and local lenses. Students practice presentation and research skills as they delve into topics of economics, citizenship, government, culture, technology, and global issues. 


Artists are informed, they appreciate Art, through learning and reflecting about the most important artists, styles and movements. Creative individuals apply those experiences learned previously to new situations while responding with originality. Artist are committed, able to work on tasks through experiences with materials and resources when producing personal works. They are responsible individuals that care for the planet, environment and natural resources. 

Art allows students to cultivate relationships with their classmates while developing their fine motor skills, talent, concentration, coordination, self-caring, sensibility and freedom.  Art provides students with new and rich experiences that increase their cultural panorama and encourage artistic creation as expressive media. Art must be an exciting, activity-based course able to effectively provide a healthy and creative environment within the school and throughout the entire community. 


Music education enables all learners to explore, create, perceive, and communicate thoughts, images, and feeling through music. Shared experiences in music also significantly contribute to the development of a healthier society through activities that respect and reflect the diversity of human experiences.   

Throughout the music curriculum, objectives progress from one grade level to the next, with growing sophistication. Upper Elementary music students develop musical skills through singing, dancing, movement activities, and playing instruments including recorder, xylophone, and ukulele. Students are provided the opportunity to develop literacy in music including familiarity with the conventions of written music. They explore, create, and interpret self and global awareness through the study of music traditions of various cultures. Through experiences that require focused and sustained practice, our students develop discipline and confidence. 

Tech/ Design

Technology is integrated into all curriculum areas, with a strong emphasis on the thinking skills that underpin effective use of technology resources. Technology lessons are collaboratively planned, and students learn how to use a wide variety of tech tools including the Microsoft 365 suite, to create, produce and present their learning. Students are encouraged to develop thinking skills that will help them learn and use new technology tools as they emerge to help them be better prepared for 21st Century life. Students in Grades 3-5 are introduced to effective internet research skills, using Microsoft tools to create reports and presentations, and beginning to learn independent strategies to choose appropriate presentation tools to share their learning on a digital platform. Using the standards from the International Society for Technology Education, students are introduced to concepts such as Global Collaborator, Creative Communicator, and being an ethical and responsible Digital Citizen. Students are supported by the homeroom teacher and the technology teacher to help them learn to digitally express themselves, create new and innovative ideas and solve problems.  

Host Country Language

The host country language studies program emphasizes an understanding and appreciation of the Mandarin language and Chinese culture.  This is achieved by taking advantage of the school’s local environment and China’s geographical and cultural history. Students have a variety of opportunities to actively experience the Mandarin language.  The vocabulary and phrasing chosen for instruction is planned to help students’ entry into the local culture and everyday life, with a focus on oral fluency. 

Physical Education

The Elementary School incorporates the mind, body and spirit into our Physical Education Program. In upper elementary, our students are learning how to apply the skills learned in class in authentic games like: Tennis, Table Tennis, Fitness, Basketball, Dance, Baseball, Soccer, Games, Swimming, and other activities throughout the year. PE is broken into three major domains: Affective, Psychomotor and Cognitive. In these areas, the PE Program follows National Physical Education Standards for Grade Levels Pre-K through 12th Grade.  

Learning Support

Children in mainstream classes who experience learning difficulties are identified, supported and monitored by the learning support department. Learning support is individualized to the student and their current academic and social needs allowing them to develop intellect, character, and health.