Middle School

GISB’s middle school offers a holistic bilingual program with equal emphasis on languages and sciences, allowing students to become creative and critical thinkers.

Middle school, which includes grades 5 to 8, is based on the German ideal of “Bildung.” “Bildung” includes education, culture, and formation. The word describes how a young person grows holistically through exposure to intellectually challenging subjects and rich experiences.

Students in middle school will thrive in our supportive atmosphere of independence, trust, and high expectation. Whether in a spirited debate, a game of soccer, or a tricky lab experiment, the skills, confidence, and friendships gained at GISB have an impact far beyond the middle school years.

Curriculum

The middle school at German International School Boston follows a German college preparatory curriculum emphasizing math, science, and languages. Students establish a repertoire of academic methods and tools, such as presentation, discussion, and reasoning with peers and teachers. These skills are honed over time and become the foundation for their future success in high school and college.

Curricula for subjects taught in German align with the school curriculum in Germany and are approved by the German Kultusministerkonferenz (State Sectraries of Education). Curricula for subjects taught in English combine German requirements with Massachusetts’ high state standards.

While students in grades 5 and 6 can borrow school-owned Chromebooks for work in school, students in grades 7 and 8 are issued individual Chromebooks for work in school and at home.

Your child will have a homeroom teacher who is also your primary resource as a parent, yet many of his or her most memorable lessons will likely be taught at this age by peers. Lessons about self-awareness and teamwork are integrated into every subject at GISB. Overnight field trips support leadership and team development, along with regular student council meetings and assemblies continuing the momentum, as students learn to identify and advocate about issues, concerns, and ideas within their community.

We believe that teachers and parents are partners in your child’s education. We are always happy to discuss your child’s progress, either during parent conferences in the fall or during an informal parent-teacher meeting. Although most of your child’s teachers will speak only German with children, they look forward to discussions with you in English or German, depending on your preference.

For more information about the orientation level/Beobachtungsstufe in grades 5 and 6 and the different degrees in the German school system, please see the Admissions FAQs.

Students starting at German International School Boston in the middle school are already fluent in German and English and take classes in both languages. Depending on their proficiency level, GISB offers German+ or English+ for students in grade 5, an additional 4-hour per week language booster program.

Students entering grade 5 with little or no German knowledge have the option to apply for our Fast Track program, an intensive and rigorous program for motivated students. Learn about Fast Track.

Each year our middle school kicks off with an overnight trip to the White Mountains to promote team-building.

The physical education curriculum includes:

  • Outings to Harvard University’s athletic facilities
  • Swimming at Boston University
  • Rock-climbing at a local indoor climbing gym

All students participate in the student council to address concerns, resolve conflicts, and promote new ideas within the middle school.

At regular assemblies, the middle and high school students come together to share ideas, discuss current events, or be inspired by others. Special middle school events such as the Science Cafe – our kicked-back yet sophisticated version of a traditional science fair – take place throughout the year.

Each year, grade 8 students embark on an individual study project. Over the course of several months, they conduct their own research, formulate a thesis statement, and prepare a presentation of their findings. They then present their project to parents, teachers, and peers. Students decide themselves what topic to pursue, and past presentations ranged from climate change to Covid vaccines, from police reform to dyslexia.

The chart below outlines how the learning week is divided into subjects for students in grades 5-8:

SubjectLanguage of InstructionPeriods in grades 5 & 6Periods in grades 7 & 8
German Language & LiteratureGerman55
English Language & LiteratureEnglish54
German+ or English+German/English4
(grade 5 only)
French or SpanishFrench/Spanish4
(grade 6 only)
4
Ethics & Student CouncilGerman12
MathematicsGerman55
Science
(Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
German
German
German
3Biology 1.5
Physics 2
Chemistry 1.5
GeographyGerman22
HistoryGerman22
U.S. HistoryEnglish2
MusicGerman21
ArtEnglish21
Physical EducationGerman42

Hours

TimeActivity
8:15 am – 8:30 amDrop Off Time
8:30 am – 3:00 pmRegular School Day
3:00 pm – 6:00 pmAfter School Program

A Typical Day

There is no such thing as a typical day in middle school at German International School Boston. Teachers ensure that each day brings new surprises and challenges, yet it is the students who truly keep things fresh, with their humor and energy.

Below is a sample of what your child might experience:

TimeActivity
8:15 amDoors open
8:30 amTuesdays kick off with a double-period of German. You just finished reading and discussing Goethes ballade “Der Zauberlehrling”. Now you’re working with friends on creating a modern re-telling of the ballade or a stop motion movie for the annual Balladen presentation (“Balladenabend”).
10:00 amEnjoy some downtime to eat a snack and play basketball outside.
10:30 amIn music, you work on your original composition.
11:15 amIn math, you work as a team to understand the theorem of Thales.
NoonTime for lunch with teachers and friends. After cleaning up it’s back outside to get some energy out.
12:40 pmNext a double-period of physics: you finish building a complicated circuit using light sensors – it rocks! Then you work on your poster for Science Cafe.
2:15 pmThe student council meets. As a class representative, you report back from the school council meeting and the feedback you received concerning your class’ idea to share the soccer pitch with the elementary school during break.
3:00 pmThe school day is officially over. You head to the student-organized peer tutoring club for some help with French, then warm up on the violin in the hallway before your regular weekly lesson. After-school activities continue until 6:00 pm.