Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
Blyde River Canyon, South Africa 


ISM School-Wide Student Goals

At International School Manila, we expect students to work to the best of their ability to be:

Effective Communicators: who can interact through a range of modes of communication and for a variety of purposes.

Knowledgeable and Skilled Learners: who continually acquire useful knowledge and skills while developing understanding(s) across a broad and balanced range of contexts.

Self-directed and Balanced Individuals: who strive to achieve their personal best and understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance.

Inquiring and Reflective Problem Solvers: who can think critically and creatively to make informed decisions and then take appropriate action.

Responsible, Caring and Ethical Contributors: who can empathize and be tolerant of differences and are committed to make a positive impact on their communities and environment.

Course Description

Each quarter, we will work on one coordinated multi-disciplinary unit focusing on one rich concept in all of the core subject areas. This means that all core areas will focus on the same overarching understandings and essential questions, but we will be assessing subject specific standards and indicators. In grade 8, the units of study are Systems, Transformation, Power, and Connections. Some topics of study in Social Studies will include:

Systems: A study of how international systems work and how decisions are made at a global level. This is primarily a study of the history and functioning of the United Nations and its role in bringing change to the modern world.

Transformation: This unit builds upon the learning of the United Nations by teaching how the UN uses its authority and influence to attempt to bring positive transformations to the world.  Through a role-played UN conference, students get to experience the various difficulties faced by UN delegates.  Students also learn about situations in which the UN does not have authority to intervene and how citizens must sometimes bring about transformation through revolution.

Power: An historical study and evaluation of the Philippine People Power Revolution and a modern-day examination of issues faced by the current Philippine government.

Connections: A trans-disciplinary study held in conjunction with English classes in which students Advocate for Change (AFC) on a global issue of importance to them. This performance task applies many important skills learned in both social studies and English during the year and involves  research, critical thinking, and writing skills culminating with a day-long AFC Summit in which students debate and demonstrate their understanding of global issues.

Assessment and Reporting

At ISM, we believe that grades should reflect the level of understanding and achievement towards determined standards and that student behaviors (effort, participation, adherence to class rules, etc.) should be included separately.  Therefore, the Social Studies grade will consist of two separate grading categories.  These include Achievement and Learning Habits and both will be reported on in the semester report.

Within the Achievement and Learning Habits categories, grades will be reported on in subcategories to provide further information to parents and students regarding strengths and areas for growth.  Within the Achievement category, students will be assessed on Knowledge and Understanding (what do you know?), Transfer of Learning (How can you apply what you know?), and Communication of Learning (How can you communicate about what you know?).  Within the Learning Habits category, students will be assessed on Organization, Engagement, and Collaboration.

Grades will be reported on a scale of 7-1 with 7 and 6 representing Exemplary Achievement and Learning Habits, 5 and 4 representing Proficient Achievement and Learning Habits, 3 and 2 representing Developing Achievement and Learning Habits and a 1 representing Emerging Achievement and Learning Habits.  All rubrics will reflect this scale, and grade boundaries for quiz and test type assessments will be determined by teacher teams on a case by case basis. Only summative assessments will be included in the Achievement grade. Learning Habits will be both self and teacher assessed at least three times per semester.

The type of assessment, work time spent on a task, and its level of challenge to a student determine the weighting of an assignment. Students will demonstrate their Knowledge and Understanding, Transfer of Learning, and Communication of Learning through tests and quizzes, projects, formal writing, oral presentations, and class work.


Welcome to the Grade 8 Social Studies homepage for Mr. van der Merwe's classes.  This page is designed to assist both students and parents with everything they need to know about social studies class this year.

 On the far left of your screen, you will see specific pages for the four quarters. Please click on the link to navigate to the approach page. All resources required for the particular quarter, assignments and homework instructions are laid out on each page. For this quarter's work please click on the 'POWERlink. 

Communication is a vital link between student, teacher and parent to ensure productive learning. Parents should feel free to contact the school should they have any questions or concerns regarding their child's progress. Parents have access to Powerschool and can check for regular grade updates. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions at vandermerwes@ismanila.org.

Below left is a brief description of our student goals, assessment guidelines and the Social Studies course.