Middle Years Programme

Service as Action (SA)

The purpose of MYP Service as Action is to engage students in authentic, enduring service learning experiences – within the school community, locally, nationally and globally – to encourage students to reflect on the meaning of community and the benefits of community service to themselves and to others, and to reflect on the understanding and insights they have acquired. In addition, Service as Action will be one of the lenses through which MYP inter-disciplinary units and curricular units in all subject areas are viewed.
Opportunities for service learning will be posted/announced so that MYP students can make informed choices about their service experiences. OIS will coordinate some service activities; however, students will also be encouraged to develop their own service opportunities. Some MYP students may choose to engage in community service during the Wednesday afternoon co-curricular periods. MYP students will be encouraged to thoughtfully reflect on their community service experiences and self-evaluate them.

Personal Project

All students in year 11 at OIS complete an MYP Personal Project. This is the chance for each student to research and complete a project on anything at all that interests them, with the support of a teacher-supervisor. The project is completed in the student’s own time between the end of year 10 and January of year 11.
The personal project offers students a great deal of flexibility and many opportunities for differentiation of learning and expression according to their individual needs. It is a rich opportunity for students to complete an extended piece of work that challenges their own creativity and thinking about issues of concern to themselves. Creativity is encouraged by the aims and objectives of the personal project and the results are usually rewarding, and sometimes spectacular. (Adapted from the IB MYP Personal Project guide, 2004).


Diploma Programme

Creativity, Action and Service (CAS)

All IB Diploma students must engage in creative experiences, physical activity and community service beyond their academic programme.
The CAS programme aims to develop students who are:

• Reflective thinkers
• Willing to accept new challenges and new roles
• Aware of themselves as members of communities with responsibilities towards each other and the environment
• Active participants in sustained, collaborative projects
• Balanced individuals who enjoy and find significance in a range of activities.*

CAS consists of:

Creativity: the Arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking.
Action: physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle.
Service: voluntary endeavour that involves learning and personal development for the student.

CAS activities should involve:
• Real, purposeful activities, with significant outcomes
• Personal challenge—tasks must extend the student
• Thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress, reporting
• Reflection on outcomes and personal learning.*

While it is the quality of a CAS activity that is most important, the guideline for the minimum amount of CAS engagement is approximately 150 hours in total, with a reasonable balance between creativity, action and service.*
OIS has scheduled two hours every Wednesday afternoon for CAS. Diploma students will be expected to use this time to participate in CAS activities and document that participation in their CAS journals. Some CAS activities will be organized by the school; however, students will be encouraged to develop their own creativity, action and service opportunities.
The school will also be offering a variety of after-school, extra-curricular activities (creativity and action) which will be open to MYP students, parents, teachers and the community as well as diploma students. A diploma student who participates in an activity during the two-hour Wednesday CAS periods and who attends one or two after-school activities will be able to meet the CAS requirement.
The diploma timetable is planned so that students will finish their CAS participation by February in Year Two of the programme. They will then have time to complete their final reflections thoughtfully.

The CAS Coordinator will work individually with each diploma student to develop a plan for meeting each of the requirements for CAS. The Coordinator will also develop a list of opportunities for students to investigate and pursue. Some of the proposed activities will take place within the local community (the greater Lisbon area).

As a result of their CAS experiences, including their reflections, there should be evidence that students have:
• increased their awareness of their own strengths and areas for growth
• undertaken new challenges
• planned and initiated activities
• worked collaboratively with others
• shown perseverance and commitment in their activities
• engaged with issues of global importance
• considered the ethical implications of their actions
• developed new skills*

All eight of these outcomes must be present for a student to complete the CAS requirement. Some may be demonstrated many times, in a variety of activities, but completion requires only that there is some evidence for every outcome.

*Material on this page (adapted)from IB CAS Programme Guide, March 2008. Anthony Rowe, Ltd. United Kingdom.

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

The aims of the TOK course are to assist the students in discovering and understanding the richness and empowerment of knowledge, develop an awareness of how knowledge is constructed, critically examined, evaluated and renewed by communities and individuals and encourage students to reflect on their own experiences as learners as well as make connections between academic disciplines and thoughts, feelings and actions.

The course is organized as a critical thinking course around the two fundamental questions:

a. What is it that  I claim to know?
b. How valid are the methods used to establish what it is I claim to know?

TOK aims to encourage an interest in the diversity of ways of thinking and ways of living individuals and communities, develop an awareness of personal and ideological assumptions as well as encourage consideration of the responsibilities originating between knowledge, the community and the individual as a citizen of the world. The students will be assessed on practice oral presentations and essays, role play and on their participation in preparing for and leading debate and discussion, as well as on their final presentations and essays.

Extended Essay

The extended essay is an in-depth study of a focused topic normally chosen by a student from one of his or her six chosen subjects for the IB diploma. It is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity. It provides students with an opportunity to engage in personal research in a topic of their own choice, under the guidance of a supervisor (a teacher in the school). This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing, in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject chosen.

All Diploma programme students complete an extended essay under the supervision of their supervisor. The Extended Essay, like the Personal Project, is based on a topic of the student’s choice and is completed in his or her own time.


Extra-Curricular Activities

Gardening is a popular extra-curricular activity. A special characteristic of OIS is our focus on sustainability, which we regard as an integral part of our mission as educators. As well as a demanding academic curriculum we also aim to educate our students for life, and gardening is a key part of this. We are lucky to have a large kitchen garden, and each class has a plot to tend. The students will spend time in the garden every week, and the produce is given to the food bank. Students learn what it takes to go from seed to table, they develop patience as well as practical skills. Some students and staff have developed a particularly keen interest, and they have their own plots. During spring and summer it’s common to find students and their families in the garden at the weekend, enjoying the sunshine and a little bit of physical activity. This beautiful environment is the greatest physical asset of our school, and we never underestimate its value to our community.