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Book Reviews for Key Stage 5 and adults by the GIS Community | Garden International School Malaysia

27 Mar 2018

Creating a strong reading culture where everyone in our community reads regularly for pleasure is one the things we strive for at Garden International School. With readily available resources at our library, everyone from our students, and even parents and staff is encouraged to read and share recommendations and reviews with one another. Here are a few book reviews by our parents and staff.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review Crazy Rich Asian

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By Erika Pungolino (GIS parent)

Title: Crazy Rich Asians
Author: Kevin Kwan

The novel is about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By Nina Beaugeard (GIS parent)

Title: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Author: Gail Honeyman

It’s about a woman with absolutely no social skills and a difficult childhood trying to navigate her way into new friendships. It’s funny, and difficult at times because the heroine is so awkward, but it’s one of the few books that every member of my book club loved.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review Magpie Murders

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By Ying-ley Ling  (GIS parent)

Title: Magpie Murders
Author: Anthony Horowitz

Two books in one with enough twists and turns to keep you reading through the night to the very end. Anthony Horowitz challenges the reader to guess the murderer. So far none have succeeded.

 

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By James Maitland- Smith (GIS parent)

Title: A Whole New Mind
Author: Daniel Pink

Great for anyone who has a child in school, or any one in education. Provides an interesting perspective on the dawning Conceptual Age.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review Leviathan Wakes

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By James Abela (GIS staff)

Title: Leviathan Wakes
Author: James S.A. Corey

It creates a fully realised world set in the near future where people are starting explore our solar system. The story itself is gripping with detective theme and action pieces throughout the book, but it makes you think about the consequences of technology and exploration.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review A Life Apart

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By Shalini Nair (GIS parent)

Title: Life Apart
Author: Neel Mukherjee

This is an intense read where the characters haunts you for months. It’s a sad story but it has a lot of depth in it with varied emotions and gave great insight into the periods of history and of society I was less aware of.

It’s two stories intertwined into one book, with each character leaving a mark on the reader. The author has tremendous depth in his writing and uses very poetic language. It had me running for dictionary many a time, but was still not daunting like many other acclaimed authors I have read. The story revolves around the bright young Indian student who got admission into Oxford on scholarship and his journey through the world unknown to him. He is haunted by his abusive childhood, this sexual orientation and lack of social circle which takes him and the reader along on a journey to the dark alleys of London and through his writing to the revolts during Indian independence history. It’s a book that stays with you long after you have finished reading it.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review Nineteen Minutes

Recommended for: Key Stage 5
By Pooja Gupta (GIS Parent)

Title: Nineteen minutes
Author: Jodi Picoult

This book is about a school shooting and the frustrations of a boy being bullied.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review Elizabeth is Missing

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By Nina Beaugeard (GIS parent)

Title: Elizabeth is Missing
Author: Emma Healey

Written from the perspective of an old lady with dementia, this is both funny and tragic, as the reader watches her inevitable decline. But there’s also a sub-plot – she thinks something terrible happened when she was young but, frustratingly, she can’t remember. A book to both cry and laugh over.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review How To Stop Time

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By Ying-ley Ling (GIS parent)

Title: How To Stop Time
Author: Matt Haig

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He looks like an ordinary 41 year old, but due to a rare medical condition, he’s been alive for centuries. This Sunday Times bestseller is Matt Haig’s first adult book. However, last year a child friendly edition was released with illustrations by former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell. A film of the book is being made starring and produced by Benedict Cumberbatch.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review Nutshell

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By Nina Beaugeard (GIS parent)

Title: Nutshell
Author: Ian McEwan

It’s written from a whole new perspective – the unborn child – whose precociousness had me laughing at all kinds of inappropriate places. Loosely based on Hamlet, this is a clever and enjoyable read.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review The Gift of Rain

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By Nina Beaugeard (GIS parent)

Title: The Gift of Rain
Author: Tan Twan Eng

Written by a Malaysian, and set around the time of Malaya’s occupation during World War II, I think this is an essential read for anyone who lives here and wants to know more about the history of this country and enjoys a beautifully written story. Set in Penang, and based around the complicated relationship between a young adult of mixed English-Chinese heritage and a Japanese diplomat, this story explores ideas of alienation and loyalty, while also giving a real insight into what happened in Malaya during the 2nd World War. Although Tan Twan Eng’s 2nd book, The Garden of Evening Mists, won more accolades, I enjoyed this book more.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review The Music Shop

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By Ying-ley Ling (GIS parent)

Title: The Music Shop
Author: Rachel Joyce

It’s 1988 and Frank owns a music shop. He’s very good at finding for his customers what they need. Until a woman walks into his life and helps him to find what he needs in his life. Sunday Times calls Joyce “One of the most sensitive but forensic archaeologists of everyday life”.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review The Pier Falls

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By Nina Beaugeard (GIS parent)

Title: The Pier Falls
Author: Mark Haddon

It’s not so much the subject-matter that I loved about this book – although it is startling in its chaos and, for want of a better word, unhappiness. But I loved the writing – sparing, almost without comment or opinion; but simply recounting the shocking events that occur and leaving the reader reeling. A very unusual book.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review The Underground Railroad

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By Ying-ley Ling (GIS parent)

Title: The Underground Railroad
Author: Colson Whitehead

Set in pre civil war America, this book follows the journey of Cora, a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. It is this generation’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”. A difficult book to read because of the subject matter, it deserved winning the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Literature.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review Uncommon Type

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By Ying-ley Ling (GIS parent)

Title: Uncommon Type
Author: Tom Hanks

A series of funny, moving and sensitive short stories from the actor, director and screenwriter Tom Hanks. If you enjoy his pieces in The New York Times, Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, then this is the book for you.

 

Garden International School Blog Book Review Prisoners of Geography

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By Sharifah Zarah (GIS parent)

Title: Prisoners of Geography
Author: Tim Marshall

Great for anyone interested in Geopolitics. A must read for a better understanding of the world we live in.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review Jodi Picoult Small Great Things

Recommended for: Key Stage 5 and adults
By Sharifah Zarah (GIS parent)

Title: Small Great Things
Author: Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult’s latest book touches on racial prejudice and its ramifications. As in all her books, she explores current social issues that we face today. An interesting read that makes us question how we view and treat others.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review Salmon Rushdie The Golden House

Recommended for: Adults
By Sonali Bhatia (GIS parent)

Title: The Golden House
Author: Salman Rushdie

It’s a well told tale of a family, money, our global lives; dealing with love and loss. Very interesting references to mythology, cultures and a comment on modern society. A saga about a mysterious man and his sons.

 

Garden International School Malaysia blog book review The Picture of Dorian Gray

Recommended for: Key Stage 4, 5 and adults
By Adrian Stroet (GIS staff)

Title: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Author: Oscar Wilde

It’s the story of a young man, whose good looks and charm have captured the attention of all those around him. He has his portrait painted. From then on, his vile and despicable behaviour – to which he becomes more and more prey – is exhibited on his picture, whilst he remains perfectly young and healthy.
But what if the portrait was destroyed? What if someone saw the picture and the effects that his appalling life had REALLY had on him?
This portrait must be kept safely locked away for Dorian’s eyes only.
What could possibly go wrong…

 

Related stories:
Book Reviews for Key Stage 3 and 4 by the GIS Community
Book Reviews for Key Stage 4 and 5 by the GIS Community

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Sixth Form Curriculum: Year 12 & 13
Year 1 & 2

Key Stage 5 (age 16 to 18)

Year 12 & 13 Curriculum

Introduction

The GIS Sixth Form promotes academic excellence in all students, offering international AS and A Level qualifications. These are delivered by outstanding teachers with knowledge and expertise in Key Stage 5 education, who are always ready to go the extra mile to set their students on the path to success.

However, our philosophy of education goes far beyond that. We are proud of our bespoke Sixth Form Diploma which allows students to enrich their studies beyond the formal curriculum, develop leadership skills and nourish a love of learning. In Sixth Form, we recognise the need to equip our students with the soft skills that will prepare them for like beyond our school, and are proud of the opportunities our students have to do this as part of our THRIVE Programme, GIS electives and through our extensive CCA programme.

Underpinning everything we do is our approach of academic care. As well as the care and support of their tutors team, our students complete lessons in Social and Emotional Learning to promote the wellbeing and understanding of others that helps support their success both during their time in GIS and beyond.

As a result of our track record of academic excellence, holistic approach and skills-based education, it is not surprising that GIS Sixth Form students are sought after by the world’s best universities. 

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

Students can select from a wide range of A Level subjects which are recognised globally and support our students’ progression to universities in a wide range of countries. These are taught by subject specialists who inspire students to explore their passions and provide rigour and challenge to develop higher-order thinking skills.

A Level
(Cambridge & Edexcel)

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

The range of opportunities that our students benefit from beyond their taught curriculum causes them to really stand out. Our wider learning programme gives students the opportunity to get involved in things that they enjoy, build a sense of community and develop skills that they will use in later life.

Bespoke Learning

GIS Diploma Programme

At GIS, we believe in the importance of a holistic education, which is about more than just achieving fantastic A Levels. We believe it also needs to prepare our students for the future, enabling them to develop a broad knowledge and a wide range of skills. For this purpose, we have developed our curriculum, offering an extensive choice of electives that will help prepare students for the next steps and life beyond school. Our GIS Sixth Formers are given the opportunity to complete the GIS Diploma or the GIS Diploma with Honours.

A GIS Diploma is awarded to students who:

A GIS Diploma with Honours is awarded to students who:

Secondary Curriculum: Year 10 & 11
Year 10 & 11

Key Stage 4 (age 14 & 16)

Year 10 & 11 Curriculum

Introduction

The Secondary School curriculum at GIS focuses on supporting young confident adults to reach their potential, in line with our GIS Learner Skills and our commitment to ensuring academic care for all.

Our Year 10 to 11 (KS4) curriculum is designed to meet the academic, personal and cultural needs of our students and better equip them for future challenges, while at the same time creating enjoyable learning environments that inspire and motivate. Students begin to select courses that appeal to them and follow a broad range of examined and non-examined subjects that prepare them for success both in and out of the classroom. Alongside examined subjects, students follow courses designed to develop them as individuals through Social Emotional Learning and a range of elective subjects. The Year 10 and 11 curriculum creates young adults not only with strong academic credentials but who are also well rounded individuals ready for the next stage of their learning.

Our focus on involvement outside the classroom alongside academic excellence aims to create the opportunity for students to become world changers in both their local and global communities.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

Our KS4 taught curriculum provides students with a balanced yet bespoke programme of study at GIS. At its core is a personalised combination of International GCSE qualifications that all students undertake and enhanced by our elective program. To ensure students are well rounded with successes beyond just academic achievements, the programme offers all students in KS4 a range of bespoke GIS elective courses as well as the study of Social and Emotional Learning. This balanced robust curriculum ensures students are well prepared for our our outstanding GCE (A Level) programme in Key Stage 5 (Years 12-13) or study beyond GIS. As with all other Key stages academic care remains central to our ethos with regular curriculum time allocated to the pastoral system and supported through contact with tutor groups.

Core Subjects

Option Subjects

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

Our KS4 wider curriculum supports students in their engagement, enjoyment and personal personal development as they move through Years 10 and 11. A wide range of activities are available that take place beyond timetabled lessons enable all students to gain engage in our school community and develop as individuals.

Bespoke Learning

GIS Elective Programme

At GIS we believe in the importance of a holistic education that is more than just achieving fantastic IGCSEs: it also needs to prepare you for the future, which requires a broad knowledge and wide range of skills. For this purpose, we have developed our curriculum, offering an extensive choice of electives that will extend learning and help prepare you for your own next steps and life beyond education.

Secondary Curriculum: Year 7 to 9
Year 1 & 2

Key Stage 3 (age 11 to 14)

Year 7 to 9 Curriculum

Introduction

The Secondary School curriculum at GIS focuses on supporting young confident adults to reach their potential, in line with our GIS Learner Skills and our commitment to ensuring academic care for all.

Our Year 7 to 9 (KS3) curriculum is designed to meet the academic, personal and cultural needs of our students and better equip them for future challenges, while at the same time creating enjoyable learning environments that inspire and motivate. Students follow a broad and balanced range of subjects that are linked to the National Curriculum of England and Wales but modified to create courses appropriate for an international education.

Our focus on involvement outside the classroom alongside academic excellence aims to create the opportunity for students to become world changers in both their local and global communities.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

Our KS3 taught curriculum provides students with a broad and balanced approach to study at GIS. A range of subjects are followed that gives learners a solid foundation to build upon in later years and ignite a passion for learning. Alongside delivering strong academic foundations, our KS3 taught curriculum is supported through our academic care provision. Students are supported by one-to-one conversations with subject teachers and tutors about their learning.

Core Subjects

Option Subjects

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

Our KS3 wider curriculum supports students in their engagement, enjoyment and personal development as they move through Years 7 to 9. A wide range of activities are available that take place beyond timetabled lessons enable all students to gain engage in our school community and develop as individuals.

Early Years Curriculum: Nursery & Reception
Nursery & Reception

Early Years Foundation Stage (age 3 & 5)

Nursery & Reception Curriculum

Early Years

Our EYC learning environment, both inside and outside, is well-resourced and offers a wide range of multi-sensory learning opportunities that are linked to the UK Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum. We balance play-based learning with the teaching of fundamental literacy and numeracy skills, PE and music lessons, as well as social and emotional skill development.

Mandarin is taught as an additional language through a combination of discrete teacher-led sessions, and as part of continuous provision, with our outstanding teachers encouraging authentic and natural language acquisition amongst our youngest learners.

Throughout their time at EYC, our young learners have opportunities to follow their interests and take ownership over their learning. This is encouraged through first-hand experiences that create a sense of awe and wonder for children, inspiring them to learn more about the world around them.

Children’s brains develop connections faster in the first five years than at any other time in their lives. This is the time when the foundations for learning, health and behaviour throughout life are laid down. In fact, by the time they turn five 90% of their brain will have been developed.

Our curriculum and approach are designed to ensure that a strong foundation is laid down to support your child’s further development throughout their life.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

Our Early Years offering consists of carefully designed opportunities to learn through play, directed curriculum and wider learning opportunities such as Jungle School, gardening and cooking.

A Unique Child

Prime

Specific

Mandarin

Jungle School Programme

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

Even at EYC, we offer a broad curriculum, with the aim of igniting passions and developing new interests amongst our children. We offer swimming, Water Play Days, Woodwork, Cooking, Trips and CCAs. We also offer our Jungle School programme. Unique to Malaysia, this is a hands-on programme based on the ‘Forest School’ approach in Europe. At Jungle School, our EYC children are able to learn about nature, explore and take risks is a safe and controlled environment and learn to become responsible citizens of the earth who respect and preserve her resources.

Primary Curriculum: Year 3 to 6
Year 3 to 6

Key Stage 2 (age 7 to 11)

Year 3 to 6 Curriculum

Introduction

This stage builds upon the foundations laid in the Early Years and Key Stage 1, preparing children for the next phase of their education. English is taught daily with a strong emphasis on the development of speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. The development of practical, mental and applied mathematics is achieved through our mathematics lessons.

In Years 5 and 6, French and Spanish are added to the World Languages programme. Students can decide to continue learning the Asian language they have been learning or replace this choice with one of the European languages. Either way, they will still have the opportunity to learn the other language as part of the language club programme after school. Homework is provided throughout the school, and is aimed at consolidating skills taught at school and encouraging parents to play an active role in their children’s education.

Children’s progress is assessed throughout Key Stages 1 and 2 to ensure we have a good understanding of their ongoing progress, individual abilities and to ensure their future needs are met.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

The Primary Curriculum follows a topic-based, cross-curriculum approach to learning with the British National Curriculum as it’s foundation. Soft skills are developed through a set of bespoke ‘Golden Threads’ that are carefully interwoven throughout the curriculum.

Subjects taught in our topic curriculum are:

Specialist Teaching subjects are

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

In Year 3 to Year 6 we offer our students wider learning opportunities to encourage them to learn new interests and skills beyond the classroom including:

Primary Curriculum: Year 1 & 2
Year 1 & 2

Key Stage 1 (age 5 to 7)

Year 1 & 2 Curriculum

Introduction

The first key stage of school welcomes children from Early Years into the Primary School and encourages each child to continue their development and maintain the fun, active approach to learning. Information Communication Technology (ICT) is used to support the learning process. Classroom-based learning along with a broad co-curricular programme and education outside the classroom ensure we provide a holistic education for your child.

The majority of learning takes place in the nurturing environment of the classroom facilitated by the classroom teacher and assistant teachers. Specialist teachers support the teaching of Art, Music, ICT and Physical Education. In World Languages, students learn Mandarin or Bahasa Malaysia – the national language, helping them to develop the skills and passion to learn an additional language in depth. Students also have the opportunity to explore other languages as a part of the language club programme which happens after school. Science, History, Geography, Design Technology and Drama are taught through our exciting Topic Curriculum which is underpinned by the ‘Golden Threads’ of Intercultural Learning and Social and Emotional Learning.

GIS utilises both the classroom and education opportunities outside the classroom to provide a programme that develops World Changers. At GIS we believe that our responsibility goes beyond producing outstanding academic results. We are fully committed to providing a holistic, well-balanced education.

In The Classroom

Taught Curriculum

The Primary Curriculum follows a topic-based, cross-curriculum approach to learning with the British National Curriculum as it’s foundation. Soft skills are developed through a set of bespoke ‘Golden Threads’ that are carefully interwoven throughout the curriculum. The subjects taught in our topic curriculum are: English, Science, Mathematics, History, Geography, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Art & Design, Design Technology

Subjects taught in our topic curriculum are:

Specialist Teaching subject are:

Beyond the Classroom

Wider Learning

 

In Year 1 & 2 we offer our students wider learning opportunities to encourage them to learn new interests and skills beyond the classroom including:

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