Sixth Grade Curriculum
Sixth grade English includes literature, grammar, vocabulary, formal and creative writing, and the development of inferential, critical, and evaluative thought processes. The core of the literature curriculum is the Holt Elements of Literature anthology, as well as four novels addressed during the school year: A Long Walk to Water, The Book of Three, A Wrinkle in Time, and Detectives in Togas. In-depth novel studies using these books complement the sixth grade science and history curricula and incorporate the global studies emphasis. Through the novel units, sixth graders view the universal themes of love, loyalty, honor, courage, perseverance, loss, grief, and beginnings and endings. Additional literature units encompass the Arthurian Cycle of tales and a Poetry Workshop. Students define and apply their knowledge of the literary elements of plot, theme, characterization, setting, conflict, climax, and denounement as they discuss and develop written responses to the literature examined. The sixth grade writing process forms the foundation of all writing endeavors, guiding students through prewriting, drafting, editing (self, peer, and teacher editing), final product, and presentation. Students review and master English grammar rules and structure from phrases to complex sentence structure and then apply their grammatical knowledge and usage skills to the writing process and literature. Formal vocabulary-building takes place using the Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary Workshop, Level B.
Sixth grade history begins a yearlong journey around the world. Sixth graders learn to see with a global vision and to appreciate the unique cultures of the seven continents. Students engage in a global impact study designed not only to construct an understanding of the world’s strengths and weaknesses, but also to examine possible solutions to the challenges faced. Throughout the year students build an awareness of their place in the world, learning what it means to think globally and act locally.
Students develop an understanding of the process of the scientific method as a way of exploring and learning about our world and of developing critical thinking skills. This course integrates math and the metric system as students study the reasons for the seasons, the phases of the moon and tides, the solar system, microscopy, cells and heredity, and chemistry. The class includes labs involving hands-on activities to strengthen observational skills, reinforce key terms, and build an understanding of higher-level concepts.
Sixth grade math stresses the successful development of mathematical thinkers. The curriculum, Math in Focus: Singapore Math, integrates concepts, skills, processes, attitudes and metacognition inyo the problem solving process. Its approach is concrete-pictorial-abstract with time built into lessons to develop understanding. The model drawing technique used provides students with visual models to help solve problems, leading directly to the abstract models used in algebra. Lessons focus on the application of mathematics to real world situations as students work with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, rates, ratios, percents, integers, data analysis, graphing, properties of two- and three-dimensional geometric figures, patterns, equations, and inequalities.
Sixth grade students participate in a variety of activities that present and encourage the practice and understanding of rhythm and melody. Sixth grade performing arts introduces students to more complex rhythmic and musical concepts. Students continue to use Kodaly methods in reading, counting, and singing unison and two part music, as well as the beginning steps of sight reading. Sixth grade students learn more advanced dramatic skills, techniques, and movement in groups as well as individually. Using both dramatic and musical knowledge gained, sixth graders perform a musical revue each year.
Performing Arts Honor Choir
Sixth grade students selected to participate in the Performing Arts Honor Choir will continue to study the general Performing Arts curriculum while learning the beginning basics of vocal production including basic theory, sight reading, and performance skills. Students will be exposed to a variety of choral literature in unison and two parts. The honor choir will perform at selected chapel services and other special programs throughout the year.
Sixth grade students learn to read music and learn to play a band instrument as members of the Beginning Band. No prior musical or band experience is necessary. All students are placed on an instrument (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, horn, trombone, baritone, tuba, or drums/bells), balancing their interests, their physical predispositions, and the needs of the band program. Students are taught basic tone production and technique on that instrument. Counting, reading, playing, and listening are all elements of the program method. In addition to learning how to play a musical instrument, students learn cooperation and the discipline of regular practice. The Beginning Band presents one concert at the end of the year.
Sixth grade students will have art one quarter during the school year. During that time in the art classroon they will be introduced to artists, new ways to create art and they will continue to explore their personal expression with their art making. As they work with painting, drawing, oil pastels, watercolor, collage, sculpture, and mixed media, the students will gain confidenced in their art making skills.