Language Arts/Social Studies
The sixth-grade language arts and social studies program has an interdisciplinary focus. Students journey through the past learning about the development of communities in ancient civilizations (Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, Greece, and Rome) and their influences on our world today. In language arts, we focus on communication skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking, and information literacy. Through the writing process, students compose fiction and non-fiction texts. They also develop and apply reading strategies to comprehend, analyze, and evaluate texts from a variety of literature using the principles of The Daily 5 and The Café Book reading and writing workshop model.
As students enter the sixth grade their mathematical progress is assessed, and they are placed in classes based on their demonstrated level of development. The course concludes a review of basic arithmetic and begins a study of pre-algebra. Students are introduced to integers, finalize their study of decimals, and continue their study of fractions. Problem solving is emphasized throughout the year.
Spanish and French courses build on the knowledge and vocabulary acquired in fifth grade. Language continues to be acquired through immersion techniques, with a balanced emphasis on listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The focus involves working toward more developed oral and written communication. Authentic materials such as songs, blogs, and videos are also important components of these courses.
In sixth grade, science students are introduced to many topics of environmental and earth science. Using the theme of "Discover Earth," geological processes that shape the earth’s surface and environmental relationships between the living and nonliving are explored. Some of the specific topics for the course include food webs, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, conservation of matter, and protists. One of the highlights of the year for all sixth grade students is the design and construction of a rubber band powered boat for use in the sinking and floating unit. Encouraging students to become working scientists is the overarching goal of the science department. A unique and dynamic thematic curriculum at each grade level provides a springboard to develop scientific thinkers and problem solvers. Our curriculum allows students to make authentic connections to the world around them and to previous scientific knowledge. Technology serves as a platform to explore and research topics generated by both students and faculty. Critical reading strategies and study skills are reinforced.
For sixth graders, the computer program is integrated within all disciplines and taught by all teachers. Faculty use our three computer labs and two laptop carts to help students use the computer in the daily production of their work and to assist with their learning.
All Middle School students participate in the arts on a daily basis. Sixth grade students continue their fine arts classes begun in the fifth grade, experiencing visual art, drama, and their choice of music: band, orchestra, or general music.
All Middle School students participate in physical education every day. The program concentrates on a student’s physical fitness level with emphasis placed on improvement. Students run a timed mile every three weeks and are tested on their upper body. Activities include field hockey (girls), street hockey (boys), softball (girls), baseball (boys), dance (girls), volleyball (girls), football, soccer, team handball, lacrosse, basketball, track, and circus.
Sixth grade health teaches the importance of nutrition for lifelong health and development. There is an overview of how the digestive system works and how food is converted into energy for the body. Safe and healthy methods of weight control are also discussed.
Sixth grade guidance is taught regularly throughout the school year. Our full-time Middle School guidance counselor teaches Project Alert, a comprehensive drug education program and addresses issues such as decision-making and feeling identification. In addition, support groups are offered at all grade levels. Topics range from students who are experiencing a change in their family structure, students who are new to our school, or any other identified need. Students are invited to the group on a voluntary basis and develop skills to help them adjust to the changes in their life in a positive way. Students in these groups provide support for one another and are bound by the rules to keep all discussions in confidence.