Sixth Grade

Because sixth grade is a transi­tional year, the program is focused on increasing independent criti­cal thinking. Balancing traditional direct instruction with rigorous open-ended projects, students practice a range of 21st century skills. Cross-curricular highlights are spread throughout the year and include numerous exhibitions. Students moving on from the sixth grade will feel confident and prepared for Junior High.

Reading, Phonics, and Vocabulary. Reading is taught through the literature circle technique. In these circles, students learn to read with a purpose and pull evidence from the text to sup­port their opinions and ideas. Students are encouraged to make connections while reading, which they apply to the rest of the cur­riculum. The reading   selections in sixth grade directly correspond and support the current unit being studied. Vocabulary words are generated from texts and a prominent platform.

Writing and Grammar. The writing and grammar teaching approach continues to foster the love of writ­ing by meeting the needs of all students. For writing, instruction takes place through a proprietary workshop, allowing for mini lessons, status checks, revision writing, and sharing. Grammar is taught through direct, guided, and independent instruction and is embedded in student pieces. Sixth grade grammar emphasizes building thesis statements and sentence fluency with simple, compound, complex, and compound/complex sentences. Rubrics guide students in the 6 Traits of Writing program. One-paragraph essays are extensively used to support short-answer test questions. Five-paragraph essays with strong thesis statements are used throughout the curriculum. Sixth grade includes in-text citations and works cited. Writing highlights include numerous essays and projects.

Mathematics. Sixth grade mathematicians are encouraged to consider math as a language. To build fluen­cy, direct instruction is complemented by student demonstrations and extension activities. Daily spiral prac­tice balances mental math, attaining concepts, and achieving accurate calculations. Sixth grade mathemati­cians focus on order of operations with positive and negative integers, algebraic properties, exponents, distrib­utive property, variables, and rearranging equations. Functions are introduced emphasizing relationships between input and output.

Science. Earth Science is taught with all learning preferences in mind. Direct instruction, whole group, small group, hands-on activities, experiments, and STEM/STEAM lessons are used throughout the year. Students continue to clarify their knowledge of facts, inference, prediction, activities, and experiments. Par­ticular attention is given to the concepts of control, independent variables, and dependent variables. There is a major focus on earth science. Students compare, contrast, and apply the Scientific Method and the engi­neering design process. Highlights of the year include science camp, exhibitions, and more.

Social Studies. In social studies, students take a critical perspective on history and the story being told. Students analyze primary and secondary sources, and build conclusions. The year begins with a look at a student’s personal history and culture; sixth grade then focuses on Ancient Civilizations. Students explore the geography, religion, achievements, politics, economics, and social structure of each civilization through di­rect instruction, hands-on activities, and culminating unit projects. Cross-curricular connections are made through readings of young adult historical fiction and selected works.