English Language Arts (ELA)
Students in grade 6 are immersed in the study of literature, composition, vocabulary and the mechanics and grammar of the English language. The goal is for each student to become thoughtful and deep thinkers as they read, and to become proficient in many writing genres. The sixth grader reads and discusses several pieces of literature and poetry. These may include Refugee by Alan Gratz, A Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, several selections of poetry and short stories, and more. The sixth-grade grammar curriculum includes a review of basic parts of speech, basic parts of sentence structure including subject, predicate, and direct/indirect objects, subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement, varied sentence types and structure, and punctuation. Writing in the sixth grade focuses on the five-paragraph essay, responding to reading in written form, narrative writing, poetry, and creative writing. An interdisciplinary approach is utilized through the literature curriculum, specifically through novels such as A Long Walk to Water and through essay writing. In conjunction with reading and writing activities, students acquire new vocabulary using Wordly Wise, a vocabulary building program.
Students in grade six learn about the stories and promises of the Old Testament, and how to interpret the scriptures in a way that makes sense in the modern world. Students will also learn how to think and act justly using the commandments and wisdom literature as their guide. Since the Old Testament is the preparation for the New Testament, students will spend a good deal of time understanding how the various persons, places, and events of the Old Testament foreshadow its fulfillment in the New in the person of Jesus Christ. Connections between the Gospels (particularly Matthew) and the Pentateuch are highlighted. The liturgical / sacramental life of the Catholic Church will be taught through the prism of Old Testaments types. A special emphasis will be placed upon sacraments as encounters with Christ who promises a new relationship with humanity in His Kingdom. A highlight is the fall sixth grade retreat.
The material in each course is presented to the student in a variety of ways - lecture and notes, hands-on experience and experiments in the lab, investigative reports, and long-term projects. Lessons are designed to challenge our students to think about the scientific world around them. They are taught to observe and think as scientists. The laboratory setting gives them the authentic feeling that they are working as scientists. Ultimately, our curriculum is designed to produce students with innovative thinking skills through experience with hands-on investigations, rigorous science content, and engaging, real-world applications that make science fun, exciting, and stimulating.
In sixth grade, the focus is on highlighting the relationship between structure and function in the world around them. The integration of Earth and space, life and physical sciences gives students the opportunity to relate the structure and function of the micro and macroscopic world around them.
The sixth grade curriculum is a combination of geography and ancient civilizations. Students study the five themes of geography and apply them to real world issues. In the second half of the year, students research early civilizations from the first known humans to the fall of ancient Rome. Throughout the year, emphasis is placed on mapping and geographical skills. During the second and third trimesters, sixth graders also embark on their first major research project, the Country Report. During this five-month long project, students research and write about a country of their choosing. They examine many aspects of their country, including the history, geography, culture and wildlife. Upon completion, students are experts in their respective countries. They have the opportunity to publish and present their findings to their classmates through oral presentations.
In the sixth-grade math program, students are taught to master operational procedures using fractions, decimals, percentages, and integers as they tackle algebraic expressions and equations. Along the way, geometric concepts are introduced, measuring skills are improved upon, and ideas about probability are explored. Throughout the curriculum, emphasis is placed upon developing sound problem-solving strategies that challenge our students' minds and build their confidence for taking on the bigger problems they will face in the future.
Classes are taught in both interactive and traditional modes to best meet the diverse needs of our students. The teaching approach is varied, using teacher-lead instruction, cooperative learning, and manipulatives.
Our ultimate goal is to give students the basic mathematical skills necessary to function in life, as well as to prepare them for higher-level thinking which lies ahead. Students are encouraged to value mathematics, to think mathematically, and to solve problems strategically. They are taught to communicate effectively using precise mathematical language and to appreciate the connections between mathematics and life experience.
Students in sixth grade technology learn foundational skills of on-line research, personal account management, keyboarding, and design layout using the Microsoft Office 365 toolset. Students apply these skills in project-based learning. Projects are authentic and interdisciplinary. Students learn to approach creative and technical problem solving with confidence and expression of voice. Oral presentation and writing skills are integrated. Key software tools used include Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Teams (file sharing), Forms (survey), Outlook (email), and online applications to support the development of 21st century technology skills.