Students do much of their writing in a Writer’s Workshop style classroom. They are encouraged to use personal experiences to guide their writing, and skills are taught primarily based on individual needs and which are assessed through conferencing. Students do focused work on vocabulary, spelling and grammar, through the avenue of their own writing, reading and our thematic work. Students will also be asked to critique each other’s work and learn how to make thoughtful and constructive comments and ask pertinent questions.
Throughout the year students will also complete projects based on the independent reading of a variety of literature. Most of these books are self-selected, however, some will be based on a theme or study of a particular genre. Projects will be designed and created by students and presented to a variety of audiences.
During Sixth Grade Language Arts, the students continue to focus on a balanced understanding of literacy. Each student will not only understand the importance of reading but what makes a good reader, how books connect to each other, and most importantly, the purpose of literature. On a quarterly basis, the students will work in a co-teaching model to develop his / her fluency skills as well as comprehension skills. Each student’s weekly focus will consist of vocabulary development, the spell of words, as well as comprehension practice. Students will continue to read independently as well as take part in more structured guided reading lessons. As the students begin reading more and more complex literature, it is important that in 6th grade, we ensure that they have all the tools necessary to ease through the wonders of reading.
In Sixth Grade Math, the goal is to create critical thinkers who are adept at solving more complex problems. Students begin to truly understand the connection between quantitative skills and how these skills relate to higher level Mathematical thinking. On a quarterly basis, the students are introduced to multiple projects; these projects are then analyzed in detail and students work both independently and as a class to figure out which skills are necessary to complete the project and most importantly, what the long term goal of the project is. If a student does not practice their Mathematics in a project-based environment, then he / she will not be able to tie his / her skills to more complex problem solving. To ensure that the 6th grade student can achieve higher level Mathematical thinking, balanced weekly lessons include skills practice (using multiple strategies), problem solving training (e.g., Math Olympiad), as well as real world project-based analysis.
In 6th Grade Science, students will not only continue to focus on Environmental Education but they will further their understanding of the Scientific Method through self-directed hands-on experimentation and Scientific Method documentation. As we begin the 6th Grade Science curriculum, students will be participating in a Catskill Watershed-funded Trout in the Classroom (TIC) education program. Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is an environmental education program in which students raise trout from eggs to fry, monitor tank water quality, and engage in a stream habitat study. This hands-on program allows for the students to not only practice higher level lab procedure but begin to connect these activities with the bigger concepts of conservation, water resource appreciation and ecosystem analysis.
During the second half of the year, in addition to participating in the TIC integrated curriculum that encompasses multiple topics, students will also be focusing on how to effectively and accurately document the Scientific Method. Their understanding of the Scientific Method will culminate with the Science Fair in which they will independently experiment with a specific topic of interest in class and document all aspects of the Scientific Method.
In 6th Grade Social Studies, students focus on Geography, Governance, and North American Conflicts. Through historical journeys beginning with the Siberian Land Bridge and ending with the beginning of the Civil War, students are exposed to both historical records and personal accounts of how geography, government, economics, culture / heritage, and psychology shaped North American history and continue to shape our society today. Students are also exposed to how one knows about History through an in-depth analysis of Anthropology and Archaeology. Research skills will also be an important aspect of the Social Studies curriculum and will be integrated with Robin’s library objectives.
This grade continues building upon the previous year’s curricula. The early part of the year is spent exploring rhythm, melody, and harmony through in-class performance. The next part of the year delves into blues and jazz music. The study of the blues exposes students to the historical and social origins of blues music and its impact on American musical culture. A variety of blues and jazz artists are heard and reflected upon through journal writing and discussion. Students learn to play simple blues patterns on the keyboards and compose their own blues tunes as well. A study of jazz music includes learning several jazz “standards”, reflective listening, and overview of jazz history from the early 20th century through the present.
Over the course of the year students work on transferring basic skills into game situations. They gain an appreciation of sports and improve their fitness. We emphasize healthy life choices regarding exercise and nutrition, appropriate behavior, problem solving and communication, understanding how the body functions and work on building self-esteem and confidence. We undertake a variety of units in pursuing these goals and modify games to suit our purpose and surroundings. Units include, but are not limited to Soccer, Fitness, Touch Football, Volleyball, Basketball, Floor Hockey, Softball, Cricket, Racquet Sports, Team Handball, Ultimate Frisbee, Pilates, Yoga, Project Adventure, Keep-Away Activities and Summer Games.
In the 6th Grade, students delve more deeply into the work of well known artists through the ages. They use these artists as examples of the finest use of the elements and principles of design. By this year they understand how to use these to create successful works of art.