6th Graders inhabit the top floor of our 5th & 6th Grade building, a bright, light-filled aerie with a view of Overlook Mountain. The 6th Grade program seeks to build community and problem-solving skills, proactively and creatively addressing the complicated social dynamics that can unfold in middle school.
In 6th Grade, students continue to evolve as independent thinkers by working together to form their own mini-society. Students all have roles to play to create this happy and productive scaled down version of society as a whole. As in all societies, there are setbacks, and the class learns how restorative justice practices can be used during these times by running their own judicial system. Students will discuss justice and our place in the timeline of history, asking messy questions like “What is fair?” and “What is just?”
Throughout the year, the 6th Grade engages in authentic, hands-on student centered learning experiences. Because reading and writing are personal endeavors, they have the space to create written pieces that are meaningful to them and to read books that peak their interest and suit their purposes. In concert with our librarian, 6th Graders meet in literary circles, allowing for personal choice, and structured discussion.
In 6th Grade, students are introduced to Connected Math, a problem-based mathematics curriculum developed at Michigan State University. 6th Graders will investigate how math connects to everyday life and how we can use math to solve all kinds of problems.
The 6th Grade Science curriculum focuses on the Catskill Watershed Trout in the Classroom (TIC) education program. 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. As a component of this study — and a highly anticipated event — 6th Graders go on a two-night overnight trip to the Frost Valley YMCA in the fall.
6th Grade Spanish focuses on conversations, writing, and culture through reading and memorizing poems, reading children’s books out loud in Spanish, watching videos, listening to music, and discussing cultural topics.
In addition, 6th Graders have the coveted role of making Book Trailers for the annual Book Fair, continue their life as musicians in our Beginning Ensemble; work in our art and ceramics studios each week; play sports in PE; participate in the African drum and dance residency; and enjoy library and weekly buddies. Finally, an Adolescent Issues unit with our Guidance teacher provides a comprehensive entree to understanding, compassion, and self-expression.