Sixth Grade is a demanding year for the children as they use this last year of Elementary School to prepare for the challenges of Secondary School. Academics in fifth grade continue to solidify newly acquired skills but the expectations are at a higher level. The children are expected to read challenging and complex children’s literature. They write reading responses that analyze their reading and discuss the theme, author’s purpose & style, and author’s craft. The focus of writing workshop in sixth grade is essay writing. The major writing project this year is each child writing a science fiction story. In math, students read and write whole numbers and decimals, solve problems involving percents and find equivalent fractions and write fractions in simplest forms. The integrated science and social studies themes focus around Central America and the Aztecs and Mayas. The classes are taught and activities completed with students engaging in small group activities, whole class discussions and independent assignments.
Sixth graders are expected to securely read and write whole numbers and decimals. They use mental arithmetic, paper and pencil algorithms and calculators to solve problems involving addition and subtraction of whole numbers and decimals, multiplication and division of decimals and addition and subtraction of fractions and mixed numbers. They are now securely multiplying and dividing fractions and mixed numbers. Children estimate and measure the length of objects to the nearest 1/16 of an inch and millimeter. They calculate the circumference of circles and solve problems involving area, perimeter and volume. They use ordered pairs of numbers to name, locate and plot points in all four quadrants of a coordinate grid. They also identify, describe, classify and name angles and determine angle measures. The students are expected to collect and organize data or use given data to create bar, line, circle and stem graphs with titles, labels, keys and intervals. Students use the maximum, minimum, range, mode, mean and median of a set of data to ask and answer questions, draw conclusions and make predictions. The children use a letter variable to write an open sentence to model a number story and determine whether equalities or inequalities are true or false. Problem solving skills are reinforced by having the children continue to decide which of the four operations to perform and are now focusing more on explanations as to how a solution was reached. Many math concepts are reinforced through math games. Computational skills are developed through daily review exercises.
Sixth graders are now reading complex and challenging children’s literature. Whole class shared reading of chapter books is a major part of the reading workshop as they discuss the theme, author’s purpose & style, and author’s craft of the novels. They analyze their reading focusing on these elements and write essays and detailed reading responses. They take part in independent reading, shared reading and guided reading. The sixth grade writing program focuses on essay writing. The children are taught to write persuasive essays throughout the school year. They practice this through writing essays for reading responses and the themes of books and other story elements. Their final product is a persuasive essay in conjunction with their themes in Social Studies of Poverty and Central America. The actual brainstorming, writing and revision is done in a period of six weeks. Daily mini-lessons teach story elements, grammar, punctuation and author’s craft. Students are expected to be responsible with their spelling and use resources such as dictionaries and spell check to edit their daily writing.
Density, Space and the Nervous System are the focus in sixth grade Science. The students learn to distinguish between mass, volume, density and buoyancy, complete experiments testing their properties and learn how to calculate the density of different objects. In their study of space the children learn about the planets and the solar system. They study several of the ancient astronomers and discuss their findings compared to the findings of modern day space travel. The final product is painting the solar system to scale applying their newly acquired information and math skills. In the study of the nervous system the children learn about the central nervous system and how it works. The children complete experiments and research diseases of the nervous system. The themes are taught in six week intervals through hands on activities. Children are encouraged to explore the themes through the scientific method of observing, forming a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis and forming a conclusion. Themes are taught with a short daily mini-lesson and children complete experiments or activities in small group centers.
Sixth grade Social Studies themes are all about Central America. The children begin with a study of the Central American countries and geography. The children then learn about poverty and its effects in Central America. They research specific countries trying to determine the causes and solutions to poverty in their specific country. Through this study they are required to use their research skills, publish a persuasive essay on their findings and then present the information. Students become involved in the study of the wetlands habitat. They investigate the characteristics and functions of a wetland through experiments, research and making models. For their study of ancient civilizations, the sixth graders focus on the Mayas and the Aztecs. The children learn about their daily life, rituals and customs through hands on activities. Basic geographic terms and principles such as wetlands, swamp, lagoon, canals, reservoir, isthmus, and thematic maps are taught and worked on through the above themes.
Revolution is the main theme in sixth grade Sociales. The students study revolutions of the world such as the English revolution, French revolution, Dominican revolution and the Industrial revolution. They analyze important people, the people in power and the causes and effects of revolutions. The students discuss the characteristics of revolutions and look for modern day events in the news that could cause or provoke a revolution. As a culminating activity of their study of the Industrial revolution, the sixth graders make inventions. They write about their invention and present their inventions to parents and other classes in the school. Sociales classes are taught solely in Spanish beginning with a daily mini-lesson. The children complete experiments or activities in small group centers.