Grade 6 Curriculum
In Grade 6, literary selections are arranged in thematic units, including community building, an introduction to heroism in literature, an analysis of the mystery genre, as well as an exploration of “the perfect world.” As a basis for their literary quest, students read Seedfolks, The Adventures of Ulysses, The Westing Game, and The Giver. Students continue to develop their reading strategies and build their comprehension as they explore such literary elements and devices as character, setting, plot, point of view, imagery, foreshadowing, symbolism, and figurative language. In addition to the class novel, students enhance their reading interests every month by exploring various genres independently. Students are encouraged to reflect, respond, and share on a regular basis, applying knowledge learned in the classroom to individual texts.
During writers' workshop, students investigate various types of writing including expository, narrative, persuasive, and descriptive pieces. Students use the 6+1 Writing Traits to guide their writing. With each assignment, students must consider ideas, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, voice, conventions, and presentation. Emphasis on peer editing and revising helps students to incorporate accurate, precise vocabulary and improve sentence construction.
Previously learned grammar concepts are reviewed and built upon using Daily Grammar Practice. Vocabulary is addressed through Membean, a web-based program that provides guided vocabulary practice using a variety of tools. The words introduced are tailored to the individual student’s vocabulary level and quizzes are customized for each student.
Throughout the Grade 6 language arts curriculum, students work to become independent and critical readers, writers, and thinkers.
Grades 5 and 6 use GO Math! curriculum. GO Math! is a program that focuses on math for the 21st century student.
The goal of Grade 6 math is to help students develop an understanding of important concepts, skills, and procedures, and ways of thinking and reasoning in number theory, geometry, measurement, algebra, probability, and statistics. Students are challenged to reason and communicate about math using technical vocabulary and various forms of representation. In addition, students spend a significant amount of time solving problems that require thinking, planning, reasoning, computing, and evaluating.
The Upper School religion curriculum prepares our students to lead lives of “significance.” We encourage our students to draw closer to God through the study of the faith as proclaimed by Jesus Christ in the Gospels and by the Roman Catholic Church. We welcome students from all faith traditions and honor and respect those traditions as we study the Catholic faith. We encourage and expect our students to leap into the mystery of their faith. We hope our examination of faith compels us to positive action in our world.
In Grade 6, we focus on the Old Testament -- the 46 books of the Bible that contain some of the most beautiful literature the world has seen. Students pay special attention to the Pentateuch and the historical books detailing the creation and the history of the tribes of Israel. Students study the majesty of the Wisdom books, especially Job, the Psalms, the Song of Songs, and Proverbs. The class delves into the Prophetic books looking for hints of the coming of the Messiah. Students also learn about Catholic Social Teaching as we invite students to become men and women for others and lead lives of “significance” (per our mission statement).
In their four years in the Upper School, students:
1) Students will be asked to do a 3 – 4 hour project of their own choosing outside of school. Called “A Smorgasbord of Significance and Spirituality,” students have several options: Watching a film or reading a book with spiritual content; doing service work; visit to a religious site; dedicating time to individual prayer; attending a lecture on character, virtue, or spirituality; interviewing a person of “significance” in the student’s life.
2) Critically view excerpts of films with spiritual content including Race, Mother Teresa, Amazing Grace, Evan Almighty, Les Miserables, The Ten Commandments, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, Seabiscuit, Groundhog Day, Pleasantville, Son of God, Pope John Paul II, The Blind Side, Miracle, Noah, Heaven Is For Real, The Pursuit of Happyness, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Invictus.
3) Memorize prayers of major figures in Church history including Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Saint Thomas Aquinas.
4) Attend Monday morning chapels where the Upper Schoolers reflect on issues of faith, morals, and virtue.
5) Participate in service opportunities. Each Upper School grade has a charity partner and supports this partner through work, financial support, and/or drives for goods or clothes.
6) Offer petitions during the first few minutes of each religion class and participate in the examen prayer promulgated by Saint Ignatius of Loyola. In this structured form of meditation created by the founder of the Jesuit order of priests, students sit quietly and allow God into their lives to affirm the students’ deep goodness and allow students to give thanks for God’s gift of their lives and talents.
Grade 6 science students strive to make sense of the question: How do the questions we ask influence our understanding of the world around us?
Students begin with an in depth astronomy unit in which they explore the relationships among the Sun, Earth, and Moon, determine what makes Earth a unique planet, and investigate the history of the solar system. The year concludes with a unit on energy, mechanics, machines, and motion that serves as an introduction to physics. In this unit, students investigate energy and the different forms it can take, how forces do work to change energy from one form to another, how machines reduce the effort needed to do work, and how forces change the motion of objects. The culminating project in this unit is the conception and creation of Rube Goldberg machines - a comically involved, complicated invention laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation - Webster's New World Dictionary.
By participating in inquiries, completing computer-based activities, and designing experiments of their own, students develop a more sophisticated understanding of the world in which they live.
In Grade 6 social studies, students study Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Medieval Europe, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Age of Exploration. The focus of social studies is to tell stories about people, places, and events in history. It provides important background knowledge in geography, economics, arts, and culture. By utilizing a hands-on, interactive approach with the Discovery Education Techbook, students gain historical perspective and discover how history can be applied to our lives today. Students practice skills such as analyzing evidence, drawing conclusions, reading maps, and outlining notes on a regular basis.