Sixth grade is an exciting year of self-discovery and transition, both socially and academically, during which students develop the ability to define themselves for who they are and who they want to be. Sixth graders are supported in this process as they are provided with instructional opportunities to think critically, ask thoughtful questions, and problem solve. They are given more freedom to make their own choices, along with the right amount of loving teacher support and guidance. Students feel secure enough to take appropriate risks without being afraid to fail, and start to see that there are often several right answers, as opposed to one. Supporting the emotional and social development of sixth graders is also of particular focus, and students are supported in developing the skills necessary to learning how to get along with one another, communicating, collaborating, self-advocate, and becoming better able to relate to the feelings of others. In a yearlong project, students create a digital and print book that incorporates art, history, science, Spanish, math, and English to document their sixth grade journey.
In sixth grade social studies, instruction focuses on World History, and students gain a better understanding of the human connection that exists in all humans through the study of history and cultures. Students are thus provided with a greater understanding of where they come from and a greater awareness of how similar people are no matter what their cultural background. Science instruction focuses on human biology and promotes a deeper understanding of how the natural world works. Through relevant and meaningful subject matter, students develop skills of note taking, discussion, organization and the scientific method.
In sixth grade English, students utilize the structure of the five paragraph essay and develop their unique author’s voice via creative writing assignments during Writer’s Workshop. Students are exposed to a variety of literary genres through a Reader’s Workshop format, which provides the opportunity for students to compare and contrast various and rich literary themes, styles, and content. Grammar Workshop is employed to strengthen students’ grammar skills.
In math, sixth graders develop an understanding of variable manipulation, while learning new concepts such as distribution and association. Also, students begin working extensively with integers, fractions, decimals, and negative numbers. Math instruction encourages students to become more focused on the process than the product of learning, and students become more adept at connecting past experiences with new processes to formulate problem-solving plans.