DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES AND TRANSITIONS
Sixth grade students will be challenged academically as they progress through their last year of Oak Hill. There are a number of cognitive skills that are important for a sixth grader to have in order to navigate this new territory, including the abilities to use deductive reasoning, work within a group, manage time as well as long term assignments, and to think more abstractly. Students will gain poise and confidence in public speaking and leadership roles. They will also develop the capability to look at multiple viewpoints and outcomes before starting a problem. This is a time when students will continue to display more curiosity as well as progress into more abstract thinking.
Sixth grade students are generally happy children, cooperative and competitive. They like to express themselves both formally and informally. The students in sixth grade are already accustomed to changing classes for each subject. They learn the importance of organizing their belongings, homework, and calendars. Students are given a login with website access to the student portal to view homework, calendars, course resources, and faculty blogs. As sixth grade students, they are guided to become their own advocate with regards to assignment questions for teachers and be better organized and prepared for class.
Sixth grade students participate in the following curriculum related projects and field trips: Sixth Grade Camp, Visit to the Shrine and St. Ferdinand, Social Studies Project Fair, Mary Ryder Letter Writing and Visits, Pen Pal Letter Writing, Boy Lunch with the Head of School and Secret Tour, Tom Sawyer literature activity and trip to Hannibal, Monday Morning Math, Student Council, and Graphing Calculator Lessons.
Houghton Mifflin English – Level 6
Purpose in Literature – Grade 6
McGraw-Hill Reading – Grade 6
Sadlier Vocabulary – Level A
Language arts in sixth grade consists of four different sections of our programs: writing, literature, grammar, and vocabulary.
We use the nationally-recognized, research-based Step Up to Writing to fine tune writing skills and experience different types of writing. Students work diligently to understand writing and the organizational process that goes into planning a piece of writing. We talk about writing paragraphs using topic sentences that guide what the paragraph should be about. We also work on writing an essay using a thesis statement to guide the body of the essay. Students complete their research by using different informational sources. Students take information resources and draft an essay using their organizational strategies including topic sentences and transitions that they have learned throughout the year.
Our literature curriculum consists of reading and analyzing short stories and novels. We begin the year looking at story elements (they are presented as the ingredients needed to make a whole story-you can’t make a cake without all of the ingredients, the same goes for a story). We use short stories in our sixth grade text books to find and understand the different story elements. The story elements are an important characteristic of literature that we touch on throughout our novel units as well. We spend the majority of the year focusing on reading novels as a class and in literature circles. We begin by reading a novel together so that the children can experience reading strategies together. They use these comprehension strategies when reading literature circle books in small groups. We also read The Adventures of Ulysses as a class as part of our Greek mythology unit.
Grammar in sixth grade focuses on the parts of speech: nouns, verbs, modifiers interjections, and conjunctions. We also spend a lot of time on sentence structure and mechanics. Students take notes on each topic in the chapters to help learn how to pick out important information when learning a new concept. They also learn the importance of editing and rereading anything that they write to find grammatical mistakes.
The sixth grade vocabulary curriculum revolves around the Sadlier Oxford workbook. The curriculum presents 20 new vocabulary words for each unit and requires that the children learn the word, definition, pronunciation (stressed syllable), spelling, synonyms, antonyms, and its use in a sentence. After three units in the book, students are responsible for reviewing all of the previous units. This ensures that after one unit is finished, the words are never forgotten because they will come up later in the year. As a supplemental vocabulary curriculum, we use vocabulary from the novels that we read as well. It is important to develop speaking and writing vocabulary as well as understanding the vocabulary that students read about in their age appropriate books.
Prentice Hall Mathematics: Middle School Course 2
ALEKS (web based) Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces
In sixth grade mathematics, we continue to bridge the concrete world of constants to the abstract study of variables. We provide a mathematically rich program while integrating the values and teachings of the Sacred Heart. We focus not only on the process but also on “why” behind the math processes. As our ability to handle complex equations increases, we strive to simplify. Particular emphasis is to proportional reasoning, rates, and ratios using symbolic, graphical, and numerical representations. Students connect arithmetic to geometry, probability, and statistics through real-world applications. We enrich the textbook work with ALEKS, a web-based, artificially intelligent Math program. This allows students to individually work on Whole Numbers, Fractions, Decimals and Percents, Measurement, Data, Probability, Algebra, and Geometry.
Sadlier We Believe: We Are God’s People
Apostolic Works: Mary Ryder Home
The sixth grade religion curriculum focuses on the Old Testament. The student will learn how the love of God for his people is woven throughout history and in our world today. They will deepen their understanding of the liturgical year and the celebration of Catholic feasts and seasons. A major part of the curriculum reflects on the Ten Commandments as the laws of God’s covenant. Following the commandments and Jesus’ teachings helps us remain faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. The student will participate in prayer services and reflections that include passages from the Bible, including both the Old and New Testaments. In addition, the sixth grade student will study the different ways the people of the Old and New Testaments gave witness to their faith and reflect on ways to be witnesses to Jesus. The Apostolic Work for grade six is the Mary Ryder Home. It is through this work of service that the student will continue to love and serve as Jesus did and to invite others to follow Jesus as they witness to him with their words and deeds.
Scott Foresman Science – Grade 6
In sixth grade science, we cover topics of life, physical, and earth science. We learn about plant and animal cells, protons, neutrons, and electrons, the earth, and the solar system. Classes include hands-on scientific experiments and written lab reports. Students participate in the St. Louis Science Fair. Using the scientific method, students engage in experiments and investigations as an integral part of our science program.
Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Social Studies – Grade 6
The sixth grade curriculum focuses on the migration, settlement, and development of ancient cultures. In addition, students learn how the earliest people survived and subsequently, how civilizations developed and expanded. Students understand how each culture used ideas from the one before and advanced. Students learn why civilizations are located in certain areas. Map skills are taught in each unit to identify the locations of ancient cultures. Learning about the people, inventions, and achievements from ancient cultures that shape the world we live in today is an integral part of our social studies program.
The sixth grade art curriculum is designed to give students a varied and rich experience with various art media and techniques. Sixth grade focuses on the art of cultures studied in the social studies curriculum (Egyptian, Roman, and Greek) and art of the Renaissance. Throughout the sixth grade year, they explore these different cultures as they further their knowledge of the elements and principles of line, texture, space, and proportion. At this level, students work to express feelings, use symbolism in their work, and make connections between history, art, and other disciplines. These projects will be shared within our global community through the International Children’s Art Exchange.
Symtalk Language Systems: Le Français en images Book E
S.O.S. Prononciation! By: Jane Franchi
Pronunciation and basic conversation skills practice are important parts of sixth grade French classes. Students learn about French culture and traditions. Writing and performing their own French skits are a fun way to demonstrate their understanding. Students also learn about some of France’s famous cities, sites, and people as well as a little bit of French history. Researching, creating, and giving a presentation to their classmates on one of these topics provides a great learning experience for everyone. In acknowledgement of our Sacred Heart heritage, sixth grade students learn to recite the sign of the cross and the Lord’s Prayer in French.
The goals for the sixth grade students will be to match pitch, read, and interpret all notational signs and rhythmic and melodic patterns on the treble clef, including uneven and syncopated rhythms. Students are introduced to the simple fingerings on the alto recorder. Throughout the year, sixth grade students play solos and duets for the alto recorder in both major and minor keys. Students actively participate in unison and two part harmony singing, including a performance for the student body and parents. The students compose and improvise simply melodies in pentatonic scales with various accompaniments using Orff instruments. Identification of different musical forms include rondo, A-B-A, theme, and variation. Students are introduced to the major composers of J.S. Bach, Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig Van Beethoven, George Frederic Handel, and some early 20th century American composers.
In fifth and sixth grade, we begin our single gender PE classes. Both the boys and girls in fifth grade participate in many new units. These include more complex sports that are harder to teach and to learn at a younger level and sports that include an implement. An example would be a sport such as lacrosse. Lacrosse games with younger students is more challenging because the students struggle to catch and throw. Older students are more successful so we wait to begin these more complex sports until fifth grade. We also revisit several units that the students have had in the past but teach more complex strategies. An example of this would be the Soccer Unit. The students have had this unit since first grade but since they have mastered the basic skills and strategies we are able to move on to more complex strategies, rules, and skills. The sport of Golf, a lifelong sport, is introduced in the fifth grade for the girls and continues in sixth grade.
A variety of instructional strategies are used in sixth grade. Some of these include collaborative group work, independent work, hands-on learning, discussion-based teaching, technology integration, global projects, and long-term projects.
Students are assessed in various ways, including: teacher-generated tests and quizzes, book tests, periodic ALEKS assessments, reader’s workshop, literature circles, a variety of essay writing using the step-up to writing process, projects (some group projects and some individual projects), presentations, and power points. Grades are available online for parents to review. We also discuss students’ progress at parent-teacher conferences in October and March. Each Thursday students bring home their Thursday envelopes with their graded work. Papers need to be returned the next day.
Students, as well as teachers, use SMART boards, graphing calculators, iPads, laptops, Skype, and the technology center to enhance learning. Teachers incorporate technology into lessons when appropriate.
All homework is meaningful to the individual student and relevant to the curriculum. Sixth grade students should expect about an hour or so of homework each night. They are required to complete their work independently. Parents are encouraged to work with their child toward this independence. If students have questions about an assignment, they are welcome to set up a time to work one on one with the teacher. Homework serves several functions: it is the content around which important independent study habits are formed, it is an appropriate time to reinforce skills, it is a precursor to or follow-up on major class work, it provides for utilizing independent research skills, and it becomes necessary when class time is unproductive and work is not completed. All late assignments will receive a 10% per day deduction.
Students in sixth grade are dropped off at the Duchesne Building or the Activities Building. They go to recess on our lower campus at 7:30 and are dismissed to their classrooms at 7:45. Students in sixth grade do not have a snack time. They may bring a water bottle to keep with them throughout the day. If a student has a cell phone it must be turned off and kept in his/her locker for the entire day. If any communication needs to occur, it must go through the teacher or office. Students are expected to spend their day as respectful and active learners.
Teachers communicate with parents on a regular basis. Open communication is a vital part of a child’s educational career. Types of communication include weekly blogs, Thursday folders, monthly curriculum updates, and emails. Parents are invited to communicate questions, concerns, ideas, etc. either by e-mail or a call.