Sixth Grade Curriculum Overview
In Sixth Grade, students read novels, short stories, dramas, nonfiction, and poetry which support cultural diversity and the study of American history, with a focus on the Civil War era. They continue their study of Shakespeare and his works. Comprehension and thoughtful consideration of the literature’s meaning are stressed at all times. Students write analytic essays about the literature they are studying which emphasizes the foundations of critical thinking. Students are working to refine their voices as writers so that their work can be easily understood by a peer. Research reports, persuasive and informational compositions, comparison and contrast essays, short stories, and poems are also studied. Students write and speak with an attention to standard English conventions, including sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. Vocabulary is studied through an emphasis on Classical roots and literary context.
Students practice public speaking and develop confidence when presenting to others by participating in debate. Students thoroughly research a topic and then learn how to eloquently and effectively argue their points through a variety of debating styles.
Students utilize the computer lab on a regular basis to advance their writing with the one-on-one attention of their teacher as he moves each child forward in his or her growth.
Sixth graders begin a study of Pre-Algebra, probability, and statistics. They use a variety of supplemental websites and resources to make use of their emerging math skills. Solving word problems and group problem solving continue to be emphasized through the use of Singapore Math techniques. The use of IXL.com supplements the curriculum with individualized learning.
Environmental Science is the focus of the first semester in Grade 6, with attention to weather and climate. In the second semester, students dive into a hands-on exploration of Physics. Labs and projects enhance student learning, as do daily, in depth discussions on the science news of the day. Each year the students conduct an individual science project for the annual Science Fair, helping them to learn the important concepts of observation, prediction, conducting an experiment, recording data, analyzing results, creating a display, and presenting the material to others.
In Health class, students learn about the effects of alcohol and drugs on the human body, and they study interpersonal communication and conflict resolution.
Sixth grade students continue their study of American history from the events leading up to the Civil War, the war itself, and the era of Reconstruction. Hands-on simulations and an in depth study of historical geography ignite learning about this volatile time in our history.
International Studies focuses on Europe -- the people, culture, history, geography, animals, climate, religions, and politics. They will create a dramatic presentation as a part of their International Fair presentation in June.
Sixth graders build upon their knowledge of Spanish while they complete what would normally be taught in the second half of a second year high school course. Students participate in the National Spanish Exam. Students have Spanish three times a week.
Sixth Grade students continue to study both art history and theory while creating art every week and building their personal portfolio. They look at the important periods and schools of art history and apply what they have learned to their own work in a variety of media, including clay, tin, chalk, pencil, pastels, tempra paint, mosaics, and paper sculpture. Students have art class once a week.
Upper School students learn how to play the melodies and chords on the ukelele as they continue to increase their knowledge of notation, rhythm, melody, form, and timbre. Students learn to write major scales and identify what key a song is in by looking at the key signature. They also learn how to transpose songs into a new key and demonstrate their understanding of I, IV, V chord structure. Furthermore, students take their performance skills to the next level as they practice singing and playing solo and in synchronization with the group using a varied repertoire of music. Students will analyze, describe, and perform a song of their own choice and also compose a simple song using traditional chord structures. They also study music history and enhance their performance skills through participation in the two all-school music performances. Students have music once a week.
The Physical Education curriculum for middle school increases students' basic knowledge and skills in team sports. They gain precision with increasing control and accuracy. They develop habits of teamwork and learn how to apply the basic rules of various sports. Students have Physical Education two times a week.
Technology and Research
Middle school students use the computer lab for their papers, projects, and flow charts as well as their continued use of ixl.com for math. Sixth graders use Common Sense Media's Digitial Citizenship, amongst other resources, to learn how to safely and effectively work and play online. Seventh graders develop their own website with videos and delve into a study of the media and its influences. Eighth graders explore project-based learning by creating their own digital legacy project for the students who come next. Eighth graders also create the yearbook for the school.
Sixth - Eighth Grade students participate in service learning classes, entitled Community Council, weekly. They discuss and research current events, determine areas in our community which need improvement, create an action plan to meet these needs, and take steps toward improving the situation they have deemed in need of attention. Students will go out into the community individually and also as a school to do community service. We seek to create a group of students who understand the power of their voices in matters of social justice, and who understand that they have a responsibility to improve the world according to the principles that guide them. All students participate in yearly Service Learning projects as well as complete volunteer hours individually outside of campus. Middle school students take on the responsibility of specialized duties (including computer lab monitor, art studio helper, campus clean up supervisor, etc.) and serve as STEAM buddy group leaders. Students practice their Hilldale Habits of Respect, Leadership, and Independent, Lifelong Learning on a daily basis.