Grade 6 Student Development
A year dramatic growth and change, of challenge and opportunity
The sixth grade child is energetic and daring. This is a year marked by rapid physical growth. As they grow, sixth graders are always searching for peer approval while becoming more assertive and independent on the home front. Adolescence has arrived.
Though they are likely to have bouts of sluggishness, inattention and awkwardness, sixth grade children are aware of the opposite sex and also interested in organized games and team play. Intellectually, they have the ability to analyze situations and discuss problems.
Because of all this growth and change, they need attention and praise and a place where their privacy and possessions are respected. Most sixth graders need to feel a sense of belonging and the chance to "shine" in some activity valued by their peers.
As they enter sixth grade, students must be ready to succeed in middle school. Consequently, the sixth grade program focuses on making the students more independent workers and thinkers. For instance, they should be able to establish and follow a routine for completion of homework assignments. When they leave sixth grade, students will possess an improved ability to deal with the abstract; to analyze, evaluate and apply ideas; to pose questions and then use effective strategies to research and investigate answers.
Above all sixth graders need to develop a strong sense of responsibility and respect for themselves and what they are able to do. They should have the fundamental skills and knowledge to carry them on a clear course to the next level of learning and discovery. They develop those skills and attain that base of knowledge through the curriculum.
The sixth graders' literacy skills develop and improve by practicing listening, speaking, reading, and writing across the curriculum. In language arts they will practice word analysis, fluency and vocabulary development using grade-level-appropriate texts. Students will develop comprehension skills using narrative and expository or informational text from the California Reading List. They will respond to significant works of world literature by clarifying ideas and connecting them to other pieces of literature. A command of standard English grammar will be represented in written and oral responses. Oral presentations will be focused and logical, relate to the background of the audience, incorporate various strategies (i.e. narration, exposition, persuasion, and description). Writing will demonstrate an ability to develop clear, coherent essays in a variety of genres with a minimum of 500 to 700 words. Students will be able to use electronic resources to locate information, and compose documents using word processing skills.
Sixth grade mathematics will expose students to experiences ranging from reinforcement of computation and estimation skills to the investigation of probability and statistics, and along the way, explore every strand using mathematical reasoning. They will use ratio and proportion, draw and measure angles, use exponents and variables, make inferences from statistical data, and examine various strategies for solving mathematical problems. As always the basic skills provide the foundation.
In social studies, students in the sixth grade investigate and analyze the geographic, political, economic, and social structures of the early civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Ancient Hebrews, Ancient Greece, India, China, and Rome. Within this historical context, students continue to develop and demonstrate the following intellectual reasoning, reflection, and research skills: chronological and spatial thinking; research, evidence and point of view; and historical interpretation. Emphasis is placed on the everyday lives, problems, and accomplishments of people, their role in the development of social, economic, and political structures and the establishment and spread of ideas that helped transform the world forever.
In addition to a classroom science curriculum that introduces students to further concepts in life, earth, and physical science, the sixth grade program also offers students a number of unique opportunities. As in fourth and fifth grades, these students also experience hands-on experimentation. This program is aimed at having the students do science rather than just study it.
The physical education program for sixth grade emphasizes the importance of personal hygiene, social interaction, working cooperatively and physical fitness. During the sixth grade physical education class, the students learn how to interact with one another while participating in activities both physically and mentally. Upon completion of sixth grade, the students will learn how to appreciate movement and live a healthy life.
Sixth grade students have many opportunities to learn the skills and craftsmanship for effectively expressing their own artistic impulses, including an option to participate in chorus or instrumental music. The visual and performing arts curriculum gives students a balance between enhancing their perception and judgment of artistic expression and offering the students opportunities to practice and refine ways of expressing themselves through art.
Sixth graders throughout the district are also introduced to a widening range of experiences with new technology. The emphasis is not just that the students learn about the capabilities of computers but that they use them as tools for researching, designing, writing, and creating.
Sixth grade begins the transition to adolescence for most students. It will be a year of dramatic growth and change, of challenge and opportunity. The sense of being able, responsible citizens gets a firm foundation here in the first year of middle school.