Sixth grade is an exciting year of growing responsibility and new experiences. After completing the transition to middle school in fifth grade, sixth graders have the opportunity to become more independent learners, including designing their own final project. Students begin their study of Latin, start having a math specialist, and take their first city overnight trip to Boston. Sixth graders also begin “lunch out,” during which students can go to local eateries and enjoy lunch with peers.
The overarching theme for sixth grade is power; students begin to understand that power doesn't only come from outside forces. Sixth graders begin to formulate the idea that power also comes from within and the choices that are made and not made. Students become more independent, while continuing to positively contribute to the community. Sixth graders have leadership opportunities, including Student Mentoring, where students are paired with a younger student to build confidence and self-esteem or to simply help a younger student settle in to Stevens.
See what your child will learn in each of the following subject areas:
- Social Emotional Learning
- Specials Classes
- Homework and Assessments
Sixth grade students participate collaboratively in literature circles, where they analyze literary elements such as characterization, plot, setting, and theme. Students explore the connection between literature and society and life and expand their independent reading stamina and skills. Students are asked to examine questions including:
- Whose stories are told and not told?
- How can we identify and disrupt biased stories?
- What can we do to make sure more stories are told and heard?
- Why do authors make certain choices, and how can I apply those authorial choices to my own writing?
Through these explorations, sixth graders develop annotation strategies, develop thesis statements, and write in a multitude of genres.
- Analyze text, cite textual evidence, determine an author's point of view, bias, or purpose in a text, identify and use literary elements with understanding
- Write a range of texts for specific purposes and audiences, develop a thesis, cite evidence, demonstrate writer's craft, follow conventions of grammar, spelling, and MLA format.
- Engage in a meaningful revision process to strengthen a first draft into a polished final draft
Sample Reading List
- Song for a Whale
- Hidden Figures
- Dear America
- The Giver
- City of Ember
- Long Walk to Water
- The Diary of Anne Frank
- American Born Chinese
Sixth grade students continue their study of Ancient Civilizations from fifth grade, moving from prehistory and early history to the medieval eras throughout the world. Students use the framework of the Seven Features of Civilization to identify patterns across civilizations, and connect themes of ancient civilization to modern-day events and injustices.
- How does a civilization establish power?
- What patterns exist across civilizations, throughout time and space?
- How do historical events shape and influence geographical boundaries and culture?
- How does the influence of the past shape the present day?
- How does the distribution of power shift?
- How is the study of history often biased, and what can we do to negate this bias in our own study?
- Demonstrate understanding of causal relationships and historical timelines
- Interpret and synthesize primary and secondary sources, including both written texts and artifacts
- Conduct and present historical research on a topic of choice using a variety of credible sources to make citations, correctly format a Works Cited page
- Make connections and identify patterns within and across cultures
Units of Study
- Archaeology, stolen artifacts, and repatriation
- Rise and Fall of Rome
- The Byzantine Empire
- Europe in the Middle Ages
- The Renaissance
- Medieval history in Japan, the Americas, and parts of Africa
- The Holocaust and Human Behavior
With inquiry at its core, the science curriculum aims to guide students to collaboratively and independently investigate issues through observation, research and experimentation. As students investigate real examples of science applications they discover the dependencies and tensions between ethics, culture, economics, and environment.
- Understand and explain scientific concepts
- Use structured processes to solve
- problems, gather information, and draw conclusions
- Record observations and thought processes, measure with accuracy, and communicate with relevance, meaning and insight
Units of Study
- Energy, Forces and Motion
- Earth’s Dynamic Systems I
- Earth’s Dynamic Systems II
In sixth grade, the focus of the course is building the foundation necessary for success in the study of algebra. Students learn pre-algebra with a special emphasis on representation of the number system: decimals, fractions, whole numbers, and percentages. As students learn about the number system, they will learn to represent the numbers on the number line. Sixth graders will learn to represent ratios in multiple ways and model them as verbal descriptions, equations, tables, and graphs. They will also learn to model real‐world situations using ratio, rate and percentage in order to solve problems.
Students will also learn how to write algebraic expressions to represent situations in the world around them. They work on deriving formulas for areas of triangles, parallelograms, trapezoids, and regular polygons. Students use the formulas to find areas, surface area and volume, and, given an area or volume, identify unknown dimensions.
Sixth grade math provides students with the tools to think independently, to solve problems, and to question whether an answer is reasonable. The work that students complete varies from computational work to application of those concepts to solve problems.
Units of Study
- Positive Numbers and the Number Line
- Negative Numbers
- Multiply and Divide Fractions and Decimals
- Algebraic Expressions
- Equations and Inequalities
- Coordinate Plane
- Area of Polygons
- Circumference and Area
- Surface Area and Volume
- Introduction to Statistics
- Measure of Central Tendency
Social Emotional Learning
Classroom Advisory Program (CAP)
We believe that students experience academic and social success by developing skills that promote their social and emotional well-being. Our middle school Classroom Advisory Program is focused on character education and social emotional learning. We believe it is critically important for students to engage in specifically designed lessons focusing on topics such as ethical choices and dilemmas, maintaining convictions in the face of peer pressure and adversity, appreciating individuality, managing anxiety and stress, making wise and informed choices regarding friendship conflicts, celebrating differences, and other similar topics. Students engage in group-oriented activities to foster the development of these skills. Sixth grade topics include:
- Self-image and self-improvement
- Making decisions
- Coping with anxiety and anger
- Stress management
- Social skills and interpersonal relationships
- Effective communication
- Resolving conflict
- Study skills
Sixth grade students continue their individual instrument instruction (strings, brass or woodwind) and have small group instruction and orchestra practice weekly. In addition to this, students continue with music class which includes:
- Vocal Technique
- Musical Literacy
- Music Appreciation
World Languages: Spanish and Mandarin
Beginning in 5th grade, students choose between Spanish and Mandarin as their World Language course.
Students learn Spanish vocabulary, grammar, culture and history through the lenses of different countries including Spain and Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Sixth grade students practice their speaking and listening skills three times per week.
- The house
- Furniture and objects in a house
- Household chores
- Leisure activities
- Article Agreement with nouns
- Expressing existence. The verb Haber
- Expressing location
- Regular ar verbs, present tense.
- Regular er and ir verbs, present tense
- Expressing obligation
- Adverbs of frequency
Cultural Backdrop: Puerto Rico
- Old San Juan
- El Yunque National Forest
- Salsa, the essence of Puerto Rico
- The US and Puerto Rico
- Review of:
- Pinyin, tones, strokes, radicals
- Dates, ages, telephone numbers
- Family Members
- Daily Routine
- Countries and languages
Sixth graders begin their study of Latin with an investigation of Latin’s relationship to the Romance languages. From there, students explore how Rome achieved prominence in the ancient world before commencing with their formal study of the Latin language. Reflective writing and creative projects also factor into the 6th grade Latin curriculum.
Cultural concepts include:
- Daily life in ancient Rome
- Roman festivals
- Poverty in Rome
Language skills include:
- Latin word order
- The present tense
- Nominative and accusative case
- Noun declensions
- Plural verbs
Beginning in fifth grade, Electives are offered once per week to middle school students in mixed group settings. This is a chance for students to have choice and voice through personal selection and an opportunity to work with peers from other middle school classes. Offerings change from year to year and have included Photography, Creative Writing, Fiber Arts, Tinkering and Makerspace, The Art of Public Speaking, Healthy Habits and Nutrition, Service Learning, Theatre, Coding, and Ethics Bowl.
Homework and Assessments
Sixth graders can expect daily homework that is purposeful and helps students manage their time and workload responsibly. Students are assessed in a variety of ways, including class discussions, homework assignments, comprehension questions, essays, end of unit tests, quizzes, and research projects. Stevens uses authentic observation, testing and ongoing assessment to provide a comprehensive evaluation of each student. In the fall of sixth grade, students take the CTP-5 standardized test, administered by the Educational Records Bureau.
In addition to exploring relevant curriculum connections through local day trips to museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, students participate in a fall overnight trip to the Poconos Environmental Education Center (PEEC) for two days and one night focused on enhancing teamwork, leadership and self-confidence. In the spring, students attend their first overnight city trip for three days and two nights to Boston.