Sixth Grade

Curriculum Update :: January, 2014


Sixth graders are finishing up the unit on posterization, value and pencil technique and will begin to focus on balance through the study of Notan- a japanese design principle. This principal focuses on the balance of positive and negative space. Students will be considering not only balance but proportion, composition and space as well. Through this project students will gain a deeper understanding of design principles as well as learn new cutting and layout techniques.

Community Service

We will visit Pennswood twice this month. The first visit will be spent participating in a Zumba and yoga class, and the second visit will be learning about flower arranging.


We will begin to write our independent analytical five-paragraph essay after reviewing the steps from our partner essay. We will also begin to use our Sadlier Vocabulary books and focus on different methods of learning and using new vocabulary in our writing. Finally, we will return to our Reading Logs, focusing on exploring different genres, and effectively writing about theme.


In 6th grade health our peer pressure unit leads right into our drug and alcohol speaker and our continued discussions on responsible decision making. The class then turns the focus to the various systems of the body including the nervous system, skeletal system, circulatory system, respiratory system and reproductive system as well as the human anatomy of males and females.


This month the 6th grade Latin students will put the finishing touches on Lesson 4, completing our study of 2nd declension masculine nouns. We will then begin Lesson 5, in which we learn how to use the genitive case to express possession. As part of this lesson, we will review how to use both apostrophes and prepositional phrases correctly to express possession in English. Throughout the month, we will also be working on our Roman culture project, in which students research a topic of their choice relating to life in ancient Rome. Students will synthesize their findings into a poster using Glogster and share their work with the class.


We will begin our unit on speed while drilling and reviewing fraction operations. Students will work in groups to create and present mini lessons on fractions to solidify their understanding. After our unit test on speed, students will work in groups on different experiments dealing with air traffic in the United States. We will focus on the NASA Smart Skies program, which has hands on experiments about speed, distance, and time and connects science and math.


Happy New Year! Sixth grade students are continuing to prepare their show. On Monday, we had our first rehearsal on the stage! Please look for a calendar that is coming home with your sixth grader. I will be emailing you shortly with details on the new show date and one after school rehearsal!


In Upper School PE we will continue to develop our physical fitness and work on muscular strength with a focus on core. PE continues with our basketball unit, as students will participate in a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. Each student was placed on a team based on skill level and teams will compete against the other teams in the class, standings will be kept as well as playoffs and a championship game. We will also begin to focus on jump rope in class as we prepare for the 3rd annual Jump Rope for Heart event in February.


Sixth grade, after researching bridges, will conclude the structural engineering unit by making a Popsicle stick bridge that spans a 20 cm chasm. Once constructed, the bridge will be put to a “strength” test where weight will be added to the center portion of the bridge. Students will be graded on their work ethic and ingenuity in planning and constructing the bridge as well as how much weight it can carry. After this unit concludes, students will begin the study of earth sciences.

Social Studies

In January the sixth grade social studies students will conclude their World Religions Unit with the study of Hinduism and Buddhism. We will take our first field trip to New York City to explore a variety of religious institutions. After completing our World Religions Unit we will begin our study of human rights. We will continue to hone our primary source reading skills by using annotation, summarization, and paraphrasing. We will also use more contemporary primary sources to understand how human rights are addressed in the modern world. We will continue to work on our social science writing skills by using primary source quotes, strong topic sentences, and analysis.


Sixth grade Spanish students will continue to acquire language by studying adverbs of location and the verb ESTAR to describe where an object or someone is. Students are presently practicing how to apply the future tense (Ir + a + infinitive) to describe what they and someone else will be doing in oral form. Currently, students are studying the present progressive form. They will be having an assessment once they have obtained proficiency with the structure in oral and writing forms; this structure is used to tell what people are doing presently. Six graders will begin reading the TPR (Total Physical Response) reading text, Pobre Ana. The book will provide ample opportunity for students to: utilize learned vocabulary, lengthen their language expression and improve their overall literacy in Spanish work.

US 101

January is all about goals and good habits. The new year is a great time to discuss how to create, maintain and reach your goals. Apart of this process is identifying and practicing good habits. We will connect the themes of goals and good habits so students can see how their daily behaviors can get them closer to their goals.