Sixth Grade Curriculum Overview
At Monticello Academy, we believe in academic excellence as well as the emotional and social development of a student. The academic curriculum that we implement in our program is based on the California State Standards. Being a developmental based program, our curriculum is gauged in accordance to the educational level of each individual class every year as they progress from one grade level to the next. Our curriculum will vary year to year depending on the developmental ability and level of the upcoming grade. This overview will allow you to have a general understanding of what your child will learn throughout the school year.
At this level, students are expected to be reading fluently and coherently. They will be exposed to reading various types of writing styles based on the recommended California Department of Education reading list in literature. Extensive independent reading outside the classroom is an important element of the language arts curriculum. Students in middle school are expected to read one million words annually on their own. This includes narrative (classic and contemporary literature) and expository (magazines, newspaper, or online) instructional materials. Students will be required to read at least 20 minutes per day.
In the sixth grade level, there will be more attention focused on expository rather than narrative reading. Students will learn to use and analyze categories of informational materials, such as consumer and workplace documents, textbook, newspapers, and instructional manuals. They will also focus on the assessment of an author’s argument.
In developing their vocabulary, students will learn how to identify idioms, analogies, metaphors, and similes in prose and poetry and continue to clarify word meaning through definitions, examples, re-statements, and contrasts. Students will be given extensive opportunity to read in order to increase their vocabulary.
Literary Response and Analysis
At this level, students will learn to articulate the express purposes and characteristics of different forms of prose, such as short essays, novels, novellas, and essays. They identify events that advance the plot and determine how each event explains the past or present actions or foreshadow future actions. They also learn how to analyze characterization as delineated through a character’s thoughts, words, speech patterns, and actions. They will further identify and analyze recurring themes across works, such as value of bravery, loyalty, friendship, or loneliness.
At this level, students are expected to continue to develop strategies for organizing and giving focus to their writing. There will be an increased emphasis on documentation of support, such as support for all statements and claims through the use of anecdotes, descriptions, facts, and statistics and the extension of strategies, such as note taking, outlining, and summarizing. They will further develop their ability to write research reports, from identifying topics to preparing bibliographies and locating relevant information in electronic as well as printed text. They also will learn to produce documents with a word processing program and organize information gathered in the research process. Their writing will focus less on narrative (telling a story) and more on multi-paragraph expository compositions. They will be expected to write text between 500 to 700 words (2-3 pages typed, double-spaced) in the categories of interpretations of literature, research reports, persuasive compositions, and summaries. They will be expected to have general command of the English language conventions when they speak and write. The curriculum for this will emphasize sentence structure (proper placement of modifiers and use of the active voice), grammar (proper use of infinitives and participles, clear pronouns and antecedents), punctuation (hyphens, dashes, brackets, and semicolons), and spelling (applying the spelling of bases and affixes to derivatives).
Listening and Speaking
There will be specific listening skills that will be emphasized in this grade level, such as students are expected to ask appropriate questions designed to elicit needed information and discern the speaker’s point of view. This is important in developing strong systematic skills in comprehending and evaluating oral information. As for speaking, students will be given more opportunity to be involved in a variety of speaking opportunities in informal setting, such as small group discussions or cooperative learning activities, and more formal settings, such as individual or group presentations to the class. Like in the fifth grade program, students are expected to deliver well-organized formal presentations that will employ traditional rhetorical strategies. They will learn to deliver narrative, research, and persuasive presentations as well as oral summaries of articles and books. They will be expected to demonstrate a range of speaking skills and strategies that includes describing complex major and minor characters and a definite setting, using a range of strategies, such as dialogue, suspense, and naming of specific narrative actions, using their own words (except materials quoted from the source), and including evidence generated from the research.
After reviewing and gaining a firm grasp on the fifth grade math curriculum, our sixth grade students are then introduced to our next level in which students will be adept at manipulating numbers and equations and understanding the general principles at work. They will understand and use factoring of numerators, denominators, and properties of exponents. They learn the Pythagorean Theorem and solve problems in which they compute the length of an unknown side. Students will know how to compute the surface area and volume of the basic three-dimensional objects and understand how area and volume change with a change in scale. They can make conversions between different units of measurement. Students will also know and use different representations of fractional numbers, such as fractions, decimals, and percents; they will be proficient at changing from one to another. As students progress through the school year, they increase their facility with ratio and proportion, compute percents of increase and decrease, and compute simple and compound interest. They will learn to graph linear functions and understand the idea of slope and its relation to ratio.
In the sixth grade program, the science curriculum will emphasize on the study of earth science. At this age, students are increasingly aware of their environment and are ready to learn more about their surrounding. The standards in this grade level will present many of the foundations of geology and geo physics, including the plate tectonics and the earth structure, topography, and energy. The material is linked to resource management and ecology, building on the foundation of what students have learned in the previous grade level. The main focus of what they will learn in the sixth grade is their foundation for earth science literacy.
The focus of the sixth grade history-social science program emphasizes on world history and geography in ancient civilizations. Students in the sixth grade will expand their understanding of history by studying the people and events that ushered in the dawn of the major Western and non-Western ancient civilizations. They will learn that geography is of special significance in the development of the human story. The curriculum will continue to emphasize the everyday lives, problems, and accomplishments of people, their role in developing social, economics, and political structures as well as in establishing and spreading ideas that helped transform the world forever. Students will develop higher levels of critical thinking by considering why civilizations developed, where and when they did, why they became dominant, and why they declined. Furthermore, students will analyze the interactions among the various cultures, emphasizing their enduring contributions and the link, despite time, between the contemporary and ancient worlds.