Grade 6 Curriculum
Students learn to see themselves as confident and proficient readers, writers, and thinkers. They begin to develop their writing voices and personal styles through an exploration of a variety of genres: poetry, non-fiction, short stories, and novels. Students learn to respond thoughtfully to literature, to their written work, and to the work of others. They continue to work on skills such as grammar, vocabulary development, following directions, active reading, and creative writing. In small groups, students begin to participate in book clubs and read works such as: The Misfits, Code Talker, and The Outsiders.
In Grade 6, students explore the voice of the playwright. Past projects have included a creative adaptation of Twelve Angry Men, original monologues depicting life in a Medieval town based on their social studies curriculum, modern adaptations of Medieval morality plays, and modernized Roman comedies with contemporary twists.
Beginning with an introduction to the historical method, students explore the rise and fall of ancient Rome as well as the Medieval age. Through use of primary and secondary sources, writing activities, and projects, students examine the causes and effects of events in history as well as their connections to events in the modern age. Critical thinking skills are emphasized as students read and evaluate sources, reflect on events, and infer implications. During the year, students practice note-taking skills and essay organization.
Number systems and mathematical notations are a significant focus for students in Grade 6. Students have an opportunity to use logical reasoning skills and improve their number sense while mastering skills introduced in Grade 5. They begin to solve more complex equations and learn new topics such as solving inequalities. Students continue to maintain a math notebook, work on logic problems, and complete Math’s Mate exercises.
In Earth Science, students learn about natural resources, meteorology and oceanography.
In natural resources, students are introduced to the overarching concepts of soil, water and air. The sub-topics within these areas are renewable and nonrenewable resources, recycling and re-using, soil formation, soil erosion, soil profile, soil color and soil protection, properties of water, the water cycle, desalination, water waste, layers of the atmosphere, indoor and outdoor pollution, acid rain, greenhouse effect, global warming, and the long- and short-term effects of pollution on health.
In meteorology, the material covered includes the earth's atmosphere, including atmospheric optics, air pressure, air mass, precipitation, global and local wind, cloud and fog formation, thunderstorms, and fronts.
The unit on oceanography covers ocean currents, ocean life and ocean floor.
Students also complete a research project on weather where they predict the weather of five cities for the day.
In Grade 6, more class time is spent on oral work in the target language. These activities are then reinforced through written homework. The goals for this second year are to enable students to think in the language and to express themselves in the present tense. Cultural studies continue and are often part of special projects that may be completed individually or in a group.
Grade 6 students begin to use more advanced techniques in their artwork, such as proportional drawing of the human face and body. Interdisciplinary work is undertaken in conjunction with units studied in the core program. For example, students work on illuminated letters, learn the classical formula for dividing the human face and sculpt clay heads based on the classical formula. An emphasis in Grade 6 art is the use of positive and negative space.
Students in Grade 6 will focus on musicianship and ensemble skills through the use of found sounds, ostinato patterns, and matrix compositions. Students will work together throughout the year to create original compositions using these tools. The goal for Grade 6 is to perform in garage bands, using the skills of collaboration and cooperation in order to compose or cover original material on keyboard, guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. Other instruments will be considered on an individual basis. Students will continue to develop good singing habits and further their knowledge of music theory and fluency with music notation.
Students in Grade 6 participate in activities designed to develop individual motor skills, physical fitness and an understanding of the fundamentals of team play. The importance of physical fitness is stressed as students learn the basic concepts of muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility. Time is devoted to team and dual sports as well as group activities through which cooperation, fair play, and sports etiquette are developed. Units include soccer, team handball, basketball, floor hockey, badminton, pickle ball, and volleyball. The climbing wall presents opportunities for students to take responsible risks and attempt personal challenges that enhance confidence and self-esteem.
Students engage in guided and independent exploration and conversations about books through book clubs and other activities, a collaborative English and library curriculum. Students are encouraged to discover their interests and strengths as readers and to communicate about literature with others, incorporating their skills of literary analysis. Research continues to be a focus of the program as students use the library to extend their class work in core subjects such as science and social studies. Students have access to a wealth of databases and other electronic resources.
In Grade 6, students are older partners to students in Grade 2. They meet bi-weekly for educational and social activities. The Partners Program provides an opportunity for older and younger children to develop strong and lasting relationships. It offers early experiences in service to others and contributes to the strong sense of community across all grades that is characteristic of St. Luke’s School.
Students in Grade 6 start the year learning how to critically evaluate and choose appropriate websites for doing research. Following this, students are introduced to basic Lego Robotics construction and programming skills. In the winter, in collaboration with the library and the social studies department, students research information about ancient Rome. The culminating project involves the creation of an interactive role-playing educational game using technology. During the third trimester, social and ethical issues raised by modern technology, including the effects of mass media on society, are explored.
In Grades 5 and 6 students receive guidance and support in making the transition from childhood to adolescence as they experience the physical, emotional, and social changes connected with this period of development. Topics include physical changes, friendships and cliques, name-calling, peer relationships, teasing, health, grooming, sex education, HIV, introductory drug education, and social and moral dilemmas. Additional topics are developed as needed to meet the unique interests and needs of the class.
In the fall, students participate in a field day of sports activities and games with Grade 6 students from five other downtown independent schools. The spring program is a three-day residential experience. Activities include science study, low ropes courses, climbing wall, hiking, and environmental and ecology work.
Students undertake a study of the New Testament keyed to issues in history, literature, and the development of Christianity. Students also look at symbolism and the church in the Middle Ages in conjunction with the social studies curriculum.
The Book of Common Prayer provides the base of Chapel services. The aim is to affirm and nurture all students in their spiritual life and to strengthen their connection to their own religious tradition. Thursday Eucharist includes non-sectarian prayers and birthday blessings in the context of Episcopal ritual. In all, the Episcopal concept of “common prayer” celebrates the diversity of religious tradition and experiences among faculty, students, and staff.
Convocation takes place each Friday morning. Led by Upper School class representatives, Convocation is a time for students and teachers to share talents and interests, perform for one another, present curriculum projects, and share community announcements.
As members of the Upper School, Grade 6 students have an array of extracurricular activities.
- Fall Sports: Coed volleyball, coed soccer
- Winter Sports: Girls’ and boys’ junior varsity basketball
- Spring Sports: Coed softball
- Literary Magazine: Libellus
- Student Council: Participation as a class representative rotates among class members. Students meet each week with the Upper School head to discuss issues; they are responsible for running weekly Convocation.
- Canteen: Students are invited to return to school on a Friday evening for a social evening of a light dinner and play in the gym, supervised by faculty members.
An extended day program is available with many enrichment classes offered for an additional fee.