6th Grade Courses

The following courses are available to sixth graders.

Chinese A

This introductory course exposes students to Chinese through comprehensible input, including oral, written, and visual storytelling. The input-based approach to acquiring language focuses on the instruction of vocabulary in a highly contextualized manner. By keeping the conversation/story engaging and compelling, the learner is distracted from consciously trying to memorize vocabulary. Class time centers around developing fluency and students are encouraged to use their language skills wholistically. Emphasis is placed on fluency over precision, with a focus on students being comfortable communicating in simple sentences in Chinese.

French A

This introductory course exposes students to French through comprehensible input, including oral, written, and visual storytelling. The input-based approach to acquiring language focuses on the instruction of vocabulary in a highly contextualized manner. By keeping the conversation/story engaging and compelling, the learner is distracted from consciously trying to memorize vocabulary. Class time centers around developing fluency and students are encouraged to use their language skills wholistically. Emphasis is placed on fluency over precision, with a focus on students being comfortable communicating in simple sentences in French.

Humanities 6 - World Cultures

Sixth grade Humanities focuses on the elements of culture by studying societies within the  United States and across the globe.  We study the geographical, economical, and cultural influences within a society and look at the impact of change on a society.  As budding anthropologists, we first begin to study aspects that are common to all cultures and then think about what makes us different and what makes us the same. We look at ourselves and explore the concepts of multiple perspectives through R.J. Palacio’s book Wonder before we turn our attention to cultures outside of the United States. We study the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the tenets of Islam by reading The Breadwinner.  Themes of friendship and loyalty between two boys living on the same Kenyan land during the time of colonialism are examined through Burn My Heart. Our conversations on the theme of cultural heritage and the struggles faced when one’s history and culture is outside the dominant culture in a country is explored in American Born Chinese.  We end with The Hunger Games as we dissect the futuristic society in the country of Panem (formerly the United States) and examine the issues concerning American culture in a historical context.

All the while, we tend to the mechanics of reading and writing. We study the tactics of great readers, learning to be aware of our thought process while we read. We work hard on sentence structure, grammar, vocabulary, and supporting our ideas with adequate details when we write.  At the same time, a wide variety of innovative projects that encourage creative problem solving and often use cutting edge applications allow us to demonstrate our understanding in unique and exciting ways. Humanities provides a collaborative, challenging and dynamic introduction to a Beaver education.

Math 6

In this course, we will focus on integrating skills and using logic to solve problems and understand mathematical ideas. Students are introduced to pre-algebra concepts such as integers, variables and equations. In addition, students work on the order of operations, decimals and fractions, percents and graphing. While gaining confidence in their own abilities, students can also exchange ideas and improve their communication, problem solving, and reasoning skills.  Computer software, projects, calculators, games, and hands-on activities support the curriculum. Emphasis is also placed on expressing mathematical ideas and connections in both verbal and written form.

Risk taking, inquisitive thinking, accuracy, and clarity of expression receive considerable attention and are major components of the course.

Music

As part of our Instrumental Music curriculum all students learn how to play an instrument or hone their skills if they are already accomplished musicians.  Using orchestra and chorus as a model for collaboration, students learn instrument technique and musicianship skills, through practicing and rehearsing a range of repertoire.  They begin by test driving each instrument (trumpet, trombone, tuba, cello, violin, viola, voice, percussion, flute, clarinet) before being matched with an ensemble, taking into consideration the student’s interest, feedback from the teachers, and the needs of the ensemble.  Students meet both in their smaller ensembles (Brass, Strings, Chorus, Percussion, Woodwinds) and come together to collaborate regularly in rehearsals and three music exhibits per year.  The ensembles are comprised of 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and are highly differentiated, allowing beginners and advanced students to thrive together by learning multiple parts of the same piece of music.  Although this is a music program that builds technical skills and artistry, the impact goes far beyond music, focusing on collaboration, creative problem solving, empathy, and leadership skills.  

Science 6 - The Science of Place

What is home? How do I understand my place and impact in a larger system? In 6th grade, we explore our sense of place through the several lenses, including Earth science, ecosystems, and engineering. We challenge ourselves to examine systems big and small through observation, data collection, and data analysis as we develop the skills of a good scientist. We question how the world around us works, exploring the idea of place/home from the local to the universal scale through geology, geography, ecology, astronomy, meteorology. We also work to understand how humans alter and engineer their environments through technology, urban planning, landscaping, habitat design, and site surveying.

Spanish A

This introductory course exposes students to Spanish through comprehensible input, including oral, written, and visual storytelling. The input-based approach to acquiring language focuses on the instruction of vocabulary in a highly contextualized manner. By keeping the conversation/story engaging and compelling, the learner is distracted from consciously trying to memorize vocabulary. Class time centers around developing fluency and students are encouraged to use their language skills wholistically. Emphasis is placed on fluency over precision, with a focus on students being comfortable communicating in simple sentences in Spanish.

Theater Arts 6

In grade 6, students develop an understanding of theatre as a collaborative art form and work to create a supportive, trusting, and cooperative ensemble. Through theatre games and activities, students learn the importance of communication and problem-solving and grow more confident as collaborators and performers. Students will also explore physicality and vocal expression, combining these skills to create unique characters, and they will be introduced to the various jobs and responsibilities in a theater production. Lastly, students will develop their listening, critical thinking, and reflection skills, by learning to give and receive feedback as an essential part of the artistic process.

Visual Arts 6

What is the creative potential in the objects around us? How do we harness this potential and carry though our ideas? In the first term of 6th grade students experience a fast paced class where high energy and an open mind are the only requirements. Collaborative learning and building is a key element to the class. Students will explore a variety of projects and materials that challenge their idea of “traditional” art making. Students push to work with these less traditional materials and see the potential for art in in all things around. Through this process, students will begin to see the value in the art making process and not only the final outcome of a project.